After coming home from Kai class yesterday I was lucky enough to turn on the tv and watch the ending of a favorite movie of mine called "The Last Samuri" with Tom Cruise. There are many reasons why I love this movie, but what really stood out to me yesterday was the way the warriors used their eyes. There were scenes where the samuri's looked into each other eyes and nothing had to be said, the communication was clear and fast. There was also a scene where Tom Cruise is riding into battle full out on his horse and he looks around and fully takes in the scene of his beloved fellow warriors being killed, time slowed down, and he took it all in even as horrific as it was, he was both honoring the other warriors by witnessing their greatness even in death as well as taking a picture of the ending of something that was so very great. He would later be asked by the regretful young emperor to share all he experienced as being part of the samuri. There were many scenes where warriors died, and the act of looking into each others eyes till the very end was profound, and loving. I couldn't help but think the courage it takes to see everything, the good , the bad, the horrific....and there was also ofcourse, the beautiful love scenes where the transmission between two people in love was mostly happening in the eyes. The eyes have a lot to say and beautiful truth tellers.
Our sense of sight happens through our eyes, where the light comes in and is coded into 1,000's of colors for most of us. Our perception of what we see is then fired thru the brain at lightening speed. It's easy to take for granted that we all see the same thing, though in truth what we each see can be very different based on those perceptions ( even colors and tones). Our beliefs influence our perceptions and that frames what we see and has a strong influence in what we do or don't do. Our beliefs are partly formed through our experiences and also can be changed thru our choices. Everything we believe under the surface has an effect on our biology. Our body listens to this dialogue and responds. See a situation as fearful, and the body responds with tightening up, shortening breath and releasing cortisol. Same situation seen by another as neutral or even loving, and the exact opposite body response happens. It's a good practice to notice your beliefs that are running under the surface for this reason!
In this movie the Samuri's practiced a lot of silence, meditation, and mindfulness...there were many rituals, and practices to develop keen sight including targeting the vision. They used swords and bow and arrows to practice....a wonderful metaphor for targeting your vision on what you desire instead of what you fear. The more visual ways you can set up reminders to practice this the better.....color is a fabulous one! You might use purple or blue and either dress, or place note cards around your house or car reminding you of that which you desire more of.....healthy food, pleasurable experiences, feeling great in your body etc. Set your target and call on your warrior in your life as you aim!
The eyes themselves have 6 muscles in each eye designed for you to look in all directions. Healthy eyes feel moist, relaxed, soft and yet can dial in to find detail in what you are looking at in a moments notice. To take someone in with your eyes feels very different than just looking ( and not really seeing detail). Practice the art of looking at things you've seen 1000's of times and notice something new. Looking out and then "seeing" is that sensation of "aha". It's a yin/yang balance in the eyes.....many of us spend far too much energy searching but never seeing....... and need to find balance in either resting or receiving with the eyes.
Since the eyes direct the energy its important to look up and out and into possibility. In our Kai classes we practice lots of eye movements including peripheral eyes, and targeting eyes as well as facing different directions to help open up perspective. ( ie. standing in a new perspective physically in the dance) The eyes target hand movements, imagery is used to accentuate connection and ease, and mindfulness is part of every class. Using the mirror can be a tool to look and see, and notice your thoughts......clear up the smoke in that mirror and let it just be a mirror. You are not old, fat, unfit, whatever, those are old beliefs/judgements of comparison you can either accentuate or stop. We also can look at others and use the same practice of clearing up what's underneath......Look for beauty, look for inspiration, and see all that is. Even the garbage, the mess, the problems ....see them and then shift your beliefs to create the vision and take the steps to create it. Even in the darkness, there is beauty...