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Can you meditate with your eyes open?

edited November 2011 in Meditation
Hello people. Can you meditate with your eyes open. I dont like much have the eyes closed

Comments

  • RodrigoRodrigo São Paulo, Brazil Veteran
    Yes you can. Many Tibetan buddhists do that.
  • That is what the Dalai Lama teaches. You meditate with your eyes half-open, with a relaxed focus off in the distance in front of you.
  • Hello people. Can you meditate with your eyes open. I dont like much have the eyes closed
    Yuppo
  • GuiGui Veteran
    If I find myself meditating with my eyes closed I realize I am actually asleep. :) Seriously, I think it is important to keep the eyes half open. It is important to be alert during meditation even though you are not focused on sensory information.
  • Nope. I can't meditate with my eyes open. They dry out.

    But my Zen teacher said he actually recommends keeping your eyes open.

    So, its a personal choice, really.
  • If the goal is to awaken then opening one's eyes seems like a logical thing to do :)

    At first I struggled with that but then found it easier to keep 'em open because it's harder to wander off into dreams and musings that way.
  • A lot of the teachers say that the open eye is indicative that you are open to the world and welcoming any arising rather than creating a special situation. In other words the attitude is to bring distractions (obstacles) to the path rather than be at their mercy or trying to control the environment.

    But like Mindgate said its a personal choice.
  • Nope. I can't meditate with my eyes open. They dry out.

    But my Zen teacher said he actually recommends keeping your eyes open.

    So, its a personal choice, really.
    Do you not even blink? Cause if you don't, that's sure to cause dry eyes, but if you let them blink when they wish to, it should be OK.

    Sometimes I do it with eyes half open, sometimes closed. As long as the focus isn't on what you're seeing (or not seeing) and on the meditation object instead, both should be ok.

  • Do you not even blink? Cause if you don't, that's sure to cause dry eyes, but if you let them blink when they wish to, it should be OK.
    I do blink, but it seems that once I am aware of the fact I must blink my eyes, I either have to blink constantly or my eyes dry out.
  • I had that blink constantly thing MindGate.. I asked about it on the forum also maybe in April. For me it went away eventually. I did do eyes closed for awhile for peace of mind.
  • I can, but I prefer eyes closed to filter out movement that might otherwise distract me. I have attention issues ::shrug:::
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    i think eyes should be closed during meditation. the purpose of meditation is to travel inwards. keeping the eyes open, allow for external sensory input to come to mind, even though u might be seeing a white wall or a completely black wall, still ur mind is getting the external input of white wall or black wall.

    The objective for meditation is to travel inwards which can happen only if we get disconnected with the external world during meditation. The only problem in keeping eyes closed seems of sleepiness. But here comes how much attention we r focusing on the object of meditation. If we try to experience the inner world by closing the eyes, this sleepiness should go away. i know it is easier said than done, but still we should try to do meditation with our eyes closed.
  • Seems to me that it's more likely you will sleep rather than meditate if you were over tired to begin with. Most people operate on insufficient sleep, so then I could see where it would be a problem.
  • I find having my eyes half closed, soft focus, looking angled down the nose to about six feet in front works best.

    Maybe it's my age [55] but I find I get flashy shapes if I close my eyes, which is distracting.

    Also have been self taught using books about Tibetan Buddhism and they mainly suggest open eyes.

    Sometimes my elderly cat comes and sits in the exact spot that I focus towards.
    Think it's her way of trying to attract attention.
    She's seems to be in good health lately, has been able to stop taking her heart pills, and I wonder if hearing Avalokitsvara's mantra has helped her.
  • From Zazen Posture
    Josho Pat Phelan
    In Zen meditation, we sit with our eyes open. This means that your eyes should not be wide open and they should not be closed, but somewhere in between. You shouldn't be staring at anything your eyes should be relaxed. The eyes can be softly focused or out of focus or somewhere in between. Basically, your eyes should be opened enough to allow some light in. The gaze of the eyes should looking downward at about a 45 degree angle so your gaze comes to the floor about 2-3 feet in front of you. When gazing downward, keep your face straight ahead so that if your eyes were wide open you would be looking straight ahead. Only your gaze is cast downward, not your head. When we sit together in the zendo, we bow to our cushions and away from our cushions before we sit down. If we are already sitting and someone comes to sit in one of the places next to us, we bow with them when they bow to their cushion. So one way I check to see if my eyes are open wide enough, and if I am present, is if I can see the movement of the person getting ready to bow next to me so I can join them in their bow. Having the eyes open, whether we actually "see" anything or not, helps keep us grounded in the present and helps us keep from falling asleep.

    http://www.intrex.net/chzg/posture.htm
  • You can but why would you want to? The mind is sensitive and anything seen with the eye will usually leave trails on our thoughts. Unless you are doing something you have to do like chores then you can practice with them open, but if you have an option it would be better closed.
  • Hello:

    They eyes closed are for eye seclusion, in the sense that it wont arise eye contact so often as it would be with open eyes and you can continue your observation process more closely. Thats all, its just to reduce the amount of disturbances so the disturbances that arise in the mind will be easier to see. If u are having contact in all the 6 senses all the time (including mind) it will be hard to realize how its happening.

