Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - Printable Version
+- Eyesight Improvement Forum (https://www.iblindness.org/forum)
+-- Forum: General Discussion (https://www.iblindness.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=4)
+--- Forum: Bates Method (https://www.iblindness.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=5)
+--- Thread: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured (/showthread.php?tid=1569)
Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - gnomiik - 08-19-2010
Hello to everyone!!
This is the first time I am writing on a eyesight improvement forum. I wanted to document my experiences, but just never came to it, and I am glad that I never did. Just like most of you here, I am interested in eyesight improvement. I am 27 years old. 3.5 years ago I stopped wearing contacts entirely, and wore glasses (at reduced strength) minimally (watching movies, driving). I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. What does it truly mean to cure your eyesight?
A lot of people get overly excited about initial flashes and temporary improvements. Yes, this was me too. But waiting these things out, has revealed a more realistic truth. I have a lot I want to share and hopefully will lead to good discussion and be of benefit to other people. The question you begin to ask yourself after a while of trying bates/natural vision improvement is, why does it take so long? One day/week/month you think you have progress and then the next you feel like you have failed. And it goes back and forth/back and forth, with lots of flashes/temporary improvement but no stable improvement in vision.
It is true, after you stop wearing contacts or reduce your glasses prescription your vision will improve slightly. This is usually due to the fact that doctors over prescribe the strength of the lenses. If I put my glasses on from 3.5 years ago, they are too strong...
And so I started, I ordered all the books I could: Relearning to see, bates magazines, taoist approach to better eyesight, a few roberto kaplan eyesight books, plus lens therapy books, meir shnider eyesight improvement, and others. All in all i have around 15 books in eyesight improvement. At first I would read one book, get pumped up, experience some results, and then get let down to the point of giving up. And then I would cycle between the books, but would achieve no stable improvement.
It is true that Bates did not address much of the psychology behind normal vision or impaired vision. He just talked about remembering black, shifting, swinging, etc... These are all good things, but the paradox that we are ultimately left with, as I am sure most people who have been at this for a while will know, is that if your thoughts are laced with strain, how can you possibly produce a relaxing thought?? This is true, that is just not possible. It is not possible to relax and strain at the same time. Nor can a strained thought or thought pattern produce a relaxing thought necessary for improved eyesight. Well, how do you improve eyesight then? Read on...
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to bates / NVI. People do 'exercises' or try to relax, breath correctly, keep posture right, etc.... But most of the time all of this is done in vain, and no drastic permanent improvement follows. If relaxation exercises are done while straining, the eyesight will not improve. Well then you ask, how can you relax without straining? Well, as long as you are 'trying' it is just not possible. So then what are you supposed to do?? To realize that you are trying to do the impossible might be enough to actually let go of some of the strain.
Eyesight improvement is much more about self discovery, self awareness, and your connectedness to the outside world, others, and yourself. It has a lot to do with what motivates you to do things,is it unjustified guilt or a lack of taking responsibility? Are the boundaries between the people in your life messed up. How do you feel around others? Do you feel superior, do you feel smaller, or do you feel something in the middle? For different people it will be different, but the common theme will most likely show that people with impaired eyesight also have emotional/mental/spiritual imbalances.
Here is the problem. You want to improve your eyesight, so you brute force it and try to relax and so forth. It isn't working... Now what? Well, we need to look deeper as to why. What is special about our eyes? What is an iris pattern? Did you know, if you study to iridology, looking into someone's eyes will reveal to you things about his personality, character, does he hold strong to values, or not. It isn't about what a person believes in, it is whether he is grounded in what he believes in or not. Looking at the iris can reveal character defects associated to impaired eyesight. If you begin to realize that your character defects, including how you feel about things negatively (people, job, loved ones, material things, anything in this world), are really not true, that they are not truely who you are, that you realize how you feel about certain things are wrong, if they come from pride, you begin to have an awareness, and you begin to let go.
You cannot just improve eyesight without changing yourself!!! This is the bottom line. This is why children and old people have an easier time, like Bates always said. They are not set in their ways, but the rest of us are. This is profound, and if you want a permanent cure at 20/20, which is what I am going for, it will require that your character changes completely. If you are unwilling to do this stop with the vision improvement. It is hard to change the things we think we love about ourselves. Truth is we are addicted to our bad habits too! Letting go of the conscious eye, as Aldous Huxley says, is what we must do. We must separate ourselves from our false built up nature. Whenever you get a flash, you feel strain in your eye. You must realize the strain is your false nature and separate yourself from it.
