It has always fascinated me how the languages we speak are so rich and nuanced , yet the better part of our communication happens on a non-verbal level. (Dare I say 70-90%? I always feel like statistics are complete bullshit. But hey, they fill space in newspapers and convince people. So let’s roll with it 😉 )
Even more fascinating is that most people seem to have no clue at all about the things they are communicating on this level.
Think about that for a second because it’s pretty crazy…
There is a universal language every single person (and animal) on this planet intuitively understands from the second that they are born. And we are all communicating in it 100% of the time. Yet, most people never learn how to speak it.
It’s like walking up to a French guy and just yelling some random French words you picked up: “CROISSANT!!!! FRAPPADINGUE!!! FILET AMERICAN PRÉPARÉ!!!” and hope they understand you just want directions to the metro station.
I actually fell in love with observing people’s body language (including my own) because of this. It’s the most honest form of communication because people don’t think about it. And even when they do it’s pretty hard to fake.
As time went on, my fascination for the unspoken started to move into uncharted territory.
What about communication that happens without body language?
Have you ever had that feeling where you know someone is staring at you. As if you can feel their stare on your body?
Then you turn around and you catch the “psycho stalker” / “charismatic lover” (depending on whether you found them attractive or not ) right in the act?
Have you ever experienced a friendship where your connection was so strong that you could communicate just by making brief eye contact and nothing else?
Exactly. There’s something going on there on a deeper level.
As humans, we come equipped with the ability to read each other’s emotions just from standing near others and feeling their general “vibe”. Or looking them straight in the eyes. But for most of us that ability got buried under so much thinking that we’ve mostly lost touch with it. Animals who don’t think never do. That’s why people say things like “never trust a man your dog doesn’t like”.
Still, you often know when you shouldn’t trust a stranger. Or that your girlfriend is not at all fine when she says she’s “fine”. You may not know why you know it, but you do. It’s that feeling in your gut that’s right when your brain doesn’t want it to be.
As I noticed these moments, I started to get more and more curious about how human beings connect with each other. Venturing deeper into this rabbit hole, I also started to wonder how deeply it would be possible to connect someone. I was no longer satisfied with just having conversations beyond the scope of ordinary small talk. I wanted to connect on a level beyond words, because I had no idea what was there.
Every week things happened that gave me new insights, raised new questions or just blew my mind in a way that I didn’t even know how to make sense of reality anymore.
All these experience turned me around from being an extremely sceptic “I-won’t-believe-anything-unless-it’s-repeatedly-proven-by-reputable-scientist” kinda guy to an “all-I-know-is-that-I-don’t-know-nothing” kinda guy, and to my surprise I found out that second attitude was where all the fun was at. 😉
The rest of this post will consist of random experiences from my “captain’s log” that each brought me one step closer to finding that true “soul-to-soul connection”. (Not that I actually have a captain’s log or call myself “captain” when no one’s around or anything…no no😉 )
I’ll stick to the most important “milestone moments”, leaving out all the smaller steps. I also left out some of the more “weird spiritual stuff” which I can’t put into words yet.
It makes me feel kinda naked to expose myself on such an intimate level publicly (Oh no! What if the people I shared these moments with would read how I felt about them? What everyone who read this thinks I’ve gone bat shit crazy? Such legitimate threats. I should really be concerned.) But I know that’s just my ego jabbering. And I believe that if everyone tried to connect this deeply, not only would they feel extremely satisfied with their love/social life, the world would also be a much better place. Especially in a time where a lot of people barely feel loved anymore. So I’m certain it’s worth sharing.
This is the longest post I’ve ever written. But since it’s split up in lots of different small insights I had on different days, s you can split it up in lots of different toilet breaks as well (or save it for a boring family dinner and pretend it’s work related) 😉
If you’re going the toilet-break route, I recommend a steady diet of onion rings, cooked beans and chewing gum to help you finish these faster 😉
August 8th, 2015
I’m at a big summer party with some friends and the mood is just on fire. Literally everywhere I look people of all ages are happy and having fun.
Somewhere around 11PM I meet a woman whose beauty I could only describe as “of the kind you normally only see in movies and on magazine covers”. I shake her hand and we exchange names.
Someone tells me she’s a hairdresser and I’m in a bit of a socially uninhibited mood so I just grab her hair, start massaging her scalp and ask her if I’m doing it the right way. (Not sure if it’s true but I suspect hairdressers do this on purpose when washing your hair to make you feel good and make you want to come back. )
She giggles and says “yes”.
I start asking a little more questions to find out who she is and whether I like her or not.
She mainly giggles and says “yes” a lot. Which is definitely not a bad character trait 😉
I’m inviting her to an instant limbo contest.
She giggles and says “yes” but just stands there staring at me instead of actually doing the dance.
At this point I’m getting seriously concerned because there are only 3 possible explanations:
- A) She doesn’t speak English/Dutch
- B) She went to some kind of “yes man” seminar and is not allowed to give me another answer.
- C) She’s a frikkin’ psychopath lunatic giggle machine and I need to get away ASAP.
Either way this is not going anywhere so I decide to leave her alone.
A little later my friends are moving to the front of the crowd. One of them looks at her and tells me “Daaayuuum. Too bad you messed that up!”
I laugh and think to myself “Dammit. Now I have to prove him wrong.”
I look her in the eyeballs making a silly “come hither” motion. To my surprise she joins us and starts enthusiastically chatting me up in a language I don’t even speak a little.
I don’t really know what’s she’s saying but I like the way she’s saying it, so I decide to stay in the conversation, and we get to know each other a little better by showing each other pictures of things we like on our phones.
She signals to me that she wants to dance and shows me what kind of music she likes to dance to. Little does she know yet I’m THE number one worst dancer on this planet (I know that’s not true, there’s probably some guy without limbs who dances worse. And another one who dances better), but I’m not in the mood to care so I grab her hand and lead her outside, secretly enjoying all the jealous stares on the way out as the ginger guy with the nail polish leaves with the most gorgeous woman in the entire crowd. (1-year-younger-me and his ego Sigh. 😉 )
As we’re walking through a dark park in the middle of the night she starts hugging my arm really tight and putting her head on my shoulder. It’s a nice intimate feeling to sense that she feels safe around me without even knowing who the fuck I am.
