In MIDL Mindfulness Training 36/52 you learn the subtle skill of relaxing your eyelids and eyes to directly bring about deep relaxation within your mind. There is a direct correlation between the alertness of the eyes & eyelids and hypervigilance of the fight / flight response. When in a hyper alert state due anxiety or trauma the eyes open wider searching for danger. Relaxing the eyelids and intensity of 'looking' has the affect of temporarily turning off this fight / flight response and allowing the mind to find safety within the experience of Stillness. During this process deep healing can occur. Submit Your Question
Your Question: I am unsure why eyelids are so important... a sense door.. can you explain please?
Stephen Procter: Your eyes / eyelids and mind are interconnected, the eyes will always reflect the true state of your mind - they can not be separated. When the Fight / flight response is switched on the eyes tense looking outward and the eyelids tighten, opening fully in an effort to find the perceived danger. Though this can be one of the more difficult MIDL Softening skills to learn, the Softening skill of relaxing the eyelids has a direct effect on the stillness of the mind and switches off the Fight / Flight response.
Your Question: I am unsure about how to relax my eyelids and when to do it, can you help me understand?
Stephen Procter: Relaxation can be brought to your eyelids during meditation through a process of gently opening them and then allowing them to close. This is tied in with the skill developed in MIDL Mindfulness Training 34/52: Lifting / Dropping as we literally 'lift' and 'drop' the effort within our eyelids. Once developed this skill can be used at the beginning of your seated meditation to bring about initial stillness of mind and at a higher skill level of abandoning the desire 'to do' behind negative habitual patterns, within your daily life.
How to do it:
While sitting in your meditation posture bring your awareness to your eyelids and notice the tension / effort that you can feel associated with holding them open. Abandon, relax that effort and allow your eyelids to droop, become heavy, very heavy.
Your eyelids will then partially close.
Gradually open them again and then allow them to droop, becoming heavy, so very heavy. Keep repeating this by gently opening your eyelids and then allowing them to droop back closed again. The opening and closing of your eyelids will gradually become smaller and harder to do as they become more relaxed. This process will lead to your eyelids becoming relaxed, your eyes will be neither open or closed, just drooping. Their heaviness and relaxation will become clear to you, it will seep into your mind and you will mentally sink into deep stillness.