Believe it or not, meditation doesn't just mean sitting cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed and hating every second of the deafening silence. But there are definitely times when it can feel that way, and in my experience, even though I know I usually feel better after the fact, meditation, in the moment, can feel torturously long, and sometimes even pointless. If you can relate, learning how to meditate with your eyes open — or, as one spiritual teacher refers to it, how to practice "mindful seeing" — might be an especially beneficial habit to pick up.
So, what does "mindful seeing" really mean, and how exactly do you do it? Well, it's pretty straightforward, according to Amy Leigh Mercree, a wellness coach and medical intuitive.
"Mindful seeing is the practice of consciously noticing everything within your visual field," Mercree tells Elite Daily over email. "You do this to focus completely on [one thing] as much as you are able. It takes your mind from a place of thinking and doing to a place of noticing."
And no, this doesn't just mean you look around your bedroom and allow your eyes to land on random objects. It's not a difficult practice, per se, but it is a little more complex than sitting still and staring ahead, says Mercree.
To practice mindful seeing, Mercree recommends you sit down, start small, and focus visually on one object. "A great way to start is to choose one thing to focus on," she tells Elite Daily, "like looking at the desk in your office, and what is on its surface, what is on the floor around it. You notice the colors. You notice the textures."
But the best part about mindful seeing, says Mecree, is that there's really no right or wrong way to do it. "This is not about attaining a goal," she explains. "It is about simply feeling, sensing, noticing, and being present to the moment."
If mindfulness is something you struggle with every time you try to practice it, Mercree says mindful seeing can definitely make the whole thing more approachable, particularly for those who feel like they get "lost" when they try to meditate. According to Mercree, the focus on physical objects in mindful seeing can help you feel more grounded in practical reality.
"Meditation is a broad and diverse body of many types of exercises and ways to train the mind, heart, consciousness, and spirit," the wellness coach tells Elite Daily "Mindful seeing is simply choosing to focus your awareness as much as possible on the information coming in through your sense of sight."
And when you bring your attention to a more singular focus in this way, Mercree explains, it allows you to direct your mind to something besides your endless internal monologue. It means that you're taking the emphasis away from the thoughts rattling around in your head like a bat stuck inside a cage, and consciously shifting your perspective outward.
When you step outside of yourself through a practice like mindful seeing, Mercree says, it can ultimately have a positive effect on your emotions, your behavior, and even your interactions with other people. She adds that mindful seeing is also a particularly rewarding safeguard against daily stressors, and after practicing this type of mindfulness for a while, Mercree says you just might harness a greater sense of awareness in the present moment — even when you're not actively meditating.
Well, don't mind me. I'll just be sitting here, looking intently at everything in my room for the next hour.