Somehow we continue to bond and hold each other closer as the hours pass. Sometimes without speaking, sometimes with her blabbering in whatever her native language is and me replying through touch and eye contact. (She must’ve loved the fact that she finally met a man who knew how to shut up and listen.)
Around 3AM she’s signals me she’s really tired and wants to go home. At the risk of missing a so-called “opportunity” there, I leave on a very important mission to find out if my friends are still alive. [Spoiler alert: I find out that they are.]
It is clearly possible to meet and attract someone without speaking a word. (Come to think about it, it’s probably easier to not fuck up when you keep your stupid mouth shut.)
Now I’m left wondering: would it also be possible to form a deeper connection with someone this way? I mean, at one point you definitely need to get to know each other, right?
I recognize the same woman in a club. Luckily she’s learned how to speak Dutch now, which will make things easier for us.
The conversation is boring.
This is interesting 😉
January 11th , 2016
The vocal coach I usually worked with called in sick today, so I got to meet one of her replacements.
I sang to her a couple of lines from a song I was having issues with. She asked me if I would be okay with letting my guard down for her, and having it stay down completely for just one hour.
I agreed with a slight hint of hesitation, because I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Did it mean having to open about all my deepest fears and worries towards her?
Apparently that wasn’t even necessary. Because what happened afterwards was a total mind-fuck for me.
Instead of working on my singing, she started giving me all kinds of very specific advice for very specific problems I was dealing with in my life she couldn’t possibly know about without me telling her.
Often times the issues were so intimate that I gave her an inquisitive “you’re-not-talking-about-what-I-think-you-are-,-are-you?-look” and watched her reply with a provocative and slightly naughty “I’m-not-going-to-tell-you-so-you’ll-never-know-for-sure” look.
There was an amazing kind of energy / tension in the room that made it all feel very surreal to me.
It’s hard to adequately explain the level of “mindblowingness” all the advice she shared with me was at, but let’s just say that by the end of our conversation (read: her monologue) I had all the tools I needed to get over the hurdles I was currently running up against, including some advice for one of my best friends who wasn’t even there. The only thing that could possibly stop me after that moment was not taking action (which of course, would happen 😉 ).
At the end of the hour I tried singing the same lines again and the sound was exactly like I wanted it to be for the past weeks without us working on it. Weird stuff. But I like it.
How could she possibly have access to some much information about me, including some things I had never told anyone in my life? (I later learned how she could, which I’ll share at the end of this post).
Why didn’t I ask her number? Will I see her again? (Spoilers: I Will.)
And most of all: I’m starting to feel like everything I used to believe about reality is probably not the absolute truth.
January 25th, 2016
I’m in my room playing a song for a woman I hung with a couple of times recently.
She was able to really impress me with her cool personality so far, but I don’t really have specific intentions or anything. I literally have no clue if I’ll become friends with this girl, if things will turn sexual or if she’ll murder me and no one will ever hear from me again (OK probably not that last one, but hey, you never know with some people 😉 ).
All I know is I like her enough to let her come here. I guess the rest will just happen the way it’s supposed to happen.
I don’t like to admit it to myself, but I’m actually somewhat of a control freak. So this new approach is a little out of my comfort zone and I have no idea where to go from here. Then again, that also makes it kind of exciting and fun.
We spend the biggest part of the night talking about all kinds of stuff, but when writing in my captain’s log (which I don’t have and don’t call myself, ever) at the end of the night, I realize something:
Before I go to sleep I always look back on the day, recall the most beautiful moments I had that day and take a moment to just feel thankful for experiencing them..
Today there were a few short moments that stood out from the rest to me, and interestingly, those where the moments we didn’t talk. The short pauses in between sentences when I was just staring into her eyes for a second and caught a quick glimpse of the person hiding underneath.
I guess that’s why people say the eyes are the window the soul (I wonder where the door is by the way 😉 ). It kind of felt to me like looking into someone instead of just looking at her eyes. I don’t know for sure but I suspect she might’ve been able to feel that happening as well, since she told me it was sometimes a bit uncomfortable that there was no way to hide from me.
These brief moments of connection automatically made me feel very empathic and caused me to think random friendly sentences like “I would never do anything to hurt you.” Or “I want to share positive feelings with you.” even though I barely knew her. (Which, come to think of it, would be very good thoughts for everyone to have about everyone else on this planet 😉 )
It’s definitely food for thought that I felt most connected to her during the silent moments and not the ones when were actually “getting to know each other”. Doesn’t seem to make sense on a surface level. Considering how awkward most people find silence, one would expect the opposite.
February 3rd, 2016:
Meeting with the same woman again. My whole body is aching and I have the flu so I’m not really my normal self today, but we’re still having fun.
At one point during one of those short silences I suddenly feel the urge to kiss her, but when I pull her a little closer something weird happens: I can’t do it. I don’t know why. I just physically can’t for some reason.
Inside I’m actually laughing out loud at myself.
Here I am, the same guy that had the balls 3 months ago to walk up to a woman and go home with her after just 2 sentences (In case you’re interested: The magic pick-up line is: “Hi, I’m Pepijn”), now sitting on my bed and finding it impossible to do what every other guy in the world would have no problem doing: kissing someone I’ve already met more than once and clearly enjoy a nice connection with.
Why I can’t do it with her? I have no idea. (I’d later find out what I was doing to myself here, but let’s blame it on the flu anyway 😉 )
But what I do know is that I suddenly start to talk an awful lot to avoid those silent moments, since they clearly hold a lot of positive tension for me that I somehow can’t deal with right now.
I start to feel weird because I’m not being myself right now and I don’t know why. Instead of honestly saying things because I want to share them or doing things because I want to do them, I just say other random stuff that isn’t relevant. That doesn’t normally happen and it fucks with my mind a little. I try to fix it and stay silent whenever I feel that tension again, but instead of kissing her I just get an extremely dry mouth/throat and need to grab some water.
