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Giving a long, loving, relaxed stare is a learnable skill

Beautiful Eyes

By Joe Perez

A man writes to an online advice giver, saying that his girlfriend doesn’t think his eye contact is romantic enough. He writes:

Dear Sexes: I’ve never really felt comfortable with eye contact, and have picked up a little thing where I’ll duck my eyes off every 3 seconds or so. This is normally not too much of a problem, but now I have a new girl in my life and I feel like it’s having an affect on things. Any tips to help me perform those loving stares?

One columnist, a female, instructs him to focus on building his listening skills and to look into ways in which his psychological baggage may be making him uncomfortable with intimacy. She writes:

We’re all different and have different ways of communicating and showing love. Hopefully your girlfriend gets that. This eye-gazing thing might just not be your thing. However, it is a social norm to keep eye contact, and that contact shows confidence, respect, honesty and connection. Not a stare, but a meaningful and relaxed gaze….

So while the romantic gaze may be what you think you need, it could be this engaged listening that’s even more important to her.
As far as not darting your eyes away… I think that’s mostly about being relaxed and looking at the old story that originally made you do the eye-dart. What was that story? Remind yourself of the source of it, then remind yourself regularly that that story is done, and that you have a whole new narrative about yourself and the world. Not “rah-rah” self-talk, just simple observations like, “I’m a grown man with a good life and a girlfriend.”

A male columnist adds that developing a habit of looking at the nose bridge may be a gateway to correcting the man’s issue:

I still think this is an issue you should ultimately tackle head on (or eye to eye), but the bridge of the nose isn’t that far off. Think of it as a gateway to intimacy.

To these two advice givers, I add that learning to give long, loving, relaxed gazes is a learnable skill for appreciating the uniqueness of another person. The eye-to-eye contact is a potential opening from one Unique Self to another Unique Self, creating a lounge-chair-easy spaciousness of causal attraction.

And it can also bring up a person’s Unique Shadow by triggering specific contractions in the body-mind, reactions which can be gradually healed through even greater levels of practicing love.

Photo Credit: by girish_suryawanshi

About Joe Perez

Joe Perez is Executive Editor of Spirit's Next Move, Director of Communications and Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for World Spirituality. He has eight years of blogging experience and has seen two of his blogs published as books including Soulfully Gay, a pioneering Integral Spirituality memoir. He is an Honors graduate of Harvard University, has studied at The Divinity School at The University of Chicago, and holds a certificate in Integral Leadership from Pacific Integral. He also blogs at Gay Spirituality.


  1. Aleta says:

    I had an experience of this at the end of a weekend with spiritual guides Terry Patten and Deborah Boyar: The group formed two lines and we took turns seeing each member of the group with a long, loving stare. Some people wept, some dropped out of the line, etc. I had no idea that this would be an issue for people. I did not relate what happened at that moment to shadow work. I actually related the difficulty in maintaining the gaze to the Hebrew practice of reciting the Shema. Gafni (The Mystery of Love, p.114) describes it as follows: “It is called the Shema, the listening prayer. Tradition requires that it be recited with hands covering the eyes, because it is only with eyes closed that we no longer see the world of distinctions and differences…We close our eyes to let drop those screens that so distort our perception.”..That is why when making love, in the moment of rapture that moves us beyond sexual seeing to lovers’ union, we close our eyes.” Eyes open, eyes closed…Love is a matter of perception.

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