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Do You Have Quiet Eyes?

The world needs more of them

Young woman in headscarf looking kindly at the camera
The world needs more quiet eyes

Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, philosopher and civil rights leader, wrote in one of his Meditations of the Heart:

. . . look out on life with quiet eyes.

I find this phrase captivating. The idea of making my eyes quiet intrigues me.

· How does one do it?

· What would be the benefits?

I think about what my eyes do all day. They blink. Look away. Pop out with surprise. Narrow with suspicion. Glare with condemnation. My eyebrows add to the action of my eyes by rising high on my forehead in incredulity, lowering with displeasure, or almost meeting in the middle with annoyance.

There’s nothing quiet about my eyes. They’re very noisy. Why? Because my eyes are a reflection of what’s behind them: pre-ordered, highly processed, tasteless, unhealthy, endless, raucous thoughts.

If I want to look at the world with quiet eyes, I have to change my relationship with the world, which is dictated by my thoughts.

If I walk around today allowing endless, negative thoughts to spill through my eyes and out into the world, my eyes will be very tired by the end of it. And the world will be no better off.

Reactions like surprise, suspicion, condemnation, incredulity, displeasure and annoyance are forms of judgement about what’s going on.

Sharon Salzbert, author of Lovingkindness, referred to Thurman’s comment in her book, Real Happiness:

Learning to deepen our concentration allows us to look at the world with quiet eyes.

If I drop my judgements about what’s wrong with what’s going on, my eyes will be quiet. They can rest. They can clearly and calmly observe what’s happening. Instead of throwing in pointless reactions to situations that arise, they can offer whatever is required.

Mindfulness and Quiet Eyes

Quiet eyes are a reflection of a quiet mind.

In another Meditations of the Heart Thurman wrote:

I shall study how I may be tender without being soft; gracious without being ingratiating; kind without being sentimental; and understanding without being judgmental. Here in the quietness, I shall give myself in love to my neighbors.

Thurman had a quiet mind, which gave him quiet eyes.

Like Howard Thurman, have quiet eyes. Drop judgements about what’s wrong with what’s going on. Look mindfully at the world.

The world needs more quiet eyes.

I’ll add a pair of mine today.

Try adding your quiet eyes to the world today — and see what happens.

With love, Marlane

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