This morning I sat on the floor to put my socks on and had a back spasm (at least I think that’s the right term). If you haven’t had one, it’s a sudden pain in a muscle that incapacitates you for a while because it hurts to move. So I laid on the floor for a while, considering what to do. Resting for several minutes didn’t seem to help at all. I tried rocking around, to try to get myself moving and try to work out whatever the pain was all about. No help there either. So finally I propped myself up into a painful position, breathed deeply, and relaxed my ab muscles and any other muscles I could. The pain melted away. I did that with a few more positions until I could stand up and go on about my day.
Embrace the Uncomfortable Step
In making a point. The idea of your vision improving suddenly, completely and permanently as a result of palming or any other exercise is a tempting one. The idea is promoted a lot throughout material on the Bates method, particularly with that one story repeated over and over of a single guy a hundred years ago who reported that he completely and permanently regained his vision after a long palming session of twenty hours. But look at what that idea really means by considering your motivations for adopting the idea. Are you trying to avoid the middle step of having to pay close attention to blurry details? Is that the step that is most uncomfortable to you? What happens when you start to pay attention to the smallest details you can perceive? You probably have a hard time with it because all the blur gives you confusion about what point you’re really looking at, right? If your eyes produce different levels of blur it makes it even more confusing. Are you avoiding this situation altogether by rationalizing that any such feeling you experience there is “strain” and you should therefore avoid the steps that got you into that situation, namely, considering the smallest details you can see?
When you avoid this situation, you remain with blurry vision and expect your vision to at some point by virtue of your commitment to relaxation (or whatever it is you’re doing) suddenly leap over that canyon of multiple images and blurry details, into the land of perfect vision. That way you don’t have to slog your way down into the canyon and through the swamp. This isn’t to say it’s impossible for people to do such a leap temporarily or permanently, but most people will find that they have issues with the way they use their eyes, particularly when their vision is inevitably a little blurry again (as everyone with perfect sight experiences now and then), and they are relying on their ability to do that leap each time.
So when you find yourself attempting to see details and fail completely, even where your vision becomes worse than when you started it a moment ago, remember that your success depends on several elements that need to be done right. You have to keep breathing deeply to supply your brain with the abundant oxygen it will need to relearn this process. You will need to blink.
But don’t use blinking or looking away as a means of massaging your eyes or “feeling” your eyes again to escape the process when things become confusing or mentally intense, similar to how a child under emotional distress runs to an adult for comfort and is soothed by the adult’s hug, the sense of touch distracting the child from his emotional distress and suppressing the emotion into what becomes a solidified part of his personality/programming. The purpose of examining details and the way you’re looking at them is to deal with reality and work on your solution, not to find a means of escaping reality under the guise of “relaxing” and building yourself even more complex problems.
With my back spasm story, the solution was relaxation, but when I attempted to relax by simply lying on my back it didn’t work. I had to get into a painful situation and then relax while remaining there. As it turned out, that was all that was needed. With vision, that isn’t the complete answer, although you can get some extremely positive feedback from doing so like temporarily better vision or a different feeling around your eyes, face or the rest of your body. You also have to use your attention right, which will drive how you use your eyes and brain together to create a clear image.
So take for example one issue you have to deal with in stepping into the mess of looking for details in a chaotic, blurry mess: You don’t know what point you’re looking at. This has been reported enough times by people that I think it may be significant. If you try to relax your eyes, you might find that you seem to widen your area of attention, while if you try to narrow your attention you tense up your eyes. So consider this logically. You have two tasks that seem to both be necessary but are butting up against each other as if they were opposites. If you have two cars that need to pass each other on a narrow one lane road with no shoulder, what do you do? You could come up with a lot of solutions involving a turnout, a crane or a ramp. The point is you’ll need something else to rectify the situation. With this vision problem you just use movement. You keep moving your point of attention around, scanning and exploring areas depending on what you most want to see or what captures your attention or what stands out as the clearest object that you might be able to see the best for a moment. So your question of “what point am I looking at?” is no longer relevant because it’s answered implicitly by what part of the image, and the size of that part, that you are most paying attention to from one fluid instant to the next. It’s ever-changing, so you never have to nail down what you’re looking at, because by the time you can answer the question your attention will have moved.
If you aren’t looking at the smallest details of what you can perceive in every fluid glance to the next, you are not actually looking at anything! All the time you spend not looking at details is time you are spending not really using your vision at all. When you start to do this more continuously throughout every day, you will find that your vision becomes intensely activated and you’ll wonder how you ever saw anything before at all when you weren’t even looking.