» Tratak Meditation Mas-india.com Blog

October 5, 2010 on 4:41 pm

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I thought I had heard of every kind of meditation, but discovered an open-eye meditation that is called tratak. Can you explain more about this? Robert, Rye,  NY

Ma Jaya in India

Dear Robert: In fact, many of us who sometimes just stare mindlessly at an object or just stare off into space can be said to be doing tratak meditation. How many times have you come back to your

senses or your functioning mind and said, “Where have I been?” When you start doing the open-eyed meditation called tratak, you will realize that you have been indulging in that, rather than some mindless form of spaciness. It is sometimes easier to do tratak meditation rather than a closed eye meditation because sometimes one falls asleep during closed eye meditation.

When one does tratak or gazing meditation, the object of one’s gaze can be as simple as a flame from a candle or a single flower. My favorite objects for tratak meditation are spiritual teachers or gurus and there are many photographs in Ma’s India upon which to fix my gaze. I have used the photograph of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati for tratak meditation from a number of extraordinary photos of her. On those days when I think of my revered India, I choose to gaze at a photograph of Ma when she traveled there in the 70’s (Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati in India). Another wonderful picture combining nature, ocean sand is of Ma during her retreat trips to Sanibel in Florida (Ma in Sanibel) And when I play my ecktar, I love looking at Ma in a devotional mood playing her instrument also (Ma Jaya playing instrument). Other photographs of Swami Nityananda and Baba Neem Karoli are also available for the spiritual practice of tratak.


Ma Jaya in Sanibel, Florida

Whomever or whatever you choose to utilize for your tratak gaze, it should be something that uplifts your spirit and offers you qualities you want to develop in yourself. There is this wonderful story of a teacher who came to visit a peasant and told him to choose something that he loved for the purposes of tratak. The peasant could not decide what to choose. Six months later when the guru visited the peasant once more and knocked at his door, the peasant complained that he couldn’t come through the door, because his horns were too large. The peasant had focused and gazed on his favorite pet bull and therefore took on the attributes of the same. That of course is a fantastical story. This story is also reminiscent of an archer who wished to study with one of the most famous archers of all time, but was rejected as a student. He thereupon made a statue of the Master and humbly offered obeisance to him as he practiced tratak daily, and in due time, came to be acknowledged as one of the great archers of his time. Such is the power of fixed concentration and devotion.

Doing tratak meditation is quite simple. You can sit down on the floor or on a chair and be able to sit erect comfortably. After taking your seat, place your object of meditation about three feet in front of you at eye level. Before you begin your tratak meditation, close your eyes and breathe. Let the sound of your breath soothe you. After breathing for a few minutes, open your eyes and fix your gaze on your object. Try not to blink. You’ll probably find yourself thinking about everything except tratak meditation. But when you notice you’ve gone too far away from your object of meditation through your thoughts, acknowledge it and re-focus on what you are looking at.The secret of tratak is that even though your mind wanders, your gaze shouldn’t. Allow your eyes to remain locked on the object of meditation until they water.

Tratak mediation is one of my favorite and easiest. It is particularly easy to do when you are on vacation and just staring mindlessly, the operative word being “mindlessly.” But this time, pick an object to gaze upon and you will be doing tratak meditation. Good luck to you. Spiritual Explorer.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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