Open mind meditation is when we acknowledge whatever rises into consciousness without trying to react to it. Sensations, thoughts, emotions, memories, and imaginations may arise, but we don’t cling to them or avoid them – we just let them be. Open mind meditation is a full acceptance of whatever the present moment has to offer, without any particular directing of attention.
Most meditations are focused on a particular “object” of meditation. For example, focusing on your breathing (“Breathing Meditation”), or walking (“Walking Meditation”), or a particular mantra (such as in a “Loving-Kindness Meditation”). However, the “Open Mind Meditation” is different because it is an objectless meditation. There is no particular “object” to focus on.
In this way, there is no telling where your awareness may bring you, and every “open mind meditation” is going to be different. At times, your mind will shift to the sensations in your body, perhaps an itch on your nose, a pain in your lower back, or the growling of an empty stomach. Other times, your mind may shift inwards and reflect on passing thoughts, such as “What am I going to eat for dinner?” or “I need to put out the garbage tonight.” Or, perhaps your awareness will shift toward a sound in the room, a smell, or a gust of wind against your skin.
When in this state of “open awareness,” it is likely that some things will enter into consciousness that we may want to ignore or suppress. Perhaps an unpleasant thought, emotion, or memory will arise that we want to avoid. The difficult task, however, is to accept these experiences without putting a judgmental label on them. When we feel anger, depression, grief, or frustration, we should accept those feelings for what they are worth, and experience them in the moment without trying to run away. As Positive Psychologist Tal Ben-Sahar once said, “We must give ourselves permission to experience the full range of human emotions.”
The goal of such a practice is to build “equanimity,” a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment, and a conscious realization of reality’s transience and impermanence. In other words, during open mind meditation we often find that even the most uncomfortable thoughts and feelings eventually change or pass us by. Our consciousness is always taking new forms, as one sensation leaves, a new one arises.
Similarly, we must treat positive experiences with the same sense of equanimity. It is all too easy to cling to pleasurable and blissful feelings. But they too are impermanent, and craving such experiences can lead to a source of displeasure and suffering, especially when those cravings cannot be satisfied.
Without craving positive experiences, or avoiding negative ones, we can cultivate a sense of inner peace that truly satisfies our well-being. Open mind meditation allows us to create this sense of peace from within. All we need to do is sit down and become aware of all that is happening around us, without having to judge whether it is “good” or “bad.” It just is. So enjoy the ride, with all its highs and lows, and everything in between.
“Open Mind Meditation” Directions:
- Just sit and watch anything that enters your consciousness.
It’s an incredibly simple practice. In Buddhism, it is sometimes referred to as a “just sitting” meditation. The point isn’t to try to do anything or accomplish anything, but to just sit and watch whatever comes into your experience.
Interestingly, a recent study shows that “open mind meditation” (as opposed to “focused meditation”) can help improve creativity, problem-solving, and divergent thinking.
Overall, practicing this meditation is going to give you a more “open-minded” attitude, as well as a more “tolerant” attitude towards thing in life that tend to annoy you or offend you. I highly recommend you try it out and see the benefits for yourself.
Discover more tools to daily growth in the digital guide The Science of Self Improvement