Eye Gazing — A Powerful Exercise for Bonding and Self-exploration.
I was sitting, as comfortably as I could be, while facing a stranger with my eyes closed. Warm and reassuring, the voice of the host was flowing through my mind, making my heartbeat slow down, despite the unfamiliar setup.
With a sound of a gong, I will begin an hour long process of gazing into the eyes of this person. Something I have never done before.
The gong rang and our eyes met.
Even if we see countless pairs of eyes on a daily basis, it’s quite rare to look into each other’s eyes.
Prolonged eye contact with strangers often brings discomfort and might be considered anything from socially awkward to unacceptable.
“It’s rude to stare” — I hear parents telling their children when their pure curiosity is grabbed by a random person on the street. I find myself looking away in panic, when the eyes of a fellow passenger meet mine. “Uff, it was a close one! We almost acknowledged each other…”
Without even noticing, another possibility of connection vanishes into the air.
What are we afraid of?
When we started gazing, I felt dazed, self-conscious and insecure, yet also enchanted and vibrant.
A drop of sweat was slowly sliding down my forehead. I could barely resist to laugh. ‘That’s nonsense.’ I thought. ‘I need to keep my poker face.’
We continued looking into each other. ‘This feels like forever and I bet it has only been a minute. Was it? I am not sure.’ I was gradually sinking into the feeling of timelessness.
On the other side of me, there were his eyes. Wide open. Just like me, going through a peculiar cocktail of emotions, constantly traveling the sinusoid between tears and laughter.
‘Let yourself be. Feel your emotions. Cry, laugh, make sounds. Release the tension inside of you.’ The soothing voice of the host was making us more comfortable and centered. ‘Keep your focus and hold space for each other’.
We laughed, deep from the heart. The awkwardness was gone, replaced by openness, tranquility and excitement.
While there are numerous interpretations explaining why eyes are so “powerful”, the idea itself is deeply rooted into the world’s multicultural heritage. Various traditions identify different benefits of eye gazing meditations, some even considering it to be a path to Enlightenment.
My personal experience does not go as far, however eye gazing has definitely deeply affected me and many other people with whom I have shared this experience with. Around 50 people in total, aged between 18 and 80 years old.
Every session of “Parallel”, as we called this experience, was followed by time for self-reflection and a possibility of sharing in a group.
Some of the observations which kept coming up:
- Feeling deeply connected with oneself
- Feeling deeply connected with each other
- Sense of closeness and gratitude
- Powerful emotions coming up, often resulting in laughter and/or tears
- Feeling peaceful and rooted after the experience
- Noticing significant differences between eyes of the partner. A common observation was that one eye is “happy” and the other is “sad”.
A few days after the experience we have talked with some of our participants. They have noticed that they were more likely to connect with strangers and that their gaze was usually met with a smile rather than hostility. They also were able to focus more on their conversation partner. Finally, for people who knew each other before the experience, eye gazing has deepened their connection, bringing them closer together.
The gong rang again and the round was over. I didn’t even notice the passing of time.
Throughout the experience I felt a wide range of emotions, but at the end I was left with a deep sense of peace. I felt connected to my partner, to myself, to Everything. I felt grounded, strong and vibrant. I felt infinite Love, which cannot be contained anymore and needs to be shared with Everyone.
(Try it with your friend, lover, family member…)
- Sit down comfortably, facing your partner.
- Set the timer for at least 10 minutes. The longer, the more powerful the experience.
- Gaze into the eyes of your partner. You can blink at any point, it’s not a staring competition.
- If you get distracted, simply bring back your awareness to the eyes of your partner.
- After the experience is over, grab a piece of paper and draw / write about how you are feeling.
- Talk about the experience with your partner.
If you would like to share your experiences, feedback or any ideas related to eye-gazing — I am here, ready to connect with you, you Beautiful Human Being!