Recommended Posts

Yo!

So I fancied experimenting. I usually meditate in full lotus these days with my eyes shut in addition to my regular kung fu practice. However, after learning the techniques of Zazen, I couldn't help but resist trying out this new form.

The practice is fairly similar to what I usually do...counting breaths to calm the mind but I usually then trail off onto what i need to focus on for that particular session. In Zazen, the counting is the sole focus and there is one major difference - the eyes are half open (as advised by many practitioners/teachers) and focussed at the floor roughly three feet in front.

I found this extremely hard! All of a sudden, there are so many more distractions present that I am needing to avoid such as my eyelids flickering and going cross eyed.

 

I guess this is the same as my kung fu forms, but at least in martial arts I'm moving so the temptation for the mind to wander is less.

What are your experiences with half-open eyes? What are your opinions on Zazen? I would like to know more, and if you recommend half-open eyes as a good form of training concentration, mindfulness, and all round meditation :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The purpose of counting the breath is to develop your focus. Once it gets too much, just focus on the breath. Basically you can go straight to focusing on the breath.

 

With eyes open, it's best to focus on the nose and yes your eyes will get cross eyed. That's basically the point. It attenuates some of your cranial nerves (oculomotor, optic, trochlear).

 

Funny thing is that when I first started, I had problems keeping my eyes closed. It stopped after awhile.

Edited by malikshreds
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The purpose of counting the breath is to develop your focus. Once it gets too much, just focus on the breath. Basically you can go straight to focusing on the breath.

 

With eyes open, it's best to focus on the nose and yes your eyes will get cross eyed. That's basically the point. It attenuates some of your cranial nerves (oculomotor, optic, trochlear).

 

Funny thing is that when I first started, I had problems keeping my eyes closed. It stopped after awhile.

 

Yes, I understand the counting things...that's all good. As for the open eyes, wow. Must be because I'm not used to it...it just feels wrong. I'll persevere and see where I end up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm interesting. I pick a spot on the floor a few feet in front of me and just set me gaze there. For me its the opposite I find that if I close my eyes that I tend to drift off but keeping my eyes half open helps to keep me in the here and now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The eye training is paramount important. Though I don't enjoy it.

 

Looking through nose ridge is a clever method. The benefit is enormous.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in my experience, where the eyes fall isn't as important as where the mind falls

 

Sure, whatever works for you.

 

At my level, I can't locate my mind if a naked cute girl dancing in front of my eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, whatever works for you.

 

At my level, I can't locate my mind if a naked cute girl dancing in front of my eyes.

common problem during meditation? lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With eyes open, it's best to focus on the nose and yes your eyes will get cross eyed. That's basically the point. It attenuates some of your cranial nerves (oculomotor, optic, trochlear).

 

Could you elaborate more on this? Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ack, sorry, I intended on fixing that - when I pasted the stuff in there it kept the table format, but once I submitted the post it left me with a mangled block of text. I was basically correlating certain attenuation techniques that correlated with attenuating certain cranial nerves.

Anything done repetitively, there is an ongoing dynamic balance between conscious and subconscious processing. So in the case of counting breaths, or chanting a mantra, all that is really doing is establishing a continuing resonance that occupies the thought-stream-energy and helps prevent it from manifesting extraneous thought. (Of course a mantra can also be doing other things, but I'm considering a restrained context here, I just didnt want to insinuate a mantra serves no other purpose.)

The reason for the eyes looking down and across the nose is to restrain the Cranial Nerves to the eyes. Four cranial nerves innervate the eyes - Optic (II) is purely sensory, Oculomotor (III, mainly motor) is perhaps the biggest movement one, controls the striated muscle in levator palpebrae superioris and all extraocular muscles except for the superior oblique muscle (IV) and the lateral rectus muscle (VI) as well as the muscle that control the pupil. The Trochlear (IV, motor) and Abducens (VI, mainly motor) are the two efferent ones. So we have two logical groups of 3, considering sensory vs motor, performed by 4 total. One may consider that in the context of the prescribed eyeball rotations as outlined in Taoist Yoga - they are performing an internal activation sequence.

