I had the privilege recently of attending a one-day workshop in Vancouver on the Kundalini practice called “White Tantra”. I had some idea of what I was getting into, as I had taken an 8-week Kundalini yoga class in the past. This experience, however, was going to be meditating and chanting and looking into someone’s eyes deeply and consistently for most of 12 hours.
I was surprised when I got there that the event was sold out – which meant over 250 people were crammed together, yoga mat to yoga mat, in a beautiful church basement.
When there, I realized I would need to partner up with one individual for the whole 12 hours. The task for each pair would be to stare into each other’s eyes for 5 x 31 minute meditations in the morning and 3 x 62 meditations in the afternoon.
That’s a lot of eye gazing!
Luckily, I found someone who is quite familiar with the kundalini tradition, and is herself a teacher. She was also someone I had known in a previous life, so it was doubly a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with her.
There were many significant insights I had during that day, and the one I want to share with you is one moment in time. One of the times I was eye gazing, I found myself dropping into a place inside and behind her eyes. This is going to be hard to describe, as there are no real words for this experience. But essentially, I dropped into a place deep inside her, and yet truly beyond her.
This place, most important of all, was a place of love. I would call it a pool of love. And, this pool of a love was a place I recognized. I had felt this kind of love before. It was an all-encompassing, giant-feeling love. It was a grand love. It was love that resonated with joy and bliss.
There was something about finding that love behind and deep inside another person’s eyes that was both tremendously healing and also reassuring. If I could feel such an intensity of love by staring into someone’s eyes who I hardly even knew, could that kind of love exist independent of relationships? Could that kind of love exist regardless as to whether I had invested years into cultivating relationship? Could that kind of love exist regardless as to whether this person was my mother, daughter or lover?
This was the exquisite experiential finding I had – and it was this;
Love exists outside of us and also exists in the in-between.
A friend of mine wondered if, in this experience I had, that perhaps there was also some “attachment healing.” The little I know about attachment healing involves a few steps that were certainly present:
1. A sense of safety and trust
A sense of safety starts with physical safety. In the environment I was in, I certainly felt physically safe. In fact, having that many people in the room made me feel comfortable. The second aspect of safety is emotional safety. Because I had known my eye-gazing partner in the past, although I didn’t know her well, we have a good friend in common, which is our bond. She herself also has an inner quality that emanates a calmness, a strength and a capacity to keep herself grounded in where she is while at the same time being attuned to me.
2. Allowing autonomy while being present
Another key aspect of healing attachment trauma through relationship is about allowing the person to explore the world and relationships with others while knowing you are still there for them if needed. This allows the individual to know they can have their own independence, their own voice, will, power, decisions, opinions while in a container of a safe relationship. This allows the individual to really own their own capacity and autonomy and voice while learning that they can create their own world, vs letting the world happened to them.
The person I was working with certainly has a strong sense of self coupled with an ability to be attuned to another. Her own journey in teaching kundalini yoga has grounded that. And perhaps how I show up may have given her some of the same experience of being held from a place of groundedness in myself.
Regarding allowing me to have my own autonomy, that also was perhaps a shared, unspoken understanding. Between eye-gazing sessions, when we would have 15 to 20 minute breaks, there was never a sense from either of us that we needed to “debrief” or even say much to each other at all. For me, there was a freedom in that – in being able to connect in some ways quite deeply during the mediations and eye-gazings, yet during the breaks be free to chat with others or be inside ourselves, as we each desired.
Although not everyone can have, or would even want to have, an experience of staring into another’s eyes for a full day, one of the powerful lessons I carried away with me that day was the belief that great healing can happen from holding on to yourself while holding onto another.
This lesson can be carried into conflict situations. How can believing that there is a great pool of love that exists in the eyes of the other support your endeavours to make peace?