Candlelight is often associated with special occasions- gathering around a birthday cake, enjoying a meal with someone special, or reading a book by the fireplace. To me, there seems to be a sort of beauty of candlelight that is best enjoyed during moments of stillness and solitude, where the rest of the world is turned off for a little while.
Religiously, candles are incorporated through ceremonies and acts because it is said the flames soft illumination “touches the soul”. Often people find they can achieve a meditative state more easily by focusing on a candlelight rather than a mandala or mantra. The flame of a candle, to put it simply, is mesmerizing and soothing. “The calming effect of candlelight can be a simple yet sacred tool to help reduce stress and increase self-awareness” (Amstutz). Try to incorporate candles in your daily life and you will, without a doubt, develop a more tranquil state of mind.
Incorporating candles to various aspects of your daily routine (sometimes during moments you wouldn’t expect) can really make a difference:
- In the morning or evening: Spend a few moments each day (as soon as you wake up, or just before bedtime) sitting quietly in a space filled with a few candles, sitting quietly. If you sit and focus on the flames, breathe through your nose. “Turn your attention to the meltilng wax and imagine it as tension melting and dripping away (Ranch). You can include other objects that inspire or relax you, such as crystals, seashells, flowers, photographs, etc. that’ll help set the mood as well.
- In the bathroom: Next time you plan to soak in the tub or take a shower, turn the lights out and turn to candles instead. By combining the stress-relieving activity of relaxing in warm water, with calming candlelight, you’re giving yourself a double dose of relaxation.
- At work: Work can be very stressful, and lighting a candle on your desk or work space can help free your mind and release some of the stress of your job. Of course, never leave the candle unattended near paperwork or plants (although it may be stressful, you want to keep your job).
- While exercising: This is encouraged if you practice yoga, meditation, tai chi, or other similar activities at home. The calming effects can help you relax your mind and body, allowing for deeper stretches and better concentration. Sitting quietly or lying down in a candle lit room is a great way to unwind after an intense workout.
Look to my previous post for some scent ideas when picking out candles to further induce a calm state.