Here’s How to Meditate With Your Eyes Open – The Good Men Project

Posted: April 26, 2020 at 4:46 am

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I forgot to tell you the basics of Zazen, said the monk as we walked into the ritual room of a small Zen Buddhist temple in Tokyo, sit in lotus on the cushion, spine straight, eyes open, gazing down and ahead of you. Keep my eyes open? I asked curiously. Id never done that before except for moving meditations. Yes, replied the monk. You will face the wall. Keep your eyes relaxed but open.

After that, I sat all day practicing the Zazen technique used in Zen Buddhism for the first time. And I struggled. I wanted to go back to my familiar practice of eyed closed that I had done for thousands of hours.

. . .

Sharing my story with a friend frustrated with the lack of progress in her own meditation practice, I hoped to explain how we all face challenges. But she connected with something else I had said,

Wait, She jumped in, you can meditate with your eyes open? I should try that. Whenever I close my eyes, the darkness overwhelms me and I get kind of weirded out.

Many people tell me they fall asleep when they try to meditate. If that happens, you should probably just sleep because your body needs rest. But I hadnt considered some may fight with keeping their eyes closed.

If you want to meditate but you simply dont want to meditate with your eyes closed no problem.

Open eyes may seem in conflict with the normal practice of meditation, but actually, they are more common.

Most Buddhist traditions in Tibet and Japan never close their eyes. They teach to half-close your eye, relax and look downward. But new meditators often get confused, so teachers say to close your eyes because straining to keep them open or frequently blinking distracts you.

We live life with our eyes open. Practicing meditation with eyes open teaches you to find peace when in the same conditions as life. Learn how to find peace from the thousands of thoughts your mind processes without having to block out all visual inputs.

We want the presence of open-eyed meditation without being carried away by mind-wandering or distractions. So remember to bring your mind back when it wanders. And try to narrow your field of vision to something plain and simple.

Dont hold yourself back from trying open-eye meditation because you think it inferior. That is not true. Both have a place in your meditation practice and journey. Do what works and feels good for you.

. . .

Every moment during your day presents an opportunity to practice open eye meditation, and you can do it for as short as 1 second. So try out some different techniques and dont let closed eyes hold you back from experiencing peace of mind.

This post was previously published on Change Becomes You and is republished here with permission from the author.


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Here's How to Meditate With Your Eyes Open - The Good Men Project

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April 26th, 2020 at 4:46 am

Posted in Zen Buddhism