Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
breakthroughs
#16
Sean, keep writing -- I like your tips. Yes, releasing strain often feels wrong to me too, sort of float-y, as if the grabbing onto the world I was doing with my eyes has left my whole body untethered to drift in the breeze. I also know what you mean about the big-eyed look which you called a look of surprise. For me I'm afraid I won't be taken seriously, that I'll be perceived as gullible or not too bright. Remaining aware of the periphery, especially by noticing oppositional movement there, remains important for me, as my habit is still often to narrow my gaze. I still think, like Peter Grunwald told us, attention (where to look) and intention (how to look) have to lead, otherwise it's just mechanical as you said and no lasting improvement will result. Thanks.
Reply
#17
Nancy Wrote:Sean, keep writing -- I like your tips. Yes, releasing strain often feels wrong to me too, sort of float-y, as if the grabbing onto the world I was doing with my eyes has left my whole body untethered to drift in the breeze. I also know what you mean about the big-eyed look which you called a look of surprise. For me I'm afraid I won't be taken seriously, that I'll be perceived as gullible or not too bright. Remaining aware of the periphery, especially by noticing oppositional movement there, remains important for me, as my habit is still often to narrow my gaze. I still think, like Peter Grunwald told us, attention (where to look) and intention (how to look) have to lead, otherwise it's just mechanical as you said and no lasting improvement will result. Thanks.

Nancy, the big-eyed thing is a feeling based on a faulty perception because your muscles are doing something new/different. You may FEEL like you have a look of surprise, but to anyone looking at you (or if you take a picture of yourself at that very moment), you just look normal. It's all part of vision improvement "feeling" wrong, and the strong temptation to do what feels right is what slows our progress. To make progress, we must dare to do what feels wrong.

Try walking down the street with the "surprised" feeling in your eyes. You may be afraid that you'll bump into things or trip because you're not seeing in your usual way. However, at some point, you'll just realize that you're simply seeing the way normal people do and that you don't need to do the thing you had been doing in order to avoid bumping and tripping.

Thanks for your input.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many of my observations have come after working with a really good Bates teacher. I keep on learning new things about my vision on my own, but the teacher was the one who initially gave me the push to think about my vision in a totally different way. I highly recommend working with a teacher, but I have no experience with other teachers. It's possible I was lucky to have found a good one and that there are other teachers out there that would lead you astray.
Reply
#18
Sean, this is a really informative thread, thanks for taking the time to contribute!

I did have one thing to ask other members regarding this quote:

Quote:RELEASING STRAIN FEELS WRONG. FOR ME (AND I SUSPECT OTHER MYOPES), THIS OFTEN MEANS HAVING THE MISPERCEPTION THAT WE ARE OPENING OUR EYES WIDE WITH A "SURPRISED" LOOK

Am I the only person here whose eyes actually get smaller rather than bigger? I suppose that I have always strained with my eyes far too open because now when I relax and have improved vision my eyes drop into (sorry, this is the only comparison I can make) 'stoner eyes' and I'm always concerned that people will think I've been smoking marijuana! (Add to that the perfect relaxation and momentary speechlessness that improved vision induces and I'm really in trouble ;D)

At first the feeling of releasing strain was horrible - I actually had nausea from it and had to keep swallowing to hold down my stomach. It definitely takes time to get used to and to accept. Now I can't believe that I was ever able to accept the feeling of strain as 'normal' - it is such a monumental waste of energy and effort.
Reply
#19
seetheleaves, your post made me laugh. I'd take Sean's advice and look in the mirror at your eyes, since maybe they don't look as different as you think they do. I went for a walk yesterday with what I thought was that open-eyed gullible look, expecting negative reactions and trying to stay relaxed anyway. All that happened was that more people said "hello" to me than usual! Oh, what a gift to see ourselves as others see us...
Reply
#20
seetheleaves Wrote:(Add to that the perfect relaxation and momentary speechlessness that improved vision induces and I'm really in trouble ;D)

Do you mean speechlessness because your mind stops? If so, I have a lot to say about that... Or do you mean just because you're surprised by the improved vision? Or maybe it's not an easy distinction to make.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Reply
#21
David Wrote:
seetheleaves Wrote:(Add to that the perfect relaxation and momentary speechlessness that improved vision induces and I'm really in trouble ;D)

Do you mean speechlessness because your mind stops? If so, I have a lot to say about that... Or do you mean just because you're surprised by the improved vision? Or maybe it's not an easy distinction to make.

My mind stops. It's not any kind of stupor, it just stops swirling and I don't feel like talking at all because there are no thoughts coming up that want to be expressed. I feel a perfect calm and also wonderment (it's not surprise, it's more like awe).
Reply
#22
Ok, right. You inspired me to write a blog post about it just now.