She goes home, and one day later I start to feel really guilty for not being 100% honest during this conversation (which I had been up until now). I kinda feel like I need to make it up to her or something. Then again I’m still sick and tomorrow morning I’ll probably realize it’s not a big deal at all.
Instead of helping me express myself, words actually managed to make my communication less effective and less authentic here, as I used them to protect myself from creating a change in a connection that already felt nice. Which of course is really stupid, cause everything changes every day any way, and some changes can be pretty nice 😉
Without words there would’ve been no hiding. Hiding makes the connection you have with other people less authentic, because from that point on, they are no longer in an interaction with the real you.
(In any case, I’ve learned how important it is for me to always stay honest. Whether it’s through words or actions.)
March or April 2016 or something, who the hell really cares? I could’ve just written some random date and you wouldn’t know it
I realize that every fight I ever had with my ex-girlfriend was caused by things that can only be expressed using words: Future plans, past mistakes, hypothetical outcomes, abstract concepts, differences in opinions, misinterpretations of things we said, etc.
Those things can all make us very angry with each other, but when I shut up, look into her eyes and hug her, all those things prove to be irrelevant to the present moment.
Not to give words a bad rep here, but had I spent more time focusing on being with her in silence instead of talking/listening to music/watching television, the only thing left for us to focus on would’ve probably been the undeniable loving connection we shared with each other but sometimes failed to treasure to the fullest while it was still there.
Nevertheless, everything is always exactly as it should be and it’s clear we both have a different journey ahead of us.
Also March 2016
In some random bar, I approach a big, intimidating man.
His speech is full of anger and hate, but as I start talking to him, I look him straight in the eye and behind the façade I feel like I see a hint of a beautiful, warm, kind soul. Misunderstood and mistreated by society, who puts up a tough exterior out of fear of getting hurt again. I totally understand him as I have been through the same.
I don’t say anything about it but I’m pretty sure he can feel it, because out of nothing he drops the act, starts opening up about the things he loves and suddenly treats me in a fatherly, caring manner.
In the past I would’ve judged the shizzle out of this dude or probably avoided him. But I’ve found there is something about looking people straight in the eye that somehow tells me more truth about a person than any of their words. As mentioned before it feels a bit like I’m looking “into them” or seeing their soul. The only question remaining is: How can I be sure that what I think I see is true? Maybe I’m just making random incorrect assumptions about their personality and souls don’t even exist.
This is definitely something I long to explore more deeply in the future.
April 5th, 2016
I’m in a hotel room with a one night stand (or more like a “few hours stand” because it’s not night yet) and it doesn’t go very smoothly. She keeps asking me what I like her to do and how, and if I’m sure I’m really fine with whatever way she’s touching me. On one level it’s really sweet, but I’d love it so much more if she didn’t put so much pressure on the whole thing and we could just let things flow, so I feel like we’re not really connecting very well.
We come at the same time, but it feels neither sexy, intimate nor romantic due to the lack of a connection.
Afterwards I’m standing in the shower feeling a little sad. I start to wonder why I’m even here in the first place. As I realize what brought me here, I understand the whole interaction was already fucked from the first minute (pun intended).
No matter how happy I am, every once in a while a feeling of loneliness/emptiness still rises to the surface at the end of the day. I believe it most often happens when I feel like I haven’t been living up to my full potential. For example: When I’ve been wasting my time in a way that I didn’t enjoy, or when I’ve been working alone in my room for 8 hours straight but don’t really have any meaningful result to show for it and now realize I don’t have enough time left to do what would really fulfill me..
Today was such a day. So that means I was here because I craved for HER to help me fill up that empty space, instead of being there because I was overflowing with love and wanted to share it with her.
Maybe the reason we didn’t connect that well and she felt pressured to please me was because of that vibe I gave off, not hers.
It’s a sad irony how many people I’ve already dismissed because they don’t fit my ridiculously high standards, only to end up here when those same standards make me feel a little lonely.
That moment in the shower is a big turning point for me. Standing there, I fully embrace that feeling of emptiness in my chest until I stop feeling bad about it and I start to see it as a nice, big empty canvas to paint a beautiful present moment on. I also realize that I don’t need to beat myself up about performing a little less over the past days, because I always have right now to make it happen.
I return to the huge bed to find her lying there naked and half asleep, not saying a word.
I lie down a short distance away from her and stare at the ceiling. She asks me if I’m alright. I ask for a blanket and we pass some time in silence.
After a while, I turn my head, notice her staring at me and start to cuddle up to her. For what seems like an eternity my left eye is gazing into hers without blinking even once, and I feel like it’s staring straight into her soul, much deeper than I ever looked into anyone else’s eyes.
It’s like I literally see a beautiful fire burning in the eyes of this woman I don’t know that shows me the lively essence of her being. It’s a weird feeling and I can’t stop looking “deeper” into her eye.
I get on top of her and we start kissing uncontrollably; followed by an outburst of pure, raw, animalistic expression of the dynamic between 2 people. We are no longer thinking about who we are or who the other person is, this is just happening because it has to. It feels extremely primal and I almost forget this is only a quick fling with a tourist, because this definitely feels like love for a moment.
When she goes to bed, I rush off to grab a drink with one of my best friends who –to this day- has no idea where I just came from. She can sense something is up. I tell her how I feel like I’ve been living below my potential these past weeks and about the sudden loneliness that crept up on me today.
At the end of the night she still feels like she wants to give me something to make me feel better, so she takes me to her favorite spot. It’s a quiet river bank in the middle of a dark road. I love it, it’s a place where people can just let go and be themselves, away from all the pressures of society. I think out loud that I want to be that place for everyone I’ll ever meet. She tells me I already am, and I feel like that’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard.
We sit there all night looking at the reflections in the water, the trees, the clouds and the occasional bat flying over us.
We we talk a lot, but once again, it’s the one silent moment where I feel extremely connected to her:
We are both lying on our back, looking at the stars, knowing that we don’t need to say anything because just being here and fully experiencing it is much more powerful than spoiling the moment with yet another conversation.
