Sometimes it is the hardest thing in the world to simply maintain our focus on one thing at a time. We live in an era dictated by technology, multitasking, and instant gratification.
Attention span is continuing to decrease as we step into an advancing technological age. Most people can only hold their full attention and focus on one thing for about 8 seconds at a time before getting bored or distracted in some way.
That’s one second less than a goldfish! This is especially true when we are in an unconscious and stressed-out space.
We now know that multitasking decreases your productivity and actually lowers your IQ! And that’s not all.
Multitasking releases cortisol (a stress hormone) in our system. Excess cortisol in our system can create a wide array of physiological effects including:
- Weight gain
- Thinning skin
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased immunity
- Menstrual imbalances
- And, much much more.
The bottom line is we are not meant to stretch our awareness into a million places at once. Our brains are best suited for focusing on one thing at a time in a relaxed and joyful manner.
When we are in a state of pleasure, presence, and joy, our brain is happy, healthy, and energized. But how do we enter that brain space?
There are many meditation and yoga practices that help us hone in on and train our ability to focus and be present. One of these practices is called Trataka, candle gazing meditation.
TO PRACTICE TRATAKA
- Find and light a candle to place about an arm’s length away from you at eye height in front of you while you’re sitting.
- If you’re sitting on the floor, you could bring another chair in front of you and place the candle on the seat of the chair.
- Set your meditation timer for 5-10 minutes (or longer if you’d like to do a longer practice).
- Begin by staring at the candle for 10-30 seconds, doing your best to not blink. Keep the eyes open until you feel them begin to water.
- Then, close your eyes and simply notice what you see on the backs of your eyes. Stay with your eyes closed and your awareness on the images on the backs of the eyes for a minute or so.
- Repeat several more times through, gradually increasing the time you look at the candle and the images on the backs of the eyes.
- The more you practice the longer you’ll be able to gaze at the candle without blinking. Be sure not to strain the eyes too hard as you do this practice.
- Do this daily for a few months and notice the results!
Aside from creating fierce focus, this practice is also beneficial for:
- Purifying the eyes and strengthening vision
- Increasing memory
- Aiding insomnia and sleeping difficulties
- Developing intuition
- Developing the ability to visualize and see internal images
- Increasing willpower
- Decreases depression
- Calms the mind.
This practice is contra-indicative for:
- Individuals who have recently undergone eye surgery
- Individuals with a history of schizophrenia or hallucinations.
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