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Eyes Open

By Gary Enns | 2022-12-7 | Saturday Morning Mondo | Portia: When I first started meditating, I learned to keep eyes closed, but then at Mountain Spirit Center outside Tehachapi, they taught me to keep the eyes slightly open, and I was told it is because you don't fall asleep during the sitting, and here we keep the eyes open, too. What is the reason in our practice? Greek; eyes from a bronze statue Mountain Spirit’s is a good, practical answer: we keep our eyes open so we don’t fall asleep. There is a time for sleep, of course, but zazen is not that time. The Japanese word kontin means sinking or falling into darkness, sleepiness, dullness, and it, along with sanran (distraction, over-activity), is one of two mental states we are to avoid when we sit in zazen. In zazen we are awake, aware, cultivating the energy of the universe, or rather, the energy of the universe cultivates us. Recall the story of Bodhidarma’s eyelids. Tradition has it that he fell asleep seven years into his ni

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