Look into My Eyes

Look into My Eyes



In the photo, the matador is decked out in white and gold, pink socks, red cape. He is sitting on a ledge in the arena, his head and eyes downcast.

The bull, his flesh pierced with multiple, brightly colored spikes, stands several feet away from his torturer, his nose extended towards the man. The animal’s eyes and posture look soft. I am struck by his apparent concern for the man.

The caption reads:

“And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.”

This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight… the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.


This photo traveled like lightening on the Internet. I myself, deeply moved by both the photo and the message, posted it on my  Winged Horse Healing Facebook page.

Those of you reading this are already animal lovers; you would not think of torturing and slaying an animal for sport. Because you are humans, however, you have probably at one time or another become angry with an animal companion, raised your voice or said something unkind. Then, seeing the confusion in your animal’s eyes, you have apologized.

But what of the animals whose confused or painful gaze we don’t see? What of the animals confined to factory farms, who never see the light of day, many of whom who cannot turn around in their tiny cages or who cannot lie down in comfort? And what of the animals in the wild whose territory we humans continue to encroach on? We take over the land of the coyote, build along the habitat of the alligator, and then shoot them when they come into our yards. We round up our wild horses, shoot our wolves from the air because they, quite simply, are in the way of our human business.

What would happen if each of us looked into the eyes of an animal, literally or in our minds, and saw into his soul?

What if we walked around in the body of an animal for awhile, looked at the world from her eyes?

What would happen if each of us looked into the eyes of other humans, especially humans we disagree with or feel threatened by, looked deeply into their eyes and recognized our shared humanity, recognized the light of the Divine?


Today, wanting to learn more about the torrero (not yet a matador) who changed from torturer to animal rights advocate, I did a Google search on Alvaro Munera. I learned that Munera quit bullfighting because he was gravely injured by a bull who tossed him across the bull ring, severing several of his vertebrae and putting him into a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He was only 18 at the time. The photo, it seems is not even a photo of Munera. The article and the photo are here:



On another site, in an interview, Munera says he wanted to quit the ring twice as a young teen, but was discouraged from doing so. The interviewer did not ask him about the photo, so I can only surmise that it had not surfaced yet.

Facts matter. Journalistic integrity matters. Hoaxes spreading like wildfire on the Internet are a problem.

Yet, the meaningful message is that Alvaro Munera no longer tortures animals. He now advocates for them. For whatever reason, something in him shifted. He was able to see the world from the perspective of a living being whose perspective had once meant nothing to him. Surely, this shift in him has made the world a better place.

And so I ask again, what would happen if we made the effort to look into the eyes of other beings—two-legged, four-legged, eight-legged, winged, finned—and recognized each being’s simple wish for peace?


I hope you will be moved to share your thoughts.

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2 Replies to “Look into My Eyes”

  1. It is not easy to genuinely look into the eyes of another and see the world from their perspective. If you can open your mind and do this and gain understanding, perspective, and openness, it is not easy to keep this frame of mind either. We easily slip back into our normal ways. For some reason it may seem like we reach a moment of “enlightment”, epiphany, a deep understanding, but it is hard for us to maintain. I have been able to look into the eyes of another and see their beautiful soul, and see that behind their protective wall of anger was fear, pain, and suffering. I realized that we were the same. We were just two people afraid, lost, and longing. We were just two people that wanted to be happy with ourselves and with others. I realized we both had an emptiness and we both didn’t know how to fill it. I was filled with a sense of love, peace, understanding, but also sadness. At times I feel like I can truely forgive and feel the liberation that only comes from forgiveness, the love that is the purest product of forgiveness, but then I feel like I lose it, and back pedal and become afraid again. It is difficult to trust what is and love what is. It is difficult to let go and forgive, even if you know the outcome will be love, peace, and happiness. Letting go can be very scary because it means a new way of identifiying with ourselves, with others, and with God.

    1. This is beautiful, Kylie, absolutely beautiful.

      Yes, it is difficult and, yes, we only seem to be able to hold onto those moments of pure connection for a little while. It is a lifelong quest, a worthy one I think.

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