“The eye is a window into the soul.” No one really knows who first said that. The prevailing idea is that it is an old English saying. Christians often attribute it to Mark: “The eyes are likened to the windows of the heart.” Mark 7:20-23. However that is from an English translation and may have been driven by the old proverb. Some believe it is derived from an old Arabic saying. Regardless, it is a prevalent idea. But I never got it.
I have always been aware that often I do not look a person in the eye. I use to attribute it to my eyesight which is rather poor and has been since early childhood. My ears are a primary sense for me. If you are talking to me, I listen more than look. I understand the concepts of body language and I will take cues from what you do with your body, but I do not search your eyes.
In martial arts I am aware that the eyes will lie. I often use that as an offensive technique. When sparring I will stare at some part of the opponent, such as their feet, while throwing several fake kicks. My attention is on my peripheral vision of the opponent’s upper body. They see my focus on their feet and assume a low attack. They prepare to defend low and that is when I strike them in the upper body. My eyes lied.
When I began examining my introversion, I took a more serious inspection into why I do not look people in the eye when talking. Understand, I will look in your eyes but I won’t keep my attention there constantly like most people do. More often than not I will turn my ear to you, to pick up every subtle nuance in your voice while using my peripheral vision to study your body movements. To me the tremble in your voice tells me you are uncertain, lying or holding something back. A slight squeakiness tells me you are tense. A clear throat tells me you are happy, and so on.
In my examination I began to realize I cannot see in an eye what I can hear in the tone of a voice, or see in body language. Certainly I can see smile lines, laugh lines, the down turned eyebrow of sadness. But in the eye all I see is an eye. An iris, pupil, and white. Occasionally the bloodshot of stress or tears, the widened pupil of arousal, darkness, or drugs. But for the most part all I see is an eye.
It occurred to me that I felt at a disadvantage. If to all the world the eye is the window into the soul but I only see an eye that was unfair. I realized that is really why I turn my ear toward a speaker, to level the playing field. It was not fair that they could see into my thoughts while I could not see into theirs, so I would deny that advantage while playing up mine, my ears.
Understand, I believe the eye is lovely. It is an amazing thing to look at especially during close, intimate encounters. I adore women who wear eye make-up, accentuating that fascinating part of the body. I understand that the first, broadest intentions can be seen in the eyes, and by that I mean that entire area of the face. However, I have never been able to see an eye as a window into someone’s thoughts.
Give me your words, your coos and sighs. That is the pathway I take to your soul.