Although I’ve heard it many times before, I recently read the ‘eyes are the window to the soul’. As I think about that, I am acutely aware of how intimate and vulnerable and scary it feels to make eye contact with someone and know that as we sustain that contact we are really seeing one another.
My BFF saw me. From the age of 14, he could look me in the eyes and it wasn’t painful or intimidating because I knew he saw beyond the me on the surface – he saw my light, my energy, my soul. And even when he wasn’t happy with my actions, he loved me for who I am; but he’s been gone for over two years.
A few years ago at Hanuman Festival, I attended a workshop during which I had to sustain eye contact with another individual for 3-5 minutes and we repeated the exercise with three other attendees. It was a simple exercise but not an easy task. I wanted to look away, to talk, to distract myself or the other person and my monkey-mind was in over-drive. Ultimately, I attained some level of comfort because I realized that these people were strangers and if they didn’t like who they saw, it would be of no consequence after the workshop ended.
As I over-analyze my life (I often do) I realize that as long as I don’t cultivate a level of deep emotional intimacy with others, they cannot see my brokenness nor can they hurt me. The truth is, emotional intimacy cannot be established until I gaze inward and love myself regardless of the cracks and scars.
So, dear friend, be compassionate. Please understand when I start to over intellectualize, preface my responses to your questions with justifications or rationalizations or appear to lose focus. It’s not that I want to avoid emotional intimacy with you, it’s that I’m working up the courage to embrace it within myself. Remind me gently that I’m safe with you, that you want me to see you as much as you want to see me. Remind me that sitting in the moments of stillness with one another is my yoga.
If the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, I suppose mine are due for a cleaning. Time for me to draw the curtains, dust off the cobwebs, open my heart, and bare my soul.