1. Always place candle in a fire-proof container, on a heat-resistant surface.
Keep all loose fabrics and papers away from burning area. Never leave a candle unattended.
2. Understand that meditation is a not a replacement for medical treatment. Get proper medical care for any mental health issues, including medication when that is appropriate. Meditate while making the best decisions for yourself- never instead of, as this is completely contrary to the purpose of meditation. Meditation is commitment to self-love, as is making sure you're receiving proper medical care when you need it.
3. If you are not in a safe place to use a candle, but need visual focus, it's more than fine to use what is at hand! There's a ton of options for free on Youtube, you can set a timer, stare at a wall, just find a way to mark the time. We love our App for short, video micro-meditations, inobtrusive background videos with easy timers, a beginning 7-day guide for breathing and meditative practice and more. Available Dec 2020, or for pre-sale at at discount at www.greenwitchgarden.com.
4. Get comfortable. Choose a well ventilated area where you can sit comfortably. It’s okay to sit in a chair or on the floor. Keep the candle within easy reach, where you can comfortable gaze at it. Wear clothing that doesn’t bind.
There is no prize for being rigid or uncomfortable, although there is a reason. Holding a pose, even an uncomfortable one, takes focus, which can be distracting enough for the inner-self to awaken. It's not necessary, though. You can do something else to focus, like light a candle, or just breathe. Just find a way to formally mark the time, and do it regularly.
5. Have plenty of drinking water at your side. Herbal teas are also a nice option.
6. Have any other meditational tools within easy reach, so you’re free to relax and allow your intuition to freely flow. Some people like a spray mist (I love Lavender Florasol), beads, drums or other instruments, etc.
7. If there are objects or rituals that are sacred to you, incorporate them. The more emotion, love and joy you imbue the candle burning with, the more effective it will be. Plants, rocks or other natural items are a way to incorporate your oneness with nature, and can be powerful additions.
8. Some people like to write their intention, or what they’d like to release, before lighting the candle, and then add them to the flame one by one. It’s also fine to take a moment and set your intentions mentally or aloud before lighting the candle, in lieu of writing on paper. If you do chose to burn your intention, keep the papers as small as possible-a word or phrase that’s representative is good! Make sure you’re in an area that is ventilated. There is no smoke inhale that’s good for your lungs. We purify the air and cleanse energy with candles and plants, but we only ever breath fresh, smoke-free air.
*Some thoughts on intentions and setting goals/wishes. Setting an intention consciously and with active awareness is incredibly powerful. It does not take long for life to offer an answer for every question, the more specific the better. However, magic is as magic does. Nothing can be created or destroyed. An object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest... so expect miracles, but let yourself be open to the possibility that your inner being isn’t subject to any of your bs 😅 no mixed messages, no illusions! It might not look like you expect it to, but you will get what you feel intention for, 💯. The less you can cloud that with chatter, the better, that’s why I suggest setting your intention and then not really focusing on it specifically while the candle burns. You have called upon your inner wisdom to deliver a solution, it no more needs your help than gravity does.
Trust in this.
*A note on manifesting, abundance, love, etc. Your inner being knows that the ultimate violation is to have free will taken from you, so you will never be happy if someone bends to what you want. Likewise, you won’t be happy sacrificing yourself, either. Cause it’s just not right. More- we sure don’t teach or learn with words- so if you find yourself unhappy with the choices of another, remember that the only thing you’re really telling them is not to trust themselves- set intentions only for yourself. You might say, “I am aligning with my-inner self to find the beauty and non-judgement in all my interactions” or, “I release the fear that is keeping me from seeing a clear path that is not painful to myself and others”. And, you won’t ever get abundance in once area from causing lack in another. Ever. Balance won’t allow it. You won’t feel good in shoes that cost you rent, right? It’s not abundance, it’s pretending. So trust that there is always an unseen way and intend to be good and ready to see opportunities and new insights when you don’t see solutions. Don’t focus on what you’re lacking in your intentions. Only ever look with gratitude at what you have, and how you feel or will feel with what you want.
9. I like best to allow the candle to determine how long my meditation goes. Single use intention candles rarely go longer than 30 minutes, and generally are closer to 25. But, set a timer if you must- as gently as possible.
10. Light the candle (or mark the time another way). Some people prefer wooden matches, or a lighting stick, but that’s your preference. As you watch the candle, be aware of your breathing.
Take long, slow breaths through your nose (do not be in a closed room breathing smoke! Ventilate!), and even slower, longer breaths out through your mouth.
