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Thread: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

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    Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    I don't really know how to phrase this properly, but I need to know "how to behave" in a way when it comes to closing your eyes. When my eyes are closed in meditation, am I supposed to forget about my field of vision (ie: the blackness that is clearly visible from having my eyes closed) ad focus on something else entirely, am I supposed to focus on the variations of colors that can come up from the darkness when my eyes are closed (ie: a lot of times I'll see purples and greens and such when I close my eyes (which I remember learning years ago in a psychology class had to do with the light sensitive chemicals interacting with the retina)), am I supposed to consciously think of an image (such as God), am I suppose to imagine movement into the darkness? Am I supposed to be moving my eyes (I've read somewhere that REM live movements while meditating a certain way can lead to hypnosis like states). I've never really read anything that directly addressed these questions.

    Also, I don't really know how one is supposed to chant when meditating. Are you supposed to physically say it (and if you do, how does that interact with breathing), are you supposed to imagine chanting/chant in your mind (the breathing question applies to this to, because if I'm doing that I usually have trouble breathing and mentally chanting at the same time). Also, while I'm at it, is the point of meditation supposed to be focusing on God, or is it (at least initially) about finding stillness and peace (and thus from that stillness you just happen to find God, as opposed to trying to find it)

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    BloodyRose,
    Good..so many questions . The purpose of meditation is to control the mind so try not to do anything consciously except observing your breath going in and out at the area of nostrils. Like you said you will see blackness .. let it be you can't avoid...and after sometime you will see different colours.. weird psychedelic designs.. if you are persistent. It's better to avoid chanting or thinking of an image as chanting will bring your deity or something into your vision and this will further lead to series of images and you will lose control of your mind. So it's always good to avoid all things and observe only breath.

    In the beginning you are supposed to consciously observe breath going in and out and as you advance (once you have many hundreds of hours of quality meditation) it will happen so easily that you don't even think you are doing it consciously. Also don't count the breaths as your mind can't do efficiently both counting and observing the breath one takes precedence over the other. Meditation is about to calm the mind and experience the reality.

    Also check this video.. it's a good start

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0rSmxsVHPE

    But if you are interested in some serious meditation..check dhamma.org and attend a 10day course. It surely is beneficial.

    Good luck
    ॐ महेश्वराय नमः

    || Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraya ||

    Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambo Shankara

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Namaste,

    the term 'focusing' as used in English language could be the cause of confusion.

    Don't practice visual focus - this would cause headaches & cross eye.

    For meditating, the term 'focus' means clearing your mind of thoughts and reducing the noise. Closing the eyes helps to reduce visual distractions.

  4. #4

    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Hi !

    Suppose I ask you ... when I want to slip into sleep ... should i lie down towards the left/ right ? what should I see with my eyes closed ? How should my breathing be ? Should the bed be soft, very soft or hard ?

    What would be your answer ?

    I do not know what you would answer ... but if someone asks me this question ... I would say "First feel sleepy" and then everything falls in place.

    The same thing with meditation ... First become Meditative. When one is meditative everything automatically falls into place. What ever way one sits, that itself becomes a meditation posture!! what ever one does that itself becomes meditation.

    One becomes meditative when one starts to inquire into the nature of things ! Who am I ? whats all this ? When one sees things as they are ... transitory , changing and dying ... when one sees all this ... and thinks deeply ... one gets meditative. Then one should seek a guru and ask them the Truth ... becoz one would naturally get lot of questions to ask then . The guru teaches the Truth ... and as the Truth settles ... one becomes very meditative.

    in short ... meditation is not yet another activity to add to our list of daily chores. Meditation is really "Meditative-ness". One remains ever blissful and ever serene ... 24 7... no matter what activity one involves in. Every activity becomes a meditation.

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Namaste,

    the term 'focusing' as used in English language could be the cause of confusion.

    Don't practice visual focus - this would cause headaches & cross eye.

    For meditating, the term 'focus' means clearing your mind of thoughts and reducing the noise. Closing the eyes helps to reduce visual distractions.
    I have had some serious headaches and nausea from doing that too, so thank you lol.

    And thank you everyone for the answers .

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Namaste,

    The colours you see may be energies. I used to myself see them when meditating and or while candle gazing. So I asked somebody that is this illusion as if you rub your eyes, you will see these colours and rings and patterns, etc.

