Why Incense?


Burning incense is so common these days, we can find it in the household aisle in many home goods stores.  People use it for fragrance, to set a particular mood, and in general just to create a certain atmosphere.  Of course, cultures around the world have always used incense in religious settings going back thousands of years.  Whenever we find common practices in all corners of the world, it’s always an interesting question – is there some deeper significance to this?

You can find the use of incense outside, for example in Buddhist temples, but for the most part it is used inside.  Its impacts are most potent indoors.  Well, we already know that everything is made of energy.  In confined spaces, especially when there is less ventilation, energy does tend to get constrained in a certain way.  These energy structures can influence us.  We know this very well – have you ever stepped into a house where suddenly you feel stifled?  We can feel the energy of spaces if we allow ourselves the freedom to feel intuitively.  Most people close this off, whether consciously or unconsciously.  We are capable of so much more awareness than we give ourselves credit for.

So, one thing incense does is infuse indoors with that which is otherwise outdoors.  We can say that an element of freedom is introduced in that room.  Then the energy in the space a bit more conducive to what we want to be, or to put it in better terms, how we want to be.

What’s important to realize that because of commercialization, a lot of incense that is sold today is chemically manufactured and not natural.  So, it’s important to make sure the incense is entirely natural – for example, herbs or resin sourced.  Also, incense burning is simply a support to one’s practices, not the foundation.  It should not be overdone, because incense can easily become overwhelming.

Aside from burning incense, we can also light an oil lamp.  For convenience, the old tradition has turned into lighting candles instead – and that has taken on a whole dimension of its own these days.  But the purer form is oil, especially light vegetable oils like sesame oil.  This alternative is useful for those who are sensitive to the smells and ash from incense sticks.  The impact of an oil lamp is a bit different from burning incense.  Instead, here we have an actual flame.  As we know, fire has a cleansing influence.  Often used before ceremonies, fire is used to purify the space.  In yogic science, standing in the presence of fire has a protective effect.

Even the most common place items like incense and candles have roots in long forgotten esoteric practices.  We can put these to use, if we approach them organically, and in a conscious way.  Then they can be a good support for our spirituality.

Watch video here – What is the Significance of Incense? – YouTube

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