My first experience with tantra was at Burning Man over 10 years ago. My partner and I nervously and excitedly crawled into a tent for a workshop called “Deep Tantra.” The workshop was profound but not at all what we expected. There was no touching nor talk of sex. Instead, it was ninety minutes of eye gazing.
Sitting face to face with, at first, my partner, and then with every other stranger in the room, the facilitator guided us to look into one another’s eyes. Through his instruction and in the loving gazes of a room full of strangers, I saw each person’s magnificence, their joys, and sorrows. I felt more naked and intimate than I had felt even during sex.
The eyes are, as the cliche says, the windows to the soul. And eye gazing is a powerful practice that can can boost or incite intimacy and connection. Studies show how prolonged eye contact releases oxytocin (the “bonding hormone”) and phenylethylamine (the “love chemical”).
What I found is, after looking into someone’s eyes long enough, I see their divinity. And in seeing their divinity, I remember my own. Eye gazing has deepened my relationships – both intimate and platonic.
How to Eye Gaze with a partner
- Sit facing your partner (lover or friend, or a willing stranger).
- Get comfortable. This practice is supposed to feel good, so let your body feel as good as it can while still sitting upright.
- You can do this without touch, but it can empower the connection to hold hands or lay your hands on their legs.
- If it’s with your lover, you can even practice during love making with slow and gentle movement or complete stillness.
- Take a couple deep conscious breaths together while gazing into each other’s eyes.
- Try to gaze with both eyes looking straight into the eyes of your partner. If this is challenging, begin by focusing on their left eye, which is connected to the right brain, and gradually open your gaze to include both eyes.
- Keep your gaze steady and try to avoid your eyes darting back and forth.
- This isn’t a staring contest. It’s about seeing the being in front of you.
- If you become overwhelmed by the intensity, softly close your eyes for a moment and then come back to the gaze.
- If your partner can’t hold your gaze, blinks often, looks away, or closes their eyes, don’t take it personally. It can be intense and challenging to be seen. Be there for them, welcoming their gaze back when it returns to you, but not pushing them.
- Try this before a lovemaking session to connect deeper and experience expanded pleasure and connection.
How to Eye Gaze with yourself
- Look into a mirror at your own eyes.
- Take a deep conscious breath.
- Focus deep within your gaze, not seeing your face but seeing YOU.
- You can say affirmations or speak loving messages to yourself: I love you. Thank you. You are beautiful.
- Smile at yourself inwardly and with your eyes.
- Gaze at yourself for five minutes, feeling your own heart as you do.
- Feel love for yourself. You are so worthy of love.