Please Look Into My Eyes….

A number of years ago I did a self-development seminar called the Landmark Forum. It was a life changing experience for me but it’s  not for everyone.

One of the exercises we did during the seminar was to stand across from another person and look into their eyes for five minutes without saying anything. When the exercise was announced, I heard someone sitting behind me say “What a stupid exercise. I look into people’s eyes all day long, I don’t need to pay to do it in a seminar.”

I’d never done this sort of exercise but I thought it might be interesting. Well, it was a lot more interesting than I thought.

I stood across from my parter in the exercise and looked into their eyes. Immediately, a conversation started in my head, and it went something like this:

 “God, this is wierd, I don’t even know this person and now I’m staring into their eyes. This is a little embarrassing. I wonder what they think about me. Geez, I hope I don’t have any eye boogers. Should I smile? If I start to smile, but then I might start laughing. That wouldn’t be cool because they might think I was laughing at them. Now they’re smiling at me. What does that mean? How much time has passed? When do we break for lunch?”

Some people did start laughing,  little nervous laughs. Then some people started crying, one of whom was the woman who thought the exercise was stupid.

The conversation in my head started to quiet down. I stopped thinking about me and started to think about them. What were they like? What did they do? I thought I saw some sadness in their eyes. What happened?

Then something very interesting happened. The conversation in my head stopped and I found myself with another human being. Not doing, not talking, just being with them. Without knowing any of the details of their life, I realized that I knew everything about them that I needed to know. I felt connected with them, and it felt comfortable, and, well, good. It was an incredibly powerful experience.

When the exercise was over, the woman who complained shared her experience with the group. She said I wept because I realized I never look into anybody’s eyes. Even when I’m in front of someone, I’m never really with them.”

I’ve had the opportunity to do this exercise in workshops more than once and each time I’m blown away by the experience.

It makes me aware that many of us, myself included, have the tendency to go through the day in a way that is closed off  and sealed tight. Eyes averted, face stiff and hard. “Let’s get this over with asap” we say with our body language. Sometimes at networking events, when I shake someone’s hand they’re not even looking at me.

We come into contact every day with so many people but often it’s no more personal or meaningful than getting a soda out of a vending machine. Sometimes I’m aware of talking with my children without even looking at them and the talking is automatic. “yes, oh, that’s nice, yeah, uh huh, ok…”

 It takes courage to look in someone’s eyes because to do that you must reveal yourself. You let the other person in a little. You let them “see” you.  This is can be  threatening.

But when I remember to look into the eyes of another, then every contact is an opportunity for connection with another. You might think this would get exhausting, but the amazing thing is that it gives me energy, a feeling of lightness. I acknowledge them, and they, me.

When I stop what I’m doing and look into the eyes of my children, I become present to their innocence, their beauty and their incredible aliveness. And I get some of that for myself.

We’re all trying to feel better. Be happier. Trying to feel less isolated in the solitary but cramped spaces of our minds.

Try this just for today: look into the eyes of each person you come into contact with. See what comes up. Discomfort? Self consciousness?  Maybe you’re already good at connecting with people in this manner. If so, then notice how many people have trouble meeting your gaze.

If we could learn to look  into each other’s eyes with respect, acceptance and compassion, then we just might see the soul behind those windows. Then perhaps we would see each other for who we really are: vast, infinite, limitless and magnificent.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks.

 Ted A. Moreno

Personal/Small Business Coach
Certified Hypnotherapist                                                                       
 (626) 826-0612

A Powerful Daily Practice

I was talking with my soon to be four year old daughter the other day. She said “Dad, if I blink my eyes, then it’ s nighttime.” Out of the mouths of babes…I said “Yes sweetheart, in the blink of an eye, it’s next week, then next month, then next year..”

James Tayor said in a song:

Now, people live from day to day
But they do not count the time you know
They don’t see their days slipping by
And neither do I

When I was a child, the days were long, and it seemed like forever until Halloween, or Christmas or my birthday. Now, one day runs into the next, one week becomes the next and on and on. I used to work with a guy, who, in the middle of summer, would say, “Christmas is almost here” He was only half kidding. What is the biggest difference between the long, slow days of childhood and the rapid fire pace of life now? I think it was that we counted the days as kids. We didn’t need to make each day count, it just did. And then one day, all of a sudden, there was “stuff that needed to get done.” And only so much time to do it in.

I start each hypnosis session with a client by having having them breathe. In and out. I have them notice each breath, and this creates relaxation. Counting the breath, like counting the days, slow things down.

The most powerful practice I have in my life is to take time to myself to be with my life. What does this have to do with hypnosis? Well, it is possible to become hypnotized by the routine. Like a hamster on a wheel, it’s just what many of us do. Get up, work, come home, go to sleep, get up, work, come home, go to sleep, a seemingly endless cycle of activity. Throw in a few vacations here and there.

To break out of that hypnosis we must step out of the stream of our life. For me, that looks like getting up a little earlier in the morning when it is quiet. For you, it may be going to bed a little bit later. Why? What for?

To read, maybe. Not the paper, or a novel, but something that inspires you or challenges you. Or to meditate, just sitting, counting the breath. Maybe to just sit and welcome another morning, or at night, to say goodbye to another day. Perhaps to examine your life, your goals, what is it that is meaningful to you. To just drink some tea, or a cup of coffee. To consider: Who are you really? A job? A role? An activity? No, you are something much more. Take time to get to know what that is, or to re-mind yourself. Pray.

