ARIZONA. 14TH DAY OF JUNE. 2009. A young couple at the church that I attended and led worship at, had their first child a few months prior. Any time that I would see them, I always asked to hold their son. I know that for some, holding babies can be terrifying…but not for me. I greatly enjoy this and could easily do it for hours upon hours, never tiring(unless of course the baby is crying!). There’s just something about it. Maybe its because I may never have a family of my own or because I didn’t grow up with any younger siblings? I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, I do think in some ways it feeds my soul. On this particular Sunday after church, I happened to be holding this little boy when it was time for his scheduled feeding. His mother allowed me to feed him from the bottle while I continued to hold him.
Immediately, something very unexpected happened…
As soon as he began to feed, he locked gaze with me and didn’t look away the entire time! I was mesmerized by what was happening and found myself not able to look away either. I wish I knew what he was thinking in that moment. Did he realize that I was a stranger? Did he wonder why someone other than mom or dad was feeding him? What did he see as he looked at me? As this continued, I felt like this bundle of innocence was peering into my very soul more and more as each minute passed. As we looked into one another’s eyes, I quickly felt very exposed and vulnerable. I started to get uncomfortable, wanting to look away but somehow still paralyzed, not able to break away from this moment. Did he see every piece of me on the inside? I was greatly aware of my own struggles and sin and I didn’t want to defile this little one. I wanted to do everything in my power to protect him from every evil. Yet, I also felt no judgement from him and through his eyes, God was instilling within me a deeper understanding of love and being known. There seemed to be something sacred shared between just the two of us in that moment which I will never forget.
When you take the time to really acknowledge someone in the eyes, something very powerful can be shared, something of intimacy. It just might surprise you, like it did me with the baby. Here’s a video showing an experiment that wanted to see if this was true.
Did you know that in a child’s first 2 years, the desire to experience joy in loving relationships is the most powerful force in life? Some neurologists now say that the basic human need is to be the “sparkle in someone’s eye.” This isn’t just metaphorically speaking, but literal!
Looking in a person’s left eye, specifically, with joy and a sincere “I’m glad to be with you and see you”is powerful! Why the left eye? Well science shows that the left eye is connected to the right side of the brain which houses the emotional center. Doing so taps into all of that person’s emotional experience, possibly going back as far as when their parents looked at them lovingly in the crib. These positive(or negative) emotions that they carry from their past will be transferred toward you, thus resulting in greater intimacy. This is magnified even further if you already have a connection with them.
“Having enough joy strength is fundamental to a person’s wellbeing. We now know that a ‘joy center’ exists in the right orbital prefrontal cortex of the brain. It has executive control over the entire emotional system. When the joy center has been sufficiently developed, it regulates emotions, pain control and immunity centers; it guides us to act like ourselves; it releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin; and it is the only part of the brain that overrides the main drive centers- food and sexual impulses, terror and rage.” excerpt from the Life Model
We all have experienced some type of trauma in our lives, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Many feel stuck in areas still today because of it. Others have harmful habits and addictions that seemingly can’t be broken- some sexual, some not. We all have believed lies that effect the way we relate to others that result in building relationship out of fear instead of love. Whatever the case may be, there is hope and a way unto restoration. Joy as mentioned above is the answer. Because the only area of the brain that never loses its capacity to grow is the joy center. Strengthening this repairs the damage from the past and progresses maturity in the present. Growth comes in response to real, joy-filled relationships.
So if you’re looking(no pun intended) for breakthrough, your answer might come by sharing joyful intimacy with another…by looking into their eyes.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE – LEAVE A COMMENT
Have you ever experienced a moment where you felt strengthened and encouraged by just the way someone looked at you? Do you struggle to feel like you’re the “sparkle in someone’s eye”? Would you be so bold to try staring into another’s eyes uninterrupted for 4 minutes without talking? How did it make you feel?
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