In tenth grade, as I sat at the Chemistry Lab table, the class was given our first assignment. It was meant for us to focus on our powers of observation. At our lab station sat a candle. Our task began by looking at the candle as it sat there unlit and write as many things as we could about the candle. As time passed and we jotted down various observations, we were then instructed to light the candle. Here too we were tasked with writing all we saw. The lesson served the purpose of having us expand our minds to what we saw but I am not sure the teacher realized that she was also leading us in a meditation.
Candles have always been a pleasure for me. In addition to my chemistry assignment they represent good memories:
· My grandmother and I used to make candles from old crayons;
· I loved birthday celebrations and the candles that decorated my cake;
· Candles represent the welcoming of certain holidays and celebrations.
I love the flame of a candle. The way that it sometimes dances as it moves side to side and flickers. Other times I appreciate as it stays steady as if willing itself not to move.
As a child, and still now, as candles are lit in front of me I focus on the flame and it becomes quite meditative and relaxing. For that reason, I use candles in various ways. Often a candle is lit in my house just because it is nice to add a calming scent. Other times they serve as a trigger to my mind and body that it is time to settle in.
Daily as I sit to meditate I first light a few candles. They each represent something different for me in my practice, and as I light each one I focus on its intention. There I begin my practice.
I have an inspiration candle. This candle sits on my desk, and as I begin my process of writing, I first light this candle. It is a soft nurturing scent to me that triggers my mind to focus on being creative.
You might wonder if I picked a specific scent for my inspiration candle and the answer is no. It is true that some scents can support different feelings but it is a much simpler story for this candle.
I was ordering something online and I needed a small purchase to qualify for the minimum amount for a discount. The candle helped me to reach that minimum. In my house a candle will rarely go to waste so I added it to my cart. When it arrived, the first time I lit it I loved the fragrance. It may have started as a simple candle in my kitchen, but then transitioned to be one of my favorite and most important candles as it migrated to my office.
Candles serve many purposes in religion, pleasure, and celebration. They are embraced by many as is evident by not only being sold in so many stores but also by the businesses that now offer the opportunity to come in a make your own candle with your choice of scent. I had the pleasure of doing that activity as a team building event at work a few years ago. It too is a candle that I cherish (although it is almost gone and I resist burning what is left for it brings back a nice memory).
I continue to appreciate the candles whether they make a table look special, a room smell nice, serve another purpose or all of the above. So as I bring to an end my writing for this morning, I will extinguish my candle and look forward to the next time the candle and I come together to write.
How to candles play a role in your life, if at all? Do they represent any fond memories for you?