While meditating with your eyes closed works for some people to clear the mind, I was blown away by how fast and easy it is to meditate with my eyes open. Not to mention how much fun it is and how deeply it helps me to meditate.
Not as many people are familiar with open eye or eye gazing meditations as they are with closed eye meditations. The reasons for this vary but the main one is that for many years these meditations were only studied or used by serious meditators.
They are actually much easier to do than you might think and from my experience, they are a lot of fun and can take you places in your meditations faster than any closed eye technique I’ve ever used. Once you get into the knack of doing them they really help you to focus the mind and meditate deeply regardless of what’s going on around you.
Open VS Closed Eye Meditation
I have always thought that the reason why we close our eyes to meditate was because it helped to shut out the external world so we can focus on going deeper into silence. It never dawned on me that we could achieve the same result by keeping our eyes open during meditation.
I still recall the first time I ever tried open eye meditation. It was during a 2-week meditation retreat where we were being introduced to a number of different ways to meditate. At first, my mind continued on with constant chatter about what a silly idea this was and how it probably wasn’t going to work for me.
Then my eyes started to water and blur, so it made it hard to focus and keep my eyes open – but I persisted. This only lasted a few minutes. As I sat there simply gazing at a spot on the floor just in front of where I was sitting, I felt my vision soften and I noticed that my mind suddenly felt crystal clear.
As this happened, my breathing also seemed to deepen and it felt like I was observing myself watching the spot on the floor, instead of just being the one looking. This was a really different experience for me as not only did I feel detached from what I was doing I also realized that I was deeply meditating with my eyes wide open.
There were countless other amazing moments during my open eye meditation including seeing waves of light emanating from the spot I was gazing at to there not being a ripple of a thought in my head. All of which gave me an experience of inner peace, expansiveness, and stillness that I had never experienced before.
A Simple Open Eyed Meditation
Sit or stand in front of a mirror so that you can look at yourself in the eyes without needing to look up or down. If you can, try not to have any light shining directly into your eyes or even better use a candle to light up the mirror so you can see your eyes clearly.
First, take a moment to notice your eyes, the shape, and color. Then, allow yourself to relax and soften your gaze so that your focus is with a gentle awareness, rather than looking for anything in particular. If you feel drawn to look at one of your eyes more than the other then that is perfectly okay.
It’s a good idea to not have any expectations around what you are going to ‘see’ or experience as every time you do the open eye meditation it can be different. Also, whatever you see, think, or feel – simply allow it. Even if your face disappears or changes, or you see an aura glowing around your head, it’s all perfectly normal. You’re just starting to perceive things that are not usually within your range of awareness.
It’s up to you whether you blink or not during the open eye meditation. I’ve meditated for up to an hour without blinking and haven’t had any problems with it as it’s usually just the first few minutes that the eyes water the most. By keeping your eyes fixated without blinking it helps to keep the mind disengaged because as a general rule not blinking means your not thinking, which inevitably leads to a deeper meditation.
You can practice for as short or long as you like doing eye gazing meditation, but if you’re just starting out, aim for 5 to 10 minutes. As you get comfortable with that, then you can start to increase it to whatever time frame you like. In general, the longer you go, the deeper the stillness and silence you will experience.
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