    Hope it helps :).



  • I prefer to keep my eyes open (not even half closed). With closed eyes my mind will start to create and follow stories, so to make it a bit easier I keep them open. A nice meditation experiment IMO is to be very aware of all the physical sensations (sight, smell, sound, touch, taste) without attaching any story to them, and for doing that you obviously keep your eyes open.
  • Adshanti reckons to do what we're drawn to, with regards eyes open or shut.

    I like mine shut.
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    I personally like to meditate with eyes half-open. Fully-open dries them out, whereas closed actually makes my mind wander MORE and I feel sleepier.

    My reasoning is that with eyes half-open, I am not trying to shut out the world, but rather just "be" in it, peeling wallpaper and all.
  • A lot of Thai meditation is geared towards being integrated within the work day, especially in involving simple labor (cooking and cleaning). A lot of the basis of this is moving meditation and keeping the eyes open but the mind clear.
  • VictoriousVictorious Fanatical Buddhist On the path. Veteran
    When the mind is disturbed I find that closing the eyes actually increases the noise. (the mind wanders). When you are focused not so bad.

    If the eyes dry out when meditating with open eyes I would recommend blinking. :)

    No seriuously. It is really easy to forget to let the eyes naturally blink when trying to meditate.

    /Victor
  • VictoriousVictorious Fanatical Buddhist On the path. Veteran
    I personally like to meditate with eyes half-open. Fully-open dries them out, whereas closed actually makes my mind wander MORE and I feel sleepier.

    My reasoning is that with eyes half-open, I am not trying to shut out the world, but rather just "be" in it, peeling wallpaper and all.
    Yeah you are right never tought of that. In standing pole excersice I have fully open eyes and I must blink but in sitting meditation I have half open eyes and dont have the same problem!

  • I prefer to keep my eyes open (not even half closed). With closed eyes my mind will start to create and follow stories, so to make it a bit easier I keep them open. A nice meditation experiment IMO is to be very aware of all the physical sensations (sight, smell, sound, touch, taste) without attaching any story to them, and for doing that you obviously keep your eyes open.
    Yes bro it works
  • I taught myself too, since Im more comfortabl meditating in the open or in parks, I need to keep my eyes open t be awate of my surroundings (since there is occasional gang activity near where I live)
  • Since I am conscious when I am meditating keeping my eyes open usually means I am aware of the objects in front of me. Being aware of objects in front of me usually means some sort of fabricated experience that distracts me from concentrating on the breath. When i close my eyes my conscious awareness of objects around me usually fades.
  • The world record for not blinking is 30 hours and 12 minutes to my knowledge. I have never really tried meditating formally sitting with my eyes open, but I have tried to meditate in daily situations such as standing in a que or waiting for something to loan on the computer etc.
  • Sure you can. Whatever you like. However, in the beginning perhaps closing your eyes will be a better before you proceed to keep your eyes open.
  • lol, I wrote 'loan on the computer' I did intend to write 'load' :screwy:
  • Hello people. Can you meditate with your eyes open. I dont like much have the eyes closed
    Yes, it's fine. And it's impossible anyway to cut off all sensory input.

    Spiny
  • ZeroZero Veteran
    Beginners eyes open is easiest.
    Intermediate eyes closed.
    Advanced eyes open again.
  • Beginners eyes open is easiest.
    Intermediate eyes closed.
    Advanced eyes open again.

    I normally advise beginners to close their eyes.

    Spniy
  • ThaoThao Veteran
    I was taught that you should, but I can't, so I don't.
  • My eyes never closed and i let the eyelips do what it likes :D
  • My attitude is "do what works best for you". But I also think it's good to try different approaches and to understand why different traditions give different advice.
    I was taught that you should, but I can't, so I don't. </blockquote
  • My practice is to meditate everywhere, every minute is an opportunity. And spend time on the cushions, sometimes open eyes sometimes closed. Sit in Different places on hard floors,soft cushions, at work, outdoors. I had a dream recently where I went to pray in a mosque, I was full of love for Allah.. Maybe try meditating with other faiths..and spend some time just sitting with no effort, just enjoying being here...and celebrate how wonderful it is, how amazing it is to be alive and what wonderful friends we have to sit with... its all something to meditate on.
  • I find it nice to have the attitude that you can include everything in your meditation. So if the dog is barking at cars and you have to call him over and calm him it is not 'spoiling' your meditation...

    I cultivate five factors:

    friendliness to myself so I am not striving too much,
    seeing what is there
    sitting with the difficult states
    staying with what is present
    a sense of no big deal

    Another look:

    wake
    heart
    here
    open

    Jon Kabatt Zinn identified 7 factors to look for in mindfulness:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness_(psychology)

    1. Non-judging: Being an impartial witness to your experience.
    2. Patience: Understanding that growth happens in its own time.
    3. Beginner’s mind: A mind that is willing to see everything as it is for the first time.
    4. Trust: A basic trust in yourself, your feelings and your experience.
    5. Non-striving: There is no goal other than for you to be.
    6. Acceptance: Seeing things as they actually are in the present.
    7. Letting Go: Letting go of the impulse to grasp or push away experiences.
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