Your choice of object can be almost anything. You must decide what is suitable for yourself. However, we recommend that the object has some meaning for you. In this way, there is more likelihood of maintaining your awareness on the object during trataka. To give you an idea, below is a list of commonly used objects:
- A candle flame
- A cross
- Aum symbol
- A flower – such as a rose or lotus
- Black dot on a white sheet of paper
- The rising sun (not the midday sun)
- The moon
- A star
- Nose tip
- Eyebrow centre
- Another person’s eyes
- The sky
- Ishta Devata (personal deity)
- Yin and yang symbol
- Yantra or mandala
- Your own shadow
- Picture or statuette of Buddha
- Picture or statuette of Christ
- One’s eyes in a mirror
There are many more possibilities. You can choose anything as your object, but once you decide, try not to change, for this will decrease the effectiveness of trataka. In other words, if you spend time developing your awareness of one particular object and then suddenly change, then you must in fact start from the beginning again to allow your mind to assimilate the new object. The mind has to mould itself around a particular object so that it is almost automatically attracted and drawn towards it. This takes time in general and it is really a waste of effort to suddenly start moulding the mind around another object. Choose carefully and then try to stick to your decision. If you feel that you want to change after a period of time, and this is a common temptation, seek expert advice before you actually do so.
We have found a candle an excellent object for trataka, especially for beginners. The reason for this is that its brightness seems to rivet, to hold one’s attention. It has an almost magnetic effect on the eyes and on one’s awareness. Furthermore, it leaves a very clear after-image when one practises inner trataka. Even those people who would experience great difficulty in mentally creating an after-image for other objects should be able with a little practice to see a clear inner picture of the candle flame. For this reason we will use a candle as the object of practice in the method of trataka we will shortly describe.
Trataka should be practised while sitting in the most comfortable, yet steady position possible. Any sitting position can be taken, even sitting in a chair. However, the preferred asanas are padmasana, siddhasana, etc., which tend automatically to hold the body in the steadiest position without effort.