Many people like to close their eyes during meditation because it will somehow force them to try to quieten down and focus. However, for some of us, closing our eyes means escalating the number of thoughts darting through our minds or it makes us fall asleep in the midst of meditation.
Have you heard of Open Eye Meditation? What if I told you that you can practise meditation with your eyes open? Would it interest you? Ultimately, the purpose of meditation is to help us relax and destress while bringing our focus back. There is no “one size fits all” style of meditation, rather, you choose the one that you are most comfortable with or the one that works best for yourself.
Candles and singing bowls are props that are commonly used in meditation. But these do not need to be the mandatory focus points of your meditation. If you are out on your balcony and staring at the sunrise, keeping your eyes open for this beautiful sight would make sense. If you practise meditation with loving kindness, maintaining open eyes aka Open Eye Meditation can provide a powerful blessing.
Open Eye Meditation gives us the opportunity to practise irregardless of where we are and how much time we have to spare. If you actually take some time to think about it, you would realize that Open Eye Meditation is perhaps the most powerful form of meditation in existence.
Why is that so? In order to do this, we expose ourselves to the surroundings and allow ourselves to be susceptible to interruptions, causing us to rein in a stronger focus instead. Open Eye Meditation is found in Tibetan and Zen Buddhism as well as Trataka Meditation so it is not completely new or unknown.
Some benefits include:
- Ease of staying awake during states of sleepiness
- Build strong concentration skills by focusing on a single object
- Helps you merge it with your daily routine, making it a lifestyle
- Develop powerful observation skills, helping you to cope well in social settings and in many areas of life
Now that you know about Open Eye Meditation, let’s start on the practice!
1. Choose An Object To Be Your Focal Point
The object could be something that is currently available in your surroundings or it could be something that you always keep by your side. The best option is to pick an everyday item that is able to help you rein in your focus during Open Eye Meditation.
Eg. You may choose either a pen instead of a watch as the latter might remind you of deadlines. Choose an item that will not distract you and keep you free from distractions.
2. Check Out The Floor
Some people might find it challenging to focus on an object when there are so many distractions in the surroundings. Therefore direct your attention to the floor or your own feet to help you increase focus.
When you divert your attention to the floor, you limit the amount of visual material you can see so this alternative method will work well for those who get distracted by objects or their minds tend to wander off into La La land easily.
3. Practise Your Breathing
Once you have found a focal point for Open Eye Meditation, you can start on breathing exercises. There are 3 different types of breathing exercises and you can choose one you feel most comfortable with. The most important is to pace your breathing during these exercises.
As you are controlling your breathing, relax your mind and body. Make yourself comfortable by sitting in a relaxing position and remember to keep your focus on your chosen object.
4. Be Aware
After a few rounds of breathing exercises, allow your eyes to travel across the room. Take a quick glance at your surroundings and be aware of them. When you are doing this, it is important not to let your focus dwell on an object for too long. Simply acknowledge their presence as you are doing this.
Let the images flow as they are and as you are observing your surroundings, empty your mind of lingering thoughts. Choose to be present in the moment and just notice what is around you.
5. Re-Focus Internally
Now that you have finished observing your surroundings, bring your focus back to yourself. If your breathing has slipped, resume control of your breathing. Notice the rate of your heartbeat and slowly observe how your body is feeling.
Start from your feet and work all the way up to your head. Notice the surface your feet are resting on, the chair you sit on or even the bracelet that is clasped on your wrist. Take note of any body pain you might be experiencing at this time too.
6. Be Open And Accepting
Allow yourself to soak in the present and accept the events that are happening around you. Slowly connect your presence with them. Simply acknowledge that you are a part of this cycle and you are simply responding to its effects.
Take this time to pay attention to what is really happening. More often than not, we are too focused on how we see our surroundings that we neglect to see from others’ perspectives. By reconnecting with our surroundings, we will become more mindful of our actions after Open Eye Meditation.
7. Learn To Detach
As you reconnect with your surroundings in the present moment, you might begin to feel the pressure of all its demands and expectations once again. Simply accept this as part and parcel of reconnection. This is normal and is a reflex response to your surroundings.
Learn to detach yourself from negative thoughts and emotions. Learn to accept them and not resist in the current situation before releasing them. Then you can truly move forward and be open to any possibilities with a positive attitude. This is very important during practice of Open Eye Meditation.
8. Find Your Lighthouse
Direct your focus back to your chosen object and treat it as a guide to help you find your lighthouse. Use it to increase your focus or to reconnect with the present without investing too much of yourself.
Be like a watchman and simply observe events as they come and go. Try to incorporate and integrate this into your daily routine. You would be amazed that it will help you focus so much better and you can find inner peace wherever you are.
Now that you know Open Eye Meditation can be so easy even in the open surroundings, we hope you can find the inner strength and peace to deal with the daily grind no matter what you are doing. Have fun with Open Eye Meditation!