Sri Chinmoy advised people who were beginning meditation to first develop their power of concentration, in order to clear the mind of thoughts. Here we present two common meditation exercises, on using a candle and one using a flower.

Candle exercise:

  • Sit a few feet from a candle and concentrate on a single point in the flame. Keep your attention focused there without looking around. Do not worry about how well you are doing. You can use a black dot on a white background instead of the candle.
  • Concentrate on the candle for a few minutes and then close your eyes and picture the candle inside your heart. Imagine the warmth and flame of the candle spreading slowly outward and filling your body, then filling the room, and finally filling the whole universe. Let your image proceed at its own pace.
  • Breathe in and out slowly, in a relaxed fashion. While breathing out, feel that the opposite of peace–restlessness–is flowing out; you are emptying the garbage. While breathing in, repeat .’peace” inwardly. and while breathing out, repeat “restlessness.”

Flower exercise

(Taken from the book Reality-Dream by Sri Chinmoy – a collection of talks given at the United Nations)

  • Try to look at the entire flower for a few seconds. While you are concentrating on the entire flower, please feel that you are the flower and also that this flower is growing inside your heart, in the inmost recesses of your heart. You are the flower and, at the same time, you are growing inside your heart.
  • Then, gradually try to concentrate on one particular petal, any petal that you select. At this time feel that that petal is the seed form of your reality-existence. Again, in a few minutes’ time, please concentrate on the entire flower. At that time feel that it is the universal reality. So right now concentrate on the flower itself and then a few minutes later on one petal. In this way you go back and forth. And please do not allow any thought to enter into your mind. Try to make your mind absolutely calm, quiet, tranquil, and kindly keep your eyes half open.
  • Now kindly close your eyes and try to see the flower that you have concentrated upon inside your heart. Then, in the same way, kindly concentrate on the flower inside your heart with your eyes closed.

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