Relaxing the Eyes

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by fable, May 27, 2008.

  1. fable

    fable Member

    Hi everyone
    I just have a few questions on relaxtion. I've been meditating for a while now. I find it easier to relax my body. The problem is the only part of my body I find hard to relax are my eyes. When I actually sit down to relax, I sometimes feel as though there is a constant pressure on my eyes and I feel a pressure for my eyes to open by themselves. This often gets in the way of meditating. If anyone has any advice on how to relax your facial muscles that would be cool.
    Also two other questions:
    1. What is the best position to meditate in. Should I lie down on my bed or should I go into the position in which we often see Buhdists meditate in.
    2. should I keep my mouth closed when meditating or should I just let it drop open in order to relax it.
     
  2. Imed

    Imed Member

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I've have that too sometimes where it just seems like a struggle to keep your eyes closed. For me however, if I can willfully keep them close for the first couple of minutes, this feeling goes away and they no longer feel pressured to open. I'm not sure if this helps, but just know that you are not the only one to feel this, and with if you use your willpower to keep them close for the first couple of minutes, the rest of your meditation should be smoothe sailing. Also, someone else might be able to give some better replies so read those too. :)

    Good luck with your meditating.
     
  3. Raven

    Raven Member

    Eyes and body position

    Fable/Imed,

    As far as your eyes and getting them to relax, use a method employed by hypnotists. With your head level, focus your gaze straight ahead and slightly upwards to a point in front of you. The eyes (not the head!) should be turned up just a little bit, but not so much that it is uncomfortable. You should feel only a very slight bit of tension. I can't stress the "slight" part of that emphatically enough. Focus your attention on a spot in front of you and do not allow yourself to blink. Hold this gaze until you begin to feel the first hints that the muscles are tiring by keeping your eyes pointed slightly upwards. This may take only a short while, perhaps 30 seconds, maybe a little more, possibly a little less. It varies from person to person.

    Once you begin to feel that slight bit of fatigue in the eye muscles, inhale deeply and a little slower than usual and as you do, allow your eyes to blink slowly and evenly. This is a controlled, slow blink, not a normal blink. It should take from 1 to 2 seconds for your eyes to reach the closed position. Then, as you begin the exhale, open your eyes, again, in a controlled, slower-than-normal way, taking about 1 to 2 seconds for your eyes to open all the way. Once the eyes are open focus them once more on that spot ahead and slightly upwards.

    Hold the eyes open, fixed on this spot, unblinking for another period of time until you feel the fatigue again. Then repeat the blinking process as before.

    Go through this process anywhere from 3 to 5 times. You will find that it provides a nice, natural fatigue to the eye muscles. It may even be helpful as you are slowly blinking them closed to mentally say to yourself something like: "My eyelids feel heavy and relaxed."

    I think you'll find this goes a long way towards solving the restless eye sensation you reported.

    As for your posture, traditional spiritual meditation practices generally advocate you use a sitting (some permit laying down) position in which your spine is aligned so that your head rests directly over the center of gravity of the body. They teach that this permits the free flow of subtle life energy up and down the spine.

    If you don't subscribe to "subtle energy" notions, then think of it as keeping your body aligned with the center of gravity so that there is no disturbing muscle tension necessary to compensate for the body/head leaning one way or the other outside the center of gravity. It simply allows for the least amount of muscle tension and, as you no doubt already know, part of successful meditation is being able to be physically relaxed.

    Sitting is the most common recommendation but, as noted, there are traditions that permit laying down so long as the straight spinal alignment is kept. One disadvantage to laying down is the tendency to want to fall asleep. Since we normally lay down to sleep, just the act of laying down is a subtle trigger that tells the body/mind that you have sleep in mind. For some people this trigger is difficult to overcome; for others it's not a problem. So it depends on you. Whichever way works for you, that's the way to do it.

    As for mouth open, mouth closed, again, different traditions offer various opinions. Most commonly its taught that the jaw needs to be relaxed which usually means the lips part slightly. In this case "slightly" is a matter of interpretation so, again, it's really up to you to feel your way through it and see what works best. The same is true of how you breathe. Through the nose? The mouth? In the the nose, out through the mouth? Or vice-a-versa? Tibetan Kum Nye techniques even say that the breath should come in and go out evenly through both nose and mouth at the same time. So you have a wide choice of possibilities. We're all different. Experiment a bit and you'll find what works best for you.

    ~R~
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2008

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