Trataka - Eye Gazing
Trataka or Eye Gazing is a method for developing concentration. If you are having trouble focusing, or feel too distracted, prolonged practice to trataka will help to concentrate your mind.
Traditionally, trataka is believed to cure eye diseases, purify the nervous system, and to stimulate the Ajna Chakra (third eye). It is thought to generate strong psychic abilities.
Fix your gaze upon an object. Each time your gaze wanders, bring it back to the object.
- Before beginning this meditation, you must find an object to meditate upon. For this technique you can simply use a marker to make a black dot on a piece of paper. Or, if it suits you better, you can make an OM, a cross, or whatever else works for you.
- Attach the piece of paper to a wall, at eye level (when seated).
- Arrange your chair or meditation cushion about six feet from the wall.
- Take a reposed, seated posture. Make sure your spine is erect, and your body relaxed.
- Now begin the meditation by gently gazing at the black dot (or whatever symbol you drew on the paper). Stare at it intently, but without straining your eyes.
- If your eyes feel even the slightest strain, or begin to water, close them. When your eyes are closed, visualize the symbol in your mind’s eye.
- Once your eye feel rested again, open them and continue gazing at the symbol.
- Continue this meditation for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Trataka is a yogic technique from India, from the Kundalini tradition.
It is extremely important not to strain your eyes in any way. If you are having any problems with eye strain, do not do this practice.
A traditional alternative to using a written symbol is to meditate upon a candle flame. Then, when the eyes are closed, there is a strong after-image of the flame.
Mystical Judaism (i.e. Kabbalah) uses a very similar meditation, in which you gaze upon Hebrew letters. See, for example, the audio teaching series by Rabbi David Zeller, "The Tree of Life."