I have noticed a growing trend in workshops within spiritual circles where individuals are encouraged to gaze into each other’s eyes. You sit or stand across from someone you just met and gaze into their eyes. This is done for many minutes, and sometimes even hours. The goal is to realize our human connectedness ( unless I am missing something here).
I remain extremely skeptical about this practice. After participating in my fair share of such workshops this reflection needed to happen.
The great William Shakespeare once said : The eyes are the window to your soul. I believe he was spot on. When we gaze into someone’s eyes we are connecting with their soul. There is no question about this. I agree, this is a wonderful connection if the person infront of you is someone you wish to connect with on a soul level. However, what if you do not? Do you walk out? say no? not participate? Is there a space given for a ‘no’ from the facilitator?
So many nuances that are left unaddressed when running a workshop like this…it is a bit much, really, especially coming from someone talking about boundaries a few minutes before diving into this practice!
Wouldn’t it be wiser to connect on other levels and reserve the soul connection to those we truly want to keep close in our heart, and life?
I say there are MANY other ways to realize our interconnectedness, rather than merely gazing into a complete stranger’s eyes. I wrote an entire paper in 2010 on this subject (which I will have to locate and post sometime).
What I do recall is that I listed the ways in which we are able to realize how we are connected to one another… in our emotions, the way we experience happiness and sadness, fear , loss, betrayal; we are connected in birth, and death, sorrow, grief, joy, passion, we are connected in that we are all made of bones, skin and flesh, we are connected in that we all come from the same source and will return to that same place. All these things do not require gazing into each other’s eyes to understand this truth. What is required is listening, understanding, and communicating. Yes, gazing into another persons eyes will deepen the sense of such a connection, if that is what we wish.
We walk into a workshop and connect with a dozen people or more, on a soul level when we haven’t even uttered a single word to them! How are we to “see” or “hear” their suffering, their success, their struggles, their joys and triumphs, when we walk away and quickly forget their name? I do not mean to over generalize. There is always that one exception to the rule. I really cannot even name a handful of people I have connected to in such workshops.
I think there is so much confusion these days about what connection really is and that is why we are witnessing so much depression, isolation, and so many suicides . We are here in the flesh, so let’s learn to connect with our whole being, not just part of it? People are feeling unheard, unseen and insignificant despite the level of success they have achieved in their life. The reason is this superficiality that has now also leaked into something as sacred as looking into someone’s soul. Eye gazing is a sacred matter. One has to listen first and then see.
Let me ask you this- how many eyes have you gazed into this past year? How many of those eyes are you still in touch with until this day? Are they people you want in your life? Do they mean something to you? It is okay to be honest with yourself. There is power to honesty as there is power to understanding that we get to choose who we want to connect with spiritually.
I believe in our interconnection and at the same time, I do not wish to bring every single person that crosses my path into my soul! I believe in guarding my soul. My soul is my inner kingdom and as Ajame says: Let no one enter your inner kingdom unless they come with Love. I grew up in a culture where the importance of diverting one’s gaze was of utmost importance, especially when it comes to the two genders. The Quran reads:
“Tell the believing men that they should reduce/lower their gaze/vision and guard their private parts…” – Sura: 24, Aya: 30
I have obviously not taken this literally, it means to have modesty and integrity when interacting with each other. Lately I have been really reflecting on this Aya. My conclusion is to protect my soul, I must take this literally and not metaphorically.
Your eyes are the boundaries of your soul.