The Power Of Eye Contact
Have you ever looked someone for 4 minutes in the eye? I did. When I was in India in October 2015, I was lucky to join wonderfull heart meditation workshops with one of the teachers of Parimukti: Manjeet Mathur. Having eye contact for a longer period with people, who are mostly strangers, going deeper with them through breath, eyes, touch and heart, made me very aware of the value of the “present moment”. Every meditation was different because, every time I had to observe how the person in front of me was affecting my presence. It was a beautiful way to experience self-compassion and compassion with others.
Look Beyond Borders – a 4 Minute Experiment
Amnesty Poland recently organised a special experiment in Berlin. It made refugees and European citizens look at each other for four minutes. Wow! This video gave me goose bumps all over. There are smiles, laughter and tears as men, women and children sit in pairs across from one another, staring quietly.
The idea of this experiment is supported by research of psychologist Arthur Aron, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and best known for his work on intimacy in interpersonal relationships. Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer.
“Are you new here in Berlin?”, a woman from Berlin asks the Syrian man facing her, her eyes welling with tears.”Yeah I am, eight months”. “And are you alone here or with your family?” she continues. “Alone,” he answers softly, after a short pause. “It’s life. Sometimes nice, sometimes, not good.”
A shot later we see 2 young girls. After watching each other in the eyes one of the girl wants to shake hands. The girls end up playing “tag”.
A young man and woman decide to go on a date in the zoo later that week. Being interviewed by one of the makers, the man says: ” it doesn’t matter looking in the eyes, just give yourself the chance to talk and look at the other person”.
The concept of the makers is as following:
“When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who -just like us- have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals… Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming etc. It is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other.”
Here’s the link of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7XhrXUoD6U
Ps: I am a native Dutch speaker; so forgive me for any languages mistakes. I love learning, so teach me. Feedback is welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** Peace, love & freedom hugs – Sophie -***
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