Years ago, the spiritual director I was working with talked with me about a Japanese form of self-defense called aikido. She talked with me about how when we are surprised and thrown off guard, we want to fight or free. We want to narrow our world and our vision to create this protective force around us. Rather than do so, she suggested I practice what she called “soft eyes.” Practicing soft eyes meant that I challenged myself to expand rather than contract my view of the world.
When we open our eyes, and allow ourselves to see the greatness of the world and the grace which surrounds us, it softens our heart, mind, and soul. Rather than want to resist or run when taken by surprise, practicing wonder allows us to open ourselves up to the great mystery of the world.