If you got glasses as a child, as I did, or as a teen, can you remember a time before that when you could see clearly with just your 2 eyes? Maybe you were running around outdoors, playing a game with friends, or riding your bike. You could see everything you wanted to see, and never gave your eyes a thought — it was perfectly natural to see well.
Or perhaps your first glasses were for reading, in later adulthood. Again, can you put yourself back in time to a scene when your sight was clear up close? Remember those happy times with the family, or while building your career, before feeling like your world was starting to shrink, and you wondered “What’s next for me?”.
Dr. Bates has written that memory and imagination are important tools in recovering clear eyesight. Several current spiritual teachers I’ve studied with talk about the power of visualization in healing, imagining that broken bone mending, or the inflammation subsiding, really seeing that happening in your mind’s eye. The body believes in these images. It’s just like a top athlete picturing himself making that game-winning foul shot, or running faster than ever before.
But rather than create a mental picture of crystal-clear sight which may seem unrealistic and like too much of a stretch, why not remember one? If you did it once, maybe you can do it again. You knew how to see clearly once, without thinking about it. What if that memory is just waiting in your brain and your eyes for you to step back into it and live it again?
One place I consciously use memory in my vision practice is with the eye chart. If I’m looking at a letter I can’t see very well, I’ll close my eyes and remember what it looks like when it’s clear, each edge and corner and curve. Then when I open my eyes and examine the actual letter on the chart, it is often clearer than before. If I can’t make out a letter at all, I may move closer so I can see it and obtain a mental image, then back up and use that memory to help me see it. “I can do this! I know how to see!” I tell myself — if I can see a smallish letter from 5 feet away, I can teach my brain and eyes to see it from farther.
Since I got glasses so early, I have hardly any memories from the time I wasn’t wearing them. So I’ve used pictures of myself as a very small child without glasses, perhaps “reading” a picture book to my younger sister, and I put myself into that scene. I can see without any problem. I’m not even thinking about “trying to see”, I’m just doing it! Even if I can’t actually remember this, I can vividly visualize it.
So I invite you to remember your clear sight also, really tuning into it and examining how it feels. Can you feel that way now? Pretend you’re an accomplished actor, and are taking on the character of someone with clear sight. Are you more optimistic, more relaxed? Some part of you is still the clear-sighted one. Call that part to center stage!