There are several reasons why your eyes water when meditating. And because we are not all the same, the reasons why your eyes and your neighbor’s eyes water may differ.
Watering eyes can be regarded as a separate phenomenon from actually crying during meditation.
However, as with all experiences and sensations we encounter during meditation, whether tears or laughter, they will come and go when and if we need to experience them.
As long as they do not overwhelm us, we should embrace them as just another aspect of the experience. And of course, we should always keep meditating…….
So, let’s explore the main reasons why your eyes may water when you meditate.
Why Do My Eyes Water When I Meditate?
Meditation is a practice that puts us in different states from those we are typically in for the rest of our day. And while in these altered states our senses can become heightened. We typically become more aware of, and sensitive to, our thoughts, emotions, and any physical sensations our bodies are experiencing, than we normally are when busy with normal daily activities. And it can be any one of these aspects that are causing or contributing to our eyes watering.
1) Our Sense of Emotions Is Heightened
Throughout our busy days, we often don’t have the time or energy to process the thoughts and feelings that are running through our minds and bodies. By default, our brains will (in our best interests at the time) suppress, sidestep, or dampen down strong emotions that could otherwise prevent us from completing our tasks.
In contrast, when we begin meditating, we purposefully sit quietly and allow ourselves to become more open to our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
It is now that the stuff we suppressed before may bubble to the surface. And depending on the emotion we are processing, we may have some water leak from our eyes, express a few tears of gratitude, or experience a deep heart-felt crying session.
Either way, the water leakage or tears are an indication of a deeper process going on at a deeper layer within you….. something within either your mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual bodies, or a combination of them all.
This is good as it means the process is ‘a cleansing’ for you, and therefore, you should embrace the experience as you would any other aspect of your spiritual development.
2) Tears Are a Natural Reaction to ‘Letting Go.’
Some people believe that mediating will naturally allow our unresolved issues to come to the surface. And our tears are just part of our bodies natural reaction to letting go and relaxing.
All of the cells in our bodies have memory. And some of the memory is stuff we were given because of the genes we inherited from our parents, grandparents, and so on up our family tree.
Added to this, we were also programmed with behaviors, traits, and beliefs, (while we were young and impressionable) that may not suit our goals and dreams in this life.
So, often our ‘letting go’ of unwanted energy/information (because everything is energy and energy is just information) exhibits itself as water exuding from our eyes. It can happen at any time. However, the process is easier and we are more aware of it while we are meditating.
Brian Jones a 50 Year Meditator and Heartfulness Trainer expressed it nicely this way:
“All the experiences of our past have weighed down our consciousness. It has become like a big dark cloud. In meditation when we release these past burdens the tears come like rain, releasing the weight and darkness from our pure self. These types of tears are blessings – the pure rain of gratitude. This is a beginning phase. Soon, this becomes less as gratitude becomes more.”
If we are on edge for large portions of our days, it is natural for the body to feel relief when we ‘let go.’ And water discharging from our eyes and tears are ways our bodies naturally release energies that are no longer desired.
3) Maybe Your Eyes Are Dry or Irritated
Many people experience ‘dry eyes,’ and often the solution is as simple as using lubricating eye drops before meditating. But not always……
Our eyes normally lubricate and cleanse themselves by frequent blinking, (NKCF.org).
However, if we are spending long periods without blinking, our eyes are not able to take care of themselves in the normal way. So instead, they may release small amounts of water to attempt to cleanse away any toxins.
Reasons for this are varied and include:
– If we are meditating with open eyes, like when candle gazing, maybe the candle smoke or incense is causing irritation and our eyes naturally release water to try and remove the toxins.
– A fan, air-conditioner, or heater, can affect the moisture content in the air and cause our eyes to become dry if it is blowing on us or near us.
4) Our Unresolved Thoughts Surface
It’s easy to instruct people to ‘still their mind’ or ‘not be attached to their thoughts’ during meditation. However, in practice it is not an easy thing for beginners and even those who have practiced for many years, to achieve.
Often we will follow a trail of thoughts and have some attachment to them. And it’s our thoughts that lead to the way we feel……
Maybe our eyes watering were a result of us following a line of thinking that led to us feeling sad. Or, even better, maybe our thoughts led us to feel gratitude? The water from our eyes can be the result of us reaching a ‘feeling’ above and beyond what we normally experience…. in a good way!
This is common for people who are normally reserved or unexpressive in the normal course of their day. Because, after all, we are human, and humans are gifted with the ability to feel and express emotions……
….. and if we don’t experience this gift naturally and appropriately throughout our days, our feelings will manifest at any other times when the opportunity presents itself….. like when we are meditating.
5) Our Eyes May Be Closed to Tight.
This can cause physical tension or stress in our sinus and tear ducts and cause them to leak. The released water is our bodies way of trying to gain some relief.
The solution for this could be to take a few minutes to ‘calm down’ any tension and stress before beginning your meditation practice. A few gentle yoga stretches or some deep relaxed breathing for even a few minutes should do the trick.
Stress can also be caused by the meditation practice itself.
For example, when I used to meditate focusing on my third eye (either with open or closed eyes,) I would find my eyes would sometimes water. However, they would never water whenever my eyes were gently relaxed and in a neutral position while gently closed.
Many people assume meditation is about feeling good or stilling the mind. And while these are aspects of meditation, they are not the primary goal of a regular practice.
It’s a practice that allows us to experience a more intimate understanding of ourselves….
…… and that includes the good and bad thoughts, feelings, and sensations, which are normally suppressed by the busy lifestyles we are living.
If your eyes are watering during meditation, it is nothing to be concerned about. Instead, you should view it as a natural part of the process that is taking you toward your end goal…….
Therefore, you should not allow watering eyes to distract you or put you off your meditation practice.
Instead, don’t pay attention to it, just allow it to happen as you do all the other potential distractions that arise…..
…… and this includes the itchy nose, the pain in our leg, the dog barking outside, the thought that we need to be doing something else, and of course the water from our eyes.
Just observe it, as you would anything else while you are practicing. It will come and go and your ability to remain equanimous under any and all conditions will improve with more practice.
And you will find that as you release more and more of your unresolved issues, your eyes may longer need to water when you meditate.