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Relationship Matters

Relationship Matters


How to keep your eyes fresh and heart open in all your relations

I met my wife on the dance floor seven years ago in Dublin. A weekend dance workshop called Wild Prayer with my conscious dance teacher Cathy Ryan. At that point in my life, I was only a few months out of a three-year relation­ship that didn’t succeed. I was still recov­er­ing and learn­ing how to come back to myself. Little did I know what would happen a few minutes after the workshop began.

When enter­ing the dance floor, my eyes went all over the place, scanning the room, some people I knew, a few were strangers, but I was mainly search­ing for those who were perhaps attrac­tive to me. So while dancing, I was basically uncon­scious entirely in my agenda, my head took over, but fortu­nately, this state of mind didn’t last long.

When I realised what I was doing, or my little mind was doing, I remem­ber telling myself, “Are you here to practice or search for a new relation­ship?”. The answer was a clear no. Realis­ing the pattern and naming it for myself helped me let go of my head and dive back into my body, and then I felt a gentle pull call me to go deeper inwards.

A few minutes later, I noticed the presence of another dancer next to me. I saw a beauti­ful pair of feet dancing nearby when I opened my eyes. The pull inwards trans­formed outwards. And shortly after dancing with those feet, I looked up and saw the most beauti­ful soul dancing with me. Seven years later, with three kids and lots of pleas­ant times and challeng­ing moments, I am still very grate­ful for this magical moment on the dancefloor.

The eyes as a gateway.

I am sharing the moment I met my wife, not just for the joy of its roman­tic magic. I am sure every couple has their spark moment of seeing each other for the first time. I want to focus today on the eyes as a gateway to connect with our deeper selves and others.

Our eyes, through which we see the world, filter how we experi­ence life. What we see with our eyes is trans­lated first as signals that the brain trans­lates into colours, shapes and textures. Then the mind starts the analytic process of naming and tagging, and at last, comes the judging. The concep­tual mind criti­cises the vision in terms of beauty and ugly, good, bad, likes, don’t like, inter­ested or not, and other more sophis­ti­cated commen­taries which come later when the ego is well developed.

It was not like this all the time.

When I show my year and a half old twins a flower, tree, a stone or anything new, I let them experi­ence it as much as possi­ble before telling them how we name it. Naming and taking is a spirit killer or the mystery of life.
For us adults, the egoic mind kicks in so fast that we miss this magical moment of simple impres­sion. We know every­thing so quickly that there is no space for a naive impres­sion. When we experi­ence a new sight with fresh eyes and a naive view before the mind rushes in with stories, we open a space for the magic of life. This gap or crack is where love lives.

We always meet on a soul level.

I remem­ber my wife remind­ing me whenever challenges appear to us, that we met on a soul level, on the dance floor, and that we should always go back there when overwhelmed with ‘things’. It is true that when we are dancing, even for a few minutes in our kitchen, our unique­ness is more likely coming out and showing itself, and we recon­nect. I believe that every­one meets on a soul level. The only differ­ence is that our mind is quieter when we dance or when we are simply aware of our deeper dimen­sion, where the soul has a safe space to be present.

Losing the fresh­ness to judgments.

We fall in love, and later we fall out of love and back to love and out again. How can we form stabil­ity? The reality of the mind is cluttered with stories, ideas, judgments, triggers, life stress, expec­ta­tions and disap­point­ments — the kingdom of the ego, the hell of all relation­ships. When the pull to stay together is more substan­tial than the suffer­ing that relation­ships can bring, we can find a way to keep our connec­tion fresh and loving.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Such a pearl of simple wisdom had Plato in this sentence. When we are fresh, the eyes are fresh, and the mind is fresh, the relation­ship is refreshed. But how do we stay fresh? I remem­ber how much love I had for my son when he was born, and for the next two years, getting to know him and his unique charac­ter was full of deep love. At some point, when he started to build his ego at the age of two, I needed to let go of mine. Unfor­tu­nately, I tried to change him, couldn’t accept many of his habits, and couldn’t surren­der to compli­cated situa­tions. I couldn’t see him the way I used to. My eyes were closed. I only saw through the stories and the ideas of my foggy mind.

Have to suffer enough

I needed to suffer for a few years to realise I could not stand myself as a father in this situa­tion, and I looked at a few methods and approaches. They all focused on chang­ing the behav­iour, the condi­tion or improv­ing the relation­ships, but none of them helped me find my heart back and my innocent love for my son. Eckhart Tolle’s teach­ing clari­fied what was stand­ing between me and the love I had for my son. The love was always there, but it was cluttered with my mind. I fell out of love to the hell of my egoic mind.

When the mind is quiet, the heart opens.

How can I feel my heart when there is a constant commen­tary in my brain, a little entity telling me stories, giving me instruc­tions, comments, ideas and sugges­tions. Challeng­ing situa­tions are still there every day, but when my mind is dominant, I try to take a conscious pause and observe the view clearly, with eyes open and muted mind. When I quiet my mind, I can see with my heart and not through my head.

Space is freedom.

Space, or spacious­ness, allows us to distance from the experi­ence and quiet the mind. When we breathe with aware­ness or are aware that we open the inner dimen­sion that gives us space. Combin­ing breath aware­ness and eye percep­tion helps to see without naming and comment­ing. I try to expand the spacious­ness within as much as possi­ble when every­body is friendly and easy around, and I can use it when challeng­ing people and situa­tions appear.

On the dance floor, as in life.

One of my favourite instruc­tions when I teach conscious dance, is: “open your eyes, try to look at the objects in the room, the colours, the shapes, the textures, the materi­als, man-made, nature made, just witness, no comments. Then try the same when you look at the people who are dancing next to you, just witness, no comments”. When I walk down the street in the market near our studio in Vienna, I see so many differ­ent people walking toward me. My mind naturally kicks in with comments, and I ask it, no comments please, just witness. When judgments vanish, my eyes wide open, my heart starts to flour­ish, and my walk is lighter.

I wonder what the world would look like if we all practice this in every interaction?

1254 836 Idan Meir