Question: When we meditate at home, what percentage of the time should we spend looking at your transcendental picture? Sometimes my eyes hurt from the light, so I just close them.

Sri Chinmoy: I advise my disciples always to keep their eyes a little open when they meditate. It is more convincing and more fulfilling to keep the eyes open. After five, ten or fifteen minutes, if you feel that you have identified yourself with me totally, at that time even if you close your eyes, still you are bound to feel that your eyes are wide open. It is not that you are using your third eye, but your identification with me will be complete. At that time, if you want to keep your eyes closed, you can; but until you have come to that state, it is advisable to keep them open. Let us say that you have meditated for half an hour. If you close your eyes but do not have any deep inner feeling within you, that means the identification is not complete. In some cases, even after the seeker has achieved total identification with me, he does not feel it necessary at all to close his eyes. But if you feel that for relaxation or for extra joy you want to keep your eyes closed, then first establish your oneness with me during your meditation. Then you can keep your eyes closed if you really need to. Otherwise, always keep your eyes open.

When you keep your eyes half open, it is called a lion's meditation. At that time, you are conscious of two worlds: the spiritual world and the physical world. It is not that you are at times on a lower level or on a higher level, no. When you keep your eyes half open while meditating, you are seeing the highest level of consciousness and at the same time you are trying to transform the earth-consciousness.

If you keep your eyes wide open and you are only conscious of what is happening here around you, then if a cat is walking around the room, immediately your concentration is gone and you are lost. Again, if you keep your eyes closed while meditating, you may think that you have meditated for twenty-four hours while all the time you have really been sleeping. At night if you keep your eyes closed and just lie down on your bed to meditate, you may think that you had a most sublime meditation, that you entered into trance. No, far from it. You have to know that there is a great difference between sleep and meditation. Self-deception may overtake you when you meditate with your eyes closed. There are many ways you can fool yourself and convince yourself that you had a wonderful meditation. But if you keep your eyes half open, then at that time you become the true judge.