Meditation: Eyes Wide Open

For many years I’ve defaulted to meditating with my eyes shut. It makes it easier to blot out the world and disappear inside my head, onto other planes of knowing and being, exploring altered consciousness etc. etc. etc.

The trouble is, I’m an author and an overthinker. Making things up is what I do as part of my day job. I think about everything a lot, I tend to live inside my head most of the time if nothing coaxes me out. So if I meditate and disappear inside my head, I can have wonderful and inspiring experiences, but I’m reinforcing that whole life inside my head thing.

On my default setting, mostly in my head I can be really oblivious to my body – not noticing that my feet have gone numb, or that I’ve cut myself until it’s a problem, being obvious examples. I don’t really think this does me much good.

One of my projects at the moment is to be more present in my own skin and more able to live in the present in communion with other beings. Not in the sense of being only in the present, because that makes no sense to me, but bringing my messy and narrative self into the moment. Obviously, being an overthinker, I’ve given this a lot of thought.

In recent months I’ve done a lot of experimenting with how I meditate. If I sit with my eyes open, it keeps me anchored in place and time and helps me to be more aware of my bodily presence. It helps me make room for less thinking, and more noticing. I’m trying to make a point of noticing how my body feels, and how I’m feeling emotionally rather than letting my head run everything.

Sitting out has become a big thing for me. Going to a place I like, and sitting there, and seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling the place, and being present in it, and letting whatever comes of that, come to me.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Meditation: Eyes Wide Open

  • journeymaid

    I’ve tried meditating with open eyes as well, which I found hard but incredibly interesting. It was oh so difficult but when I actually managed to focus entirely I had quite the odd experience. As I kept looking straight ahead, all the colours drained away and I saw the world in a greyscale. ANd then – this is the weird bit – everything turned upside down. I mean literally. If my eyes were the camera it was as if someone turned it upside down, the floor was above and the ceiling below. As soon as focus started to slip away the world flipped back to normal again, and then the colours came back. When I’ve tried to meditate with open eyes again I’ve managed getting as far as when the colours went away but never again to the point where it looked like the world ended up upside down. 😀 Ever had anything like that happen?

  • joeythebuddhist

    Seems like your getting into a groove with your meditations! In Theravada eyes are usually closed because you want to limit sense experience as much as possible in order to really delve into your object of meditation (Jhana practice). In Soto Zen eyes are kept open because you want to be “awake” for the practice. Awake meaning not just drowsy but that the practice itself is this waking up, this being aware, this very moment is life. So seems like your doing really good in your progression from what you are writing 😉

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