I feel so grateful that she’s my friend/companion tonight. I forget to tell her though. Who knows, maybe she’ll read it now.
The moment of sadness in the shower taught me something really interesting I’d remember for the rest of my life: Love is not something that can be given or taken away by another, but it’s something that’s already inside you and you can choose to express for anyone or anything whenever you like.
When you stop expressing it towards yourself (for example when I was beating myself up about living below my potential lately), you start to feel lonely, so you try to get love from other people. But the problem is that it’s not possible. You can only share love, not take it. And if you’re not open enough (because you feel you deserve it less, which is the cause of your loneliness), you might not even be able to receive it when someone else gives it to you.
That’s why in the first half of the one night stand I didn’t feel a connection with the girl, I was the one not sharing my love because I thought I didn’t have any and needed hers in order to finally have some. That made it feel weird, so she constantly kept talking to me to avoid that awkward feeling. (Just as I did at the start of this post when I didn’t want to feel the awkwardness of not daring to kiss that woman.)
As soon as I looked her in the eyes, felt that love for her and physically expressed it, we could really feel that connection and everything was fixed. In fact, it was more than fixed, it was amazing.
The end of the night with my friend was also very interesting because it was the first time I really started to feel that same deep connection with someone, without looking in their eyes. Apparently that’s just as possible : – )
The only question left now was: How exactly do you choose to feel love for someone? I know I did it, but I wanted to know the process behind it so that I could replicate it with everyone I met. There’s no point in knowing you can always choose to feel love when you don’t know how to do it, right?
April 14th, 2016
I’m about to meet with someone for the first time. From what I know about her so far, there’s a million things I want to ask her, but then I have a “#YOLO moment” and text her to ask if we’ll meet without words. She’s fine with it. This will either be really exciting or the most boring thing I’ve ever tried.
I see her and want to say hi but then I realize I shouldn’t. We start laughing because it’s a little uneasy at first, then we decide to find a place to sit down.
Now we’re just looking around, not really knowing what to do or how to communicate. I’m not sure where to go from here but apparently we’re both committed to doing this, so we’ll find a way to make it work. Sometimes we just stare at each other a little and I notice it’s hard to maintain eye contact longer than a minute or something.
Suddenly she lies down and tells me to feel her pulse. She takes a deep breath and holds it in. She holds her breath for a couple of minutes (really) until she finally gasps for air. I’m seriously impressed and high-five her. (That’s as far as conversations go at this point) Afterwards I try to do the same but I don’t think I’m anywhere near her level.
She pulls out a notebook and shows me some of her sketches, then hands me some crayons to draw in it.
I want to tell her about the potentially world-changing talk I had with a friend last night, but my drawing skills are limited to stick figures and crooked lines. I try anyway. Luckily I’m saved from embarrassment by a sudden rain shower.
We get up to walk around, and I feel it actually getting easier. We start to get a little more loose and learn to communicate in a more primitive way by pointing at things, looking at each other and just playing around. I feel like I have a heightened sense of awareness of my surroundings now that we’re not talking. I notice more details, sounds, and smells and I’m generally having fun interacting with her and the environment we move around in. This is definitely something I’ll take with me in all my interactions from now on.
By the end I feel like we’re actually having a good time and are learning to connect without language, just not very deeply yet.
She hands me a picture of herself and we part ways without having said a single word in the past two hours. I like the memory we just made, so I “put her in my wallet” and smile on the way to my buddy’s house.
Here I got the answer to the question I was asking myself at the very start of the article.
Yes, besides seducing people, it’s also possible to actually get to know them on a friend-like level without speaking a word. It was still a little superficial, though I saw some brief glimpses of her “soul” as I felt with the woman at the start of this post.
I’d love to find out if it would be possible to really connect like people who have been friends for years, or even deeper than that in the same way, as I do feel like there’s a pattern of getting to see people’s “true personality” in these moments of silence.
April 17th, 2016:
I’m listening to a friend’s presentation about the impact of smartphones our day-to-day lives and how to make sure we stay aware of how we use them instead of letting them control our lives. At one point he asks us to have a conversation with someone in the audience we don’t know.
Then he points out to us how little connection is actually made during this kind of small talk, so we’re asked to continue the conversation by talking about our deepest regrets in life.
I really like the conversation I’m having with the person in front of me. We’re both opening up, being vulnerable and sharing some personal stuff.
A little later we do a different exercise with the same person. This time we’re not allowed say anything and just have to look into each other’s eyes while he reads to us:
“Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for his/her life.”
“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.”
“Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.”
“Just like me, this person is seeking to fulfill his/her needs.”
“Just like me, this person is learning about life.”
This was another key moment that triggered something deep inside me (thank you for that). “Holy shit!” I thought. “This whole time, even we were sharing our deepest fears and insecurities, we were still not getting to know each other. The only thing we were doing was learning about the other person’s self-image through conversation.”
When I thought a little deeper about it, it made total sense:
Words are essentially a tool for communicating, not for connecting.
You can use them to communicate something about yourself if you want, but when you really want to connect with a person, the reason they hinder you so much is because communication often involves interpretations of the past or contemplations for the future. So they take you away from the most important thing to stay aware of when connecting with someone:
How does this feel? (not “what am I feeling?” because then you’ll try to name it with a word). How are they feeling?
How does the energy/vibe between us feel?
The words he read to us also answered the question for me about how to choose to feel love for someone: In essence we all have much more in common with every other animal (let’s face it, we’re all animals, especially you 😉 ) on this planet than there are things that separate us from them.
However, because we’ve evolved to live in large overcrowded communities as opposed to the earlier small hunter-gatherer tribes where everyone knew everyone and each member of the tribe was of equal importance, we now all feel the need to differentiate ourselves from the people around us and get recognition for our specific role in society, because if we wouldn’t, we’d become unnoticeable little specks in the middle of those other 7 billion people (in other words: ego-death).
