Immensity of emptiness
Thank you for this reminder,
I've been sitting with eyes wide open too often recently,
and yes, I've been tense.
You write: 'I do as I feel lead' , this is not our practice. We do follow a precise form.
Also this is something I was a bit loose. Thank you!
I usually sit with my eyes half closed. Open too wide and I get easily distracted. Closed my mind wonders off on it's own. As others have mentioned, i do sometimes feel the eyelids get heavier and it's a struggle to keep them open.
I don't really have a blank anything to loosely gaze upon. My eyes usually lok down. I percieve my surroundings without getting wrapped up in them. But I do get distracted at times. The more I get used to sittin on the zafu again, the less the individual things tend to distract me.
To me, Zazen is a dynamic process. Just as I let a long breath be long and a short breath be short without trying to control my breathing, my eyes are sometimes more open and sometimes more closed. If I try too hard to follow perfect form, then there is checking, worry, self-consciousness, imprisonment. If attention is drawn to the fact that I'm sitting with wide open or closed eyes, I return to half closed, then let go of caring about what my eyes are doing again. Just as with thoughts, I don't try to keep a close watch on them. I leave them to their own natural functioning. If a certain spot on the wall comes into awareness, to my attention, my eyes will focus on it. I don't think there's any reason to fight it, just return to Zazen, time after time again.
Likewise, we sit in the Lotus or one of the other basic postures (such as Burmese and Seiza), and that is the base and standard we maintain ... but the posture also somewhat changes and flows during a sitting, and we just flow with the changes. More on that in this book and Taigu's wonderful talks in the Beginner's series ...
If the body is "right and balanced" such that it drops from mind and we don't have to pay it (to use an Americanism) "no never mind", then such is right sitting.
However, don't close the eyes, and don't move too far off from the basic postures, even as we let things flow.
I'm late to this party, but I'll jump in anyways. I started meditating eyes closed. I switched to eyes open after reading that closing your eyes lets your mind's movie projector run wild (which was certainly true in my case) Now, I just keep them open. For a while I tried to keep them open 1/3rd or 2/3rds of the way, but I'm bad at fractions and like my sittings to be math free. So now I just sit with my eyes however they want to be. Usually this is wide open in the morning, very close to shut at night, and everywhere in between during the day. I stare at a blank wall for the most part so focus hasn't been much of a problem. I guess if I don't get enlightened soon, I can always try the cutting off the eyelids trick and see if that helps! hahaha (I love stories like that, not because they are true, but because they remind you that you can always do just a little bit more)
After having let my eyes do whatever they want for a time, I wouldn't recommend it. The quality of my shikantaza is not the same with eyes closed.
I have nothing pertinent to add to this discussion.
However, I was struck by how unnerving the topic of posture and eyes can be for a lot of us. Western minds seem to worry and get hung up on the slightest things. Our minds run wild with the tiniest bit of fuel feeding our anxieties. This has lead my mind to run away from sitting.
We can work ourselves up so easily. No wonder big-pharma makes so much in profits /cue political diatribeLOL:D
Letting go of this worry though has lead me to embrace it as learning experience.
Cheri Huber's and Steve Hagen's books helped me a lot with this aspect of the monkey mind.
Now instead of worrying about my mudra, eyelids or posture. I just sit. [gassholook]
Great one but...are you the red bearded barbarian, the shaolin hero, the mythical guy we are all searching for?!!!...just post a real picture, much better to meet something that looks like you. Don t you think or not think?
Your take is good: we worry too much,..the issue being here that you speak as a man of experience and sounds as a man of none.
Phrasing far too good to be true.
Sit, really sit on this butt of yours and get the post, posing and picture out of the window.
My wacking was a bit much and if I did hurt your feelings, I sincerely apologize.
The point I was trying to make is that we are all talking too much sometimes and that we would be glad to have an avatar closer to your real self-non self.