Last week, we learned about Dhyana — sustained focus. The difference between Dhayana (the seventh limb) and Dharana (the sixth limb) can be hard to explain, let alone experience. If you were able to go through the candle gazing meditation for 20 minutes or longer, we recommend trying this meditation for 30 or 40 minutes versus the 20 minutes in the direction.
Focused Object Meditation
Grab something simple like a marble, a small figurine, or even a spoon from your kitchen.
Find a place where you can sit upright comfortably. Grab any pillows or blankets you need to support your practice.
If you’d like, dim your lights.
If time is of the essence, set a timer for 20 minutes. If time is not an issue, sit as long as you would like.
Place the object a comfortable distance from where you’re sitting. Set it up on a table, chair, or stool to make it eye level or just slightly below eye level.
Relax your face, and relax your eyes.
Notice the object in front of you. Notice its shape, colors, and textures.
Continue to stare at the object and hold this picture in your mind’s eye. Once in your mind’s eye, feel free to close your eyes.
Continue to focus on the object in your mind’s eye.
If you wander off in thought, acknowledge that it’s ok, it’s human, and bring your focus back to the object in your mind’s eye.
If you lose the image in your mind, slightly part the eyes to see the object again. Then, let the eyes go soft until they close again.
Overtime notice how the only thing you can see in your “vision” is the object.
When you are ready, blink your eyes several times and slowly make your way out of your seat. If you feel compelled, take a moment to write down what you noticed and felt in your journal.
No matter how this meditation went, it’s worth trying it a few times. Next week, we’ll address the eighth limb of yoga.