Reflecting on my post from earlier this week called Dignity, I wanted to extend this thought a little bit further. I really believe that the first step in creating space for human dignity is with a glance. Of course the gestures that come from that glance enhance or defeat the message depending on how they are used. Looking at someone in the eye connects you to that person's very life. Not only that, I believe it is undeniable that this connection also draws you into a (usually) unconscious awareness that your lives are unified by the Energy, the Great Spirit, God that binds us all together in love.
Omid Safi, columnist on Krista Tippets "On Being" describes the glance like this in his article, "The Power of a Glance":
"Glances are powerful, intimate. Depending on the heart connection — and lack thereof — they can be profoundly touching, saying what no word can utter. Or they can be deeply intrusive, an uncomfortable, unwelcome, and unwanted advance...This is part of the Islamic teaching in this part of the world: a reflection on what it means to purify each of our faculties. What would it mean to look upon one another, look with one another, look into one another the way God would look upon us. What would it mean to listen to each other so that we are attentive, caring, nurturing, eager to learn how to provide care, not to get the next (and last) word in. What would it mean to touch someone in a way that is not aggressive and unwanted, with a touch that clings not and possesses not. What would it mean for divine faculties to come and take over, replacing all that is egoistic with all that is nurturing."
Are the glances we share with others traces of Divinity living among us? If we could consider our glances as holy, how would our world transform? Our relationships? Our lives?
If you would like to read the full article please check here.