meditation with eyes open

Meditation With Eyes Open – Benefits and Negatives

Meditation With Eyes Open

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When most people visualize someone meditating, they will likely picture that person with their eyes closed, but is it necessary to close your eyes to meditate, or can you meditate with your eyes open?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to meditate with your eyes open, and there are many benefits to an eyes open meditation practice that can be experienced by anyone, such as being able to use what you see to help maintain your focus like using a prop like a lit candle and focusing on the flame.

Though there are benefits to meditation with your eyes open there are also some negatives you will want to know about so lets go over both of these now starting with the benefits of meditating with your eyes open and why people do it.

Why do people meditate with their eyes open, what are the benefits?

1. Improving Focus

As mentioned above, the biggest benefit of meditating with your eyes open is that you can use the objects around you to help maintain your focus and awareness on your meditation practice. For example, when I’m meditating, I will often light a candle and look directly at the flame.

It is a simple act, but it can often help me to focus my mind much better than when I try to meditate without focusing on a single object to look at. And that is really the most important thing about meditation – learning how to focus, without letting your mind wonder off into all the internal dialog and chatter of the mind.

This still happens of course, but the trick is, as soon as I notice my mind has wondered off, I just bring my attention back to the lit candle and focus on the flame, and simply repeat this process each time I notice have lost focus.

Also bear in mind that you do not necessarily need to set up a prop to focus on while meditating with open eyes, as you can focus on whatever you like that’s already within your line of sight, this can be absolutely anything, it’s not about what you choose, but simply picking something you can use as a focus point to help you bring your attention back whenever you find your mind wandering.

2. Meditate anywhere

Another benefit is that you can practice meditation with open eyes anywhere, such as if you’re in a public place and don’t feel comfortable closing your eyes, or want to be aware of your surroundings for any reason, which makes it easier to implement your meditations into your daily routine.

3. Stop you falling asleep

Due to the fact meditation can be very relaxing it can be easy to fall asleep while meditating, especially for people new to meditation, or simply if you are tired, perhaps after a long day at work. But by carrying out an open eye meditation, you are less likely to fall asleep than doing a closed eye meditation.

4. Experience the world around you

When you meditate with your eyes open, you can also experience the world around you in a way that is greater than if you were to use your eyes closed.

For example, I am blessed enough to live near a beautiful beach, I often like to visit there to meditate with my eyes open, looking out across the ocean, focusing my attention on where the sea and sky meet on the horizon, doing a gazing meditation, I find doing this really helps to quieten imy mind and bring me into the present moment.

Of course, it doesn’t matter where you choose to carry out your meditation session, for me personally, I find areas of nature such as beaches, forests, parks, hills, and mountains perfect locations for meditating, you may find other locations better, as long as it’s somewhere you can meditate in peace and enjoy the experience, then that’s all that matters.

5. Walking meditation

One benefit of meditating with your eyes open is that you can also use it for walking meditation as well, I personally like to do this on a beach, but it’s not a requirement, you can do walking meditation wherever you like, such as a park, a forest, your backyard, anywhere really.

The best way to approach walking meditation with your eyes open is to first use your eyes to take in the sights, then your other senses to observe the sounds and smells around you, notice the sand, the rocks, the grass, the different types of trees and plants, any animals that you may see, insects crawling about, this can really bring you into the present moment, which is a form of mindfulness meditation.

So those are just some of the benefits of meditating with your eyes open , but there are also some negatives to carrying out meditation with your eyes open, so lets look at those now.

So those are just some of the benefits of meditating with your eyes open , but there are also some negatives to carrying out meditation with your eyes open, so lets look at those now.

Meditation with eyes open negatives

1. Distraction

The most noticeable drawback of meditating with your eyes open is that you will be more aware of the outside world and visual stimulus, and so there is a higher chance of distractions. For example, if someone or something comes into your visual field, such as a person, car, or cat, you are more likely to notice it than if you were meditating with your eyes closed.

The way to overcome visual distractions, is simply to be aware of the fact that you can become distracted, and that you do not allow it to break your concentration or pull your attention away from the object you have chosen to focus on.

As you continue to meditate with your eyes open, you should start to notice that you become accustomed to these potential distractions, and your ability to focus on your meditation will improve.

2. Eye strain

Though this is not a major concern, it is something that can affect some people, and so you should be aware of it, especially if your eyes are particularly sensitive.

However, this potential issue can be avoided by simply not focusing on anything too close up, such as meditating while looking out of the window in a room you’re in and just focusing on the objects, buildings, and people in the distance, and remembering to blink often enough, to refresh and moisten your eyes.

3. Lack of “Zen”

The reason many people meditate with their eyes closed is so that they can create an environment in their minds with no distractions, to do this, it is often easier to close your eyes. This can make it a little harder to create this kind of an environment if you are meditating with your eyes open.

4. Not feeling natural

For many people, especially those new to meditation, closing your eyes can feel much more natural than meditating with your eyes open, and so there can be a psychological barrier to overcome.

However, after a while of meditating with your eyes open, you will likely get used to it, and begin to find it just as natural as sitting with your eyes closed, and as discussed there are benefits to meditating with your eyes open, so before you give up, be sure to try it out a few times and see if you get comfortable with it.

5. Difficult following a scripted guided meditation

Meditating with your eyes open can make it difficult to follow a scripted guided meditation as these usually have set stories or situations set up for you to visualise as you go through them.

For example, the guided meditation may require you to visualise yourself walking on the beach, but by having your eyes open it could be much harder to visualise this if you are not currently on a beach, whereas if you had your eyes closed it would be much easier to see yourself there.

Final Thoughts

That covers the main benefits and negatives to meditating with your eyes open, and it is something that is worth experimenting with, you may prefer to meditate with your eyes open, or you may find it just doesn’t feel right to you, and that is fine, because everyone is different and it is up to you to experiment with the different styles of meditation and see what works best for you.

If you would like to learn more about meditating you may be interested in the following posts…

What is the Purpose of Meditation – 23 Examples 

Is Self-Hypnosis and Meditation the Same

How To Meditate When Your Mind Is Racing? 3 Great Tips