As part of the early stages of your vision improvement process (or even after a long time, if you haven’t quite found what works for you), it’s great if you can notice how much tension you’re holding in your eyes, because you can no longer avoid the fact that you have a problem. In a sense it’s good, but of course then you have to deal with it, and it isn’t comfortable (sorry!).
You can relieve the tension by using your eyes right, using the various methods I have shared, but it’s much easier if you can first relieve the tension by some simple means before you get into the confusing world of learning how to best shift your attention around and look at details.
One way to do this is what we call getting out of your eyes.
You’re familiar, maybe, with the term getting out of your head, meaning being more present and aware? Same kind of thing, but in a different direction, to solve a different problem.
Your eyes are tense because you’re continually tensing them. What I mean is they wouldn’t stay tense if they didn’t continually get a repeating message to contract. At least, I think that’s how muscles work. Feel free to correct me. Anyway, the point is, if you can stop the message, your eyes will quickly relax. The thing is, you can’t do this while thinking about your eyes. The more you think about your eyes, even if it’s telling them to relax, the more they will stay tense. Great, isn’t it?
With Your Eyes Closed: Meditation and Visualization
I’ve written about meditation on here in the past, but basically the most important thing – in my opinion – is to get deep enough into a trance where you have vivid images popping up in your head. This may mean mistakenly falling asleep. It’s fine if the vivid imagery lasts only for brief flashes, or if the subject you’re visualizing seems to be completely out of your control. The most important thing is to simply allow it to happen.
But to gain even more benefit from it, consider why the imagery only comes in flashes. As soon as you try to hold it or see more of it, it goes away, right? And do you feel your eyes tensing, or moving, to attempt to see it, even though your eyes are closed? The idea here is to learn that your visualization is a separate thing from your eyes. The trick to keeping the image flowing is to accept that you are creating it. Then it becomes not a struggle to “keep” it but a matter of encouraging yourself to create more just like that, and waiting patiently as your mind comes up with it.
One convenient thing about this is you can do it every night as you go to sleep. Your body will be getting the rest it needs anyway, and your mind actually will be recharging too if you just get sort of deep, even if you feel like you aren’t fully asleep. So there’s no excuse.
With Your Eyes Open: Shifting the responsibility away from your eyes
When you look at an object you want to see, normally you are expecting your eyes to either focus or not focus, right? And you would be right. One or the other will happen. But when you think of it that way, even just the subconscious expectation of this will ensure that your eyes are tense. So shift the responsibility to something else instead. Technically, what you “see” is in your mind. The visual data goes through a whole system of processing from the time light rays hit your retina to where it eventually gets compiled and interpreted as an image of something out there. So as you look at each detail, no matter how blurry, instead of thinking of your eyes, think about your mind working to create the image out of nothing.
And your mind can do that. As described above regarding meditation, it already does that when you are in an altered state of consciousness and experience vivid imagery, whether on the edge of sleeping or in a full-blown lucid dream. It’s impressive what your mind can come up with, with such a level of detail and intensity.
And this is such a subtle thing. It’s the type of exercise that people read about and say, “What? But what do I actually DO?”
Yeah, that’s the point. You’re learning how to stop doing something. It has to be handled delicately.
These types of methods will hopefully get you so distracted that at some point you will “check in” with your eyes and notice that they relaxed while you completely detached yourself from them.
Do you have another method for getting out of your eyes? Share below!
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David, this is excellent, and I’ll share it on my page. And I love the visual! My best methods for getting out of my eyes are something physical, working out with the focus and attention on my form, or just going for a walk outside and connecting with the scenery in a relaxed way, not using it as “vision practice” because then I’m too tied to how well I’m seeing. Thanks for this.
This ones different but closing my eyes while playing guitar or my hand drum is really a different feel than with eyes open. I’m trying to understand though, if a trait of perfect vision is that these closed eye visuals are just as good with the eye open? That those states of allowing visualizations to appear is just as intense and relaxed?
I was at a drum circle last weekend talking to another guy about closed eye drumming and he mentioned the same thing I had felt; that when I open my eyes in the middle of drumming it’s kind of distracting and I might lose my rythym. He wasn’t wearing glasses so that made me wonder if that deeply in tune state of mind is really present in the waking state of a person with normal vision.
Don’t worry about perfect visualization with your eyes open, or even perfect anything. One thing at a time. The first step is encouraging it with your eyes closed.
I don’t play an instrument, but I can see how closing your eyes would help you concentrate and feel it better.