Tratak

FURNITURE(1)Room Set Up
  • With large groups, use two semi-circles, set back to back. Insure that people sitting at the outer edges will not be in each other’s line of vision. If you have a small group each person may use a separate candle, or they may share one candle.
  • Make sure that the room can be effectively darkened.
  • You may burn incense if you wish but make sure the students understand that this is not part of the practice.
    iv Avoid having a draft through the room as this can cause the flame to move around and can be very distracting.
Teaching Procedure
  • Explain the setting they will use at home:
  • Make sure that everyone is comfortably seated in front of a candle.
  •  Explain that this practice is designed primarily to help them improve their power of concentration and the ability to focus. You will review all the benefits and reasons for doing it after they learn the procedure.
    • A darkened room,
    • The candle should be two to three feet from the eyes (an arm’s length away),
    • The candle should be at eye level,
    • They should sit and have their hands together, and
    • The background should be a solid color, preferably dark, and not a patterned wallpaper.
  • Light the candle(s) for the group.
  • Tell them to begin gently watching the flame and that you will instruct them as they go along. During intervals when the teacher is waiting for the students to experience the next part of the Tratak Practice, he or she does Gurushakti.

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Procedure for Watching the Flame
  • Guide the students, telling them to observe or watch the flame as they would watch TV or a movie. They should not strain. The observation should be effortless.
  • Tell them to blink normally.
  • They can be aware of different parts of the flame or different colors in it.
  • If the flame goes out of focus it is OK, but if they begin to see two flames, the should re-focus the eyes.
  • Thoughts will come into the mind–just as in the Prep Practice. They should simply bring their attention gently back to the flame.
  • Allow them to continue watching the flame for three minutes.
Procedure for Eyes Closed Portion of the Tratak Practice
  •  Students should close the eyes and place their attention in the area between the eyebrows. Pause long enough for students to close their eyes and focus their attention.
  • They watch or observe whatever is there. It may change shape or form.
  • As with listening to the mantra, it does not matter if the image appears close or far away from the forehead. They should focus at the area level with the forehead.
  • Students should not concentrate or strain but rather just watch what is there.
  • The image may fade or pulse in and out–quickly or very slowly–but they should just continue watching it.
  • The image may move, slide up or down, move to the left or right. If it does, they should bring their attention back to the area between the eyebrows again and observe how the flame, like a balloon on a string, moves to where their attention is focused.
  • After some time the image will seem to be disappearing entirely. When this happens, they should continue to keep their awareness gently focused in the same area. Observe whatever remains of the image, even though it may appear to be very small and may seem to be flickering in and out or to last only a few seconds before vanishing.
  • They should stay open to the re-appearance of the final, flickering image until they think a full minute has gone by without its having re-appeared at all even for a second. When that happens, that round is complete. So then they may open their eyes and gaze again at the flame.

After enough time for one full round tell them to open their eyes slowly.

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Check on their experiences: How the image looked to them; etc.

Let the students complete fifteen to twenty minutes, or at least two more rounds, quietly on their own. The teacher does Gurushakti. Bring a group to a close by saying, “Now wherever you are in this particular round, it’s time to come out. So, let go of the image, and open your eyes slowly.”

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