It would almost be like to the outside world, we didn’t exist. But in that craving for individuality (which I feel just as much), we obviously focus on all the things that separate us from other people instead of what connects us. So while we do it to be accepted and recognized by the group, we do it in a way that also estranges us from it. The moments when we feel “love” for someone, are often the moments when we meet people who separate themselves from the rest of the world in a similar way to ours, or in a way that we aspire to. (Either that, or the sex is just really good and we need a more socially acceptable explanation for being with them 😉 )
Reminding yourself of the statements Matthias read to us this day while looking at random strangers, people you judge or even people you consider “enemies” is the second step to opening yourself up to feeling love whenever you want to. (The first step obviously being loving yourself 😉
May 12th & 13th
I’m playing soccer on the street with some friends. In some random moment one of them holds her hand up for something (I don’t know , high fives I guess) and for some reason I feel like I need to grab it.
We interlace our fingers and stay like that for a couple of seconds while looking at each other, and I swear I can feel a stream of energy flowing from my body to hers and back again. It’s really weird because I’ve never really felt something like this. Maybe it’s something that always happens when people touch but I’ve never noticed it before because I was always too busy “thinking stuff inside my head” like most of us when we’re with someone. This time though, my head is completely clear and I’m not focused on anything but the feeling. It’s like meditating on a person’s touch. I ask her if she can feel it too and apparently she can.
When I go home I wonder if it would be possible to “transfer emotions” or “feelings” this way.
The next night we’re going out together and she feels really bad. I ask her to take my hand again, close her eyes and focus on nothing but the feeling she receives through my touch.
I close my eyes as well and focus all my intentions on sending all the good feelings I feel inside of me through her, using this perceived “energy flow” to carry it.
As I open my eyes I can literally see it happen to her. It worked. She feels lovely.
I don’t know what this is, but it’s amazing.
I really have no clue what this is, but I’m looking to explain it as I feel a spiritual explanation would be too “out there” and a scientific one wouldn’t do justice to the beauty of the experience as it makes no sense to me to try to reduce the complexities of this kind of human connection to some boring formula.
I’m fine with not knowing what it is though. Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of other weird stuff that’s way more “unbelievable” than this, so as long as it’s clear other people can feel it too, I’m willing to just roll with it and see what else is there to learn.
Besides, touching each other is a lot of fun 😉
In a night club I run into an old friend, and I enthusiastically tell her about all these experiences in a nutshell. While we’re talking I’m looking in her eyes and she asks me what I see.
I tell her 2 specific things and she’s kinda shocked. She grabs her phone and shows me a note she wrote at the start of this year that literally said the exact same personal things I saw in her eyes.
While this could’ve also been coincidence, it was the first time I got a clue that those things I believed I saw in people’s eyes could actually be real , verifiable parts of their personality. Could it be that the replacement vocal coach from January actually knew all those specific things about me just by staring in my eyes and paying attention like I did with this girl?
I wrote about this night in the first part of an older post. I stopped talking about it when I said “the rest of that moment isn’t very important for this post”.
So what happened for the rest of that moment? Let’s check the “captain’s log” I don’t have 😉
After that things suddenly get weird. She points at my heart and asked me: What is in there?
“I don’t know” I reply. “But I can feel it’s the only place in my body where energy doesn’t flow freely.”
She closes her eyes and puts her hand on my chest.
She opens her eyes again and starts wailing: “Oh my god! There is so much pain in there. How in the world can a person have so much pain?? You really need to stop doing that. Where does that even come from? No one in the world has a use for so much pain.”
I intuitively put my hand on her chest as well because I feel it might create a connection between our hearts or something. I don’t know. Seen enough weird stuff lately.
She presses my hand harder and harder on her chest and keeps telling me “Give all your pain to me. Everything. I can handle it.”
Her voice sounds really hypnotic and very unlike the way she normally speaks. I have no idea if she realizes this or will remember it in the morning. I just obey her commands even though I realize they don’t make any sense on a logical level. I just somehow intuitively know how to do what she says.
I feel like I’m starting to “open up”. My chest begins to swell and it’s like I can feel her “sucking out” all the pain that was stuck in there into her own body through her hands. There’s no better way to explain the feeling.
She keeps encouraging me to release it and give it to her and we both start breathing heavier and faster. I need to lean back and find support with my both hands against the wall because this is almost too intense to handle. She keeps “healing me” in this weird way until I back off and cannot say anything else besides “What the fuck, [NAME OF FRIEND]?”
Afterwards we just hug and talk as we both wonder what happened and what it was she felt. I tell her that whatever it was, it feels like one the most loving things anyone has ever done for me.
It’s “6 in the AM” now. This thing has lasted for 2 hours and I have a dozen missed calls from my buddies who I promised to hang out with in the park. Luckily they are still there. Time to kick back and watch the sunrise while my mind tries to make sense of this night.
I don’t care what the scientific or religious explanation for this is, I am now convinced it is clearly possible to transfer “energy” from one body to another through touch. Whether it’s the happy emotions I transferred a month ago, or the hidden pain she somehow managed to “take” from me tonight. In this moment we clearly made some kind of connection I had never made with anyone before. I’ll still need to discover how to deliberately do something like this, but man, these adventures are getting really exciting.
I am doing the mirror exercise from the same older blog post.
Basically what I’m doing here is trying to look into my OWN eyes to see if I can get a glimpse of my own ”soul” or whatever it is, like I’ve been seeing in other people’s eyes.
I see the same walls she saw 2 days ago. I see the same pain and the wall behind that pain. But I manage to get past that wall and I see EVERYTHING. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the weird, the funny, the sexy. Things from when I was 3 years old, things from a month ago, even a few things supposedly from before I was born. I keep staring deeper and deeper into my own eyes for 2 hours until somehow in a weird way, I no longer see just myself in it but the entire universe. It blows my mind. I want to stop looking but instead I just keep staring into my own eyes in awe for a while. Go ahead and call me a narcissist. Justin Bieber made me do it. 😉
I get up and for the next 2 days I feel more “complete”, “confident” and “self-aware” as a person than I have ever been before.
