What about neuroscience? Also, what is the deal with keeping the eyes open?

June 10, 2019 | 4 Comments | FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

The meditation begins at 7:06
Audio only version is here.

Hello, meditator!

Before this week’s practice, I answer a 2-part question from Open Heart Project meditator Carole:

I would like to know if you combine the latest neuroscience research results with ancient wisdom on meditation? I would like to know why in the ’70’s I was trained to close my eyes during Transcendental Meditation and now you say to keep the eyes softly open.

With love,


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  • Posted by:  Sue P.

    As always, thank you for these weekly meditations. I sometimes miss them, but love them every time I don’t. I also appreciate the comment about sleep, as I’m a fairly poor sleeper and an often struggle to keep my eyes open.

    Although none were present in this video, I continue to wonder about how you manage your cat(s) when they wander in while you’re meditating. I acquired my boyfriend’s cat, and though she does this less often, now, she likes to come in and sit with me when I’m meditating. Sometimes, she just settles in across my lap. Other times, she rubs against me and wants to have her head scratched or be petted. I notice you often do the same.

    In one sense, it’s being in the moment to acknowledge her and respond to her. In another, not responding and continuing to sit quietly (I love the image of letting the silt settle to the bottom of the water glass.) feels like that’s what meditation is supposed to be. What do you think?

  • Posted by:  Bernie

    Hi Susan. I found your response to the neuroscience part frankly, arrogantly, even angrily dismissive. I think the essence of the question was about the changes in brain chemistry that positive actions, such as the quiet of meditation, bring about. You took it is a very different direction. It was as if you thought that there was a violation of purity if meditation were tied to brain chemistry.

  • Posted by:  Jeanne McKinnon

    I didn’t hear arrogance. What I heard is that’s not her focus. She approaches meditation as a spiritual practice and the value she knows about is in what she experiences, not the science. That just seems honest. She’s a spiritual teacher not a scientist.

  • Posted by:  David Guy

    It is true, though, that some practitioners of samatha practice with their eyes closed. That’s what most people do at the Insight Meditation Society, where I’ve often sat. And that’s what they teach.

    I’ve practiced both ways.

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