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visualizing the right way
#1
I'd like to get the Method of the Month forum flowing, but the general topic of visualizing has already been used as a topic there twice, so I'm doing it here instead!

It's just something I happened to be thinking of right now, the right way to visualize, which is my favorite part of the Bates method.. Let's say, for example, that you say "I remember that chair, but I can't visualize it." But in a way, it isn't true that you remember the chair at all, because you weren't the chair. What you might remember is looking at the chair, sitting in the chair, maybe even moving the chair. If you can visualize the chair, you aren't actually remembering the chair, you're remembering yourself seeing the chair. In order to do that, you would have to have an experience you remember, one that was allowed and wasn't muddied up by strain.

When I first started, the way I would try to visualize is close my eyes, see the imperfect field of black and faint blobs of color, and visualize from there, trying to actually see there what I want to visualize. But that way is doomed to fail. In order to succeed at it, I have to remember seeing what I'm intending to visualize. If I didn't look directly at a particular part of it and see it clearly, I'm sure not going to be able to visualize it.

This is why Bates would recommend that his myopic patients study a test card held close up in their hand, as close as they need to hold it to feel completely comfortable seeing it. It's because they don't strain nearly so much while looking at the nearpoint, so when they close their eyes they have a better chance of remembering the experience, one detail at a time.

Comments?

Dave
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#2
I'm not sure how this relates to the eye exercises, but yes, sometimes I have trouble building an image with my eyes closed.  On the other hand, sometimes the images will come very clearly - especially when I'm half asleep.  I mean, seeing the exact hues and twisting of light from an imaginary icicle.  Sometimes I can pull off a similar trick by just closing my eyes and thinking of a daisy, though it isn't usually as clear as when I'm not even trying. 

I guess for me  it's just a question of... relax.
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#3
theamazingcatherine Wrote:I'm not sure how this relates to the eye exercises, but yes, sometimes I have trouble building an image with my eyes closed.  On the other hand, sometimes the images will come very clearly - especially when I'm half asleep.  I mean, seeing the exact hues and twisting of light from an imaginary icicle.  Sometimes I can pull off a similar trick by just closing my eyes and thinking of a daisy, though it isn't usually as clear as when I'm not even trying. 

I guess for me  it's just a question of... relax.

Catherine,

The Bates method is actually not about exercises at all. I guess I didn't fully complete what I was getting at in my first posting. Bates placed tremendous emphasis on visualization - or in his terms, memory - as the most effective means for removing vision problems. 'Memory' is, in a way I think, more apt than 'visualization', because memory is more appropriately passive and doesn't connotate constructing anything in the mind. This particular method isn't about forming mental pictures at all, but about retrieving them, in the context of an experience. While doing that, we're also necessarily remembering what it's like to relax, as those perfect memories only come from a relaxed state. It's a learning process more than anything. We're remembering what it's like to be normal (in the sense of being healthy, not normal as in typical), and not in a dysfunctional blurred state.

Visual memory comes alive as you begin to let go of your tensions, in your example when drifting off to sleep, but sleep isn't necessary.

Dave
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#4
Ech - I fell afoul of sloppy language.  Sometimes I find it easier to say "exercises" than "the techniques of the Bates Methods," which is, indeed, misleading.  My apologies.

I've just been reading the chapter on palming elsewhere on the site, and it has a lot to say about imagining black.  Do you have any thoughts on that?
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#5
Well I use the word "exercises" sometimes too, but I just wanted to make sure you understand that it's more about changing habitual patterns through a system of education than doing 15 minutes a day or whatever, so even weird things like visualization can have a strong connection.

Just so long as you aren't trying to imagine black in the darkish field you may see with your eyes closed, it's fine. If you detach from that and change the context to a memory of something very black, then that's the way to go. It doesn't even have to be something black - an object of other colors is fine, if that's what you come up with. It's just that black is unique in that it can be so stunningly black, and you can tell when you're suddenly imagining it even more black than the blackest black you had thought of before. And you can consider that we don't even see the color black. It's an absence of light being reflected from an object. So that might help give you even more of a sense of effortlessness and imagining it rather than trying to see it.

Dave
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#6
I would just add that it is impossible to remember black dots perfectly while straining, and the first step is to actively relax the added on strain of facial muscles-around the eyes, the neck, the jaw hinge, etc. Then, the memory of a black dot becomes easier and the relaxation happens more passively.

Robert
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