Does it make you uncomfortable to close your eyes when trying to meditate?
Although many spiritual practices encourage people to close their eyes as a way to focus on God, their Divine, or a singular point, it is not a requirement.
It may be more powerful to meditate with open eyes.
A flickering candle doesn’t need to be the mandatory focus point of your meditation. If you’re on a mountain summit, staring at a beautiful sunset, keeping your eyes open for that vision makes sense.
If you practice loving-kindness meditation, maintaining open eyes can provide a powerful blessing.
There isn’t a perfect way to meditate for everyone. You can find the best methods that work for your physical, spiritual, and mental health.
Have you avoided meditation in the past because you didn’t like the idea of keeping your eyes closed? If so, now might be the right time to revisit this practice.
Why Practice Meditation with Open Eyes?
Many people find closing their eyes during meditation, difficult or uncomfortable. Also, for some, when they meditate with closed eyes, they fall asleep. While peaceful, this does not provide results.
Closing your eyes during meditation does have its benefits. It helps you to focus inward rather than on what you can see in front of you. It also limits potential distractions and refocuses your awareness onto the other senses, such as hearing and sensation.
Despite this, many ancient spiritual traditions practice meditation with open eyes.
Even if you come from a religious view, open-eye meditation is a practice to consider. Most holy books don’t require prayer or meditating to be with closed eyes.
The primary stipulation is that you should be conducting your prayer and meditation in private. When you take the modern approach to meditating, even that requirement isn’t essential for a fulfilling experience.
How to Meditate with Open Eyes
There are many ways in which you can practice meditation with open eyes. If this method is new to you, it may feel tricky at first, but it takes practice, patience, and persistence like all new skills. The key is to be gentle and kind to yourself and practice daily for the best results.
Here are some of the most effective ways to learn how to meditate with your eyes open.
Focus on a single object and see it as it is without judgment.
You can practice this by looking at a single object, such as a flower, a spiritual image, or statue. Focus 100% of your attention on this object, and notice every line, shape, shadow, highlight, and curve. When your thoughts begin to wander, bring them back to the item. Try to see the object for what it is and disregard your judgment and analysis. Observe what is there in front of you, just as it is. This exercise is excellent for building your skills in concentration and observation.
Sit in front of a blank wall.
This technique is the one that beginners to Zazen employ to help them concentrate. If you have nothing of interest in front of you, it is much easier to maintain awareness of your meditation. Ensure that there are no objects in your peripheral vision to distract you. Half close your eyes and soften your gaze to reduce eye fatigue and strain.
Practice walking meditation.
Softly focus your gaze down and in front of your feet. Become aware of the sensations in your body as your feet connect with and leave the floor. Ensure that you are in a large enough space to walk without bumping into objects or other people. Enjoy the rhythm of your footsteps and the freedom of walking without having an end destination.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation with Open Eyes?
1. You won’t feel as tired.
Meditation should energize your body. If it feels like you may fall asleep with this practice, opening your eyes can awaken your senses. This benefit works well for those who have meditation times near when they get up or go to sleep each night.
2. You can be self-confident.
How many times have you sat as a passenger with nothing to do? When was the last time you stood in a long checkout line at the store? Both options are places where you could meditate with your eyes open. People won’t know what you’re doing, and it gives you the chance to adapt to a changing environment.
3. You can improve your concentration.
Meditating with your eyes open can improve your concentration skills. Since several stimuli will be in that environment, your mind must shut out the distractions to stay on the one focus point. Observing it without analysis or judgment will keep you in the moment, avoiding the assumptions that often spoil our perceptions.
4. You will have less stress.
It only takes 20 minutes of meditation each day to dramatically reduce internal stress levels. If you get a 15-minute break at work, that time could be put toward this effort. With about seven consecutive days of practice, you could see more energy, better sleep, and enhanced gratitude all appearing in your life.
Are You Ready to Try Meditating with Open Eyes?
Meditation is a personal experience.
Many people try it by copying the methods that others use. When it feels unnatural or uncomfortable, they abandon meditation. Since they can’t do it the same way, they must be a failure.
That “truth” is a lie. Each person approaches meditation uniquely. Some people need to sit in the lotus position with pillows and candles, while others meditate with their eyes open while riding the train.
The effects of meditation are cumulative. Even if you can only spare a few minutes at a time, your efforts add up to a significant benefit by the end of the day.
If you’ve tried meditating before without success, come back to the process. Try open-eye meditation to see if it works for you.