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* There are countless meditation practices for depression. Please look at our other resource pages for additional practices.
Items you’ll use: Candle & Lighter
Meditation postures: Seated (floor or chair) or standing
Place a lit candle in a non-flammable container or on a non-flammable surface at eye level or lower. Draw the window shades or dim the lighting if you prefer.
Find yourself in a comfortable posture.
Give yourself a few minutes to simply feel yourself breathing, to feel gravity connecting you to the earth, to feel yourself in the room and in your skin. You can do this with your eyes open or closed.
Slowly open your eyes or bring your gaze to the candle flame. Soften your eyes and soften your gaze so that you’re “absorbing” the light of the flame rather than inspecting it. Take your time.
Let this soft awareness slowly observe the edges of the flame, the center of the flame, the base of the flame, the glowing perimeter of the flame.
Keep softening your gaze if you notice it becoming too strained, or your focus becoming too sharp.
Let your awareness remain or meander around the flame. If you notice mental commentary or labeling while you’re gazing, silently say “Yes, thank you” and bring your full awareness back to the light of the candle.
If your mind wanders away from the candle, if mental commentary becomes distracting, or if your gaze becomes strained or sharp, take a long slow inhale and a long slow exhale while softening your eyes. If you’re sitting close to the candle your exhale may make the flame jump and bend. Let this new movement of the flame invigorate your attention.
There’s nothing to do and nothing to expect. Let the simplicity of the light and the subtle movements of the flame become a comforting and stabilizing anchor for the mind.
If you’d like, experiment with placing one or both hands over your heart, or over your belly as you keep a soft gaze on the candle flame.
Continue as long as you choose. When the candle dies out or when you blow it out, let your soft awareness follow the wisps of smoke until you can no longer see them.
Sit for several more silent breaths, recognizing any feelings of gratitude (for your sight, for the element of fire or warmth, for quiet moments with no agenda, etc…), or any qualities of ease in the body.
(These are merely suggestions. Use any words or phrases that are meaningful to you.)
In this moment there is simple beauty.
In this moment I am quietly contentment.
With soft eyes I absorb beauty and peace.