The snellen eye chart is mostly useless. I wasted countless hours straining in front of that damn thing and would always end up straining more and feel like I am failing. A feeling of despair overcomes you when you feel something is out of your control, and you give yourself a hard time for it. And then that negative feeling thats a life of its own and has power over you. Do not put yourself in these kinds of situations, they will hinder your progress. Like straining to watch a movie! It is better to wear reduced prescription glasses while watching a movie than to strain more without them! I never correct to 20/20 at any distance (watching movie/driving), so the eye/brain always has room to fluctuate.
Above everything, don't give yourself a hard time. Improvement comes as quickly as you can improve yourself and change. I have begun noticing patterns in my iris changing (only this year), as I am changing myself. The first thing is awareness, discover who you are, catch yourself feeling something and know that that feeling is deception. Do not fall into the hands of the deceiver (old nature). Just refuse to do it!
Questions? Comments? What do you have to say about this?
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - Summon-Pretty-Peace - 08-19-2010
I very much agree. For a week or so I got into Snellen practice and my sight actually got worse. I couldn't help but view my inability to read the chart akin to failing a test. Also I think for a long time I strained while palming-- trying too hard to keep my mind empty or focused on the same supposedly pleasant visualization. I have a question: I know you mainly attribute bad eyesight to underlying emotions like repressed guilt, but do you ever practice the direct, physical Bates techniques like palming and tracing? How do you do them without ironically straining to do them?
About the psychological factors you mentioned, what sort of character do you feel is necessary to improve eyesight? I know that I became myopic in middle school, which is also when I started feeling self-conscious and obsessed with what people thought of me. I strongly think the two are linked, and indeed many myopic people I know are obsessive and take things too seriously. I'm working on that still.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - JMartinC4 - 08-19-2010
I have to completely disagree.
For those of us normal-eyeballed people who were born in hospitals, where our normal 20/20 vision in each eye was rendered a complete 20/400 blur by the instillation of antibiotic eye ointment or silver nitrate solution, but which was both unequally timed and the second eye (and possibly the first as well) was necessarily pinched/astigmatized open to receive the seconds-later treatment, which treatment then wore off at a slightly different pace, resulting in one eye with significantly worse visual distance acuity, and about which procedure our parents were told virtually nothing by medical personnel who know nothing and assume the best ("everything goes back to normal, and the baby was blind to begin with anyway!" = LIES!!) when the actual effect is to both prevent the normal development of normal, stereoscopic binocular vision, and to imprint a memory of that blur as being a good thing, and which memory is then impossible to delete and which overrides all other learning in later times of stress, our visual systems are simply mis-oriented, mis-aligned, mis-timed, uncoordinated and unsynchronized for normal 20/20 vision.
It can't be fixed with happy thoughts. It can be fixed by gradually learning to relax from the nearpoint fixation and slight fetal-curl position which the hours-long blur imposed, and gradually forcing the eyes to work together and gradually learning to continually adjust our viewing angle. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Far more difficult than earning a college degree, for instance. Far more difficult than solving the most diabolical puzzle or sudoku or crossword or quote-acrostic or anything on the SAT, GRE, LSAT, or the National Security Agency's aptitude test. A biofeedback shiny cd-in-a-styrofoam-cup device makes it easier. Three of them make it even easier.
I expect to reach normal vision within nine more months (it has been about 15 months already). I have gradually changed many infinitesimal and larger things about my posture and visual habits, but nothing about my character or personality.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - gnomiik - 08-19-2010
Thanks for reading my post and replying! To be perfectly honest, I have not practiced Bates techniques per se in a while. Since I have stopped 'forcing' my relaxation and focusing more on what I feel are the underlying causes for my myopia I have had much better progress. Guilt is an enormous factor. As I dug deeper, I found myself feeling guilty about a lot of things, even in the most subtle things, and the inability to truly be 'in the moment'. I would always get stuck in something, or rather stuck in thoughts, or stuck in a 'failure' state. Real vision improvement happens when you stop getting stuck in these failure states. The thing is, seeing normally is too good to be true for us my opes, and subconsciously we don't let it happen. To truly look without straining, to truly experience the world around us without getting stuck in thoughts is too easy, and our guilt will not let us. Anger is also linked with guilt.