I now feel like there really is something like a soul. But then what is it? A normal part of our brain? I wonder whether what I saw was really in my eyes, or just a projection of my own mind. Did I see the same things as her because I expected them to be there? Did I see all those other things because it was just some weird “self-therapy” session?
What about seeing the entire universe in my own eyes? Still don’t know what to make of that one but it surely feels good.
For now I’ll just stay happy with not knowing because whatever the truth is, it was another amazing experience.
July 24th, 2016
I’m hanging out with one of my best friends who I already told about the mirror experience. It’s a beautiful summer day and we’re sitting in a public park surrounded by lots of people. He says he wants to get to know me on a deeper level, so we decide to do the same thing with each other instead of the mirror.
We sit in front of each other in silence and I let him “stare into my soul”. He says he somehow feels this would go better if we held hands.
For a split second I start to worry that the people around us might think we’re a gay couple. Then I realize how fucked up it is that even a person like me who actively rebels against the crappy culture we’re all raised in, is still influenced by that same culture in a way that causes me to react as if being a gay couple would be something to be ashamed of. I’ve never heard of any gay women worrying that people passing her on the street might think she’s straight.
We don’t do this for very long since he also bounces up against a lot of those same walls. But interestingly, for as far as he gets he sees all the same things I saw in myself, and my other friend saw in me.
Part of me found this experience very interesting because he saw exactly the same. Still I’m kind of skeptical about this because he is one of my best friends, so he already knows a lot about me that his subconscious mind can base these things on. I’m still interested to explore this a little deeper though. (That’s what he said. Because limiting these jokes to what she said is sexist.)
Early August, 2016
I’m having dinner with the guy who gave the talk about smartphones where I had my big a-ha moment about the limitations of getting to know someone through conversation.
He tells me about the impact every new technology has had on our thoughts, lives and worldview throughout history.
For example: Before cellphones were invented, you could be trying to reach someone for a few days in a row without success because (s)he wasn’t there the moment you called. However, now that the new technology has infiltrated our lifestyle the situation is totally different for most people. These days, when someone is not able to reach you for a full week without an explanation, more often than not they will flip out about it. Some people already do it after 48 hours.
Similarly, before clocks were invented, people would simply meet each other “5 moons from now”, or “tonight around dusk”. During those times it was very normal for someone to have to wait a few hours until their friend arrived. That didn’t mean the other person was late. He was just later. I can imagine there would be no hard feelings about it at all.
But after the clock was invented and got ingrained into our lives, it altered our thought forever. Since then we’ve been meeting each other based on a specific measurable time. So in a world with clocks, the same situation would totally piss off the guy who arrived first. He might not even be there anymore.
Another effect of the advent of clocks was that clocks are so easy for keeping track of time, that most of us have complete lost touch with any natural way of finding out what time it is. The technology was simply so dependable that we no longer needed to learn that skill to live our lives.
Walking home I have another big a-ha moment when I realize language is actually a form of technology as well. It’s a technology we invented to learn to communicate more efficiently. And it’s in fact, such a good tool to communicate things about yourself and get to know each other, that we’ve become totally dependent on it. So just like with natural “timekeeping”, most people don’t know how to connect in a natural way (without words), anymore.
Not-so-early-but-still-kinda-early-ish August, 2016
I’m having sex with someone I love tremendously but somehow this time it’s different than all the other times. Everything moves in slow motion. We keep staring into each other’s eyes and as I start to gaze deeper and deeper, I suddenly see the entire universe in her, just like I saw in my own eyes.
From that point I can’t stop it anymore. It’s like our souls start to intertwine, whatever that means. It’s just how it feels. As I feel us both becoming “one” and “everything” and “nothing” all at once I realize there’s no way to ever explain this feeling to any one without using cliché terms like the one I just used, and how the cliché terms suddenly look and feel a lot more cool on the other side (where they’re no longer laughable words that make you vomit for even using them, but legit feelings).
I have no idea what triggered this experience but it’s the deepest connection I’ve ever felt with anybody. What’s next? Can we go deeper? [Spoilers: Yes we can.]
August 16th, 2016
I’m walking around with one of my best friends and we get into a very deep conversation about the universe, souls, connections, that feeling of oneness, etc.
Most of what we talk about is beyond the scope of this post because it’s already getting way too long. (That’s what she said.) And besides, you’re probably running out of toilet breaks by now. Aaa-ny-way. He asks me some questions that steer me right to another big a-ha moment.
Feel free to answer them along with me:
Q: Who are you?
A: [Your name]
Q: Okay. But what if you had a different name. Would you be a different person? Of course not, so who are you besides your name?
A: [Talk about your job, your hobbies, your friends, etc.]
Q: Those are all things you do. What if, for some reason, you lost your job and all your friends and couldn’t do any of your hobbies anymore. Would you still be you? (In other words: If Bob wasn’t allowed to be a builder anymore, can he still be Bob? YES HE CAN!)
What if you suddenly got fat or lost 50 pounds? Would you still be you?
What if you became ridiculously happy / depressed and turned your whole life around dramatically? Would you still be you?
The truth is, that even if your whole external life changes, you’d still be you, right?
A: Right. So I guess than, that who I am is made of the unique thoughts in my head?
Q: Is it? Or is that just your mind? Because your mind obviously keeps thinking all those things. But if you’re the one speaking those thoughts, then who is the person actually listening to that voice?
He kept going deeper and deeper with his questions until I realized that none of the things my self-image was made up of had anything to do with the real me. In the end I couldn’t really find anything external to really explain who I was. All that was left was my soul, and it finally hit me. Or the both of us. I don’t know.
If you want to know who I am, I’m afraid it’s impossible for me to answer that question.
Because merely giving you my name would tell you nothing about me.
And anything I could tell you that I’ve ever thought or done or felt or even remembered, would only tell you some superficial details about my activity here on earth, but it still wouldn’t show you who I am. Words don’t have the ability to do that. They cannot teach you anything about me, they can only point you towards me. I can describe to you a million times -and with all the rich colorful details- a flower or an animal you’ve never seen before, but until the very moment you encounter it in real life, you’ll still have no idea what it’s like.”
