Holding Your Gaze

View the original article, published in Moda magazine, here.

You look up and your eyes meet. For a fluttering instant, butterflies arise in your stomach. Quickly, though, that feeling shifts into something different, something comfortable. These eyes represent safety, connection and contentment.

The benefits of maintaining eye contact with a person in intimate and business situations alike are not unheard of. All the talk of eye contact’s benefits has led to a new meditation practice known as ‘eye gazing’ that enhances self-confidence and comfortability in one’s skin.

Gazing, a form of meditation that can be done alone or with a partner, is the practice of staring directly into someone’s eyes, in attempt to zone in on an intention with the person you are sharing contact with. This could range from self-comfort, to a deeper understanding of someone’s past lives.

Once an intention is set, a participant closes their eyes in order to clear the brain of other thoughts, as is done with many meditative practices. This can be done by focusing on breathing and allowing thoughts to float out of the brain. Upon opening their eyes, a solo participant finds their own eyes in a mirror. Often, focus is found in one eye and held as surroundings fade out of sight.

This gaze can be held for as long as one wishes, from two to 30 minutes. The longer a person focuses, the more likely they are to meet an intention, as the power of the practice lies in finding a center through eye contact. The gaze maintained with one’s self will begin to put the participant at ease.

This eye contact can also build strong relationships. According to Psychology Today, eye-to-eye contact causes arousal between humans. From personal experience, it is easy to say that a person who holds a gaze is more attractive. Reflecting that idea, a person would find attraction in themselves when staring intently at all of their unique aspects – the way their eyelashes kiss as they blink or the gleam of light green in their typically hazel eyes.

Humans do not often see themselves as they appear in real life. The way they look when they genuinely laugh or light up at a fresh idea is foreign. By staring into their own eyes, someone can gain understanding of their outward appearance, thus promoting acceptance and self-confidence. Additionally, a person becomes more self-aware when looking into another’s eyes; however, this is not necessarily synonymous with self-consciousness.

Looking into someone’s eyes also offers a “window to the soul,” making a person more vulnerable when engaging in eye contact. Self-awareness implies someone becomes more in-touch with their feelings or behaviors, a practice replicated by self-gazing. When a person is forced to face their thoughts, rather than suppress them, they are more likely to accept them.

In terms of partner gazing, the same practice takes place; but participants look at one another, rather than in a mirror. This elicits the same responses: drawing people together, possibly even encouraging an attraction between the two.

Eye gazing, both singularly and with a partner, is gaining popularity as many young people join the push towards both mindfulness and body confidence. These practices should be kept in mind when someone wants to promote acceptance, connection, and contentment within their relationships.