Insights of Closed Eyes

“it is only with the heart, that one can see rightly, what is essential, is invisible to the eye”.

The fox, The Little Prince

 The essence of water therapy is to encourage our receivers to devote themselves fully to The water, and by that, to us therapists as well. A different person, who is oftentimes a complete stranger.

Such a concept can have a completely different meaning to each woman and man.

It requires them to detach from the safety of the ground that holds them, close their eyes and float into a new place where they are no longer “in control”.

Having control is a wonderful illusion.

We feel certain that we own it completely and permanently, more than we actually believe we can be present at any given time.

Whether we meditate or engage in any other activity that enhances our presence in the present moment, and any other beautiful moments in our lives, we experience it all through the fact that there’s no control or attachments (We will elaborate in this in chapter 3 – “The illusion of control”).

In the Shamanic “Red Road” (El Camino Rojo), during the sweat lodge preparation rituals, it is being said that once we close our eyes we actually open another channel to enable inward self-exploration, and this ability is two-sided.

In certain traditions, the water symbolizes the perception of the self and the inner world or the emotional realm. These traditions consider the water as an unknown space that we can only see its surface, but the depth remains a mystery.

Dealing with such situations will activate a certain reaction for every woman and man that is related directly to their personal relationship with Helplessness –

Trusting another person.

Allowing control.

Giving in to a process they cannot see, criticize nor clearly understand the path it generates within them.

During that time we, the therapists, remain with open eyes and in full control. When the treatment goes out of control, we can allow ourselves to handle unexpected responses of our patients.

The invitation to close our eyes teaches us to trust the water and the process/transformation that’s generated by our hands. We have to understand that we’re not in full control over the process that’s happening, and that just like our patients, we also have to give in to the treatment/process.

Science has shown that out of our five senses, sight gets 70% of our energy. This means the sense of touch remains with the other three senses and gets a portion of the remaining 30%. However, once we close our eyes, we allow our other four senses to open up and we connect to our patients at a deeper level.

While we’re at it, the reason we meditate with closed eyes in some of the meditation traditions (e.g. Vipassana) is that if our eyes remain open, our awareness will remain highly active. It activates our natural and immediate tendency to categorize everything we see as good/bad, pretty/ugly, and other regardless of categories.

When we treat with closed eyes we give ourselves the opportunity to go deeper: With eyes closed, we can easily ignore our “inspective awareness” and connect to the pure place of the treatment that accepts the person in our hands unconditionally.

Since water therapy is so intimate, our patients’ bodies are physically close to our eyes. Closing our eyes in this intimate space means we remain in a non-subjective space.

A space that does not let us get carried away by our sight and our very human subjectivity. In such intimate space, where our patients are so exposed and vulnerable, this lets our patients feel we are not too close, or even intrusive, to those who are more sensitive.

With eyes closed, it is enough to follow our patients’ breath and their needs while paying extra attention to what they let us the sense, and that’s how we make our patients feel they are being seen in the more wonderful sense of the word.

Treating with closed eyes invites us to sharpen all the above-mentioned qualities:

Our ability to sense our patients.

Our ability to give in to the unknown.

Reminding ourselves there’s something greater than us that we can rely on.

Closely follow the breathing collecting the information from more place in thier body

Follow the micro-movements within our patients’ bodies

Allow all senses to sharpen and lead us during the treatment.

It’s like a tree. We see it, yet we know a large part of it is unseen underneath the surface of the earth.

The human body is similar in that sense. There are so many changes that meet the eye: facial expressions, skin, structure, muscles. These are all exposed and visible. On the other hand, we have emotional changes: emotional, heartbeat, electrical brain activity, and much more.

Most of the more valuable responses lie below the surface and cannot be observed. We can, however, increase our ability to sense it with our closed eyes and controlled attention.  

The day it all became clear to me during my development as a water therapist:

San Francesco di Assisi, Umbria, Italy. – Watsu course 2- the second time I study with my mentor Kelly. Just like every Watsu course, we practiced fully connected to the water, until the late-night hours and woke up super early in the mornings for practice.I felt so tired during the last morning of the course and couldn’t open my eyes.

I was about to give treatment and thought to myself I should start the practice with eyes closed and allow them to open up again once the tiredness wears off. We’ve gone through a third of the treatment and I decided to keep my eyes closed half-way through the treatment. In the meantime, I felt something opening up within my treatment and I start noticing things that were not there earlier that morning.

My passion for the curiosity of the unknown opened up-

I decided to keep my eyes closed and dive into the depths of the practice and discover everything I can reveal through closed eyes. I felt thousands of eyes opening up on my skin, arms, palms, through my heart and more.

Listening to the breath of the person in my hands became sharper, following up on the quality of our touch becomes clearer. The only problem that still remained was my awareness that kept reminding me to keep my patient’s body away from the wall and other people in the water with us.

Over time, this awareness developed into one of the main components in my teachings these days: the focus of our sense of space and ability to feel the space we’re at.

I made it to the end of the treatment with my eyes closed and until this day I can remember my sensations as I opened my eyes, after giving in to my unknown, the uncovering of what’s inner and deeper within my patient, the enlightenment that came from the darkness.

Treating with closed eyes taught me to detach from all external information that only serves as a background story to what’s really happening underneath, that’s the main stage, and seeing a new world never before experienced, thanks to my dedication to keeping my eyes closed. 

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