I’ve often thought about how people hold their heads. I don’t mean with their hands. I mean the angle … as in centred, slightly left or slightly right. Also, looking down, looking up and looking with the head level.
I enjoy being centred in life, squared up. Same thing with my gaze. There’s power, I believe, in looking right at the person I’m with, the line of my shoulders forming a right angle with the direction my head is pointing. A little one way or the other seems to lessen the contact. And I want each moment I’m with another human being to hold the possibility of contributing to them. Naturally my intention, my attitude, my words and my tone of voice are important, but I also sense that my alignment makes a difference.
And then there’s down, up and level. As I was driving today, I passed a young woman walking with purpose, head down in mid-text. She seemed so tight and contorted. There was no flow. But sometimes head down can be a blessing. On meditation retreats, we walk with our heads down as a way to centre ourselves. We’re asked not to make eye contact with other yogis. This is not to be distant, but to allow each person their space. Even without eye contact, or touching, there’s lots of caring transmitted from retreatant to retreatant.
As for eyes up, that can show devotion or wonder. “I lift mine eyes unto the hills”, lift them not only to the beauty of nature but also to the best in us, to whatever we experience God to be. I remember as a kid sitting on the crumbling cement porch of my grandpa’s farmhouse, listening to him tell stories from his favourite chair. He’d talk and smoke his cigar, and the people would come alive in me. Devotion.
My favourite is to look at someone on the level. Person to person, neither one better or worse, two people making meaning together. As a teacher of many young kids, I’d usually kneel down as we talked, so that we could be eye-to-eye. That felt good. Whether with a child or with someone older than me, the meeting of the eyes, especially if we linger, is lovely. Communion.
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven