The old saying that “eyes are a reflection of your inner self” holds true. The eyes have been regarded as the mirror of our mental states. The great Roman philosopher Cicero said, “The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter.” In the Bible, Matthew reveals, “The eye is the lamp of the body…” Descartes argued that there is no passion that some particular expression of the eyes does not reveal, and Shakespeare famously wrote, “The eyes are the windows to your soul.”
For one such as I who was taught to look people in the eye when speaking and listening, and for one whose eyes spoke before her mouth uttered the words, I find my eyes speak volumes about me… to the extent that if I wish to conceal my thoughts, I would have to block out the eyes. Eyes. They hold many revealing emotions that are expressed through eye contact. It can be a glaring look when a person is defiant or angry; a glazed over look when we are hopelessly enamored; a soft look, a hard look, the eyes can show compassion and empathy. They can reprimand, intimidate, or menace. They can question, and they can make a point. They show remorse, sadness, joy, happiness, hurt, fear, and uncertainty. They speak of desire, of want and need. They reflect our sincerity (or lack thereof), integrity and comfort when communicating with another person. And how can we ignore the non-verbal language of our eyes that speak of love? We convey our hearts most poignant picture through them. Yet, we have developed habits with our devices that interfere with our ability or even desire to interact and communicate on a face-to-face level.
I encounter the look in the eyes of a perky bank clerk carrying papers from her desk to another office. On the way, she greets customers with a cheery smile. She is truly happy. The eyes are the giveaway. She crinkles the corners of her eyes in a “crow’s feet” pattern showing a genuine passion, openness and receptiveness for her task at hand.
I find the look in a man sitting in front of his computer looking at pictures of his wedding day. The photo he stares at is one of a beautiful woman in white with a huge smile that spreads across her glowing cheeks as she looks into his eyes. There, his gentle eyes spoke of admiration and wonderment. In front of the computer his gentle eyes speak of deference, a passive resignation to love as though he is trying to remember what passionate love feels like. It isn’t the memory that fails him. It is the relationship.
I catch the look in the eyes of a store clerk who stops by the window and stares dreamily at the passerby’s. A father and child are holding hands waiting for the light to cross the street. The clerk likes what she sees. Her eyes dilate with tenderness for a few seconds before she furrows her brow making her eyes smaller. Is it remorse, or rejection? Definitely sadness.
I see the look in the eyes of an older man when I express condolences on the passing of his spouse of 55 years. He looks me in the eye with composure, and with an honest clarity his eyes express a light that springs from a deep void. The flame that once was is now a glow in the ashes of the memory of his love.
I perceive the look in the eyes of a dignitary, an accomplished woman who takes the first step on a staircase and with the utmost respect and humility, turns her gaze to her spouse while he steps up to follow. Her eyes hide nothing. They speak of equanimity, revealing a non-competitive love. It gives greater meaning to their intimacy.
I find compassion in the misty eyes of a man who is moved by the sight of a child rummaging through trash. His soft eyes resemble the early morning dew that clings to leaves before evaporating in the scorching sun. Care, concern and empathy are in his eyes as he hands his bagel to the rummager before he hides his true self behind his sunglasses.
The look of love is everywhere in the eyes of my fellow humans. Look at each other. It is the easiest and most powerful way to make a person feel recognized, understood and validated. Maintain eye contact. Find the true and silent language of love spoken through the eyes of your fellow humans.