By contrast, looking down the nose is basically inducing a similar static tension analogous to full lotus. Like a car's engine having a certain sized exhaust to provide a certain amount of back pressure onto the system, the push-pull of competing forces is where the power is derived and leveraged from. In a way the eye thing is helping the practitioner calm the eyes - since there's competing pulls from the different motors, therein lies the reason one finds himself tensing this or that part of the eyes while trying to relax some aspect of the eyes - note, you need to calm the cascade of neural resonances to truly relax the eyes and not "worry about what position they are in in order to relax them."

The nuclei or bodies of these nerves are found in the brain stem. The nuclei of the abducens and oculomotor nerves are connected. This is important in coordinating motion of the lateral rectus in one eye and the medial action on the other. In one eye, in two antagonistic muscles, like the lateral and medial recti, contraction of one leads to inhibition of the other. Muscles shows small degrees of activity even when resting, keeping the muscles taut. This "tonic" activity is brought on by discharges of the motor nerve to the muscle.


3580v1i.jpg

One other interesting thing is, these muscles are set up so that the net effect is "a rotation about the center of the eye."

800px-Eye_orbit_anterior.jpg

 

and here's a good 3d tutorial on the cranial nerves

http://atsflash.uthscsa.edu/3d_new/guide.html

Edited by joeblast
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a good tip is to have the front of the abdomen just barely in your peripheral vision, it helps in "locating the sunlight in the chamber of water" ;) touch a mudra to the qihai point.

 

an interesting thing about the optic nerve crossing is that the amount of overlapping fibers dictates the extent of binocular vision - so the slight eye-cross is "messing with that" in a way, inducing a re-analysis of the visual information at first and especially if you cross too much, but providing just enough ...ah...."space"....to "look inside" or look within - so the combo of these couple techniques here assists with..."nei shi gongfu" gongfu of internal vision, reverse-look at the lower dantien, focus the upper at the lower, and the sunlight...beams.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I practiced the eye-crossing for some weeks. The most evident effect is the relaxation of the third-eye area, but it seems to have negative outcome for the actual eyesight in some way.

I should investigate a bit more.

 

Thank you joeblast! :-)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I practiced the eye-crossing for some weeks. The most evident effect is the relaxation of the third-eye area, but it seems to have negative outcome for the actual eyesight in some way.

I should investigate a bit more.

 

Thank you joeblast! :-)

 

Yep, Joelbast is the technician.

 

Did you strain your eyes too much? I have this bad habit of abusing my eyes.

 

Some rememdy.

 

1. Don't stare hard. It's a soft gaze. When I feel the stingy on my eyes, I relax my facial muscle more.

 

2. Rub my hands until it's warm, I cup my closed eyes for a few minutes.

 

3. Eye Qi Gong. It only takes five minutes.

 

4. Rolling my eyes regularly, up, down, left, right, clockwise and counter clockwise.

 

5. Massage my head and neck.

 

6. Alternate nostril breathing. I think it's the same muscle control the eye movement.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while the nasal passages are divided, the olfactory nerve has one logical root, given that its the only CN that bypasses the thalamus:

 

1) The olfactory system misses the thalamus because it arises from a tissue called the telencephalon, the developmental tissue that will give rise to the forebrain (and your olfactory bulbs!) in development.

2) Without the thalamus, the olfactory tracts do not CROSS each other. This means that a smell in the right nostril will go to the right side of the brain, and a smell in the left nostril will go to the left side. This is called ipsilateral (same side) connectivity, and is a lot more rare than you'd think (wait til we get to the optic nerve...).

 

so, no correlation to eye movement, although there are definitely L-R aspects of it - so this alternating olfactory nerve stimulation IS the efficacy of alternate nostril breathing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you strain your eyes too much? I have this bad habit of abusing my eyes.

 

There's no strain in my meditations: the eyes comfortably placed and very good relaxation triggered in the third eye area where I usually hold tensions.