11. You can happily muse about your intentions as you watch the candle fire dance and play, if it feels good, or just listen to the flicker of the flame, or repeat a mantra or affirmation. This time can be used for tapping, switchwords, or any other positive, preferably bilateral and repetitive action, if it feels good and helps to stay focused. Music is wonderful but try to avoid lyrics. Focus on your own story.
12. If you find your mind has drifted, you can use this as a reminder to check your body for tension. Release your jaw, neck, shoulders, tailbone and kegel muscles. Allow your belly to release as your spine naturally grows, allowing all your organs their full space, and room for deeper, slower breaths.
- For drifting mind: Are the thoughts pleasant, and make you feel good to think about? Good! Keep thinking them, and get as excited as you can! Smile and laugh, if you feel like it, tap your fingers, wiggle your toes. If you're pleasantly immersed in imagining things that bring you joy- planning how great some moment will feel, the processes of getting there- your Oscar acceptance speech (: whatever feels good, get carried away with it.
- For intrusive thoughts- If the thoughts are stressful or worrisome, or your mind has just wandered to the mundane, do a body scan, first, relaxing your muscles. Try to focus so intently on loosening the muscles in your body, especially around the tailbone and jaw. When I practice this, I listen as intently as I possibly can, focusing every bit of my attention and intention on the muscle. It's loosening as hard as you can, if you will- and if you can loosen intently enough, you may find your body will shiver, shake a little, get tickly, goosebumps, and other physical sensations. Allow it as much as possible! Go with it, shake it out. Those shivers will never manifest in fear based behaviors again, allow yourself joy in the process.
13. If there is still bothersome thought cycles or it's not relaxing you to focus on your body, that's okay, move onto mental processes instead. As you are ready for more, it will feel right. If it doesn't feel right, it's not, there is a step missing for you.
- Use a mantra. Any word or simple phrase works, or even counting will do the trick. Just say it or think it over and over. Louder if you have to.
- Move your body. Give yourself a physical task. Hold your arms out straight out to your sides as you watch the candle. Or, hold a squat, lightly bouncing. Planks require full attention.
- Use a physical grounding tool, like a spray or anything you can physically live in the moment. Dry tea bags to smell, beads, or, our favorite, good for the skin florasols. Aim for causing and noticing pleasant physical sensations, and training your body and mind to focus in the present. Plus, it can be comforting, smell nice, and good for your skin.
- Drink water. I incorporate this into a daily ritual. My number one and two non-negotiables in a day are be aware of breathing at least once, and to drink enough water. I have tied meditative habits into these daily necessities, which makes it so I never go a day without actively practicing my commitment to honoring my wellbeing. For me, I mentally Om whenever I'm drinking water. I breathe with affirmations, and I actively listen for Om when I brush my teeth.
- Knit, crochet, play with play dough or clay.
When my thoughts are super negative, repetitive and really hard to shake, and I can't get something more fun to work first, I will get something else stuck in my head. Sometimes the leap from intrusive to affirmation is too much. A thought is an action. It is hard to go from lying flat to standing up in one move. It is easier to first roll on your side, then kneel, etc.
A song, refrain, poem, phrase, that is neutral is better than a torrent of self-abuse. I know that I must stop saying negative things in my head- if I can't help it, I have to just stop it.
Mentally tearing yourself down is by far, the worse habit and the worst for emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual health. Intrusive thoughts are tics. They are a physical habit- a loop. Any thought that you keep thinking becomes a belief, which means it's so important to practice the habit of affirming thoughts, and cut the negative ones out. So sometimes, I just put something else in my head- whatever works, because annoyed is a better emotion than self-loathing, and easier to escape from. Screaming Yankee Doodle is better than anything negative. Or The Song That Never Ends. Oh, Susanna. The Macarena. If at all possible, it is best to get “I love myself” stuck in your head like an overplayed pop song. Write it on your mirrors, on index cards that you’ll see. Bonus point if you write it on ALL the mirrors. “I am” is also a solidly helpful refrain.
14. When the candle goes out, or you feel like the session has run it’s course and your feeling good and maybe excited to get started on something, take a moment to thank yourself for taking the time to honor yourself in this manner. It might be funny at first, but think about it as thanking the part of you that, even if it’s a struggle, keeps trying to find the stillness, and recognizes the power in it, even if it feels frustrating or out of reach at times.
Drink water. Breath deeply. Eat well. Move lots. ❤️