An easy to learn concentration exercise

Concentration is the secret key to a whole world of possibilities, enabling you to keep out distractions and focus on attaining your life goals. In addition it is an absolute prerequisite if you want to learn the art of meditation, as it helps ‘clear the road’ of any mental obstacles. However if anything the average concentration span is decreasing as life gets busier and busier and the world becomes filled with more things to distract and scatter our attention.

Here is one very easy-to-learn concentration exercise which was taught to me by my meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy. It can reap tremendous rewards in terms of clarity, productivity and efficiency in your life, and it can be done with just a few minutes practise every day. People commonly view concentration as purely a mental exercise; but here we are also going use our heart centre, that space in our chest we point to when we say ‘me’ – helping to take some of the burden away from our tension filled minds.


An object of concentration – best is to use a candle or flower, but you can even use a dot on the wall.


  1. In this exercise, we will use the candle, although you can adapt the exercise to whatever object you are using. Sit with your back straight, and place the burning candle at eye level.
  2. First bring your awareness to your breath. Gradually your breath becomes slower and more relaxed. Try to imagine a thread placed in front of our nose; you are breathing so quietly it will not move to and fro.
  3. Now we look at the object. Gradually bring your attention to a tiny part of the candle flame, for example, the very tip of the flame.
  4. When you breathe in, feel that your breath, like a golden thread, is coming from that point on the candle and entering into your heart. And when you breath out, feel that your breath, feel that the light is leaving the heart, passing through a point in your forehead between the eyebrows and a little above (in Eastern philosophy this is a powerful concentration point) and then entering into the object of concentration. Try to feel that nothing else exists except you and the object you are focusing on.
  5. When you do this exercise, thoughts will invariably get in the way. When this happens, don’t be annoyed or upset, just bring your attention back to the exercise. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and similarly it will take time to rein in your mind.
  6. (if you have the time) You can go one step further, and use your power of concentration to identify with the object’s existence. Try to feel on the inbreath that the existence of the flame, and the qualities it embodies such as radiance, serenity and aspiration, are entering into you and becoming part of your own existence. On the outbreath, feel that your existence is expanding and spreading out from the centre of the chest and entering into the candle. In this way, you concentrate on the object to such an extent that you feel no separation between you and the object; your existence has expanded to include the candle. In this way you can identify ourself with the entire world.

Start off with a modest goal – i.e 3-5 minutes a day, and then gradually increase with time. After only a couple of weeks of doing this exercise, you should notice the progress – a clearer mind, better ability to cope with tasks, less stress, more serenity.

If you are inspired to try, please let us know how you got on! Good luck!

Shane Magee regularly gives meditation classes in Dublin on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. For more information visit Dublin Meditation


42 thoughts on “An easy to learn concentration exercise”

  1. Jyothi meditation or Light meditation is the only form of meditation that is recommended by Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba as well. Unlike Kundalini yoga it is simple and doesn’t require a Guru or expert guidance.

  2. Great exercise…..I’ve never tried it before but judging from some of the responses here seems it may be something worth trying. great article. thanks

  3. wow. a voice in my head told me to do a candle meditation. so i ignored it and got on the computer and stumbled on this page. i guess i should go meditate now…

  4. Amazing post! The Tratak method is really an excellent way to improve concentration, boost memory and bringing greater clarity and bliss in life. It is very good for students as they can improve their academic performance and achieve greater success in life. I also personally practise it daily to improve the quality of meditation and highly recommend it for everyone else.

  5. thanks 4 the article…i really need to practice meditation…hope it will go well with me:)

  6. please let me know how to end this exercise..when feeling oneness with the object, the feeling of self and concentration is at height how the come down in normal position??

  7. i will try, i was try with ‘om’ word but i never feel anything. now i will try with this way

  8. isnt the will power more important. you can bring a horse to water but cannot force him to drink. even if a candle is lit before us, the staring cannot be forced unless the will is there to stare at it for 3-4 minutes!!! you dont need a candle to stare. eyes closed,relax and concentrate on good things, life will me much more brighter. sorry it that hurts.

  9. Candle concentration meditation, I like it. A few points of confusion I needs be asking about though.

    “Sit with your back straight, and place the burning candle at eye level.”

    Shouldn’t I place the candle at eye level first, or a close proximity thereof, and then sit with my back straight? Either that or, how close to, or far away from, the candle should I be sitting?

    “Try to imagine a thread placed in front of our nose; you are breathing so quietly it will not move to and fro.”

    When I was first trying this, I kept feeling like the imaginary thread was tickling my nose, and this tickle distracted me from my attempt at candle concentration meditation. The imagination certainly is a most powerful thing. Also, how exactly does one go about breathing quietly? Does this mean I should not be able to hear myself breathing? I’m a little bit afraid that if I cannot hear myself breathing, I might have an anxiety attack, which again would somewhat defeat the purpose of the candle concentration meditation, I would think. But, well, practice makes perfect, as the adage goes, so I will keep at it until my nose stops itching and I can breath if not more qui9etly then at least more easily so that the anxiety dies down.

    “Gradually bring your attention to a tiny part of the candle flame, for example, the very tip of the flame.”

    Does this mean that my eyes should move as slowly as my breathing should be quiet? How long should it take for my eyes to eventually fix on the tip of the flame? What should I do if I get lost in the flame on my when to the tip if the bringing of my attention to said tip is too, well, gradual?

    “Try to feel that nothing else exists except you and the object you are focusing on.”

    What happens to the thread? Does it just go away? I ask this because my nose is still itching at this point. But that might just be my nostril hairs. I wish they didn’t exist.

    “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and similarly it will take time to rein in your mind.”

    Is that spelled right? Don’t you mean that it will take time for Rome to “reign” in my mind?

    “…you feel no separation between you and the

    Now not only does my nose itch, but it’s beginning to get this burning sensation like my nostril hairs are on fire.

    This is not as easy as it first seemed, but I am convinced with a bit of perseverance I can make this work in my favor. Eventually. Cheers for the tips.

  10. i tried this exercise few years ago and results were great..nw ill do it again and as i told u result are guaranteed…so i suggest every1 to try it…thanx

  11. what to say about this wonderful website….i have never saw such a website…actually i have been with lots of confusions in my mind sight….but it is getting flushing when i started to learn the things which is presented in this site…its very very useful website for all the peoples…really hats-off to this website..and i will surely make others to read this website…:-)

    lalitha sekar

  12. Ya this is a great method of concentrating,, in advance stage i start visualizing the burning candle tip inside my mind , with eyes closed. once u master it, u can extinguish the flame with mere imagination.:)

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