Personally, for me to improve my eyesight, which has been working, it to focus on the causes of it. My repressed guilt, lack of tacking responsibility, self consciousness (as noted by Aldous Huxley in Art of Seeing), are some of the causes of it. I also became myopic in middle school (started in 5th grade). My memory of my childhood is not so good. I was a happy and free kid, and my subconscious has blocked most of those memories out. I was beat physically as a kid a lot, and put down a lot by my dad. I lost trust in the world and became absorbed in myself. Of course I didn't know it at the time! But at the time saw that I was becoming more of a loner and people made fun of me. Yes, I agree about myopes taking things too seriously and the tendency to obsess about things and not letting them go or move on.
The technique that helps me is to realize the my false nature, that has replaced my true nature, as a result of negative experiences in my early life that has allowed impaired eyesight to happen as a defense mechanism, i.e. "You cannot get hurt if you isolate yourself from others". But this leads to more pain and more suppression and more dissatisfaction in life. You need to confront the lies that you feel, and seperate yourself from them. This is key. I don't know the 'how', it is emotional/mental/spiritual. You need to realize you are not truly how you feel you are. And this is reflected in the strain you feel in your eyes when you get the temporary improvement in eyesight. When I get a flash, I try to identify my false part trying to keep me back from letting go for some reason. Sometimes I can feel its a trust issue, sometimes anger, guilt, self consciousness, feeling like a failure, etc... All these need to be addressed and resolved. The more you do this the more the vision loosens up. We don't have control over our eyesight. It is normal, when we have more balance in our life.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - gnomiik - 08-19-2010
From what you describe, your vision impairment sounds like the result of external artificial influences (eye ointment). Did your vision go bad as a baby like you describe after receiving some liquid in your eyeball? I suppose this is the first time I am hearing about something like this. Learning to relax is a key point to get away from habitual strain. What I have found is that strain follows strain. For example, you look at something, trying to relax, and end up producing strain. Then you look away, and look at something else but end up applying the same strain that came along when you were attempting to relax. And then you keep looking at different things and it keeps following you. What I have learned is the need to forget about the initial strain by thinking about something else, literally, could be the pizza you ate the day before or a plot in a movie. Of course this isn't appealing to the strain because you want to "force" the improved eyesight, and it wont come about that way as long as the approach is such. To let the eyesight improve on its own, without our conscious I involvement is really what the challenge is all about. How can we stop our pride from getting involved with our eyesight improvement?
It is really difficult to predict the rate of recovery in general, and when it will occur. Such an expectation in and of itself can most likely produce strain. One thing to remember, the last stretch is always the hardest. I have read many people improve their progressive myopia to mild myopia, but to improve mild myopia (-1.0 to -3.0) to normal (20/20) is the hardest part. The thing about the physical, mental, emotional is that they are all tied together. Some people have an easier time making a change to the physical. Some people to the emotional. Like the saying goes, you can change your mind by changing your body, or you can change your body by changing your mind. These are true statements to a degree. If a person is habitually depressed, this can cause them to overeat and they will have a body weight problem. Or, say you pinch a nerve in your back, and this can lead you being grumpy and have an unstable mood. So really, one effects the other. The approach and efficacy of the approach varies amongst different people.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - NyoGoat - 08-20-2010
I definitely agree that you have to change yourself. I found the bates method at a time when I was looking to change myself for the better I have been amazed at the things that I have learned about myself by looking at root causes for strain and bad eyesight. I have found though, that it can be very difficult to change, even when you know it's for the better. I Keep finding that I am straining to relax in all aspects. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it. The theory resonates very deeply with me, and now I feel much more comfortable without my glasses, even though the blur makes it very difficult to see faces and work on the computer etc., but I feel the strain when I wear my glasses.
All in all, I agree, but I don't know how to relax
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - basic714 - 08-20-2010
I feel yah, all of this stuff takes time and most people are lazy. We want to see fast results not take a life time to see it. I'm willing to put in the hard work because of truly poor eyesight =(.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - JMartinC4 - 08-20-2010
Has anyone here ever had to wear braces/dental orthodonture to correct their mis-aligned teeth? Why couldn't they fix the teeth by just thinking happy thoughts or by figuring out the emotional impact of growing up with misaligned teeth? Hmmm....
Also, has anyone had great hearing until they got to their teen years and started listening to loud music all the time and then suddenly realize they can't hear so well anymore? Why can't they fix their hearing loss by just thinking happy good-hearing thoughts or figuring out how emotionally traumatized they were while listening to loud music? Hmmmm.....
