Sit somewhere quiet where you can be alone and undisturbed. Place a candle in front of you, at eye level. Light the candle.

We shall use the candle flame as the focal point for our concentration and meditation.

Gaze at the flame with your eyes half-open, half-closed, so that there is little else in your peripheral vision. Sit as close as you like to the flame. If for some reason you need to sit at some distance away, then just imagine that you are very close to the flame. Do not stare at the flame: simply let your eyes rest on the flame. You are not trying to pierce the flame, to describe or analyse it: just allow it to be itself, while appreciating and admiring it.

Imagine the flame is a living being, with its own breath. Breathe in time with the flame: as you breathe in, the flame breathes in; as you breathe out, the flame breathes out. Sharing the same breath, you feel a bond deepening.

Feel that the power of your concentration is coming not from your mind but from your heart. When we concentrate from the mind we use the mind’s capacity, which is analysis and reason. After 5 minutes we start to feel tired. Yet when we concentrate from the heart we use the heart’s capacity, which is love. When we love something, we can concentrate on that thing all day and never become tired. So concentrating from the heart is far more effective.

Love the flame. Feel that you have known this flame all your life – you have been best friends since your earliest childhood. Between you there are no secrets. Smile as you would when meeting your dearest friend, a smile of sure and pure affection.