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The Intermediate Step
The Intermediate Step

<h3>Back Spasm</h3>
This morning I sat on the floor to put my socks on and had a back spasm (at least I think that's the right term). If you haven't had one, it's a sudden pain in a muscle that incapacitates you for a while because it hurts to move. So I laid on the floor for a while, considering what to do. Resting for several minutes didn't seem to help at all. I tried rocking around, to try to get myself moving and try to work out whatever the pain was all about. No help there either. So finally I propped myself up into a painful position, breathed deeply, and relaxed my ab muscles and any other muscles I could. The pain melted away. I did that with a few more positions until I could stand up and go on about my day.
<h3>Embrace the Uncomfortable Step</h3>
In making a point. The idea of your vision improving suddenly, completely and permanently as a result of palming or any other exercise is a tempting one. The idea is promoted a lot throughout material on the Bates method, particularly with that one story repeated over and over of a single guy a hundred years ago who reported that he completely and permanently regained his vision after a long palming session of twenty hours. But look at what that idea really means by considering your motivations for adopting the idea. Are you trying to avoid the middle step of having to pay close attention to blurry details? Is that the step that is most uncomfortable to you? What happens when you start to pay attention to the smallest details you can perceive? You probably have a hard time with it because all the blur gives you confusion about what point you're really looking at, right? If your eyes produce different levels of blur it makes it even more confusing. Are you avoiding this situation altogether by rationalizing that any such feeling you experience there is "strain" and you should therefore avoid the steps that got you into that situation, namely, considering the smallest details you can see?

When you avoid this situation, you remain with blurry vision and expect your vision to at some point by virtue of your commitment to relaxation (or whatever it is you're doing) suddenly leap over that canyon of multiple images and blurry details, into the land of perfect vision. That way you don't have to slog your way down into the canyon and through the swamp. This isn't to say it's impossible for people to do such a leap temporarily or permanently, but most people will find that they have issues with the way they use their eyes, particularly when their vision is inevitably a little blurry again (as everyone with perfect sight experiences now and then), and they are relying on their ability to do that leap each time.

So when you find yourself attempting to see details and fail completely, even where your vision becomes worse than when you started it a moment ago, remember that your success depends on several elements that need to be done right. You have to keep breathing deeply to supply your brain with the abundant oxygen it will need to relearn this process. You will need to blink.

But don't use blinking or looking away as a means of massaging your eyes or "feeling" your eyes again to escape the process when things become confusing or mentally intense, similar to how a child under emotional distress runs to an adult for comfort and is soothed by the adult's hug, the sense of touch distracting the child from his emotional distress and suppressing the emotion into what becomes a solidified part of his  personality/programming. The purpose of examining details and the way you're looking at them is to deal with reality and work on your solution, not to find a means of escaping reality under the guise of "relaxing" and building yourself even more complex problems.
<h3>Example Solution</h3>
With my back spasm story, the solution was relaxation, but when I attempted to relax by simply lying on my back it didn't work. I had to get into a painful situation and then relax while remaining there.  As it turned out, that was all that was needed. With vision, that isn't the complete answer, although you can get some extremely positive feedback from doing so like temporarily better vision or a different feeling around your eyes, face or the rest of your body. You also have to use your attention right, which will drive how you use your eyes and brain together to create a clear image.

So take for example one issue you have to deal with in stepping into the mess of looking for details in a chaotic, blurry mess <em>You don't know what point you're looking at.</em> This has been reported enough times by people that I think it may be significant. If you try to relax your eyes, you might find that you seem to widen your area of attention, while if you try to narrow your attention you tense up your eyes. So consider this logically. You have two tasks that seem to both be necessary but are butting up against each other as if they were opposites. If you have two cars that need to pass each other on a narrow one lane road with no shoulder, what do you do? You could come up with a lot of solutions involving a turnout, a crane or a ramp. The point is you'll need something else to rectify the situation. With this vision problem you just use movement. You keep moving your point of attention around, scanning and exploring areas depending on what you most want to see or what captures your attention or what stands out as the clearest object that you might be able to see the best for a moment. So your question of "what point am I looking at?" is no longer relevant because it's answered implicitly by what part of the image, and the size of that part, that you are most paying attention to from one fluid instant to the next. It's ever-changing, so you never have to nail down what you're looking at, because by the time you can answer the question your attention will have moved.

