Guest contribution by Wendy Quan
Meditation is a wonderful practice to have in your life, and more people are discovering its wonderful benefits. Most of the time when you receive instruction on meditation, it begins with this: “Close your eyes and begin to relax…”
But have you ever wondered if you must close your eyes to meditate?
Obviously, closing your eyes allows you to more easily let go of the activity around you so you can begin to turn your attention inwards. You can then make the transition from your busy day to a moment of stillness for your meditation. This is the most common way to meditate, but it is good to know that there is an alternative option: an open-eye meditation can create a very different experience from an eyes-closed meditation.
How to meditate with your eyes slightly open
You can meditate with your eyes open just a crack, maybe about one quarter of the way open.
Simply have a soft, unfocused gaze. Without focusing on anything in particular, ease into the meditation and allow yourself to just ‘be’. Initially your attention may be distracted by the objects within your vision, but the key is to adopt an attitude of ‘allowing’ and ‘being’ with this soft gaze. Allow yourself to blink naturally as needed.
If you are a meditation practitioner and normally have your eyes closed, this open-eye method will likely feel really strange to you, and probably very distracting (which is a fascinating thing to experience for yourself). But give it a try several times, and see if you might enjoy this method.
Why would you want to meditate with your eyes slightly open?
- Some people prefer to keep their eyes open so they stay alert throughout their meditation.
- Some people open their eyes a crack just for a few moments during a meditation to wake themselves up a bit if they are really sleepy, then close their eyes again once they are feeling more alert.
- Some people feel uncomfortable closing their eyes. This is common if someone is new to meditation and feels a bit unsafe or strange closing their eyes. Generally in this case, with practice, this discomfort wanes and closed-eye meditation becomes comfortable once meditation itself feels more familiar.
- Some meditation traditions practice this method.
Why not experiment with an open-eye meditation to see what your own experience is?
Wendy Quan is an industry leader in helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs to create change resiliency. She is the founder of The Calm Monkey, the first and only online and in-person training and certification of its kind, which turns experienced meditators into Mindfulness Meditation Facilitators in the workplace and community.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley; the global Association of Change Management Professionals; and the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources. Her client list includes individuals from around the world and organizations such as Google and the government of Dubai. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.