You are at the local café, ordering your midday salad. You casually greet the young cashier; “Hey, how are you?” “Good, and you?” “Good, thanks.” You look up momentarily to take note of the cashier’s face and body, the jeans and sweatshirt she wears. You look at her and then you look away, refocusing your attention on your wallet as you struggle to find the correct card to pay with. A perfect state of safe detachment. You pay for your salad and eat while staring at your cell-phone, surfing Facebook and checking emails. You lose the cashier’s face by the time you leave the café.
Does this sound familiar?
If you were to be honest with yourself, how many people do you feel you may interact with in this way on a daily basis? How many people have you seen having these exchanges this week? Think about it for a moment. In today’s world, many of us have learned to look AT each other– not into one another. We may find ourselves, judging, critiquing, comparing. Rarely do we take the time to do more than acknowledge the people who walk past us, who serve us, who work with us. The connection is bypassed, the potential gift of a relationship lost.
So the question becomes clear: How can we begin to repair, build, and nurture these connections?
The answer becomes even clearer. Seeing with eyes of love.
What does that even mean? How would I know what that feels like? Thus comes the simple and profound beauty of Eye Gazing. The act of locking eyes with another human and holding their gaze for as little as 60 seconds. Yes, it might feel strange at first, perhaps even foreign to do so. You may find yourself becoming uncomfortable as you effort yourself into the interaction. The truth is that we are not used to letting the discomfort of an intent gaze slip almost un perceptively into blessed connection.
This is what I experienced while at the “Eye Gazing Experiment” held in Miami Beach by Jolenny Piedra from Sacred Soul Living. I felt an array of emotions as I surrendered to the invitation to connect with another for 1 minute, at times, it felt like an eternity, with some others, it felt like time was not a part of it at all.
In Jolenny’s offering a quiet oasis was carved out in the center of a bustling shopping street in the heart of Miami’s South Beach. She placed signs around a patch of grass that read: “Where has the human connection gone? Share 1 minute of eye gazing to find out.” And I did, and we all did, we were about 300 hundred beautiful beings from all walks of life, from many nationalities, stages in age, professional and religious backgrounds–all of us with unique ways in which we identify ourselves. For this 1 minute, for this eye-gazing experiment, I saw it all fall away, all labels disappear.
As you encounter the same cashier at your favorite café on your next lunch break, create a space for a mini eye gazing session. As you greet her with a smile and look directly into her eyes. Practice making a concerted effort to see who she truly is. You will notice a tangible shift in perception. You begin to focus on this human being in a way that may be more intimate than you ever expected. She ceases to be a cashier. She gains a name, a vibrant life, a story.
So you look into a pair of eyes; green specked with brown dots. Wait. Just a little longer. You see a soft kindness, a gentle bravery. You see a wanderer, searching for her place in this world; “not much different than yourself,” you think. You see fear but you also see happiness. You sense a daughter on a quest for unconditional love and acceptance. A mother working to support her two children. You see her. You don’t even know her, but you start to understand her without a single word passing between you.
When Eye Gazing takes place, the shift of perception occurs in you, of course, but it also occurs in the other person. Maybe it has been years since someone has looked into your cashier’s eyes as though they were interested enough to recognize her worth and beauty. Looking at someone with love allows the person you are looking at to remember that they are loved. When you feel loved, you tend to act with more love, more tenderness, more compassion. The gaze you offered Mary can then be offered to the next person she interacts with, love has a rippling effect. If we all remembered how loving and loved we are, can you imagine how the world would shift? Can you imagine the connections possible if we remembered that we are all love?
The concept is simple, but the reality of its impact is profound. Changing your gaze from fault finding to treasure searching allows us to see our fellow man for what they truly are-divine. If you have never experienced this, have no idea what I am talking about, and/or doubt that this idea has any real validity, even better!
I dare you to try it.
Eye gaze with a stranger, your mom, a co-worker. Do it and observe the way your relationship with them–and with yourself–shifts. Do it and find love inside of yourself that you might not have realized even existed. I challenge you. Go out today and find your treasure in another’s eyes.
The next Eye Gazing Experiment in Miami will be held on Lincoln Road Miami Beach, FL on Thursday June 16th, 2016. To learn more about future events, please visit Sacred Soul Living on Facebook and sign up to stay informed with their events and offerings.