Staring at the man who stares

January 22nd, 2010

Nadine Kam video here for iPhone users.

I’m not a New Agey person, but when a press release for “Braco: The Gaze of Miracles” arrived via email, there was much commotion over “the man who stares,” and that’s how I found myself in a room yesterday, staring back.

Supposedly, a healing energy emanates from Braco, and videos simply show him standing in front of rooms full of people locked in mutual gaze.

When the release came in, some people in the office deemed it all “scary,” and as they were debating the chasm between scary and saintly I decided I had to go cubicle hopping and take a look.

Well, I don’t know what they had to be afraid of, because Braco simply looked benign and serene to me, so I decided to check out a gazing session Thursday at Toho No Hikari (MOA Social Hall). Sessions started at 8:30 a.m. and in the afternoon were set for 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

Sessions are billed as running 30 minutes long, but about 10 minutes are spent on introduction, 10 on the actual gazing, and 10 on post-gaze meditation.

I’m not good at meditation because my mind is constantly turning. As I said on my other food blog, I am rarely in the moment because I’m always focused on the immediate future and project deadlines. In yoga and post-aerobic cool-down sessions, they always tell you to relax and empty your mind, but I can never do that, because just the suggestion makes me think, “Why can’t I stop thinking? What’s the first thing I have to do when I leave here? etc.”

So it figured that once Braco did come out from behind the stage curtain, I found myself uncomfortably staring at his shirt, perfectly shredded jeans and gold bracelets. I think you have to be calm in the act of staring, and after getting over the strangeness of it all, if you can manage that, it leads to a greater level of calm, which is reinforced by the post-session meditation.

I can’t speak to any great transformation taking place, but between the 10 minutes of standing and staring, which might have a dizzying effect on some, I did feel some restlessness drain away.

I’m pretty skeptical, so I’m thinking that what he might offer is a point of focus to help individuals, however briefly, forget about themselves.

Prior to the session, I spoke with Angelika Whitecliff, a Maui author who wrote “21 Days with Braco,” (he hasn’t spoken in public for several years), who said he has a “normal” background, having attained a Ph.D. in economics in his native Croatia, and that helping his countrymen to heal became his mission after the Croatian War in the early 1990s, when people needed help dealing with the ethnic cleansing that had taken place.

More gazing sessions will take place as follows:

Jan. 22 and 23: Jodo Mission of Hawaii, 1429 Makiki St.

Jan. 24: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 5th floor, 2454 S. Beretania St.

Jan. 25: Toho No Hikari (MOA Social Hall), 3510 Nuuanu Pali Drive.

Sessions are at 8:30 and 10 a.m., noon, and 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m.

There is an $8 fee that goes toward renting the spaces. Call 808-875-8820 or visit for more information.

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