You can ask me who I am, but as you probably know. That’s a question most people spend a life time asking themselves. How the hell then, could I possibly give you the correct answer?
Want to know who I am?
Then just shut up, and experience me.
September 9th, 2016
My friend and me made a post in an online self-development group we created to ask which areas people are struggling with the most in their lives, or would like to learn about.
The answer is unanimous: Social life and spirituality.
I realize I have this unfinished blog post lying around for months. I’ve been writing down these experiences because I always felt like they would somehow be of value some day, but I didn’t exactly know for who or what. I now realize for who, so I decide to finish it.
I still don’t have a strong conclusion though. And I’m going to Antwerp / Amsterdam soon to different stuff. I guess I’ll just be patient and let this thing “write itself”.
September 11th, 2016
I’m on a date with someone for the first time. Come to think about it, is it a “date”? I don’t know. I hate that word because it sets expectations, so I never bother to ask. “September 11th” looks like a date though. . And I didn’t want to start this journal entry with the same sentence as all the others. Then again, I don’t know the girl so it might as well just turn out to be a new friend.
I can tell from our first conversations that we have a shitton in common. At one point she tells me she’s read my blog about the mirror exercise and used to do the same thing. I tell her I’ve been doing it with other people lately (not that, you perv. I mean staring into their eyes to see their souls). At the end of the night we end up doing it. (I mean the “soul gazing”, stop thinking that.)
From the moment I look in her eyes I can already see a lot of personal stuff, so I just start telling her, until I run up to a big wall. I tell her to feel how high that invisible wall is, take it with both her hands and slowly push it down.
She starts somewhere above her eyes and slowly lowers it, until suddenly, when she’s passed her chest something incredible happens. It’s like I feel a big strong burst of energy shooting from her heart to mine, it’s fucking overwhelming and gives me shivers all over my body. In her eyes I now see the part of her that’s capable of immense love.
She takes my hand and puts in on her chest while she puts hers on mine, just like what happened with my friend that night when she “absorbed all my pain”. I feel that heart-to-heart connection again. I don’t know what it is but it’s something really powerful. All I feel is her love for everyone and everything as we’re both shuddering uncontrollably for 10 minutes, until I can’t handle it anymore and hug the shit out of her.
We take some time to calm down before switching places.
Now it’s her turn to look into me.
She asks if she can hold my hands to feel my “energy”, just like my best friend did. The first thing that surprises me is that she sees exactly the same things my friends or lovers see in my eyes, even though we’ve only had our first real conversation today. But this time it’s a little bit different. Whatever she did to me while I looked into her has shattered all the walls I normally put up. She goes deep very fast.
She manages to skip all the different layers I saw in my own eyes during the mirror exercise and goes straight to the deepest part. I can feel it when she’s reached it because it also changes something in me.
I suddenly feel exactly who I am. I feel that in this moment I am NOTHING but my soul. No thoughts, no ego. I can’t even remember my “real-world” name anymore. I don’t know exactly what it is I am, but I’m something very old and powerful. Thousands, perhaps even millions of years. And the more I feel it, the more I even start to wonder if I should include that word, “I”, in that sentence. I just do it because the sentences look weird without the “I” in it.
It feels like I am nothing and everything at the same time. No longer a person but just one of the many shapes and forms in which life itself (and thus sexuality) is expressed. And as I feel more identified with life itself than with whoever I used to think “Pepijn” was, I also start to feel more fluid and infinitely bigger than my body. In essence, I’m just pure energy that can’t stop flowing. When I start to feel my body again I notice how the same thing is happening over there. There is a continuous movement of energy from the bottom of my sitbones to the top of my head and the tips of my fingers and it can’t stop moving or can’t stay in there.
I start touching her with my fingers because the energy needs to keep moving. I feel like we’re all conductors of this energy just like it works with electricity.
I no longer do things because I decide to them, it’s like life itself is “doing things through me”. Things that need to happen to continue that eternal flow of events. When I kiss her it’s not even because I want to, it’s just because that’s what’s happening. And paradoxically, even though I’ve now lost my entire concept of self and will never be able to adequately explain this in words to anyone, I’ve never felt more sure of who or what I am.
As I drive home from this, it’s like this energy keeps spilling out the top of my head like a fountain. I have no better way to explain this.
If this is the point where you think I’m going crazy, so be it. I’d think exactly the same thing if I hadn’t experienced it myself. But ever since this happened my whole way of interacting with men, women and my environment changed.
My senses are heightened. I’m so aware of everything around me, and I constantly perceive and underlying current or flow that connects me to everything and everyone else. I feel friendships on a different level. It’s like I feel the difference whenever I’m just hanging out with someone because I like them or when I’m being with them because life wants it to happen.
I perceive and feel events differently, and often when something happens I would’ve previously disliked, I recognize how those things are an expression of life itself just like I am, and when I just go with it, they inevitably turn out to teach me something or give me what I needed in some unexpected way.
Ever since this happened I’ve also been encountering new people in my life that start teaching me about this energy flow, whatever it is, and how I can learn to use it or let it flow more freely. In retrospect, I can even see how a lot of people told me things to prepare me for this feeling as long as 4-5 months before it happened, but then again that can easily be a case of confirmation bias 😉
September 17th, 2016
I’m in Amsterdam with one of my best friends. We’re doing some kind of crazy experiment with our reality where we stop having any kind of personal preferences, just say yes to any proposal that comes our way or idea that comes to mind, trusting life will bring us where we need to be.
While it has certainly “robbed us” of a lot of money already, it seems to work. We’ve even ended up talking to someone who had just literally prayed for us.
At one point we’re meditating in the middle of the Leidseplein while going out. Trusting someone will come to us and tell us to go to a specific club or party.
A girl from Costa Rica sits down next to me and asks if she may join us.
I tell her: “Yes, but please sit in front of me and don’t speak a word. I want to get to know you.”
She complies and I start staring into her eyes. She’s nervous at first but I show her how to let her guard down as I learned from my experiences with the previous people. Then she holds my hands, just like everyone did before.
