Meditation – Eyes Open or Closed?

Meditation, although making its way into many countries in the world, still has many questions surrounding it. Its multiple benefits for the mind and body have been widely recognized by experts in many different fields.

Despite its prevalence, many people are still uncertain which works best. Should you have your eyes open or your eyes closed eyes during meditation?  Here are some of the reasons for trying each way to meditate.

Keeping Your Eyes Open

  • The act of meditating with the eyes open has a historical reason behind it. Long ago, meditation was practiced only by people from certain religious groups in monasteries which were usually dark places. With the environment being so dark, it was too easy for a monk or nun to fall asleep. Keeping their eyes open while meditating helped keep them from becoming drowsy.
  • Another reason some people are taught to open their eyes while meditating is because it trains them to become more mindful of their breathing. This is the kind of mindfulness that they want to maintain all throughout the day. Some people say that meditating while the eyes are open allows them to remain more present and also prevents them from dozing off.
  • The object is to keep your gaze soft or unfocused and low, looking toward the ground about 6 feet, or 2 meters, ahead of you. That way you can still concentrate on your breathing.  This is what others refer to as the “lion’s meditation” in which an individual is in a deep state of relaxation but is not totally shutting off their focus on their external world.  With their eyes half open or half closed they remain sufficiently alert.
  • With your eyes softly gazing on your surroundings you are mastering your ability to ignore distractions which will also make it easier for you to stay focused on your daily tasks.

Keeping Your Eyes Closed

  • An individual who is constantly exposed to too much stress will usually find themselves being bombarded by a host of negative or unwanted thoughts. In this state it may be too challenging to ignore the visual distractions beyond the body.
  • Meditating with the eyes closed will help a person turn off one channel of their thoughts to allow them to focus more on their breathing and their inner world.
  • If you choose to meditate with your eyes closed make sure not to do it right after eating or you will find it too easy to fall asleep.
  • Some people say that meditating with their eyes closed will make it harder for people to train themselves not to get easily distracted when in the midst of their busy day as opposed to opening one’s eyes during meditation.
  • Others also say that closed eye meditation will only increase their tendencies to hallucinate, daydream, space out and drift into the world of imagination.

One of the main advantages of meditation is that it gives people the chance to take apart the huge amount of information that is constantly bombarding their minds.  It allows them to digest information, release that which is deemed unimportant and provide the brain more space for welcoming positive thoughts that contribute to better productivity and optimal health.

The answer to the question is, there is no wrong way!

Whether you choose to meditate with open eyes or closed eyes, use whatever works for you.  You may start by trying both methods to see which gives you better chances of reaping the benefits of meditation.