Yes, Indeed, the Eyes do have it. However you would like to spell that ......’ayes’, I’s, eyes.....they certainly do Have It! Whether the situation calls for a number of ‘ayes’ to get the motion passed .... Or whether the 3-year old is discovering his “EYE-dentity ...as in ‘I’s DOING it....YOU are not the boss of ME....!’ ...... Or indeed, whether we immediately wake up and are present to our surroundings, those ‘eyes’ do have it!
A humorous family tidbit.......Some time ago one of my very beautiful daughters was standing in line at a local bank when she heard a bit of a kafuffle going on down the line behind her. As she turned around to see what was going on, it appeared that a rather imposing older lady was loudly chastising her husband for having stared at my daughter. After a long second passed, he responded – again rather loudly - “I have eyes...and I can SEE!” To which his wife questioned....”Would you like your eyes closed for good?!!’
Since that time, of course, those last two sentences have so become family favourites! Yes! Eyes are for SEEING!
So what has all this to do with Yoga, and why am I thinking about the eyes today? Our ability to see is one of our five senses – called ‘indriyas’ in Sanskrit. (Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch.) Our senses are intended to keep us informed as to our external – as well as to our internal environments – and to keep us safe. They also provide pleasurable, neutral, and not so pleasurable responses. (Think chocolate…..think crouching tiger!)
In our culture of SPEED and DISTRACTION anxiety has become the #1 reason that folks visit their family doctors these days. As a non-medicinal antidote we are urged – nay, IMPLORED to be present……To be in the Now Moment......To disengage from all else, and to just sit for a bit. Quite a chore for most of us!
Absolutely needless for me to point out that most of us are most often living either in times gone by, or in times not yet arrived.....hardly EVER in the NOW. Yet, Now is where life is happening…….we miss out almost ALL of the time.
When we meditate, we hopefully train our brains to quiet, and to let thoughts be replaced by feeling. One of the most helpful ways to ‘just sit’ and ‘feel’ in meditation is to begin by getting physically comfortable, and by closing our eyes. With our eyes open, our minds may be tempted to begin to wander. (Of course, the danger of meditating with eyes closed is that we just might feel Sleep calling our name!) However, with eyes open it is important to remember that whatever our eyes land upon, whatever they ‘see’, the images imprint upon our brains whether we are conscious of this or not. The methods by which images from outside the physical body are transmitted to the brain are complex, but once they arrive, they remain permanently.
It is for this reason that yoga asks us to be careful as to where and to what we direct our eyes. Watching the (bad) Late Night News, for example, is not a great way to get a good night’s sleep! And let us take care to avoid images of violence and hate. What we ‘see’ becomes part of our life experience.. and forevermore will be part of who we are.