Years ago, I discovered a little secret that changed the way in which I interact with people.
I don’t remember how I discovered this secret, exactly—maybe it was that childhood event at our county fair. I was about three, and my mother, father and I were at a bluegrass concert at the fair, and I wanted to request a song. ‘You Are My Sunshine’—it was my favorite—my mother and I would sing it in the car on the way to preschool. On that summer day at the fair, my father carried me down to the stage, where I told the fiddle player of my request. He played the song immediately, and my father and I stood in front of the stage as the man sang. My father told me I should look him in the eyes while he was singing, because he was singing the song for me. I remember feeling very awkward looking that man in the eyes, as he stared back at me so intently.
Years later, that event long forgotten, I started noticing that in my everyday dealings with people—at a coffee shop, gas station, or just walking on the street—if I held a person’s gaze for maybe a half of a second, they softened, lightened—there was a spark of friendship.
By sitting across from one another, gazing into each other’s eyes for an extended period of time, many have reported a profound shift or altered state of consciousness.
It was amazing, this discovery, like a secret power I had—only to stare into the eyes of another long enough to say ‘I see you’, ‘I acknowledge you’, but not long enough to be flirtatious, confrontational or awkward.
They say the eyes are windows to the soul.
In Tantra, Transpersonal Psychology, and many other healing modalities, Eye Gazing is used as a way to experience the divine in another person—even a stranger. By sitting across from one another, gazing into each other’s eyes for an extended period of time, many have reported a profound shift or altered state of consciousness.
In this article from Psychology Today, there are many ways in which eye contact affects our perceptions of, and interactions with those around us. “There is more mutual eye contact between friends than others, and a looker’s frank gaze is widely interpreted as positive regard. Lovers really do gaze more into each other’s eyes. People who seek eye contact while speaking are regarded not only as exceptionally well-disposed by their targets, but also as more believable and earnest. Politicians “sweep” the room with their gaze. Salesmen know to look at each member of their audience.”
Rumi spoke of their connection as one soul with two separate bodies.
In his book The Spiritual Practices of Rumi, Will Johnson talks about Eye Gazing as the method Rumi and his beloved Shams used to connect when they disappeared for months into a private retreat together. They gazed into each other’s eyes for hours per day. Rumi spoke of their connection as one soul with two separate bodies. He was utterly changed by the experience.
Johnson also speaks of the Cowishan Indian tribe of Vancouver Island—they describe a “disease of the eye”, which refers to passing another and averting their gaze. They refer to it as an affront to God, to disregard another’s presence or Being.
Today, this disregarding of one another is sadly commonplace.
Below are three ways you can benefit directly from the practice of Eye Gazing:
1. It creates rapport.
We live in a fast-paced world—one in which we have little time for people, small talk, kindnesses or congeniality. We have places to go, people to see, and shit to do. We can no longer be bothered to greet people or really ‘see’ them at all. We keep our eyes straight ahead as we go over our mental to-do list.
But if you pause long enough to acknowledge another’s being, and a simple, short-lived gaze into the eyes of the person serving you coffee in the morning, you’ll discover amazing rapport with people all around you. They open up, talk a little more, tell you a quick and synchronistic story that will blow your mind—and trust me, the right people always show up, and you’ll learn amazing things.
While you’re out sprinkling Joy and making positive connections with people in an uplifting manner, you can’t help but become uplifted yourself.
2. It spreads Joy.
Making eye contact connects us to the core of another’s Being. The eyes have instant access to the heart, and therefore to the Unconscious Mind. Studies have shown people can fall in love with anyone through Eye Gazing for a sustained period of time. By using eye contact in your daily dealings with people, you’ll create instant friendships, business connections, and have interesting conversations—but on a much more simplistic and profound level, you’ll spread Joy wherever you go—Joy that comes back to you ten-fold.
3. It makes you happier.
While you’re out sprinkling Joy and making positive connections with people in an uplifting manner, you can’t help but become uplifted yourself. Many studies have shown that true happiness comes through helping other people. We’re social beings and even witnessing an act of kindness creates positive feelings, as if we are the giver or receiver of the act. We’re all one.
So the next time you’re walking down the street, and you pass a person, why not look into their eyes and give a quick smile? Smiling Irish eyes, as my mother used to call it—in a flash, you’ll see into another’s Being, spread your own love and maybe shift someone’s day for the better—all part of the juicy goodness that will elevate your day towards Bliss.