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When meditating on the breath, after a while the sensation of my eyes not being closed properly appeared. This then turns into vibrating, and my eyes feel like they are literally moving. I tried refocusing on the breath but this is a very difficult sensation to ignore. Does anyone have advice?

Other sensations I feel are the opening of my eyes, if I do not pay attention to them. This sometimes happens, but mostly doesn't. This is also extremely distracting, as I feel like I should focus on keeping my eyes closed.

Many thanks.

  • Interesting question; if could mention approximate time amount before noticing eye adjustments, total approximate time for contemplation, contemplation method intended, position, position of hands & feet, posture, and environment, that could all be helpful for replying – M H Aug 3 at 6:48
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    @MH it's usually around 5 minutes before it starts, it's hard to tell. It is actually happening instantly at the current moment of time. Same amount of time for contemplation, and I only do breath meditation. I was sitting back straight, knees crossed and looking straight forward. Feet were under my knees, touching the floor, and my hands were on my lap facing up, hand in hand. The environment was on my bed looking out of a window, I like the fresh breeze I get whilst doing this. Although it still happens whilst in a chair or on the floor. Thanks for your comment! – Danyaal Aug 3 at 22:08
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    @MH did you delete your comment or am I imagining things? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 9:30
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    @MH I see. I have noticed a further distraction whilst meditation, which is hard to deal with without focusing on it. Occasionally I will see a small light, but then realise my eyes are starting to open. Is this a distraction or my own fault? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 9:42
  • Do I just ignore the opening and the light that appears from doing so? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 16:40
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Instead of being reactive to the sensation merely observe it. Generally it will arise then depart. Then return to your breath. There are a lot of various kriyas that occur with meditation. Often it is different for everyone as energy channels are cleared. Once you start either being attracted to or adverse to the sensations, they persist until you let go. In general they are benign. If they become intolerable, stop meditating and go get some exercise. Find a teacher who can look at your entire constitution and advise you.

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  • Thank you for your comment. I assume the exercise is to tire the body out? I agree otherwise with the rest of your post, it's just a matter of practice for me. Also what are kriyas? – Danyaal Aug 3 at 22:16
  • The exercise is to open energy channels so energy flows and eventually flows directly thru the central channel. Kriyas are movements such as jerking, shaking, semi involuntary muscle movements. Semi involuntary because they can be stopped and. The energy consciously guided back to the central channel. They are thought to be released of blocked energy. These are described in yoga Tantra, I am sure Buddhist tantric texts must address this as well. Kriyas comes from Sanskrit root kri = to do – Samten Dolma Aug 4 at 23:30
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When meditating on the breath, ...

I think you're practicing mindfulness of breathing? maybe.

And you're getting distracted by sensations of eye opening or vibrating...

I also read your comments where you mentioned
'Occasionally I will see a small light, but then realise my eyes are starting to open. Is this a distraction or my own fault?

Seeing small lights etc are called Nimitta, (see this)

Nimitta is different practice if your doing mindfulness of breathing, so you need to ignore that and also nimitta takes practice to see lights constantly otherwise your eye will start vibrating or get opened if you do it forcefully (especially if you're beginner).

Now coming to your main question, How to deal with distractions while meditating.

I had this problem and I will answer in points,

  • If your feeling some sensation like itching then itch it before meditating.

  • Avoid using computer and smartphones, half hour earlier (minimum) because eye-strain also creates problem.

  • If you're beginner then try doing meditation in low-light and safe places with less distractions.

Now comes the main point,

  • Do concentration meditation for at least 7min. (I do this in morning)

When I say concentration meditation it's not like focusing on breath then some thoughts will come and you notice them and let them go etc.

No, I mean complete concentration, of course at beginning there will some distraction but remember to be fully concentrate on breath.

I remember a user in different platfrom saying this, 15min concentration meditation is equivalent to 30min less concentrated meditation.

  • Last point, when you breath in enjoy your breathing in and when you breath out enjoy your breathing out. :)

When you breath in be aware that you're breathing in and when you breath out be aware you're breathing out.

It'll be better if you focus on natural breathing it will increase your concentration and also mindfulness.

And maybe later meditating becomes your habit and you don't need to remember most of the points which I mentioned.

Hope this helps !

