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It begins with the eyes

November 16, 20233 min read

Seeking to Seek: A Meditation on the Eyes

Our eyes proceed us. When we enter a new environment, make a new acquaintance, or step into a room of old friends it is our eyes that enter first. Our eyes absorb and penetrate as we ascertain, analyze, and activate within our surroundings. We then choose our course of action, and respond to the situation, body-language and moods of individual's and spaces. The eyes are the first aspect of our being to ‘take up space’ as we move through our lives and they are often the first to retreat when we are no longer feeling connected or safe with people and places. Those with PTSD know this all too well; their hyper vigilance utilizes the eyes to scrutinize and strategize situations that for those unburdened by deep trauma would consider a ‘normal’ event or gathering. The eyes both absorb and penetrate the environment as is shown in saying “he/she had piercing eyes”. Plato described the eyes as “limbs of the head”, limbs that reach out and touch the environment, while the reductionists consider them cameras that ‘capture’ life, I am more inclined to Plato’s view. 

As emotional beings there is no more expressive aspect of our anatomy than the eyes. They are considered to be windows to, and of the soul by many mystery schools. They are score keepers of our experience and moral life, spear throwers of appreciation and judgment  and heart shapers or deceivers by those trained in the art of charm.  Through the clearing and cleansing of tears, whether generated by joy or sadness, the fury of a rageful glance or the calm pools of contemplation found in those who are at peace with themselves, our eyes seem both built for this world and for otherworldly awareness in their complexity, perception and desires. 

From the context of somatic therapy I rely on the expression of my clients eyes as a marker of their internal condition and the state of their nervous system.  I  often give eye exercises when assisting individuals on their path through depression and in particular anxiety. Much is to be learned when we track our own eye movement through different situations and emotional states. Do you clench and squint, are your eyes ever truly relaxed? If chronic pain or migraine is present  it is an important aspect of healing to be able to relax the eyes. This is a developable skill and has benefits for everyone.

 In times of anxiety or overwhelm, it can be very helpful to steady the eyes and bring peripheral awareness to the forefront of our attention when we feel stress or social pressures. In a society that is hyper focused on specialization and individuality it is important to take broader views, particularly if one's vocation involves a large amount of time on computers or behind the wheel of a vehicle. Taking a long, soft view of our world with relaxed peripheral awareness is truly a steadying force in the lives of those who learn to engage the eyes, not only as an expressive element but as a potent leader when we need to shift our perspective. It begins with the eyes.

Meditation: Lay on your back and begin to scan each eye individually for strain. It can be helpful to use an eye pillow or be in a dimly lit room. Begin to see if you are able to allow the eye to fall into the socket.  Float them in the space provided by the skull. Scan the eyes both front and back, relaxing each area of tension until they feel truly free to rest as spheres in space. Then begin to ‘inflate’’ or ‘fill’ your eyes creating a fullness from within. Notice if there are energetic, spacial dents. Fill and Float the eyes until the nervous system relaxes.

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Hunter Toran RSMT has over 10 thousand hours of training, teaching and clinical hours. He works with individuals of all abilities to find their ideal rhythmic embodiment to live a life of heightened awareness, refined ability to connect with self and others and to overcome chronic physical and emotional pain. Hunter also works extensively in men's healing and development with the organization The Sacred Sons.

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