Natural materials like soy or beeswax make the best candles for meditation. Certain scents foster relaxation, such as lavender, while other scents foster meditation such as frankincense. For those who want no distractions from their meditation, unscented candles are the answer.
I practice mindfulness every day of my life. My mind, as a result, is clear and peaceful. It isn’t for everyone, because you have to concentrate on being mindful, as counterproductive as that sounds. Simple meditation is clearing the mind and allowing yourself to just “be.” Here’s how candles help.
What Is Meditation?
When the word meditates enters the conversation, people picture George Carlin’s hippy-dippy weatherman sitting with his legs folded, holding his thumb and second fingers joined, and humming, man, humming’s where it’s at, man (I don’t hum. I’d be humming AC/DC, which would just spoil the whole mood.) Meditation is the art of stilling the mind. Breathing in, you focus on being still.
Breathing out, you exhale the thoughts in your head. Breathing in, you focus on a noiseless mind. Breathing out, you exhale the stress of your day. Breathing in, you focus on just being.
Breathing out, you exhale pure air. That’s it. You can breathe in and out anywhere: you can sit in your office chair at work, on a pretty patch of grass, on the bus, in the park, on the bed, couch, or at the kitchen table.
Your legs don’t have to be folded or even crossed. Your fingers don’t necessarily have to be touching, although that’s a way of focusing during yoga.
The Importance Of Flame
Fire is the oldest aid to mankind, from the caveman cooking his haunch of dinosaur over a roaring blaze to the Boy Scout starting a fire with two sticks, from the woman soaking her stressful day away in a hot bath surrounded by candles to the guy preparing a candlelight dinner for his lady. The flame of a candle is peaceful. Its flicker is the movement of the mind, reminding the meditator to be still and focus.
At the same time, the spirituality of the flame reaches out to the mystery of our minds. The mystery of the flame is the mystery of time, of the All That Is, of the warmth of love. It’s essential that candles help us meditate.
Candles help during meditation by creating a peaceful session. People believe that certain colors are good to use for meditation upon a certain subject, such as:
- Use a green candle to meditate upon wealth.
- For meditation upon spirituality or elevating your vibration or frequency, use a blue, white, or purple candle.
- Romance, love, passion, happiness, or power are represented by a pink or red candle.
Scents trigger memories such as the remembrance of childhood Sunday dinners whenever you smell a roast cooking or your grandmother’s favorite perfume. They also foster meditation for different reasons:
- Floral scents foster relaxation. Roses and lotus are good for meditation because they help you center and focus on yourself.
- Earthy and woodsy scents help ground you. Use sandalwood and cedar for this type of meditation.
- Camphor-like scents kick stress to the curb. Mental and emotional balance will happen when you use frankincense or rosemary.
Now that you know what meditation is and how candles and scented candles aid in meditation, you’re probably thinking “pfft, yeah, I’m going to stop what I’m doing in the middle of work, close my eyes, and breathe in and out for several minutes in front of lit candles. They’ll fire me.” Actually, stress is the number one killer of humans, and the number one reason lots of them meditate.
Reasons To Meditate
Cell phones, multi-line office phones, faxes, printers, meetings to attend five minutes ago, the next client is here to see you, what do you want to be done with all these boxes, do you want to lunch, what do you want to be done with these puppies? Gridlocked traffic, nothing was taken out of the freezer for supper, it’s raining, and you just can’t even. It reminds you of the lyrics of a Hollies song “stop, stops, everybody stop gives me time to breathe.”
Which is the essence of meditation, after all. No one needs meditation more than someone who’s stressed to the max. When you get home, call out for a pizza, grab some candles, and lock yourself in your room for a few minutes to de-stress.
Lavender scented candles are good for relaxation. Orange decreases stress while lemon and clary sage are mood lifters. A scented candle that’s good for many things is vanilla.
It relaxes anxiety, improves focus, lifts the mood, relaxes the body and the mind, and it makes you happy. It stimulates the brain to release endorphins or happy hormones. It’s impossible to be stressed or depressed when your endorphins are going crazy.
You might wonder why anxiety needs meditation to blast it out of here. Aren’t anxiety and stress the same thing? No, they aren’t. Stress comes from outside the body and mind.
It causes things like headache, irritability, a tight stomach, sore neck and back, and a dozen other things to happen to the body. Anxiety, on the other hand, comes from inside the body. It’s characterized by excessive worry over every little thing.
It doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t go away. Anxiety affects the body much the same way stress does with its sleeplessness, irritability, tight muscles, and fatigue. Just choosing the right scented candle is a step toward kicking anxiety to the curb.
It’s a scientific and recorded fact that aromatherapy works. Essential oils are used in candle making, too, so why not use that fact to your advantage? Try these:
- We’ve studied how lavender and vanilla relax the mind and give us joy.
- Frankincense. This scent battles anxiety and stress. It wins.
- Cinnamon and Peppermint. Refreshes the mind and body.
- Sandalwood. Calms and relaxes mind and body.
- Apple, Lemon, Orange, and Clary Sage. Lifts the mood, and decreases stress and anxiety.
Sharpens The Mind
Focus. Attention span. Memory Loss. We don’t think of these things until we have to see a doctor do something about them.
Generally, that means pills. However, a simple lit candle amid meditation can and does sharpen our mental faculties. The mind, after all, is a muscle.
It needs to be exercised regularly, which includes meditation as a kind of strength training exercise. Studies on age-related loss of memory show that meditation increases attention, mental swiftness, and memory in senior subjects. Studies even show that meditation somewhat restores memory in dementia patients.
Last but not least, the mind has to sleep at some time. If it can’t, then meditation with a lavender or sandalwood candle to relax the mind would be useful. Use floral scents like rose and lotus to relax the body.
Added together, the candles and meditation will sharpen your mind and improve your sleep.
Of What Should Candles Be Made?
Beeswax, candelilla, or soy are the only waxes your candles should incorporate. Paraffin and gel candles are made from cheap petroleum left-overs not used for first-class products. As paraffin and gel candles burn, they release into the air toxic substances like benzene and toluene, both carcinogens as well as soot, which are carbon particulates known to irritate the lungs.
Asthma and heart patients should never use these kinds of candles. Candelilla comes from the west and northern Mexico. It’s made from a shrub and is 100 percent vegan. Soy wax is made from several types of oil such as palm, coconut, and soy oils.
Beeswax is made from the caps of the honeycomb, is the most natural of candle waxes, and burns cleanly with little soot. They are expensive, though, so weigh the expense against the pollutants when shopping for meditation candles.