Lifting the Gaze Upward in Meditation


During meditation when we concentrate at spiritual eye, it is explained that we should see at a distant mountain peak. I want to ask that should the eye gaze and 'our concentration both be focussed at the distant mountain peak? Please explain. Jai guru!

—nandini, india


Dear Nandini,

Let me clarify about lifting the eyes: Many teachers give the instruction of lifting your eyes as if you were looking at a mountain in the distance.

The goal of those instructions is not that you should be visualizing a mountain in the distance. The goal is that the pupils of your eyes be tipped up slightly, without any strain. If you were looking at a mountain in the distance, that would lift your gaze slightly.

When your gaze is downward, the mind tends to go into subconsciousness and sleepiness. When your gaze is straight ahead, you are in your conscious mind, where you think and plan.

When your attention is at the spiritual eye, uplifted in superconsciousness, it pulls your eyes to look upward. So, we encourage people to lift their gaze to help encourage the mind to turn toward superconsciousnes.

Because many people try to look at the actual point between the eyebrows and cross their eyes, or feel great tension in the eyes, many teachers use the idea of looking at a mountain in the distance to help the eyes be relaxed but still directed slightly upward.

In the past, Swami Kriyananda has taught this principle by asking people to extend their arm in front of their face, with the thumb raised and held on a level with the top of the head. If you look at the thumb of your outstretched arm in this way, that also lifts your eyes in a gentle, comfortable way.

Where you hold your eyes is an aid to lifting your consciousness, but it is not where you concentrate. You basically “park” your eyes in an uplifted position. In the hong-sau technique, you want to be concentrating on the movement of breath.

As you begin to concentrate more and more deeply on the movement of the breath within the nose, and eventually at the very top of the nose, this will pull your concentration to the point between the eyebrows. As your attention is at the point between the eyebrows, that will naturally draw your eyes upward.

Some people find lifting their eyes difficult. It’s not something to make a central focus of. When you notice that your eyes are directed downward, just lift them up again.

I hope this is clear for you and helpful.

Many blessings on your practice!