I was writing a meditation on awareness of emotions and my mind pointed me to this question, as I remembered a friend telling me he didn’t like to meditate because he didn’t feel comfortable closing his eyes.
Why do we close our eyes during meditation, and can we meditate with our eyes open?
For me it all comes down to more focus and concentration. If your eyes are closed there are less chances of you being distracted by, well, everything you see and it’s easier to focus on your body sensations.
As anyone that meditates or tried to meditate knows, you can get high jacked by thoughts and get distracted for long minutes before you realize you are lost in the virtual reality of the mind. You don’t need more distraction.
Closing our eyes helps us bring into focus these other parts of our experience – like our body sensations, our breath, or the awareness of what we are actually thinking about. Meditation opens us up to the understanding that our thoughts are only one part of our experience.
Closing our eyes also allows us to pause in a more efficient way. It’s like, if by closing our eyes we are hitting that stop button of the world outside, you are disconnecting from it and you are looking inside, connecting with yourself.
If you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t have to close your eyes during the formal sitting meditation practice, nothing should be forced.
Keep your eyes open.
You can even integrate what you see on your meditation, it can be a part of your experience.
- When your eyes are open, point them down and pick a single point to look and stay there.
- As your focus improves, also bring into awareness your body and to your breath.
- The more you practice, the easier it gets to focus.
If the eyes are open, we are less likely to feel drowsy or sleepy.
With your eyes open you can always practice an informal meditation, for example when walking, feeling every breath, feeling every step on the ground, feeling the breeze on your skin, feeling your heartbeat. You can experience to be here and now.
Choose and practice what works for you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to meditation practice.
No matter what, you will struggle with focusing and staying present. We all do. Know that and be kind to yourself!
Take good care of you,