Years ago I woke, or maybe after palming half-asleep, and for several seconds my mind was completely stopped. Just gone. I might not even notice it now as anything special (or maybe so, I'm not sure), but at that time it felt like I was in a different 'state' where it was actually impossible to have a single thought, and I could move to a different state where I could think again, but only if I wanted to. So I did. It made a big impression on me. It showed me that it might be possible to still be aware, to be alive, to accomplish lots of things, without having a single thought, and that there might be some kind of value in doing so.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Reply
#23
David,

Yes!! Exactly! I am really looking forward to your blog post! I recently came across the Japanese concept of mushin "without mind" which Wikipedia states as:
"...a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything."

This is the closest explanation to what I experience. If only this state could be extended indefinitely...! I sometimes have the fear that as my eye improvements become my normal sight and I no longer notice them as very special occurences, I will lose this state of bliss and wholeness that I feel now.

And Nancy, when you were describing your experience of going out into the street 'wide-eyed' and having more people notice you and say hello I immediately pictured you as looking bright-eyed and vibrant, enthusiastic about life - I'm sure this is what people were seeing in you - your positive state of mind was coming across clearly to those around you.
Reply
#24
I don't manage to stop my thoughts completely or get them 'out of my head', only to give them a place, where they are not so dominating.

I always have to remind myself not to get 'lost' in my thoughts, not to let the mental preoccupation become the contious 'mainstream' while the 'real life' is reduced to a variable, changing 'background scenario'.
I can only prevent this by telling myself, always to 'get settled' in a situation first, take notice of the environment, for example look around, hear the noises, smell the odor, feel the wind and take in a deep impression of the whole image and then, 'rooted' on this 'basis' allow my thoughts to float up like balloons on a string. Then I can see them from a different angle, they are no longer dominating and demanding all my attention.
Reply
#25
seetheleaves, my energy medicine teacher, who used to be a lawyer (!), says she floats back and forth between a state of "mind" and "no mind" when she's working and teaching. She has to be receptive so the guidance comes in, and she also has to be able to explain to her students what's she's doing. This seems like the left logical brain and right intuitive brain distinction. Also, she's been meditating twice daily for over 30 years, and meditation has been shown to increase the size of the corpus collosum, the bridge that joins the right and left hemispheres of the brain, so may help her switch back and forth between them more easily than the normal person.

And thanks for saying I probably looked bright-eyed and enthusiastic -- i hope so!
Reply
#26
The following are some easy ways to get a sense of what straining means, for people who are just starting out and are skeptical that their poor vision has anything to do with strain:

1. Hold a book close to your face so you can read it well without your glasses. Close your eyes and push the book to arms-length away. Imagine the book while you push the book away. Notice what your eyes do.

2. Look at a near object. Turn your head to look at a distant object (don't worry about moving your eyes -- move your whole head). Notice any feelings you produce inside your eyes as you "try to focus" on the distant object.

3. Go outside and palm for however long you like (give yourself at least 15 seconds or so). Then "flash" the bright blue sky: remove your palms and look at the sky for a brief instant before going back to palming. Notice the pushing sensation when you remove your hands, and how your eyes seem to retract backwards when you put your hands back over your eyes.

4. Without your glasses, look from the text you are reading right now to one of the menu dropdown menu items at the top of your window (say, the letter "F" in the word "File" in the upper left)
- Before you make your shift, do you feel yourself prepping yourself to make the shift like you're about to do a jump shot with a basketball?
-Do you feel your eyes "jumping" up to try to grab the "F"?
- When you miss your shot (and you will), do you try to guide your eyes to the "F" by pushing or pulling them in some way while you do the shift? (normal people don't -- they recognize that they've missed and then immediately correct it with a new shift.)
- Do you find yourself holding your breath?

5. Palm or close your eyes. Imagine a big letter "O" for no more than a brief instant. Then imagine a small letter "O" for no more than brief instant. Did you feel your eyes doing something when you shrank the letter from big to little?

Make sure you imagine an "O" that is really, really close to your face, or inside your head. For nearsights, it is very difficult to imagine anything in the distance, and trying to do so usually results in straining.

(Also, don't expect to imagine the entire "O" equally well -- it is impossible to imagine more than one small part of the "O" best unless you are straining. You should be aware of the rest of the "O," however -- just not AS aware. For people with normal sight, the area that you are aware of best is a very small point. People with abnormal sight tend to be equally well-aware of everything over a larger area. This is the result of subconsciously trying to grab onto things to see more than one part best. If this confuses you right now, don't worry about it.)

6. Look at one object (say, a part of a letter on the computer screen.) Are you able to shift the center of your attention to another object through just a mental shift, without physically moving your eyes in a conscious way? Believe it or not, this is how people with normal sight shift.

