Eyes open or shut

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    My experience when meditating with eyes open and eyes shut is very different. There are some practices which stipulate “eyes open” meditation. In the past I’ve practiced zazen where you generally “shroud” your eyes, but do not close them and you face a wall to minimize distraction, but also, I believe, to remain “connected” and reduce focusing on “internal” mental phenomena. I believe it is intended to provide a balance.

    In the TMI book I believe the recommendation is to sit with eyes closed “for now”. It seems perhaps it is a recommendation to ease into perhaps meditating with eyes open as some point, but I don’t know.

    So, the question is which is recommended and why? Is it a matter of “it doesn’t matter” or “do whatever is most comfortable” or is there a prescription for practice?



    Chris Gagne

    Ultimately, I’d say it’s up to your investigation to see what works best for you.

    A few additional factors to consider and/or experiment with:

    Eyes open is associated with less dullness, at least initially. In fact, opening the eyes is a weak antidote to dullness. After a while the mind can adjust to the eyes being open and get dull anyway.
    People who meditate with eyes open do not experience the illumination phenomena at higher stages.
    This is only from weak memory, but I think most TMI practitioners I have seen on retreat meditate with eyes closed.
    The visual field is generally rich even when facing a blank wall, so having your eyes open will likely consume awareness that could be used directed introspectively.



    Thanks for the reply. In my limited experience, what you say rings true. There is a distinct difference between the two for me and I find eyes closed preferable, but do deal with dullness and falling asleep. That, right now, has been the greatest obstacle for me. It is starting to resolve.

    Thanks for your advice.

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