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  • Thank you for your comment! Are you sure the lights aren't just from my eyes opening? Usually when I fully open them, the area that light appears corresponds to an object in front of me giving off the light. I have seen lights during meditation before, it's like a lamp with a piece of paper in front. Not actually seeing light, but seeing the afterglow (not sure about that word) of it. – Danyaal Aug 4 at 16:45
  • About the concentration thing, usually when I meditate on the breath, I just try and ignore thoughts rather than let them go. Then I go back to the breath. Is this the same thing? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 16:45
  • @Danyaal you mean when you open your eyes little bit then reflection of lights from object shines just like water (wave) shines when sunlight falls on it and sometimes like glowing radium material? Right word is Aura I think, – rht Aug 4 at 16:47
  • I'm just recommending to practice for 5min at least with full concentration (by blocking your thoughts) with timer, you can try this right now if you are at right place and in right mood. – rht Aug 4 at 16:54
  • Aura I think is correct, so it is not Nimitta? The thought blocking is the same as just ignoring them and going back to the breath right? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 17:33
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Close the eyes properly?

Usually there appear various sensations like ie;

  • posture not being straight
  • legs not being very comfortable
  • odd sensations in the face or body
  • itching, numbing etc
  • wanting to adjust posture etc

Usually when some odd sensation appears, it distracts you from the breath but if you were to switch your focus to the sensation the perception of breath would distract you from the sensation.

So there is not that much you can do as you will get distracted either way, so i try to do as little as possible.

Eventually the distracting sensations will change & subside, so you can just observe that arising, persisting and cessation in that.

What i do is aknowledging that ie 'a painful bodily feeling has arisen' and just observe it distracting me whilst maintaining focus on the breath and whatever else is going on.

When distracted just acknowledge that a distracting feeling, thought or perception (however it appears to you) has arisen and go back to breath. Keep observing the arising, persistence and cessation of both perceptions (breath + distraction) whilst reapplying the focus and keeping it connected to breathing.

One can't really do anything about various thoughts, feelings & perceptions claiming focus so one just aknowledges their arising, persistence and the cessation.

I don't necessarily take note as in verbalizing thoughts as is taught by ie Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu but i do it occasionally. I don't think it's a mistake to do it but i think it is eventually somewhat distracting and is not something you do in the 2nd jhana but it's ok up until that point if one finds it useful to keep focused.

I tend to be less "hands on" in general and tend to stay mindful of the arising, persisting & cessation of thoughts feelings & perceptions by applying mind to something and keeping it applied without intentionally giving rise to thoughts.

If i notice particular hindrances then i drop the perception of breathing to counter the hindrance lest it can be well countered by the perception of breath (ie general restlessness).

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  • Thank you for your comment! How does one observe distraction whilst also focusing on the breath? I thought they meant the same-ish thing. Also could you expand on your last paragraph? I am interested. – Danyaal Aug 3 at 22:19
  • If one gets sleepy doing breath meditation then it's almost impossible to wake oneself up. It's possible to sit through it and drift whilst nodding or napping until it passes or one falls asleep but the general sutta instruction is to wake oneself up otherwise, by first attending to a different theme, reciting texts, rubbing limbs, getting up etc see capala sutta for details. – deadmanposting Aug 4 at 8:12
  • When distracted just acknowledge that a distracting feeling, thought or perception (however it appears to you) has arisen and go back to breath. Keep observing the arising, persistence and cessation of both perceptions (breath + distraction) whilst reapplying the focus and keeping it connected to breathing. In last paragraph i meant that if you notice ie anger, sleepiness or lust you might want to switch to a different meditation object to develop perception of metta, arouse energy or develop perception of unattractiveness before returning to breath when anger, lust or drowsiness has subsided. – deadmanposting Aug 4 at 8:17
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    I understand. I usually do not notice any anger etc. so for now I will use the breath. By metta are you talking about loving-kindness meditation? – Danyaal Aug 4 at 13:15
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    Yes loving-kindness. – deadmanposting Aug 4 at 13:19
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Bhante Vimalaramsi’s 6Rs seems to be a better way to deal with physical and mental distractions. https://youtu.be/lY77In3ZYGI

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  • Useful resource, many thanks! – Danyaal Aug 5 at 14:20
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There are many ways to tackle these kind of distraction while occur when u start meditating.its a normal situation everyone of us experience when doing the 'anapana sati bawana' or the meditation on breathing.I suggest u to do some research or get some advice from a proper meditation teacher.There are many type of meditation methods in Buddhism not every method is work for everyone perfectly.Remember practice is the most important thing...only through continuous practice u can overcome those diverticulitis.Do more research on the type of meditation ur going to practice...seek help and advice from proper teachers...may u will overcome ur problem

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