Seeing is a passive activity. We open our eyes to let the light rays come in, carrying all that visual information about shape and color and movement and depth. This data is transferred via the optic nerve to our brain, where the magic of human vision happens, allowing us to make sense of the images in front of our eyes.
What a beautiful design! So where does it go wrong? Most if not all vision troubles start with strain, according to Dr. Bates, the founder of natural vision improvement. We are trying to see instead of allowing ourselves to see. In doing so, we’re interfering with the delicate mechanism that provides clear sight.
If you’re listening to an orchestra, your attention naturally switches from the horns to the piccolo to the violins, appreciating the nuances of each. You’re not struggling to hear — you’re letting the wave of sound come in easily, a constantly varying stream of welcome input. Vision is like this as well. The more we try to see, the more we’re “fighting the flow”.
As you read these words, do your eyes and face and shoulders and neck feel relaxed? Are you peaceful, or rushing? Visual strain is also mental strain. Think about a time when you fully enjoyed what you saw, whether that was printed words generating mental pictures, or a nature scene. You could see more clearly than usual because you were relaxed!
Try welcoming the gift of sight rather than struggling so hard to obtain it. Breathe a little more deeply. Relax your shoulders. Give yourself a few minutes to just look, to notice, and to see. We’ve gotten the wrong message that everything worthwhile requires hard work. For a moment, pretend you’re an artist, seeing everything in your surroundings as beauty, even that ordinary pen on your desk. Let yourself receive!