THIS WEEK’S STRANGER:
Sarah, yoga instructor
The story behind the stranger: I was at Balance Festival last Sunday and, seeing as I got there early enough, I decided to go to the group meditation class. I’ve experimented with meditation in the past and often use the Headspace app which features a straight-talking man named Andy who helps you relax for 5 minutes or so. I have never been a spiritual person and I switch off when people start talking about energy from the earth, so you can imagine how much I cringed when we were told we were going to do something called eye-gazing – staring into a stranger’s eyes for 4 minutes. 4 MINUTES! But hey, I was there and you can’t knock it till you try it so I buried my Britishness and gave it a go. And this lovely lady was my partner.
It was as awkward and uncomfortable and hilarious as you might expect in the first minute or so and we did a lot of giggling! Also, it turns out you can’t actually look at both eyes at the same time so mine were doing a lot of darting around! As the seconds passed we became more relaxed however and it was easier to do. In the last minute, Sarah became emotional and started to tear up. I could see that she was trying to stop herself as she felt a little embarrassed, so I smiled and tried to tell her it was okay, bearing in mind we couldn’t actually talk! It was then that I realised while eye-gazing really wasn’t for me, it had had such a huge impact for Sarah that she felt she could cry in front of a total stranger. She told me afterwards that she had been struggling with a few things that morning and wasn’t sure whether she was going to come to the class, but that sharing a few minutes in silence with me had made her feel connected in a way she found really liberating.
I doubt I’ll be eye-gazing again anytime soon but it shows you how connected we can be if we’re brave enough and give it a chance. This was the weirdest and most wonderful way I’ve met a total stranger so far.