"> Seeing Is Receiving

Seeing Is Receiving

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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!

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Author: Nancy

I wore strong glasses, then contact lenses, from age 5 into my 40s. While making many mistakes, eventually l learned how to improve the way I use my eyes and to see in a more relaxed, healthy manner. It is my pleasure to coach others to do the same. Visit me at https://NancyLNeff.com.

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Nancy- this great essay reminds me of an exercise in tai chi called push hands. Basically you and a partner place your hands on each other’s shoulders or arms and one of you begins to push. The non- pusher must relax and send the pressure down through their legs . The idea is to receive the push without tensing up. If the non-pusher anticipates the push and moves backwards they lose balance. Ideally you alternate being the pusher and the receiver over and over, never straining and staying relaxed. I love the connection (to me ) between tai chi and relaxed seeing. Thanks!