    So he said, if the thing is real it will stay at it's place. If it's in your mind, it will move with your vision.

    e.g. if you see purple colour, and then move your eye sight to another place, if the colour follows, it is inside your mind. If it is real, then the colour will stay at same place.

    If you want to chant any mantra, shastras say, you begin with verbal chanting. So chant is verbally, then decrease the volume, so that only you can hear and then later on when you have practiced a lot, chant mentally.

    So you can chant it not too loudly.

    if you be aware of breath, it is fine, but there is no need to be specifically be aware of breath.

    simply chant the mantra. If you want to visualize an image, some visualize in 3rd eye (ajna chakra) - center between eye brows, I prefer to imagine it at center of chest in anahat chakra.

    Focus and awareness is a different issue. You can focus and concentrate on on thing like a nail on wall, but you can be aware of 360 degree around you. Awareness is a state of de-focusing. So just be aware.

    I would say simply chant the mantra. If it is difficult, then use Mala, still find it difficult, you can imagine an image inside heart chakra or at the level which is between center of chest. You wont have headache or feel heaviness in head.

    If you are chanting any mantra, then let those colours come and go, no need to focus on them. You should neglect it, unless you are practicing kundalini Yog or any energy based technique.

    when you close your eyes, begin chanting verbally (not too loud to disturb your neighbours ), be aware of mantra. When you realize your mind has distracted, make yourself understand that you are supposed to chant mantra and not think on any issue. Do not force. Simply convince your mind that you need to just chant mantra. Do not give importance any thoughts or any colours you see. Also do not try to avoid thoughts. Do not do this, else more and more thoughts will come and you will end up being frustrated.

    So if thoughts come, let them come, do not give importance them them and surrender to God. Pray to god to take these thoughts and help you focus in meditation and chant thy name. Pray to God before beginning meditation. Prayer helps a lot

    simply pray, oh god, I have come to your refuge, please accept me and guide my meditation. Surrender all thoughts and emotions to God by saying Oh god, take all emotions, positive and negative, good and bad thoughts and give me pure devotion. This helps a lot.

    There is no need to tune chanting with breath, it will later happen by itself, just leave it to God, unless your destination is to explore powers of God and explore the energy world.

    Aum

    IS
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

  7. #7

    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Namaste Indiaspirituality!

    What a great reply! It helped me a lot too.
    Om Gam Ganapataye Namah!

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by squidgirl View Post
    Namaste Indiaspirituality!

    It helped me a lot too.
    Happy to know that I am helpful to somebody.

    __/ \__

    Aum

    IS
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality View Post
    Namaste,

    Awareness is a state of de-focusing.
    Aum

    IS
    Namaste,

    It would be great if you please share some more thoughts on the above.

    Gratitude,
    Namaskar,

    AmIHindu ?

    यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि ।

    नाम्नोऽस्ति यावती शक्तिः पापनिर्हरणे हरेः । श्र्वपचोऽपि नरः कतुँ क्षमस्तावन्नकिल्विषम् ।।

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    Re: Serious questions relating to having eyes closed in meditation

    Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality
    Namaste,

    Awareness is a state of de-focusing.
    Aum

    IS
    Quote Originally Posted by AmIHindu View Post
    Namaste,

    It would be great if you please share some more thoughts on the above.

    Gratitude,
    Namaste

    I am not an authority, but will try to share from my limited understanding and experiences. I also do not represent things very well, but still I will try my best. My apologies for bad English and typing blunders.

    Focus is like concentration. You can focus on one thing at a time. It requires an effort and produces strain. One can focus on a single point like nail on wall or a black dot on a white poster.

    Awareness is something different. One can be aware of what is going around you, to your left, right front and even back. To be aware, you have to de-focus. De-focusing is like having withdrawing your focus, your entire attention from one object and spread it on a wider angle.


    e.g. If you focus or concentrate on a part of body or any chakra and you are not aware of anything else around you, as you are fully absorbed or have full concentration on the 'object of concentration'. You are actually involved in the object of concentration and focus. Now when focus becomes weak, you realize that you are concentrating on a single object and decide to withdraw your focus form that object. Now you do not give much importance to the object and just be aware that it is there i.e. the object exist.

    So if you concentrate on a chakra say anahat chakra and then you just be aware of it, you begin to feel lighter, as the strain has reduced.

    I hope you are getting my point.

