by W.A. Mathieu
The eyes are hungry. They eat brain energy. When you close your eyes your brain opens to your ears; sound rushes in to fill the sphere of the skull. Your mother’s lullaby just before you drop off to sleep. Earphones on, lying on the couch, Beethoven’s Seventh, your arm over your eyes. The candle sputters; lovemaking sounds in the pitch dark, then whispers and laughing.
Open your eyes: now the brain is crowded, and the bright screen of sound grows dim.
When people are listening intently with their eyes open, a strange thing happens. Their eyes roll up a little bit, and a glaze comes over them as if the surface has congealed. I love that little roll-up. Oh, those Swami Eyes! It means that the hearing, just for a moment, has become hungrier than the vision. And the way people’s eyes suddenly retreat to a neutral corner when you are saying something truthful to them? That means they heard you.
And when people stare straight ahead, it means that everything is being heard and nothing is being shown. Sometimes this gaze is so powerful and beautiful that poems are written about it afterward.
Listen to the sounds you are hearing now. Then close your eyes and listen, and open them again. Try to hear the same way in both cases. Notice how the eyes are with the ears.