Have you ever wondered why do you need to close eyes while meditating? Is it a belief or a ritual that we need to follow or just blind faith?
There has to be no blind faith or just a belief in the process of meditation. Everything has to be based on your experience of reality.
So now the question arises…
Can you meditate with eyes open?
The short answer to this question is Yes. Meditation can be practised with eyes open. It’s a choiceless, effortless observation of reality as it is. You can practice with eyes open while walking, sitting, lying.
Then why do we close our eyes during mediation?
If you are a beginner and have just started meditating closing your eyes help a lot be mindful of things happening in the present moment.
You may already have a habit or ability to be in the present moment then also it helps with closed eyes.
Most of us have never experienced reality as it is without reaction.
We don’t have the habit to be mindful and be in the present moment.
For many years our mind had been thing of past or future away from the present moment.
We keep on reacting to our thoughts, feelings, sensations without being mindful of them as they are due to this reason our mind is unable to see things clearly when we start practising mediation.
Closing your eyes while meditating helps you close one sensory door for the information.
And makes the process easier for you to experience reality within the framework of your body.
Let’s understand this with an example
A beginner meditator starts meditating for the first time with eyes open so he started by seeing the breath and being mindful of the breath arising and passing.
Suddenly someone arrives in front of him now his mind will move to thoughts about that person or something related to that person.
And then he is not aware of the present moment. Sometimes the other person may even start taking.
Makes it very difficult for the beginner to take the first step properly.
An outside object can do the same. If you are sitting in an isolated location.
That’s why to understand the process you need to close your eyes.
To go a little deeper on this we need to understand how to meditate properly with eyes closed
If we can understand that we can get the essence of the complete practice and then it will become easier for you to understand how it’s possible to meditate with eyes open.
Rather than just believing it or considering it as blind faith.
Here are steps for a beginner to start sitting meditation with eyes closed
1.Sit in a comfortable posture
The first step is to sit in a comfortable posture. Try to keep your back and neck are straight.
In the beginning, if you are unable to do that you can sit in a posture with back straight you can start by sitting in a posture comfortable to you a natural.
Keep your eyes gently closed, If you wear spectacles remove them. Keep your mouth gently closed.
2. Move your attention to the entrance of the nostril
After you sit comfortably move your attention to to the entrance of the nostrils.
And remain aware of every breath coming in every breath coming in, every breath going out.
See the natural flow of breath observer if it’s passing through the right nostril or the left nostril or both nostril. Just remain aware do nothing.
Be very alert, very attentive, very vigilant. Constantly be aware of the incoming breath, outgoing breath…. incoming breath, outgoing breath.
Keep your attention fixed at the entrance of the nostrils.
Like a gatekeeper, watchman aware of every breath entering the nostrils and every breath moving out.
3. Accept if you get carried away with thoughts
Accept that you had got carried away with the breath and then start again.
Start without feeling any pressure or guilt. It’s normal just accept it as a reality.
Start observing the incoming breath and the outgoing breath.
The natural flow of the breath. Keep your attention like a guard on the nostrils and observe every single breath coming in and going out.
4. Open your eyes when you feel comfortable
You can open your eyes when you feel comfortable.
Don’t feel any pressure if your mind got wandered away.
Just understand that you have got an insight from your own experience who much your mind wanders.
And thoughts don’t harm you until you react to them and feel the pressure.
Now that you have understood the process that is to observe reality as it is our object of meditation is our own natural breath.
We start by seeing it coming in and going out and then move to more subtle realities once we have increased our awareness.
The only thing we have to do it to be an observer ad see the reality as it is.
This can be done with eyes open if you right amount of awareness to be mindful of the reality as it is in the present moment.
How to practice meditation with your eyes open?
1.Practice walking meditation
In order to practice walking meditation, you need to keep your eyes open as you need to see the path ahead of you.
People switch between walking and sitting meditation when they are on long retreats.
Walking meditation helps when with blood circulation through the body. Also helps to practically be mindful with eyes open. here is a complete guide on walking meditation
2. Mindful eating
Mindful eating is another great way to meditate with eyes open. Most of the times we eat we are not mindful.
Either we are lost in some thoughts or we are lost in the taste of food and craving more of it.
Or if the food doesn’t feel tasty it makes use dislike it and create aversion towards it.
But we are neither mindful of our craving or aversion. You need to learn the art of mindful eating.
Be aware of food touching your hands, mouth, lips, and tongue.
Be aware of the movement of your jaw and food touching your teeth.
Be aware of any thoughts, sensations or feelings you are getting while you are eating. See them as they are without any reaction and judgment.
Be aware of how the food tastes actually without andy liking or disliking to it. If a liking or disliking towards the food arises be aware of that.
3. Be mindful while resting with eyes open
Be mindful of your breath, thoughts, feelings, sounds around you and sensations while you are resting with your eyes open.
Be aware of any comfort or discomfort you are feeling.
If your mind drifts away, bring it back to the breath see it coming in and going out.
4. Be mindful of daily life activities
Most of the time when we are not sleeping and are in our daily life we keep our eyes open.
This is a great opportunity to meditate with eyes open.
Just be mindful in your daily life of all the activities you are doing.
For example, you may be taking a bath or brushing your teeth be mindful of the sensations when water touches your body be mindful of your thoughts, feelings.
Many of us are not mindful while bathing or brushing our teeth we are either lost in thoughts of past or future.
Try to be more mindful in your daily life. It will help you progress a lot.
Also helps you in thinking clearly.
Here are some of the benefits of meditating with eyes open
1. Helps you implement meditation in daily life
Best way to implement meditation in daily life and be more aware is to be mindful with eyes open.
Most of the time in a day when you are not sleeping you have your eyes open.
If you start to be more mindful of activities in daily life. It makes you more grounded in the present moment.
This way you are practically implementing meditation in your daily life and start to be more aware of things happening in the present moment.
2. Boosts productivity
There is no doubt about it that being mindful with eyes open can help you boost your productivity if whatever you do.
You will have more clarity. And will be able to see through things clearly and come to the core.
So if you want to be more productive at work be more mindful at work.
3. Improves decision making
The more you try to be in the present moment and be mindful of reality as it is.
It makes you remove all the clutter and see what’s really important and holds value.
Which eventually improves your ability to make decisions quickly even in a situation with immense pressure.
So if you want to be good at decision making be more mindful
4. Helps you cultivate patience
When you start to be mindful in your daily life and keep on seeing your thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations as they are without any judgment.
It helps you cultivate patience which is a very helpful quality of mind.
So if you want to be more patient be more mindful.
5. Makes you more compassionate
Mindfulness helps you cultivate compassion.
If you start being more mindful in your daily life you will start to see that you are becoming more compassionate towards others.
Which is also great quality and helps you to be more peaceful from inside.
So if you want to be more compassionate be more mindful.
You can practice mediation with open eyes there is nothing good or bad in it. It simply helps you progress.
As a beginner, you can start with closed eyes sitting meditation and once you cultivate awareness and it’s easier for you to be mindful you can start it in your daily life with eyes open. Be happy! Be peaceful!