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?