Dr. Bates, the pioneer of natural vision improvement, emphasized that strain in seeing was at the root of most (if not all) vision problems. I always thought this meant straining to see, squinting or peering or forcing myself to continue reading when my eyes wanted a rest. What if it also means straining to block the incoming images, trying to not see?
Recently I worked with a woman living in Japan. She talked about earthquakes and a nuclear disaster and a tsunami, with the TV showing scene after scene of chaos and panic. Her eyes did not want to let that input into her brain! I think of the twin towers toppling in NYC 15 years ago, and the constantly repeating footage of mayhem. To someone sensitive, looking at this could be toxic to the visual system.
Think how you felt being punished as a child, an angry parent or coach in your face telling you everything that was wrong about you. Or how you felt as an adult being harshly reprimanded by a boss. There is no escape — you just have to take it. And your eyes are a direct channel letting those pictures straight into your brain. You might even review them later to remind yourself how worthless you are.
When we’re really young, we don’t have a lot of options. If the abuser is screaming “Look at me!”, we may try to look, yet not see too much because it’s so hurtful. This is giving conflicting orders to our eyes and our brain, to see, but see as little as possible! Is it any wonder our vision may start to decline attempting to follow these directions?
Ray Charles, the American musician, saw his baby brother drown as a child. Convinced it was his fault, Ray went blind soon after — his body and brain couldn’t handle what he saw. If you’re getting some insight about a troubling situation which may have led you not to want to see, forgive yourself. You were doing the best you knew how at the time. And you have more coping skills now, and can make other choices, allowing your eyesight to function without interference.
Restricting the body’s natural abilities is shooting yourself in the foot. Your muscles want to move and lift and reach, your ears want to hear, your brain wants to understand, your eyes want to see. Don’t get in the way of this magnificent magical ability by sending your brain a command like “Don’t see too much!”. You can always look away, or close your eyes, or leave, if you don’t like the view. Let your seeing channel stay open and clear.