First of all, I’m not splitting hairs here for fun. I do have a point that I feel is of practical importance.
Remember the Morpheus-Neo dojo fight scene from the Matrix? Morpheus defeated Neo, and as Neo sat panting, Morpheus asked a question:
“You think that’s air you’re breathing now?”
We do breathe air, but the question is profound if you think about it in terms of your vision. As you walk along a sidewalk, do you think that you are seeing other people and cars passing you, of the road in front of you, of the buildings next to you and the birds flying overhead? Right now, do you think you are seeing these words in front of you, as they are?
We instinctively believe that what we see is the world around us. But what we see is the product of our mind. Our eyes can’t perceive or form any images for your perception. They only collect light rays bouncing off objects in front of them, and even that only if there is enough light bouncing around. The eyes collect the data of stimulated photoreceptor cells and transmit electrical signals towards the brain, at which point any semblance of a real image, represented by light rays, is gone. What the eyes contribute to our vision is nothing more than a pattern of electrical signals.
The image formed in your mind only partly relies on the electrical signals from your eyes. Your imagination is responsible for forming the image. Your imagination draws from your memory, from your eyes, considers what might be, and forms an illusion for you. It may be hard to believe what you are seeing right now isn’t real. It appears so convincing, because the details may be so vivid and complex, and the image may appear to be so unchanging and trustworthy, and the images appear to be everywhere.
“You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television … It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes …”
What you are looking at is an image created by your mind, a representation of the world in front of you. When you look out the window at a tree blowing in the wind, are you really seeing the tree? It is just like when you point a camera at an object and see the object in the display of the camera. You are not truly seeing the object. You are seeing a limited representation of it. Your eyes point toward the real object and gather data, but you can only examine the image in your mind.
So when you think you are examining details on the tree, you are only examining your own mind. Your eyes are pointing at the tree, but you are just looking at a screen in front of you.
Why It Matters
The practical importance of this knowledge is in the way you attempt to look at things. If your eyes get tired because you are tensing them a little bit, deliberately or not, in an attempt to “see” more, you may be doing so under the impression that your vision is real. If your eyes only contribute to your imagination that is forming your vision, then what you’re really doing is visualizing the image with some help from the data from your eyes. This concept takes the pressure off what you think you can or can’t “see” with your eyes and shifts the burden on to your imagination.
Also consider that your imagination’s level of functioning is measured by your ability to visualize. If you are unable to close your eyes and visualize with at least a little detail an object you have studied in great detail with help from your eyes, your imagination is not functioning at capacity and the image it develops will be significantly of less quality than what is possible.
Do you ever have an image flash in your mind, either when you’re daydreaming or sleeping? If you mind has the image stored, why can’t you recall the same image, in the same detail, again? What’s stopping you? Why do you have a clear image in your mind for a moment at one times and are unable to have it at another time? Why does your eyes being open or closed make such a difference in how easy it is to do so? Why does someone with better vision have an easier time doing so? Why are they able to easily visualize with their eyes open? Why can’t you seem to remember what things look like in as much detail as they can? Why do some of them have a photographic memory?
I believe that an imagination functioning below capacity is due to lack of appropriate practice. You have grown lazy with your visual perception. You have relegated your imagination to the menial and mechanical task of pretty much using only the data that the eyes provide. Perhaps it is because of this that the imagination isn’t even involved enough to direct the eyes in focusing for the correct distance.
I would suggest a few things:
- If you work on visualizing what is in front of you that you want to see, or something similar to it, you will stimulate your imagination to begin working as it is supposed to.
- If you consider your eyes and what they are pointing at as only of secondary importance, you will start to relax tension in eye muscles and allow them to function better.
- If your imagination is stimulated to visualize what is in front of you, it will start to direct your eyes towards getting more information about the object.
- If you work on visualizing something other than what is in front of you, you will still stimulate your imagination, which will improve your ability to use it to visualize what you’re looking at when you choose to.
Where You Visualize
Many people have a problem understanding “where” they visualize an object to be. I know I had trouble with this too. I think the trouble is due to your visualization quality currently being so poor that you don’t believe that you could visualize clearly in that way. You don’t try to form an image in front of you, on a blank wall nor on the black/grey field you see with your eyes closed, ie: the inside of your eyelids. It is done in an entirely different place that some people have described as the back of their head.
To illustrate this, think of an apple. That first vague image that flashed in your mind was where you visualize. Maybe it was just a vague shape and color, but it was in the right place. Notice that it wasn’t in front of you and seemed to have nothing to do with the world in front of you, because you were ignoring the world in front of you while you did it.
Maybe in the next post I’ll expand on this topic to help people start visualizing from the right place, if there’s any need.