In this article, we discuss the concept of open-eye meditation, how it differs from closed-eye meditation, and its benefits, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to practice it.
Meditation has become a widespread practice for mental clarity, stress management and overall well-being. While traditional meditation often involves closing the eyes, a growing number of practitioners are starting to practice meditation with open eyes, also known as open-eye meditation.
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What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to quieten the mind, and focus one’s attention and awareness. It’s often associated with spiritual or religious traditions, but it can also be training for improving mental and physical health. Meditation can take many forms, including Gtummo meditation, transcendental meditation, and even orgasmic meditation.
While most people associate meditation with sitting with eyes closed, there are actually many forms of open-eye meditation, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Can You Meditate With Your Eyes Open?
Yes, you can meditate with your eyes open.
Open-eye meditation is a type of meditation that involves maintaining a soft gaze and keeping the eyes open while allowing one’s thoughts to come and go, observing one’s thoughts, instead of experiencing them.
People who find it difficult to relax or who often fall asleep with their eyes closed find open-eye meditation particularly beneficial.
Whether or not you should meditate with your eyes open or closed entirely depends on your personal preference. Many people are able to achieve a state of tranquillity and stillness with eyes closed. However, if you struggle with these forms of meditation, then try open-eye meditation. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Benefits of Open-Eye Meditation
Along with staying awake and the numerous well-documented mental health benefits, open-eye meditation is a powerful tool for personal growth, and has numerous other benefits, including:
- Improved focus: Keeping the eyes open during meditation can help maintain a sense of connection with the present moment and improve concentration.
- Increased awareness: Keeping the eyes open allows you to observe your surroundings and become more aware of your environment.
- Greater sense of presence: Open-eye meditation can help you feel more present and grounded in your body and surroundings.
- Suitable for busy environments: Open-eye meditation can be practiced in any environment, even when you are in a public place or busy with work.
The Difference Between Meditating with Open Eyes and Eyes Closed
Meditating with open eyes and closed eyes are two different approaches to the same practice. The main difference is in the focus of attention.
When you close your eyes, your focus is inward, on your breath, thoughts, or emotions. For some, the inside of the mind is a very busy, noisy place, and it can be difficult to find tranquillity without first sifting through all these thoughts and emotions. This is where open-eye meditation can help.
When you open your eyes during meditation, you focus outwardly on your surroundings or a particular object. This takes one’s awareness away from oneself, and can help settle a busy mind before going deeper into you meditation.
The goal for both meditation styles is the same – to eventually let one’s thoughts come and go, without judgement and without experiencing the thought.
Meditation Practices that Use Open-Eye Meditation
Several meditation techniques use open-eye meditation, including:
- Trataka: More commonly known as candle meditation, trataka is a form of concentration meditation in which you gaze at a candle’s flame.
- Walking meditation: Walking meditation involves paying attention to the sensations of walking and your surroundings while keeping your eyes open.
- Metta Bhavana: Metta Bhavana is a form of loving-kindness meditation that involves sending well wishes to oneself and others while keeping the eyes open.
These are different types of meditation that require the practitioner to keep their eyes open. However, many practitioners of open-eye meditation find it beneficial to simply sit and stare at a blank wall, or some other single object. Try different
How to do Open Eye Meditation
Here are some steps to follow to practice open-eye meditation:
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit or stand.
- Choose an object to focus on, such as a candle flame, a flower, or artwork.
- Take a few deep breaths to relax and bring your attention to the present moment.
- Gently open your eyes and gaze at your chosen object.
- Maintain a soft gaze without straining or staring intensely.
- Notice everything you can about the object and your surroundings – allow your thoughts to come and go, until no more thoughts come.
- If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the object.
- Continue for 5-10 minutes
- When you are ready to finish, take a few deep breaths and gently close your eyes, rub your face, and bring your awareness back to the present and your immediate surroundings.
Our top tips for practicing open-eye meditation:
- Choose an object that is not too bright or stimulating to avoid eye strain.
- It is usual for the mind to wander. Don’t get frustrated; acknowledge the thought and bring your attention back to the object.
- If you find it challenging to maintain a soft gaze, try blinking or looking away for a few seconds before returning your watch to the object.
- You can practice open-eye meditation at different times of the day and in different environments to see what works best for you.
The Takeaway: Open Eye Meditation
Open-eye meditation is a simple and effective way to practice mindfulness and cultivate a sense of presence and awareness, regardless of your environment and surroundings.
You can practice it anytime and anywhere, and it can be a helpful alternative for people who find it challenging to relax with their eyes closed. Give open-eye meditation a try and see how it can enhance your meditation practice and daily life.
Please let us know any questions you may have, or if you found this information useful in the comments below 🙂