I can see everything about her. There is so much love between us without speaking a word, it’s incredible. I can feel that same energy stream, I can see who she is. She takes my hand and presses it onto her boobs while doing the same to me.
What the hell is way of connecting any way? This is the third woman so far that intuitively knows we should somehow touch each other’s heart when doing this. Even though none of them had ever done this kind of thing before.
We both start laughing and getting very emotional while we keep pressing the others hand harder on our hearts. I feel this tension of energy building up and my friend who sits next to me witnesses it happening in his meditative state. We don’t say anything beside me occasionally asking her if it’s okay if I go deeper, because it amazes me how much I can learn about this girl right away.
Suddenly I feel that we either need to kiss or stop this thing. And something tells me kissing her will ruin it. So I just ask her if it’s okay if I would instead of straight up doing it. She tells me her boyfriend has been watching us doing this for the last 15 minutes. I disconnect with her and look at him. What a great guy! I wish every woman had a boyfriend like that.
So instead of kissing, we just stop and she gives me one of the warmest hugs I’ve ever received from a stranger while we thank each other 4 or 5 times for the whole experience, recapping how it felt and how we somehow managed to get to know so much about each other without speaking.
For the next 2 hours I feel so in love with the world, myself and people in general I just hug every stranger I feel drawn towards, including the friend who I’m with.
I was right, this blog post would finish itself.
That, and it’s perfectly possible to connect with someone as if you’ve been best friends for a lifetime, without ever having a conversation.
“Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don’t fool.”
I read that quote under a friend’s profile pic on Facebook. You know? Those quotes that usually either don’t make sense or contain some fucked up “wise sounding” knowledge that gives people an excuse to not do something about their obvious shortcomings. This one however, totally resonated with me.
There’s a bittersweet irony to the way we all connect and deal with each other in this western world. We all spend our entire lives craving for that true soul to soul connections, yet we spend most of our energy stopping ourselves from ever being able to experience it because we’re so afraid.
We’re afraid of being naked and vulnerable. We’d rather be half-naked and filterable on instagram. That’s why so many people avoid eye contact. That’s why people talk about themselves so much and get mad when other people talk about them. They want to control the way they are perceived in other people’s eyes to make sure that image is in line with who they want to be, which more often than not is something totally different from who they really are deep down.
This is very unfortunate, because that kind of behavior stops you from ever achieving what you truly want. Finding your soul-mate. In order to find that person who’s soul is compatible with yours, you first need to show them yours. Maybe you’ve already met them a hundred times. If they only saw your social media profile, your cool hobbies and your well-considered opinions, they have no way of knowing how much your souls connect.
What I learned the absence of words does is it takes away that surface layer, the façade we put up to the world so we don’t have to feel the vulnerability of a true connection. But we have to feel it if that’s what we want. Just like you can’t have sex with someone without exposing your genitals. That was evident from the first time I chickened out on kissing that girl in January to the moment I connected extremely deep with a stranger in Amsterdam, and the increased connection I feel with my lover and friends ever since these events happen.
Just as meditation is basically “staying still to allow yourself to become aware of your thoughts and surroundings in a way you’ve never been”, doing the same thing while looking into a person allows you to finally become aware of them in a way you’ve never been before.
If you simply stop checking your phone, stop the music, stop the speaking… Stop everything. And just touch them while looking into their eyes, you perceive them on a level deeper than words, that surpasses both of your egos and goes straight their soul. You are no longer labeling them as a beggar/celebrity/hot girl/cool guy, you are now seeing them/feeling them as they truly are. It’s impossible for a tough guy to hide his nervousness and insecurity when he’s no longer allowed to talk shit. It’s impossible to objectify a woman when you see her for all that she is.
If this still sounds too “woo-woo” and dreamy for you (in which case you’ve probably stopped reading for you), I’d like to finish this article off with a little theory about relating with people:
There’s basically 4 different levels to the connection you feel with the people in your life:
The intellectual, the physical, the emotional and the spiritual.
I believe in our western society there is a HUGE overemphasis on the intellectual level of connecting with people. We mostly bond over shared interests, shared opinions, and interesting conversations. We’re mostly discouraged to openly express our emotions without placing blame or pointing fingers. This is especially true for men. We’re trained that it’s more appropriate to say “That heartless bitch hurt me.” Than to admit we feel sad as a reaction to something that happened and just cry it out in public.
There is at least some physicality to the way we connected with each other but it’s mostly reserved for the bedroom, or the alcohol-fueled nights that lead up to it. Again, I feel like women are a little more in touch with this part of their relationships than most men.
When it comes the spiritual level however, that part is almost non-existent. I think even the basic idea that “the soul” is a real thing is generally doubted by our western (predominantly atheist) society.
Growing up I was exactly the same. I learned to keep my emotions inside, not to touch random strangers in a friendly way and I rejected the notion of spirituality entirely because my rejection of any formal religion drove me to identify myself as an Atheist (something I now consider a belief system just as limiting as those religions).
But after going through all these experiences I’m convinced that embracing the notion of people having a soul, and allowing ourselves to relate to people on such a level could be exactly what this world needs.
It’s one thing to listen to someone speak with your ears. It’s another thing to make an effort to understand what they say with your brain. But if you manage to clear your mind and just open yourself up to who they truly are, you get to know them on a level that is never possible to perceive when you’re focused on their words or looks or what you think you know about them.
Would you still be able to hit your woman when you look her in the eyes and see her soul, instead of seeing her as someone who has the obligation to give you love, sex and comfort while keeping those things unavailable for everyone else?
Would you still be able to drink milk from a cow after you looked her in the eyes while she was forcefully impregnated (in other words, industrially raped) and then milked just so you could buy your little drink that’s not even healthy or you in the first place?
Belgian politicians , would you still be able to “deport” a teenage girl back to a “home country” she’s never been in her entire life after you just spent an hour staring into her eyes, holding hands with her and getting to know her on this level?
I think you know the answer, and I think if everyone started to open up their minds to connecting this deeply, the world would definitely be a better place.
Yours in vulnerability,