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.