Or what if, before I learned how to walk, some pseudo-scientists looked at me and saw that I had strong arms so they fit me with crutches and taught me how to move around using the crutches instead of my undeveloped, mis-aligned legs - would I be 'walking'? Could I then later on throw away the crutches and walk on my still-misaligned and incorrectly developed adult legs by thinking happy-legs thoughts? Hmmmm......
Or what if, instead of orthodonture, the scientists created a whole set of aligned teeth dentures that were hollow and would fit over my mis-aligned teeth - would I be 'cured' of my mis-aligned teeth then? Hmmmm.......
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - Summon-Pretty-Peace - 08-20-2010
I'll have to somewhat agree with JMartinC4. Emotional strain is part of the cause, but it's physical strain that's directly connected to the eye. Maybe the two even affect each other-- emotional strain causes myopes to physically tense their eyes, and in turn the habit of staring leads to stress and unhealthy fixations. I would say we need both a physical approach and a psychological approach-- both done without trying too hard.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - sunlight456 - 08-20-2010
" Yes, I agree about myopes taking things too seriously and the tendency to obsess about things and not letting them go or move on."
You know? I think that's very true. Some of my friends are myopic , like me, and I realize that we all do obsess over things. Perfectionism. We seem bent on perfection in our goals etc.I think I need to learn that sometimes its not always possible.
I think that this post raises a good point. The eyes are most definitely connected the mind and that changing oneself is probably a key factor to clearing vision. It's one thing to acknowledge this however, and another to act on it. So how does one release negative emotions, change bad habits, and in the same time remember not to strain? It seems difficult to reteach yourself something that is subconscious.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - 2xtreme2fit - 08-20-2010
JMartinC4 Wrote:Has anyone here ever had to wear braces/dental orthodonture to correct their mis-aligned teeth? Why couldn't they fix the teeth by just thinking happy thoughts or by figuring out the emotional impact of growing up with misaligned teeth? Hmmm....
I've worn braces for a year & a half. One thing is that the pain of wearing braces everyday (which can be both physical & mental at times) can be reduced by engaging yourself in an interesting activity/thought - mental control does help in some way to different extents in different people.
Some are willing to bear pain because they associate pain with something they desire & are able to continue doing things that are unpleasant but necessary for them.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - gnomiik - 08-20-2010
All good comments. Glad to see this topic unwinding. Teeth are quite different from eyesight. You cannot study teeth to reveal a person's character, but studying one's iris you can. Have you guys heard of the Alexander Technique? It was a guy in the early 1900's who was a Shakespeare orator. He would perform and half way through the show he would lose his voice. This was a chronic problem. He saw al sorts of doctors, nothing would help. He began to study himself for 9 years, and concluded that the way he used himself was incorrect. He corrected his use (freeing neck, letting head float up, letting back lengthen and widen). In effect he permanently altered his posture for the better and his problem went away. He began teaching others what he has learned, and this technique used inhibition of action, non-doing, pretty much the same principles that bates had, doing nothing means relaxing. Because we are in a constant state of strain, this is exerting energy. To relax means to do nothing.
It is very interesting, maybe those that don't know about it, but this is the ideal physical aspect to combine with Bates. You can even see an Alexander teacher to help mold you into the proper posture and you won't even know what is going on. Remember, Bates always said that normal vision is instant, continuous. This is very profound, because it is instant, that means we already have it. It is what we do (strain) that keeps it from surfacing. If you look at something , instead of trying to relax or see it better (which is actually straining), realize that you should have already seen it better by then because it is supposed to be instant. This helps a lot in noticing when you are straining. And also you will notice that you might stop straining as much. It might not be satisfying because you might not see an improvement in vision right away, but keep up this good habit of dodging and it will come out on its own when it is ready.
One important thing to remember about changing vision in regards to the teeth/braces example. Bates always said you can never improve vision with strain permanently. And this is what is very easy to fall into. Yes, after doing some vision 'exercises' where you exert energy and force a change to happen, you might get some flashes. Vision is like a rubber band. You stretch (strain) it some more, and as soon as you let go of that added strain you put into it, it will shoot off into the other direction (normal vision) and you will think you are making progress. At this point you will feel good about it, only to feel the next day like a failure from an inability to produce any kind of flash.