    One can be ware of an entire body at a time, but one cannot focus on entire body at a time.

    Our eyes have focus on centre, and so you can see things clearly that are in the front, but as soon as you withdraw the focus (de-focus), the viewing angle widens and you can see the sides upto certain angle, though the vision is blur and cannot see the details of objects on your either side. You are just aware of things going around you.

    In meditation, one initially has to focus on mantra, as the force of thoughts is high and flow of thoughts is very fast. So there is an effort. But after certain practice, you mantra continues by itself. Now you can be aware of both thoughts running in background and the voice of mantra. You can select either of them, and obviously you must select to be aware of mantra. As soon as you become aware of mantra, you are giving importance to mantra. If you are involved in a thought process or in images that float in your mind, you are not aware of mantra, it slips to background or even stops. But when the force of thoughts decrease after sometime, you suddenly realize that you are sitting to meditate. Do you shift your focus on mantra. After shifting focus, don’t try too hard, just be aware of mantra and later on the source of mantra. This awareness is the key. If you are aware of mantra, mind will calm down fast and easily, of course with some practice. Awareness makes your meditation continuous, as you are aware of voice begin to start mantra, and you are aware of it ending or terminating into a blank space, technically into origin of mantra. You are also aware of the blank space between 2 chants. You are aware all the time from one chant to blank space to next chant i.e. from one chant to another, that too without making much effort. Only effort is to sit and be aware. Chant goes on by itself (after certain practice). When any thought arise, just be aware and then neglect it. Do not let it influence you or drag you into the thoughts.

    Unlike focus or concentration, awareness is a receptive state, where one is open and mindful, de-stressed. There is less struggle, less presusre is left by brain, and so the state of de-focusing, makes one be just aware, without any reaction and keeps one fresh, as it retains the energy.

    Later as one advances, one experiences joy and inner peace form the origin of mantra. The intensity of peace and bliss increases as one has less thoughts and is aware of the origin of mantra. Sri Ramana Maharshi also says that thoughts disappear if one inquires about the source of thoughts.

    I personally think that this is not possible if you focus on any thought or mantra. Awareness helps one let go. Everything happens spontaneously (Sahaj). The more you are relaxed, the more you can meditate. Awareness gives you freshness, insights, deeper meaning, broad vision, peace, bliss, detachment, being Sahaj and natural, you know yourself better.

    Awareness also helps one to listen to the discriminative mind. After the study of scriptures, and by listening to wise men, one knows what is right and wrong, still the force of mind is so strong that it drags you to do some things, which you know should not do. Awareness helps one to de-focus, withdraw your focus back to your senses and thereby reduce the influence of any object, thought or any issue. You also begin to listen to the little inner voice, which constantly keeps telling you what is right and wrong what to do and what not to do. It always tries to stop you, warn you, hint you of what to do and what not to do. You should trust you instinct and make your mind strong and prepare yourself to fully trust and follow your inner voice.

    e.g. if you get into ranting with someone say your colleague, even before you begin to lose your temper, this inner voice, which is the voice of the discriminative mind or the Guru will try to stop you not to be angry. If you still lose control, after the event is over, mind calms down and you know you did what you shouldn't have done and that there was something that tried to stop me from getting angry.

    I do not think that focus will help you to achieve this.

    When you are focussed, you are involved. If you want to withdraw from involvement, you have to pull back the senses. To pull back the senses, you will have to de-focus, which can be done if you are aware. Actually, when you are aware, you have already withdrawn focus form the object of focus or any issue. Awareness is a state of de-focusing. You are just aware of things going around you, but do not focus on any single thing. People practicing martial arts also have to be aware. Athletes, like marathon runners enter into this state and into trance like state and they keep running. They are just aware of their whole body, aware of the pain, but they do not react and keep running. When you de-focus, you are just aware.

    If you feel pain, your attention (and focus) shifts to the point of pain. When you become aware of pain and just be aware and do not react, the focus is pulled back or de-focused. So awareness is a state of de-focussing, withdrawing your senses, your concentration back to the source.

    *By withdrawing focus, one becomes aware and so becomes an observer. Only observer can be detached from thoughts, body mind and everything that is not SELF / Atman / Brahman.

    I cannot make it understand in a better way. I tried my best. I hope you understand

    Aum

    IS
    Last edited by Amrut; 28 September 2012 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Added line after *
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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