In all of the above cases, it will be found that people with perfect sight don't feel their eyes doing anything at all, while strain causes you to feel like your eyes are doing some kind of work.

Knowing what strain feels like is the first step to relieving strain.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Bates' methods work not because they make you relax, but because they make you aware of how you strain, and are impossible to perform unless you are doing them in a way that does not add strain. In other words, it's a feedback mechanism, not something that actually produces relaxation directly.
Reply
#27
Seeing text is a pessimum for me and instantly makes me strain a bit more. (The concept of optimums and pessimums is nothing mysterious. Basically, Bates noticed that certain situations cause people to strain their eyes more, and called these things "pessimums". You can call it something else in normal English if you prefer.) At the same time, learning to read without strain presents a great opportunity for improvement.

THINGS THAT HAVEN'T WORKED FOR ME

One individual has advised "sketching" a line through the text, which is unnatural and slows down your reading speed. Others have suggested trying to read every single letter separately, which is even more unnatural, not to mention highly inefficient. The absolute worst advice came from a guy who wrote a book wherein he recommends reading text that is just barely blurry and doing hard blinks to try to make the text clear up. (His advice was the first I ever took when I began my eyesight improvement project. His idea of wearing weaker glasses while reading helped improve my vision a little bit, but his recommended way of reading was a total disaster.)

THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED

1. I place my fixations in the whitespace just below the text.
Looking at the whitespace serves two purposes: (1) If reading is a pessimum for you, your eyes are less likely to strain to see when you are looking at whitespace rather than looking at the text directly. (2) It is impossible to see the "white glow" (Google that if you don't know what I'm talking about) if you are adding strain, so being aware of the white glow while reading is evidence that you are reading correctly. I am not sure whether most people with normal vision fixate above, below, or in the middle of the line, but reading in this manner is for me the fastest way to read, and causes me to improve rather than worsen my vision while reading.

2. I do not try to sketch a continuous line. My fixation shifts from one discrete spot to the next, just like how people who have normal vision read. You do not need to fixate on every letter or even word, because your mind sees the text in your peripheral vision and somehow processes the entire chunk of text. This is NOT contrary to the principal of central fixation: remember that central fixation is not about seeing one thing and one thing only; it is about having your attention mostly on one thing while being aware of everything else (only a little less so).

3. If you are reading printed text or reading on your computer monitor, it helps to be aware of things moving in the periphery. You don't need to be constantly thinking about it consciously. Just remind yourself of the periphery every now and then, and eventually it becomes unconscious. We have a tendency to "lock up" and stare at
the text while blocking the periphery, which is a strain. Also, you don't need to DO anything to notice the periphery. Just think about it.

4. Probably the best distance to read at is that at which the text is still black but would be a little less black if you moved it just a little farther out (assuming you're nearsighted). Or maybe you can read text that's a little bit grey if you're being particularly attentive to your eyesight.

If you place the text any closer, it's easy to strain subconsciously without having the feedback of blurring text to tell you that you're straining. However, it's probably much, much worse to try to read text that's blurry when you need to accomplish reading-related tasks, which will cause you to strain even more and make your vision worse. That's why I would be very cautious about reading text in the slightly blurry zone when you're trying to work, and would save doing that for breaks from work or when you're actively doing eyesight practice.

5. Ask yourself whether you're still breathing or instead holding your breath or breathing in a forceful way. If the latter, you're probably reading in a way that's making your vision worse.

6. Try out Bates' advice of reading tiny print or reading in dim light. It improves my vision only a little, though it may help others still more. Try it and experiment around. Learning to read in a relaxed way under adverse conditions helps rather than hurts your vision.

7. Finally, take breaks from reading to look around at other things. Everyone (even the non-Bates-aware) will tell you to take breaks by looking into the distance, but when you do so, be sure that you are actually noticing or imagining movement and whatever details you happen to see. Also, notice whether you are DOING anything with your eyes when you look up from your text into the distance (you shouldn't be!). Hint: nearsighted people looking up from text into the distance will have an urge to "project" their vision out into the distance and make a small pushing or grabbing movement with certain eye muscles. Resist this temptation.
Reply
#28
One more thing:

To gain an impression of what means to not strain while reading, try to make your vision "worse" by doing what you think will make the text defocused. For me (as a myope), this means imagining something really close to the face or inside the head while looking at the text outside. Then swing your head from side to side while noticing the oppositional movement, and you may see some interesting results.

This feeling of defocus feels wrong, but is actually more correct than the way I actually use my eyes much of the time.
Reply
#29
Great tips, Sean. I tried reading some printed notes at a slight blur and found it very relaxing during my practice session last night and in fact, was able to increase my reading distance slightly. I tried to do that reading from my laptop at a slight blur at work today and immediately, experience dizziness at the back of my head. Glad I read this post before doing further damage!

