I like to keep my eyes closed to escape my thoughts. Or so I think. When I meditate I close my eyes to center myself. In the hot room they tell you to keep your eyes open, and, while I’ve always heard that I haven’t given it much thought.
Sometime I like to close my eyes to “feel” my body move rather than see it, but, in actuality, my mind wanders in those moments to problems/situations/people ever present in my psyche. I’m not feeling my body move. I’m not even in the room in those moments.
A few weeks ago in class, the instructor called me out for closing my eyes during practice. I’m glad she did. I started observing my thoughts when my eyes would be closed versus open. When I close my eyes, my thoughts turned toward subjects that did not affect my present moment. They detracted from the moment actually.
EVERY TIME I shut my eyes I left the room and transported myself elsewhere. I’ve watched and observed this over the past few weeks. Then I started making a concerted effort to keep my eyes open during class and to focus on the image in the mirror. Sometimes I find this difficult to do because I tend to judge myself, but the judgment has lessened with time.
With eyes open, I’m in the room, in my practice and I can more readily hear instructions and apply those instructions to the pose. Sometimes I’ll end up concentrating on one portion of the instruction, but that’s okay because I’m still IN THE ROOM.
I have found that keeping my eyes open during savasana also helps me stay present: IN THE ROOM. Let’s face it. All the things I think about when I close my eyes can’t be changed or altered by my thoughts in those moments. In fact they may actually be solved by my silence, by my lack of thoughts. Sometimes the best ideas have come through moments of silence. Days of silence.
I’m in a conundrum about a little something at the moment, and I’ve decided not to think about it for a week or so, and I’ve found that the silence feels so good, so nice. I know the solution will present itself soon. I can’t force it. I don’t want to force it.
I digress, so it’s back to the hot room. The more I keep my eyes open, the more I’m actually there. Present. Willing to work for change. You see when my eyes are closed and I’m in the past or future, I’m not working toward change. I’m accepting what is. I don’t want what is. I want something so much better. That means I’ll keep my eyes open in class. Be present in class. Be present outside of class. BE PRESENT. NOT PAST. NOT FUTURE. PRESENT.
With that comes awareness and peace and a greater openness to all the possibilities unfolding before me. The next time you are somewhere (the hot room or another place) where you need to keep your eyes open and you feel tempted to close them, watch your thoughts, be an observer, and find your way to keeping your eyes open. You’ll be glad you did!
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