The less you open your heart to others,
the more your heart suffers.
When I was teaching yoga classes, I would periodically lead my students in a silent practice called “eye gazing.” Each student had a partner and they would stand facing each other not quite arm’s length apart. With eyes closed, each person brought their awareness to their own breath, letting it soften and become just a bit more full. I gave them time to connect with themselves and then I had them softly open their eyes. The next step was to look very softly into each other’s eyes, blinking naturally. Most of the time they did not know their partner. Sometimes their partner would be their spouse, child, parent, or best friend.
I would talk quietly to them as they did this, reminding them that the eyes are the windows of the Soul. I guided them to keep their eyes soft and to breathe. The result was always the same. The energy in the room always shifted and it was common for me to see soft tears slip out and run down their cheeks. Then I had them close their eyes and take a few more breaths, still not speaking. As they opened their eyes, I called them to prayer position and they would bow and say “Namaste” to one another. Still without speaking, they would spontaneously hug one another and more tears fell. The entire practice took less than 10 minutes and less than 5 of those minutes were actually spent eye gazing.
As I smiled broadly, I would say, “So, have you met this person before? Do you know each other’s names?” Laughter would fill the room because many of them did not know their partner’s name! Even so, they had grown tender and loving and shared a compassionate embrace. “Well, then, feel free to exchange names before you return to your mats!”
My final words to them were:
Please remember how you felt during that practice
and remember how you feel in this moment.
Could you ever harm your partner?
Have you ever felt so loved as you do right now?
My final words today are:
Open your heart. Let yourself see others.