Eyes open meditation

Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 6:06 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 6:06 AM

Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
Hello, I've been practicing for about a year and have been trying to do eyes-open sitting the past couple of months as per the instructions from some experienced practitioners in a Tibetan tradition. They didn't go into too much detail regarding the specifics of what to do with the eyes however - as I understand it there should be some kind of soft focus in the space between the eyes and the floor, possibly with the eyes half closed. I'm finding this a bit tricky even after a few weeks with not knowing how much focussing/lack of focussing to do and how much visual blur is normal when doing this practice as when I relax the eyes I tend to go somewhat cross-eyed and everything seems to start moving around which doesn't seem ideal. Does anyone know of a link to some detailed instructions regarding what to do regarding eyes-open sitting or any suggestions from anyone who has some good experience with this would be welcome. Many thanks.
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 7:39 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 7:39 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
Hello "R" and kind regards.

As with yourself, it took me many months to get comfortable with doing my insight meditation with eyes open.  Now I really don't think about it.

I was told that the purpose of keeping eyes open is that it grounds one more into the "now" -- what is here and now and one can compare whatever the mind is bringing up with the now.

Sometimes, if I want to get more into my mind to bring something up in more full force, then I temporarily close my eyes.

I stopped thinking about how my eyes are open and just keep them open and watch what the mind does and note it.  Noting, bullet point by bullet point, what my mind is doing, without getting swamped by images, emotions, thoughts, etc.   If my mind is coming on too strong then I pull back and observe something in the environment.   If not strong enough, then I briefly close my eyes.   

Anyways, I admire you for your devotion and discipline and wish you lots of progress with your practice.
Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 10:02 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 10:01 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
Thankyou Colleen - I appreciate your advice. If anyone has any knowledge of the any specific eyes-open instructions - where to rest sight, how much to focus/lack of focus there should be, eyes open or half closed etc that would also be useful. 
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 10:24 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/6/14 10:24 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
No advices here, just a sharing of a viewpoint, and I also enjoy seeing it from your viewpoint  :-)
My life is just one short learning curve.
thumbnail
Jenny, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 12:45 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 12:45 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Hi, R,

I attended a Tibetan center throughout my first year of practice. The instructions were simply to let the the eyes rest softly a few feet in front of oneself, on the floor, with eyes half closed and soft (but not forced to be so) focus. If you become drowsy, raise your gaze a bit. However, the Tibetans also told us students not to practice with eyes open for the first 6 months to 2 years--it is easier to avoid distraction with eyes closed. I did find it easier to concentrate with eyes closed for many months, but later, during insight practices, "eyes open" became very helpful to me. I do both--sometimes in a single sitting.

I hope this helps at least a little bit. Kathleen McDonald has a highly touted book on basic Tibetan-style meditation.

Jenny
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 6:08 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 6:08 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
Hello, Jenny, yes that is my recent discovery -- that insights come effortlessly with eyes open and my space for my sits is non-distractive.  In fact, I find the walls rather re-assuring while I'm experiencing some wild stuff.
Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 6:10 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 6:10 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
Thank you both.
thumbnail
Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 11:10 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 11:10 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation (Answer)

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
Something to remember is that it's not what you're doing with your body, but rather how you are thinking about it that matters.  If you find yourself stuggling to understand what to do with yourself, that's probably your most valuable meditation object.  There was a time when I was purposefully making myself uncomfortable because then I had something to let go of, haha.  If you don't know what to do with your eyes, use that discomfort as your object - you might be suprised what it shows you.

You can meditate in any position and any setting - and the advice is usually to do just that.

All that said, I understand you're looking for a specific technique.  It's just good to keep in mind, I think.  Especially when/if you feel a little flustered.
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 11:30 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 11:30 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
Hello, N.T.

Yes, agreed -- the actual discomfort is good for target practice too.   I first learned that insight when I took the Sedona Method Course and people were upset because they weren't releasing and they kept trying to figure things out, or get involved in the "story".
.
As with that group there are also some compassionately detached guides here too.   Thank you   :-)
Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 1:11 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 1:11 PM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
Thanks all. I have been trying to let go to a degree by leaving the room where I sit be however it is without trying to have things in sight be a certain way before sitting which is a start so I'll try and let go some more I guess. Just as acceptance of one thing or other starts to happen something else seems to pop up but I guess the trick is to keep on letting go.
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 2:20 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/7/14 2:20 PM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
I honestly don't see any difference between me and thee and if I got past the initial distraction - you will too.
I am careful to balance my "negative" core practice with my "positive" creative practice so I get off the cushion rather evened out.
Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 6:45 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 6:45 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
Thanks again Colleen. Out of interest why do you describe each practice as negative and positive? I assume you mean your core practice is sitting and the creative is the off the cushion practice.  
thumbnail
Karalee Peltomaa, modified 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 7:49 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 7:49 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 401 Join Date: 6/19/14 Recent Posts
R:
Thanks again Colleen. Out of interest why do you describe each practice as negative and positive? I assume you mean your core practice is sitting and the creative is the off the cushion practice.  

Hello, R, I am very happy to see you here on this forum.  I place a high value on beings such as yourself -- not just talking about it, but actually doing it.  Very rare in my vicinity.  Very beautiful.  The Fourth Noble Path is ours now.

To answer your question, both practices are essential part of my sitting.  And I am becoming a changed person as a result of my practice... slow, but sure. 

My Core Practice is rather aggressive: it has me bringing up scenes from the past and comparing them with things in the present and then putting it back into the past.   Great for minds that like to haunt one with the past and also use the past to project futures.  This was prevalant in my family.  I am very good at that and have no problem picking something to work on.  

Through Insight Practice I have also seen that my mind has the job of stacking many similar scenes from the past behind anything in the present.   (For example, when I see a tree, I have also seen stacked behind it multitude of layers of past scenes of similar trees -- this is how my mind sees things, and it likes it that way.) My mind cannot live with a simple present. 

Reducing the mind is however problematic -- just as problematic as trying to take away something from a two-year old, if you've ever lived with a two-year old.

Because as soon as I take something away from the mind -- because this act of "Direct Looking" bleeds off any importance (i.e., psychic mass, body somatics, emotions, thoughts, etc.) attached to the scene -- I better give it something back.   My egoic mind does not like a vacuum of importance, or threats to its status.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aopdD9Cu-So  (this vid will give you an idea what it feels like for me sometimes).

And I'm only talking about my mind here which until recently has been runaway compulsive.

So I add something -- thus a "positive" practice  -- before I leave the cushion.  I "create an importance" and put it all around me until it all seems fine and dandy.  It is a type of Metta practice because I also "have another create an importance" and likewise put that all around me.  That has helped me be more insightful towards the people I interact with.

Technically it would be correct to call it a Metta and Insight practice.   I find for me it also informs me as a being that I am always creating and now I can take the reins back, for when I am off the cushion I also like to consciously create things and put them all around me -- better that than have a noisily creating mind. So, it quiets the compulsive create of my mind.  And identification with thoughts.   Makes "Noting" easier, because there is less to note.


I apologize if the reply was "too much information" -- I am often guilty of that.
Fastlane, modified 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 9:08 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 10/8/14 9:08 AM

RE: Eyes open meditation

Posts: 20 Join Date: 10/4/14 Recent Posts
No problem - it's interesting reading. I wish you well with your practices.

Breadcrumb