It's not a matter of strain... I had this at first when some of the blank area became red, but after some time I learned relaxation.

But after the sitting, it seems that my vision suffers from this.

 

Maybe the fact that I suffer from myopia should be considered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have near-sightedness too. Never had problems with my vision after meditation with eyes open. You may feel lightheaded which makes your vision seems weird.

 

Trying this stuff out at night helps a lot because it's dark. Using the eyes in meditation open is akin to staring out in space where you're just absorbed in your thoughts that you forget what is in front of your eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, I think I'm getting this. So the slight tension is supposed to ease somewhat over time? The key (as always) is to not worry...haha

 

I find my chin dipping too. I suppose the constant reminder to keep the chin up is just the same as any other mindfulness/posture training....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

regarding the chin - keep the occipit open, that's the important part. so the chin will be slightly down - but remember, it can close in both directions, so not too low, not too high.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi :)

I must say, I was hoping to see more useful information in this thread.

 

You guys never even touched on the psychic stuff!

 

Here is an accumulation of knowledge about the gaze, the eyes, etc. I'm still working on how to put all of this together.

 

The ida and pingala end at the nostrils.

 

That location, where the nostrils stop is an excellent location for collapsing or dissolving ida and pingala.

 

The sushumna branch stops at the brow (and sometimes even protrudes straight out from the brow).

 

When the eyes are crossed in exactly one way, you merge the blind-spots from each eye. (The blind spot is a dark circle in which you cannot see anything because there are no rods or cones in that part of the eye).

 

When you cross your eyes sufficiently to see the two blind spots, and merge them over top of each other, the circumference of the dark spot is much brighter than the hole; it looks like a tunnel opening.

 

The eyes contain the secret kati channel (not so secret, it is channel from the heart to the eyes, and it is said that that channel cannot be accessed by kundalini).

 

Lowering the gaze at the floor is said to calm the mind and is a rememdy for excitement.

 

Raising the gaze is said to enhance vividness and is a remedy for torpor or dullness.

 

Focusing the eyes on one location merges or joins the kati channels completing a loop. Like touching the tips of two chop sticks or two wires with current in them together. What ever you look at with both eyes, your feelers are converging on that object. The closer the object is to the eyes, the more pronounced the effect. Crossing the eyes merges the two blind spots.

 

When you focus the gaze at the tip of the nose (cross-eyed), it points the blind spots of the eyes (maybe those are the secret kati channels, maybe not) directly at the end of the ida and pingala channels, completing a circuit.

 

When you focus the gaze at the middle of the brows (cross-eyed), you are pointing your blind spots directly at the end of the sushumna branch, connecting the heart with the third eye.

 

When you look backwards through the gaze, you are in fact looking back down into the heart space. If you are sensitive enough, you will get itchiness just above the ears when gazing because the right and left kati channels go from the center of the eyes and then turn around the ears and go down to the heart at those points.

 

So, considering all these variables, what possible observations and conclusions might we make from the various gazing techniques like:

 

- Gazing at the tip of the nose or the bottom of the nostrils

 

- Gazing at the center of the brow

 

- gazing straight ahead with unfocused eyes

 

I'm thinking that up or down is forming a connection and gazing straight ahead is preventing any connection.

 

The other bits of knowledge about eyes open or partially open that I have accumulated are these:

 

- Eyes open or partially open helps to prevent sleepiness

 

- Eyes open or partially open feeds light into the brain, keeping the large visual cortex stimulated, keeping the brain more active

 

- Eyes partially open, once learned to perform effortlessly, really relaxes the brow and nose areas, helping to collapse ida and pingala

 

- The degree of vibration felt with eyes partially open is a much higher and finer type of energy than the vibration felt with eyes closed.

 

- Eyes open or partially open lets the mind understand that there is no boundary between inner and outer, that the mind is much larger than the conventional belief(it is not just behind the eyes inside the head).

 

 

Comments? Insights?

 

?

 

:)

TI

Edited by Tibetan_Ice
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites