When a person has dropped the calcified layers and veils—and natural clarity shines—the eyes become portals into the unknown. A photograph of Ramana Maharshi sits on a small table in our home, and his eyes take me there, out into the vastness. Sometimes I am making my way past the picture and into my office to pick up a paper or book, and those eyes stop me. I must meet them. I sense no personality in the way that obscures the mystery, instead, awareness is fully open to and loving—in the way of Agape—all that is present. Of course, it is not this moment that his eyes see—he is not actually looking at me—but that does not alter the experience.

Although the depth of compassion I experience in Ramana’s photo is not present in the same way, my dog’s eyes have this same effect. There is no mask in the way; she is fully present, without comment, without judgment. Because she is a sight hound—one of a few breeds that use their eyes more than their noses—she will look directly at me for an extended period of time. It’s such a frank, open gaze—so refreshing, after spending a day at work with people who have personal agendas, and stalwart self-protection in place.

Perhaps this is why, as a child, I felt most at ease with animals—they embodied the mystery so much more obviously for me. Even though I could not have expressed it in this way, I understood that their eyes were portals. And I hungered, even then, for the unknown.

© Skye Blaine, 2011

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