Eye Gazing – A Meditation for Connecting to the Soul by Crystal Dawn Morris (Tantra for Awakening)
A Timeless Practice
The eyes are the “windows to the soul.” When we gaze deeply into the eyes of another person, we can see beyond their physical form and personality into their essence. The practice of eye gazing is an ancient Tantric practice. It is found in the Hindu, Buddhist and Sufi traditions and is considered to be a path to enlightenment. The 13th century Sufi poet, Rumi, became enlightened while gazing into the eyes of his teacher. Many of Rumi’s poems celebrate the power of eye gazing. Here is an example:
Both our sets of eyes became drunk,
Utterly intoxicated by the promise of Union.
O my God!
What is this union of eye to eye?!
Eye gazing is something you have probably done naturally, such as when gazing into the eyes of a newborn baby or when you first fell in love. Even when you are in a conversation and maintain eye contact, you are doing a less focused form of eye gazing.
Eye gazing can be done as a one-on-one meditation with a friend or beloved. It can also be done solo, by gazing into a mirror. You can integrate it into daily life by engaging people briefly, in passing, with the intent that when you meet their eyes you will see beyond their form, into their essence. Some of the benefits of this practice include: becoming more present, opening your heart and expanding your awareness of the Divine in all beings.
The Heart Salutation
You begin this practice by acknowledging the Divine in each other with a Heart Salutation. Sit across from your partner and look into their eyes. Maintaining eye contact throughout the rest of the process, begin by extending your arms towards the earth, palms together. Then, inhale and keeping your hands in prayer position, bring them to your heart. Exhale, as you bow forward and acknowledge the Divine in each other with the Sanskrit salutation “Namaste.” Namaste means “I honor the Divine in you as a reflection of the Divine in me.” Inhale, as you straighten back up. Finally, exhale as you allow your hands to return to the starting position, pointed towards the earth.
Now, create a bubble around you and your partner. Do this by waving your arms around both of you as you define the shape of the bubble that surrounds you. Then, gesture as if removing an object from your bubble and verbally share what you are removing from the bubble out loud. These are things that won't serve you in this practice (the past, distractions, anger, worry, etc.) Next, gesture and state what things you want to bring into the bubble. These are things that will enhance your connection (love, willingness, presence, trust etc.) At this point, you may want to offer an appreciation or blessing to the other person (“I honor your heart, which gives so much love to the world.”) Creating the bubble helps to call you into present moment awareness and creates a safe space in which to practice the eye gazing meditation.
Share Your Desires, Fears and Boundaries
Once the bubble is created, share your intentions/desires, fears and boundaries related to this practice. First, one person speaks while the other person listens without judgment or commentary. Then you switch roles. Here is an example:
“I desire to stay present, open and connect deeply to your soul.”
“My fear is that I will get self-conscious and will start acting silly.”
“My boundary is to stay connected to you, even if resistance arises.”
Why boundaries? When I teach this practice in my classes, people often have resistance to setting boundaries. I explain that boundaries are not walls, they are bridges. Bridges helps to bring people together. Intimacy happens when people have healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to feel safe, stay open and be present. Boundaries are dynamic, so it is important to check-in periodically with yourself to see if your boundaries have changed. If they have changed, update your partner so they can honor your new boundaries. Here are a few examples:
“I need to end this practice by noon.”
“I don’t want to be touched during this meditation.”
“I will stay present. If I go into thinking, I will close my eyes for a moment to bring myself back into the practice.”
Eye Gazing Practice
Once you have created the bubble and shared your desires, fears and boundaries, begin the eye gazing practice. Traditionally, it is recommended that you begin by gazing into left eye. This is because the left side of the body is considered to be the receptive side. Use a soft gaze. This is not a staring contest. It is ok to change eyes if and when you feel called too. Just relax, breathe and allow the experience to unfold. Notice what arises without judging it. Be open and curious, like a child.
You can do this practice for as long as you want. I suggest the first time you begin with 2 to 5 minutes of eye gazing. Then, close your eyes, go inside and reconnect internally for 1-2 minutes. When you are ready, open your eyes and begin again. Extend the time as you get more comfortable with the process. Doing this practice for an extended period of time can take you to new levels of connection. Set aside a time when you can practice for 45 to 60 minutes. Afterwards, discuss your experience with your partner.
Eye gazing is a great way to discover how open you are and to see if any resistance arises. If you feel resistance, see if you can allow it to melt. How does it feel to be seen? How does it feel to look deeply into another person? This is a great practice for developing a deeper heart connection. It can be helpful to keep a journal of your experiences.
Eye gazing is a simple and powerful practice. It can cut though illusion and open the door to Truth. When done regularly, it can transform your understanding of who you are. Even if this is the only Tantric meditation you ever do, you could awaken through this practice. I invite you to practice eye gazing with your friends and lovers.