Progress is marked, as explained very well in Relearning to See, not as a linear line. It is a line that either trends up, or down. But it has many spikes and is jagged, with the spikes going up and down along the trend. What to look at is your lows in the spikes. Are they gradually getting higher? Are your current lows higher than previous lows. It is the ability to handle the lows that really makes a difference in vision improvement. It is easy to handle the highs, say you are just having so many flashes that day you get so excited, but next day no flashes and you get discouraged and feel like a failure. It is at this point that is extremely crucial, is how long do you stay in this sunken state, obsessed about having no improvement? This is key to a permanent cure. To get out of such states and not think about it. Before you know it you are having flashes again. And this repeats over and over and over again, until you have enough mental control to not get swayed by feelings/false truths (perfectionism / inability to let thoughts move by having to constantly alter them).
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - Ares - 08-20-2010
If the patient still has a relatively good memory and imagination and it can relax and he has Will to see and he believes that he can and will see, he or she can be cured in a period of time warring from a day to some years.
But where we have someone who needs to rebuild imagination, rebuild memory, develop will and gain faith, and with other words someone with a totally messed up mind, then it takes time.
Believing is hard and the Will is even harder to develop.
I don't believe that i have to say who our lifestyle and our societies are actually made in such day to impair our eyesight ads stress us to death...
Yes, Bates might have not said some things, but he knew what he did. You can't tell everything to most of the people. Is bad for them and will do them no good. Explanations can have strange tendencies in messing the mind up further, so someone as genius Bates was, knows how to say when he speaks to the "masses" of individuals.
Think about it. His book and his magazines where for the average American city dweller of 1910's and 1920's. Most people had low education, and someones where even ex-slaves back then. It would be ridiculous if he wrote a "scientific doctrine" that only himself and few others could understand.
He also said that kids below 13 (if i remember right) and seniors who newer wore glasses can be treated. Others can treated, but then the treatment is harder, or the persons may not be treated after they lived with impaled vision for so long.
Also when you ask yourself when you will see, who long it will take, and stuff like that, you are straining! DON'T think like that!
Character change? Of course it will and MUST happen?
You don't like that? Ok, think about it a week and then decide.
Ok, you decided? And you don't want it?
Ok, then, Take a hike!
But the Snelen charts are useful, if you don't stare at them.
Same goes for the fine print.
As for the trying.
Well... "Do, or do not. There is no try."
Quick tip of how to do the "Do".
Don't force it, let it come naturally, and then let it flow.
Then embrace the darkness.
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - Ares - 08-22-2010
Hey, people, have a look at that:
Got it from <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.central-fixation.com/better-eyesight-magazine/better-eyesight-1930-02.php#fail">http://www.central-fixation.com/better- ... 2.php#fail</a><!-- m -->
Quote:Why Patients Fail
Re: Why progress is slow, and most people are never truely cured - JMartinC4 - 09-09-2010
Here are some reasons why I believe nowadays "progress is slow and most people are never truely cured":
1. As more and more of the population has become nearpoint fixated (so-called 'myopic') there has been less and less opportunity to imitate (consciously and unconsciously) and learn from the good vision habits of a shrinking clear-sighted population. Instead, we have learned to imitate the bad habits of the growing blur-sighted population.
2. Birds of a feather tend to flock together.
3. Before neonatal eye antibiotics became a standard of 'care' for newborns, normal newborns usually retained the normal eyesight they were born with - until they entered the education system wherein some small percentage would become nearpoint fixated because they studied too much and used their eyes wrongly. They were easily helped by the Bates Method if exposed to it, primarily because they had a clear memory of normal eyesight.
4. But from the 1930's to 1956, vast numbers of newborns were subjected to the days-long unequally timed blur and irritation of the 1% silver nitrate antibiotic solution. This more and more often erased any memory of clear distance vision, and as school eye testing ramped up in the 50's, and lenses were prescribed more and more and earlier, the 4-eyed geek became not an ostracized anomaly but an accepted facet of the general population.
5. The unstandardized instillation method (one eye at a time, separated by many seconds or minutes) results in one eye with worse vision because it has to be pinched open, and then does not see clearly again at the same time as the first eye because the antibiotic wears off at a fixed rate and the eyes were not treated at the same time. Thus the two eyes do not learn to work well together.
6. The clear-sighted population began to shrink and had to turn away from 'educated' pursuits in order to retain their distance vision.
7. For children born after 1956, though, the antibiotic ointments used were far less irritating and the 20/400 blur effect, though still unequal and mistimed, lasted far less long. Also, I suspect they are instilled much later in the first 60 minutes after birth window, thus providing more opportunity for the infant to experience its normal eyesight.