Can you explain a little bit more on what you wrote below?
(A) I've never been able to understand this concept. I mean, I notice oppositional movement and objects moving only when I move my head or body. But when I'm looking at a particular object with only a mental shift, it always looks stationary to me ( since I'm only doing a small shift ).
(B) Don't quite get this. Mind explaining in detail and giving an example?


Sean_Augensicht Wrote:7. Finally, take breaks from reading to look around at other things. Everyone (even the non-Bates-aware) will tell you to take breaks by looking into the distance, but when you do so, be sure that you are actually noticing or imagining movement and whatever details you happen to see. Also, notice whether you are DOING anything with your eyes when you look up from your text into the distance (you shouldn't be!). [b]Hint: nearsighted people looking up from text into the distance will have an urge to "project" their vision out into the distance and make a small pushing or grabbing movement with certain eye muscles. [/b] Resist this temptation.
Reply
#30
Marlene Wrote:
Sean_Augensicht Wrote:7. Finally, take breaks from reading to look around at other things. Everyone (even the non-Bates-aware) will tell you to take breaks by looking into the distance, but when you do so, be sure that you are actually noticing or imagining movement and whatever details you happen to see. Also, notice whether you are DOING anything with your eyes when you look up from your text into the distance (you shouldn't be!). [b]Hint: nearsighted people looking up from text into the distance will have an urge to "project" their vision out into the distance and make a small pushing or grabbing movement with certain eye muscles. [/b] Resist this temptation.

If you're doing a mental shift and don't see the object move, it means that you're straining and must stop whatever you're doing. To get an idea of what oppositional movement is, look at a page of text (or anything you like) held so close to your eyes that you see it very well. Notice that you can't keep your attention on the exact same spot for more than an instant before it automatically moves to a different spot. Also notice how
everything you're looking at seems to move in the other direction as your attention moves. This is what Bates meant by the "optical swing," and in fact I recommend you read what he wrote about the "optical swing" in Better Eyesight Magazine.

If you're nearsighted and are looking at something in the distance, it is impossible to see the optical swing because of the strain, and at this point, it is only possible to see the swing through grosser movements. In the beginning, this will mean movements of your head or body. As strain goes away, you can make finer and finer movements while still perceiving the oppositional movement.

Remember: a shift accompanied by the perception of oppositional movement always increases your relaxation at least a little; a shift NOT accompanied by the perception of oppositional movement does not reduce strain and may make it worse. Therefore, make the shift as gross as possible such that you perceive the oppositional movement. If your vision is bad, it can mean looking from one part of the room to another part that's pretty far away.

Alternatively, IF AND ONLY IF you are able to easily imagine an object seen well (and if you are nearsighted, you are most likely only capable of easily imagining things that are near. And even then, it is possible only if you are sufficiently relaxed -- e.g, have your eyes shut, looking at a blank wall with nothing in particular to see, or looking at an actual object that is seen fairly well), mentally shifting from one detail of that imagined object to the next detail (as David recommends) also works.

On your second question: When you look up from a book to see something distant, your eyes should not feel like they're not doing anything different (try raising your entire head and not just your eyes to understand this point more easily). You should not feel the muscles
outside your eyes doing something to try to refocus (in reality, your eyes DO do something to refocus, namely the ciliary muscle INSIDE the eye contracts when you look at something near and relaxes when you look at something far -- but you can't feel your ciliary muscle and it's an entirely automatic mechanism). In fact, when you look up from a book, it should feel the same as if you were looking up from the real book to another imaginary book held above the real book.

Imagining this second book is a good way to demonstrate to yourself how looking from the real book to something distant ought to feel. When your vision is imperfect, when you look up at this imaginary book, things in the distance "behind" this imaginary book will be out of focus, and you will notice that you are actually seeing an entire large area equally well (i.e., no central fixation). Do not try to do anything to obtain central fixation. Instead, shift to another spot while perceiving the oppositional movement (for example, look back down at your real book and noticing the entire world moving upwards -- ***** INCLUDING THE PERIPHERY ***** ). Then look back up at the imaginary book. If you do this successfully, you will produce a slight relaxation and the area seen best will become a little smaller.

It's hard to write clearly about what I want to convey. Every sentence I wrote above is very deliberate and literal. If things still don't make sense to you, if you reread what I wrote a few more times, maybe they will.
Reply

TEST YOUR VISION AT HOME!
- Free Eye Chart PDFs

  • 20 ft, 10 ft, and Near Vision Charts
  • Letters Calibrated to Correct Printed Size
Download Now