Step 9: Staring at a Candle

Picture of Staring at a Candle

Okay. This seems kind of silly, but if you sit in a dark room and stare at a candle for ten minutes while trying not to blink, you will experience subtle visual hallucinations. This sounds too simplistic to actually work, but I begrudgingly admit that it does. Which brings me too...

My experience:
At first it was hard to keep focused on the candle without blinking. After about a minute this task started to become easier. My eyes focused on the light and began to relax and the candle doubled in vision. After a while longer there started to be a glowing red and yellow sphere around the flame. Then, I blinked. I had to start over. I got to seeing the sphere, blinked, and started over again. This time I began to see a sphere and pushed through my desire to blink. My entire field of vision began to become wavy and finally the sphere appeared to be shooting arcs of light out of it kind of like a lightning globe. This was not the most exciting thing I ever saw, but definitely was a visual hallucination. I wasn't able to maintain it for long because then I blinked, my vision reset itself and I quit because I figured I took this about as far as I could. When I was done, I turned on the lights and had a blue and red dot burnt into the center of my field of vision for about five minutes. This alarmed me enough not to ever try this again. I suggest that you don't try this either.
DanL133 months ago
DanL133 months ago

Tratka is an ancient method of (gently) staring at a small object or candle flame, without blinking, used in India (and I believe in Asian martial arts) to help create powerful focus. You start off GRADUALLY: the first few times for only a minute or even less. Then over a few weeks, increase the length of time. I've been able to do it up to 20 minutes, and it is amazingly helpful for meditation and focus. I've never had any bad side effects. The after image is a commonly known phenomena which is harmless.

Blaise_Gauba8 months ago

The candle staring meditation I have done for years...while sitting in front of a large mirror but not staring at the candle...but instead staring at the point of my third eye between and just above my eyes just above the brow line. I have seen my face warp into hundreds of other faces. Quite interesting indeed.

Also, I have practiced Transcendental Meditation for close to thirty years, and you actually described it more closely in the experience you had sinking into the chair or couch where you were sitting and meditating. My experience goes from where I start my meditation where once I actually start to [not] feel anything, while first doing about five to ten minutes of long, deep verbal ohms...and then transition that out when I start to literally see grayness in my third eye...no visions of anything...my eyes are closed...but my third eye is now becoming very open...thus the vision of grayness...then that grayness starts to morph into visions of various types depending on what my focus was intended to be before I started the meditation initially.

Then as I ask my Spirit Guides to manifest within me, to guide me...to guide my vision or visions if need be...(sometimes I don't want them to control anything...and sometimes I do...it depends again on what my goals are for each meditation)...and then what usually happens is I start to feel first like I am becoming extremely heavy...and I feel like I am sinking incredibly deep into the couch or chair where I am sitting...then that feeling reverses and I start to feel euphoric as I feel my entire being expand so broadly and feel like I am expanding larger and larger and larger to the point where I come to realize that I am not a physical being at all...but instead realize that I am much greater than that...and I am filled with unconditional love, understanding and compassion for everyone and everything.

It sounds weird...but it has nothing to do with anything "hippie dippie" at all. It might be that there are those out there in the past who were trying to alter their consciousness during the Counter Revolution in the 1960's and throughout the 1970's and I recall some of it...although I was a child at that time, I was drawn to meditation at an early age. I got interested in meditation when I was about twelve and a half years old. I am sure my mother thought that I was off my rocker...but she never belittled me for it.

I really like that someone decided to put something as unique as meditation and mind altering consciousness as an instructable here on instructables.com. I think you did an excellent job because you approached it like a scientist would to some extent. It was thorough and thought provoking...and I am sure that there will be people out there who will be able to apply your instructable to their own consciousness expanding experiments and techniques. Very good job!

klindner8 months ago

I've never heard of this method of meditation restricting blinking before...
Staring into a fire is easier on the eyes and more pleasant atmospherically.

sehrule3 years ago
meh, i think you can do this with most settings. i love staring at candles in dark rooms for a long time, but if im thinking so hard that i stop blinking, moving my eyes or moving in general this starts to happen. with things other than a candle you wont burn a hole in your eyes either.
didn't ancient cults use this method to obtain followers?
redrobin123 years ago
Loved your experiences of altered states, great to see a topic other than glow in the dark jelly etc.!!!

The candle staring is "Jyoti" meditation,it will not harm your eyes,it should be about 2 or 3 feet infront of you (it is only 1 candle power)
the double effect you see is actually sterio vision, each eye is seeing the flame independently,and with practice you will have the same clarity of the candle with each eye, it's a very good way to meditate.
rfirmino3 years ago
U should try do the same but staring at U'r self in the mirror, U'r face starts to decompose and melting.. quite fun to do once or two in a lifetime..
I actually did something like this a week or so ago, but my face didn't decompose or melt or anything, (I wasn't trying to not blink or anything like that) but I did get the distinct feeling of non-recognition of myself. It was weird, like I had no idea who I was looking at, but it wasn't me.
Its also fun to take this a few steps further. Since you are in the dark and can only barely make out your silhouette. Continue to think to yourself that you do not see anything. As you continue(usually over more than one try/practice) to think that and because your vision level is so low in those light levels your entire form will eventually loose its edges then just disappear from view entirely and it will seem as if you are looking at an empty room. Guess it goes without saying that you should be standing still during this time ;)
My sister and I, when we were little, used to lay in bed at night and stare at the ceiling fan until it disappeared. We were amazed :)
I used to stare at a patch of grass and the grass all around it would start to replicate with the rough pattern of the bit I was staring at. Just goes to show that most of what you see in your perfieries is remembered/filled in by your brain. The pattern of grass you get is really cool cause it looks like the flat repeat pattern turf you get in (old) games :)
PearlZenith3 years ago
On sunny days I used to stare at the bright patches on the wall without blinking until my vision would blank out. It was so fun.