For beginners to meditation, learning the correct technique for you can be a fairly difficult and slow process. For most of us, it is a process of trial and error, picking up a method or technique, trying it out for a few times and if it yields no results or is not comfortable to do, rejecting it in favour for another one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this – indeed, there are so many recommended techniques for meditation due to the very simple fact that we are all different, have different minds and bodies and therefore reach a meditative state differently. Sometimes, it is well worth your time and effort to mix and match a few different recommended techniques together (e.g chakra balancing meditation), and using your inactive to create some new method which is especially suited to your needs and comfort requirements. Meditation is usually a private activity, and nobody is going to judge you on how you find it easiest and most comfortable to reach a meditative state! One of the more unusual methods of meditation is found to be highly effective by those people who have particularly good concentration skills, but do not feel the benefit of deep breathing as done by most people, or who cannot concentrate using mantras.
Using open eye meditation
Open eye meditation is used by many people who are looking for something a little different, but which yields a very profound meditative experience. It is ideal for people who excel when it comes to visual tasks, or who have high levels of concentration and physical stillness. If you find it difficult to focus on one thing for a long period of time, this meditation technique is probably not the best for you, although it could help you improve your concentration abilities with practice. Open eye meditation is also very well suited alongside music for meditation, particularly if you do it in a darkened room where you can really lose yourself in some blissful soundscapes. In order to prepare for this technique, you will need a chair or cushion, a candle, and a comfortable, quiet and familiar place in which to do it. If you are meditating indoors, it is highly recommended to close the curtains and switch off all lights (along with all unnecessary electrical appliances which may cause distraction).
The candle technique
Light a candle in the darkened room, somewhere a couple of feet in front of you, and begin to relax your body in whatever way you find the most effective. Once you are comfortable, and your breathing is deep and regular, begin to gaze at the dark space at the base of the flamejust above the wick of the candle, which should not be moving very much, and should be more comfortable to stare at than the orange flame just above it. Continue to stare at the flame, and try to keep your eyes and body as still as possible. It is highly likely that at first your gaze will wander a bit, and your eyes may water a little. This is perfectly normal, and it should pass with a bit of time. Blink occasionally, but avoid doing so too much if you can. Whilst you are staring, try to imagine that the light from the flame is entering and exiting you as you inhale and exhale, and that the flame and yourself are no different, linked through the darkness and through your gaze. After some time, you will begin to notice something quite profound happening. The stillness of your gaze and the unchanging subject of your gaze will begin to play a trick on your brain, and you should find yourself feeling deeply relaxed and noticing that you have no more peripheral vision – indeed, before long, you will only be able to see the flame and nothing else. It may take a couple of attempts to become comfortable with this phenomenon, but when you have become accustomed to the experience, you should be able to feel a deep state of meditative bliss as the rest of the world disappears around you and a single flame. Enjoy the sensation of detachment, and blow out the candle when you are ready to either return to reality, or continue the feeling of bliss in the darkness.
Learn more about meditation techniques for anxiety here