I don’t know about you, but the minute I try to meditate, I close my eyes and a whoosh of activity starts in my brain. That black space on the inside of my eyelids seems to cue my mind to start a whirl of thoughts about the past, fears about the future or just what I need to add to my to do list. Unless I’m really, really tired – and then I just fall asleep!
Call me stupid, but it never occurred to me that there might be a simple solution.
Keep my eyes open.
Lots of meditation practices suggest meditating with your eyes open or half closed to stop the thoughts from turning inward. Allowing our eyes to remain open can help us stay more present and helps prevent our minds from wandering off somewhere else. Meditating with our eyes slightly open also makes us less likely to fall asleep. It can also be helpful to focus on something to keep our minds occupied slightly – a candle flame is a perfect choice.
If you get used to meditating with your eyes open it can be easier to carry that calm attention into your everyday life. Rather than having a time when you are meditating and then a time when you are getting on with ordinary life, there is a blurring of the activities and it can be easier to carry mindfulness into our everyday activities
So I tried meditating with my eyes open and, while I can’t say I have fully mastered the art, this simple change did make a difference. My mind was focused on the candle flame rather than a million other thoughts, I was less drowsy – and I did feel a glimmer of inner peace.