Another use for soft eyes
I worked with a young man who had been struggling with some alcoholism. He’d been working at getting help and I saw him the
first time when he had just completed a private treatment program, one of those nifty ones that teaches hypnosis and yoga and such. He had nothing but praise for it and talked about his intention to keep up with some of the things they’d taught him. We started talking and about 25 minutes into the conversation, I realized I’d been telling him a lot of stories.
“Am I being indulgent?” I wondered, and, as I wondered that, I realized I was actually in trance. He was too! He was sitting there, frozen in his seat like a statue, and I was nearly blind I was so deep in. Mentally, I tracked back over all the stories I’d told him and I realized that there were common threads–I’d been telling him about people who had relapsed and had bad things happen to them, or people who had relapsed and had opened up and sought further help. I had told him about some of the different approaches to changing your thinking, and many of the threads had a theme of honesty and how much people benefitted who were open about their problems. Suddenly, I knew what my unconscious had caught that my conscious mind had missed completely.
I looked at him, sitting there so still with a faintly frightened look on his face (just barely noticeable), and I said, “And you know why I’ve been telling you these stories, don’t you?” Microscopically he nodded. “The truth is, you’ve started drinking again, already, and it scares you.” Again, he nodded ever so slightly.
I’m glad to say I was able to help the poor guy. He worked on his thinking, sought out more useful ways to spend his time, and over the next year or two got married, promoted, and way more in charge of his life, usefully, than he had ever been before.
So the question is, how did I know? I genuinely had no conscious idea what was going on. My unconscious had to kick in to let me know and, that time, it did so by hijacking the bus and driving it for a while, till I caught on and was able to cooperate with it.
There is a man who has researched how tiny emotional hints slip through our attempts to repress them, Dr. Paul Ekman. He’s fairly well known–heck, they designed a tv show based, in part, on his research! Now, I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the different areas of Dr. Ekman’s research; however, the relevant part to this post is that he’s done extensive clinical research on how emotions leak through when we talk and interact, despite our best efforts to prevent that. These tiny reveals show what’s going on inside, but are so rapid, so slight, most people do not notice them, at least, not consciously. He has a training program (several levels of intensity, actually) available to the general public, and I highly recommend you seek it out.
Last time, I blogged about using soft eyes to track breathing for the purpose of aiding rapport. There is another application of such a skill: using it to help you track the micromovements of a person’s face as different states and emotions flit across. By using soft eyes when you talk with someone, you are better able to catch tiny motions and changes, much more so than if you only use your foveal vision. It’s well worth practicing to master, therefore. If you are a manager, a salesman, a parent, or a teacher, I consider it HIGHLY useful for you to master this skill so you can help the people you work with deal with the world more effectively, especially since sometimes they don’t even realize what’s going on inside, themselves!
Do you want to develop your skills to help the people around you? I’m glad I was able to catch that young man’s cues, the hints his face revealed that he was sliding rapidly back down a hole he had been working to dig himself out of, so I highly recommend it.
If you would like some training to improve your skill in learning to read physiology, even beyond what Dr. Ekman teaches, please contact us here at Bright Mind. We’ll be glad to talk with you.