What is eye gazing meditation?
When do we really look people in the eye? When we love them or hate them normally. There is a primitive animal instinct to stare out rivals to establish hierarchies and predators look prey head on before eating them. In the modern human world this can express itself from a mild discomfort with eye contact at work, to prison populations seeing it as a sign of aggression. On the other end of the spectrum the eyes have long been celebrated as “windows of the soul” and attraction can be communicated in the briefest of glances or lingering lovers looks.
Relaxing the eyes can have a profound effect on how we see the world and conversely when we are stressed our vision narrows. When people’s eyes meet something special happens and I spent some time exploring this last night with a group in Hove that practice eye gazing meditation. People from a range of spiritual traditions have practiced eye gazing meditation from Rumi to tantric yogis, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I thought that 2.5 hours looking into people’s eyes would be boring but far form it. The first time I did it I was surprised with how difficultgazing into people’s eyes was, and it took some will power to counter my social conditioning. I felt various weird waves of energy in my body and strong emotions surfacing. This apparently is common and the meditation can be used as a form of emotional catharsis and cleansing. Aside from the therapeutic aspect the main other benefit seems to be connection with your partner. At times you are not sure who is having a particular emotion and there is a sense of joining with or “dissolving” into the other…try it, it’s one of those experiential things.
While doing the eye gazing I like others experienced strong visual disturbances of my partners face. This will happen with any fixing of the view, but with a face it’s pretty interesting! It happens quickly and all kinds of things are projected from your mind – like a living psychoanalytical ink-blot. Common experiences include seeing people as older or younger, and seeing other people’s faces (e.g.parents). When I did the meditation with an old friend who came with me (hi Clare!) I had a sense of seeing her in a new and deeper way.
In the eye gazing practice one can switch between the left and right eyes of your partner every few minutes, and most people get a different sense from each. I found that when I looked at my partner’s left eye I felt warmer and more connected to them than the right which was more standoffish. I also heard people describe the right eye as masculine and the left as feminine. There is also the matter of which eye of yours your partner is looking at, and I would be interested in any studies of this. It may be connected with brain hemispheres and each eye only connects to one.
Thanks to host Dr Verena (pictured) who will be leading another session on 23rd July.
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Eye Gazing So What: Try it.