Friday, March 12, 2010
Part of my Spiritual Psychology Grad School Weekend at the University of Santa Monica includes a practice called Soul Gazing. This is always one of the last activities of the weekend.
Description: Find a partner. Gaze into his/her eyes, into their soul, with love and acceptance or whatever else comes up for TWENTY-FIVE seconds. Oh, did I mention that the partners are holding hands? There is always a beautiful, loving song playing in the background as well. After 25 seconds, a bell rings, and we move on to the next person. This continues until the song ends.
The first time we practiced this activity, I literally almost ran out the door. No joke. This was too much for me. The intimacy was so deep and intense. I found myself wanting to look away from anyone who was looking at me. I was jealous even, of the folks who seemed so totally able to maintain strong, loving eye contact. I just knew I wasn't doing this right. I found myself trapped in self-consciousness and self-doubt.
I zig zagged around the room, trying to hide, although there was nowhere to go. I was going to be "seen" to be "loved" no matter what. It was rather frightening.
As person by person took my hands and gazed into my eyes with love and acceptance, I suddenly felt a shift inside my body, my soul that brings me to tears even in the present moment.
Maybe it was the second or third person, a good friend of mine actually. I took his hands, feeling more comfortable. He warmly made eye contact, his face shining with light. I took a deep breath and suddenly I dropped out of my head and into my heart. And I SAW my beautiful friend's soul. His love and Divine light poured from his eyes into mine. My brain stopped the Inner Critic chatter and I was in the present, in the Loving.
As I truly SAW his soul, I felt myself being SEEN. I received his love and acceptance with deep gratitude. The exchange was incredible. I actually didn't want to STOP Soul Gazing.
From that moment on, each and every experience of Soul Gazing has been more and more beautiful. Sometimes the soul, the light, or even the dark that is present for another person or for myself brings me to tears. Sometimes I feel like I am being embraced deeply by the person across from me. Other times, I feel like I am literally falling in love with my partner.
I have begun to bring Soul Gazing into my every day life. There are moments when I Soul Gaze with myself in the mirror. What a powerful exchange of unconditional self-love. Other times, it is with my husband, especially when I note that I am not feeling present or in the Loving. It is so fun with the kids I tutor. As they tell me stories about their day including difficult tests or silly pranks they may have pulled, I look deep into their beautiful eyes with love and acceptance and I am so present and grateful and in love with their Beings.
I even do this on the streets of New York City. Although, usually not for 25 seconds. That can illicit some awkward interactions.:) Yet, when I pass someone on the street I look into their eyes, and see the Loving Essence, the soul that is within and I feel the energy of love like an ocean wave washing over us both.
I truly believe that I could fall in love with each and every person's Being if given 25 seconds of Soul Gazing. I recommend it to couples when challenged by disagreement, or to family members who are bickering. Take the time to soul gaze, to truly See and Be Seen, and trust me, you will fall in love with the divine within us all and there will be a tremendous energetic shift.
I even advise this practice for International Peace Mediation. If the leaders of warring factions Soul Gazed with the children from the country they are fighting or the soldiers from two sides of a conflict Soul gazed across the border at one another, there could be no more war. Because when we look into another beings Soul, we see our brothers, sisters, friends, parents, and most of all we see OURSELVES. Because at a soul level, I am you, and you are me. How can we hurt other souls having human experiences? How can we truly See and Be Seen, and still destroy each other?
Try it. Let me know how it goes. Start with yourself in the mirror. Take 25 seconds to stare deep into your eyes, into the Loving, and see the truth. You will start by giving and receiving love, and soon there will be nothing left but LOVE. Love, our birthright, our destiny, our true essence.