Squinting is an invaluable technique used by artists, and something we can apply in our own lives too. For artists, it’s simple to do: you just periodically look at your work with your eyes partially closed. Here is what a very fine artist, Robert Genn, has to say about the subject:

“Looking at work with half-closed eyes has several benefits. Simply put, squinting makes note of weak areas. Squinting tells you what’s wrong and what’s bad. Squinting lets you know where darkness or lightness might be added. Also, by drawing together the eyelids, you see the subject as more or less reduced to black and white. When work is viewed without the benefit of color, decisions can be more readily made. It seems that in standard easel-working vision, you ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’”

Isn’t that one of the common mistakes we make in life, focusing on the trees instead of the forest? If we apply the squinting technique to our lives, it will help us extract ourselves from all the details and see our major energy patterns. Doing this as a regular habit can help keep our lives on course.

lahiri mahasaya yogananda teachings yogananda lineage kriya yoga

Lahiri Mahasaya seated in lotus pose.

Even the position of the eyes is significant. Here is what Paramhansa Yogananda writes about the great yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya: “His intense joy of God-communion is slightly revealed in a somewhat enigmatic smile. His eyes, half open to denote a nominal direction on the outer world, are half closed also. Completely oblivious to the poor lures of the earth, he was fully awake at all times to the spiritual problems of seekers who approached for his bounty.”

How can we translate the physical squint of an artist into the mental and spiritual squint that would be so helpful in life? What is needed above all is to back off from involvement in the innumerable details and problems of daily living. Another way of describing a spiritual squint would be to look at the canvas of life through a mind that is half involved and half detached. See the broader goals of your incarnation: Are they poorly focused, or set off to the side? When our minds are too involved in problems or too focused on “the poor lures of the earth,” we can’t see the larger picture.

The best time for a spiritual squint is toward the end of a meditation, when our minds and hearts are already somewhat withdrawn. Relax your gaze up toward the point between the eyebrows and spend a few minutes considering the broad patterns of your life. Do they line up with your aspirations, or have you allowed your soul to get caught in a cobweb of little hopes, dreams, and worries?

Once you perceive the “weak areas and what’s wrong or bad” it is time to get to work. Paint over those parts that should be eliminated and start adding more light and color to those parts that will bring you true joy.

Swami Kriyananda said, “We are all works in progress. God isn’t finished with us yet.”

With a squint and a half smile,

Nayaswami Jyotish 

Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:34):

14 Comments

  1. This is so cute and so wise dear Jyotish!!!💙 I will squint up my eyes onto the hills to see God and Guru everywhere 😇My squinting comes from the Lord Who made my eyes to squint and see more 😇with love to you and Devi💙💙bhajana🎸🎶💛

  2. Thank you. I just read this page when I receive it always find something new to learn.
    I am not an artist but like colouring and today I have learned a new word “Squinting” not only to my work but also to my daily meditation whenever I do it.
    Thank youand keepup with the good work.
    May Almighty bless you.
    Love
    Charu

  3. I thank you from my heart for this valuable insight. Lahiri Mahasay is also my Divine Teacher.

  4. “Swami Kriyananda said, “We are all works in progress. God isn’t finished with us yet.”

    With a squint and a half smile,”

    Oh my! Ain’t that the truth! But that’s why we get up every morning and begin our day, with our projects mapped out and desires to fulfill. Then, as we lay down to sleep, with eye’s half closed, we review the day, and say, well, I did all that I intended, some of it didn’t turn out as I expected, some of it did. Now. on to tomorrow, and all that lay ahead –

    God Bless you two! Thank you for guiding us and inspiring our goals to fruition.

  5. What a beautiful explanation !!! Gave such a deep meaning and an eye opening perspective. Thank you so much Jyotishji. 🙏🏻🙏🏻
    Regards
    Archana

  6. This is very helpful and puts our personal concerns in perspective. I also was inspired very much by your commentary, and hearing you read the blog instead of just reading the blog myself.

  7. O Mother
    Thanks you for your blessings…
    Feelings directly to my heart..
    Please Make it a hermitage O Mother…
    Forever and forever

  8. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. A very important and useful technique to apply.

    I enjoyed reading the quote from Swamiji. “We are all works in progress. God isn’t finished with us yet.”

    How wonderful it is to see when something in us needs to be corrected our Masters are guiding us and sending us the required help to correct ourselves and help us grow.

    Joy,
    Prem

  9. Now, to interpret Lahore Mahasaja’s “squint” that way seems far fetched, but Jyotish writes too delightful a story line here through the squint of an artist, that it makes me experience Lahiri in a new way. And as artist and chela, I shall squint more, unapologetically !!!!

  10. Now, to interpret Lahiri Mahasaja’s “squint” that way seems far fetched, but Jyotish writes too delightful a story line here through the squint of an artist, that it makes me experience Lahiri in a new way. And as artist and chela, I shall squint more, unapologetically !!!!

  11. Well said Jyotish,
    And a great reminder to use the “squint” to refine our inner vision even more.
    Bless you, that was a lot of fun to read.

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