You may say that you hate to get up early. OK. But you have to get up sooner or later, yes? Get up a little sooner. Or go to bed a little later. If I don’t do this, then I really don’t have a life, I have a schedule, mostly. But it’s not easy to do. It feels like slacking. But it’s not. It is one of the most important things you can ever do. Is to be. With. You.

Did you know that many people cannot be alone because they don’t like being with themselves? If that is the case, wouldn’t you want to know that? Could you handle that insight?

How can I explain or relate the power of being present to your life by just stopping the continuous activity? I can’t. What I can do is suggest: take time to be with yourself. Alone. When it is quiet, before the day takes off,  like a ball from a  cannon. Or in the evening, after the tv’s are off and computers shut down and kids are in bed. Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Take time to look, listen, and feel. What comes up? You may be surprised.






The Voice in Your Head Part III

By now you may be thinking, “What is this thing he has with the voice in the head? Can’t he write about something else? Like how to make a bunch of money really quick?”

Don’t worry, it’s just the voice in your head talking,  pay it no mind.

I closed last weeks post with the question: Why might it be important to have a sense of detachment from your thoughts?  

The short answer is: because we believe the voice in our head and most of the time we do what it tells us to do.Once you have the ability to somewhat objectively be aware of your own thought process, then you may start to have an awareness of habitual patterns of thinking that are self-limiting, self defeating, or self destructive. As long as you believe that you are your thoughts (the voice) then you will not only identify with your thinking, but you may even defend what you believe to be true to point that you may be willing to kill someone who disagrees. This is why the history of our species is one of violence and bloodshed.  You may say that it is the nature of mankind to be violent. Perhaps this is true. Nevertheless, because of our capacity to be aware of our thinking and hence, to change it, we can change our nature.  As a species, we have yet to develop a deep and lasting connection with who we are beyond who we think we are. (I could wander into a discussion about who we really are, but I won’t.)

Take this example: Say there is a single young man who lives near a wilderness area. Some  of his friends like to hike into the wilderness and often invite him to join them. He will politely decline, stating that he has no interest in hiking and has never really hiked.  Although he will not say it,  he considers hiking into the wilderness a waste of time, and not very safe, as there are wild animals and insects, dangerous terrain, and  sometimes even humans, that could jeopardize one’s safety. He is not afraid, per se, but simply does not see it as a practical and worthwhile recreational activity. He feels it is his nature to be  more comfortable with staying home reading a good book.

One day the young man meets a young woman he is attracted to. They go out on a date, and she tells him that she likes to hike. The young man withholds from her his feelings about hiking, because he would like to continue to see her and feels that his chances are better if he keeps his mouth shut. However, she immediately suggests that they go hiking together and before he can object, a date is set.

In spite of his indifference to hiking , he goes along to get along.  They go on their hike, and after a while come to a pleasant spot in the forest. She pulls a blanket out of her backpack, along with a nice bottle of wine and some crackers and cheese. He is impatient to start back and finish the hike when a book she is reading falls out of her  pack, and the young man sees it’s a book that he has read and feels quite passionate about. They spend the next hour picnicking and discussing the book.

At the end of the day, the young man reflects back on his experience and decides that for the most part, he had enjoyed himself and would do it again even though he would rather go to a park than for a hike.  At this point, he wonders to himself “Why do I have this dislike for hiking?’

He now has detachment from the thought “I don’t like to hike” and begins to see this statement not as truth, but as a story he has been telling himself for some time, since he has no real experience with hiking.  He remembers a time when he asked his father if he could join the Boy Scouts, and was told “I don’t think that it’s safe to be hiking around out there where someone could get hurt or  bit by a snake or  an animal. Besides, it’s a waste of time when you could be doing your homework or reading a book.”

The young man realizes that his story about not liking hiking  was one that he inherited. Therefore, the “voice” he had believed for all these years was not even his own, it was the voice of his father. He adopts a different conversation (the voice) in his mind about hiking, and his “nature” is changed.

Ask yourself this question: How much of what you think most of the time is no more  than programming? After all, it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s what you think about what happens to you that will determine your course of action or inaction. What you think about what happens to you is your interpretation or story. This interpretation is in a large part determined by your past experiences, culture, upbringing, religious beliefs, education, and current peer group.

As a hypnotherapist I help my clients to be aware of and identify stories that they hold as beliefs that are holding them back from what they want to have, be, or do. I help them to see that since these stories are in a sense inventions that are maintained by the  “voice”, that they are free any time they choose to invent a new story that is empowering, encouraging, and inspiring. I help them instill these new beliefs using the power of suggestion through hypnosis.

In closing, let me leave you with this: ultimately, whether what you think about yourself is true or not is irrelevant.   What matters is: what does your thinking do for you? Move you forward or hold you back? Give you joy or despair? Help you to love or disconnect you from loving? Help you grow or keep you stuck? You have a choice in what to think and believe about anything.

Choose wisely.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks.  


 Ted A. Moreno

Personal/Small Business Coach
Certified Hypnotherapist
Specializing in Your Success                                                                       
 (626) 826-0612