If you aren't looking at the smallest details of what you can perceive in every fluid glance to the next, you are not actually looking at <em><strong>anything</strong></em>! All the time you spend not looking at details is time you are spending not really using your vision at all. When you start to do this more continuously throughout every day, you will find that your vision becomes intensely activated and you'll wonder how you ever saw anything before at all when you weren't even looking.
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"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Just regarding this attention again.

I reflected on this the other day.

Assume that you are working in a lab and you shall examine some microscopic object that you need to manipulate (grasp) in some way with a pair of tweezers using very small movements with your hand. Well, if you do not have a microscope then it will be almost impossible to do this task without starting to tremble so much that you cannot do the task accurately at all. But if you have a microscope it is no problem to do the task, and the hand will not tremble.

Another reflection concerning this.
If you are nearsighted you also improve the accuracy/precision if you take off the glasses, because you see beetter at near distance without the glasses.

So you are right that the attention is really important for doing this task accurately.

This microscope example shows that if you increase the attention enormously (like in that case) then you get rid of strain.

But what about far distance, if we shall apply the maximum attention then you need to have the glasses on !
Actually I get a lot more relaxed in my eyes (when looking at far distance) if I wear the glasses under the prerequisite that I use natural visual habits.
I really wonder what other people on this forum thinks about natural visual habits in combination with still wearing glasses at far distance. Maybe it is ok to do so, what do you think actually ?
The problem is you don't get noticeable positive feedback from better use of your eyes unless the image is at least a little blurry when you're misusing your eyes. But a reduced prescription might make sense. Glasses and contacts cause other complications, but I don't know what the right balance is, if there is one. I tried reduced prescriptions at first, but I got fed up and stopped wearing them altogether. A reduced prescription might have worked for me if I knew what I know now.
Site Administrator

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

Another excellent post, very helpful.

That 'middle step' is certainly uncomfortable. In my case I don't rationalize the discomfort as strain, I just tend to avoid doing it. Also, I don't think of the breathing as a way of getting more oxygen to the brain, it's just that you hold your breath when you are tensing yourself up to do something that requires concentration - in this case the (mistaken) bad habit built on the belief that vision requires special effort. (Although I could be wrong.)

But I agree with you in comparing the relief you get from 'feeling' your eyes to a child looking for emotional soothing. I imagine people on diets feel a similar sensation when they eat cake. That's where the discomfort is ultimately coming from, as far as I can tell.

I think it's one thing to reason out the exact way you are using your vision (I seem to find it indispensable - if only, perhaps, because I won't fully commit to rectifying it until I am convinced why it should work) but you have to be careful you don't get hung up on it to the extent that any uncertainty here becomes another excuse to avoid engaging.

Please let me know if you don't agree with any of this.

Can anyone here report on their efforts to sustain their attention on detail throughout the day, or even periods of the day?
Sustaining my attention on detail feels like remaining present to me, not letting my mind wander away from the task at hand. I'm getting better at this, for longer periods, but I'm not sure if it's my default yet. Like anything I want to get better at, it is taking constant repeated practice. Am I here now? Do I want to keep doing what I'm doing? If I look at pictures of me as a child behind those thick glasses I look so trapped, with a dull dead stare -- I probably couldn't wait to escape to be by myself. Now I am spending more of my time doing what I want to do and enjoying it, even if it's chores. I think people with good visual habits probably have more joy in their lives.

David, I haven't commented on this post yet because I agree with it and didn't have much to add beyond praise for taking your back problem into your own hands instead of submitting to a doctor or drug. In my energy medicine studies I'm running into so many people who just want to suppress symptoms and go on as usual, not wanting to accept that it's a message from their body (like blur is!) that something needs to change. Good work, and thanks for being such a stellar example.
I use the tennis balls in a sock and press against a wall into tight muscles on the lower back; not spine area, the way lower part, right above the butt. Press on left and right sides on the muscles at the same time. It stopped sciatic and pulling muscles, back pain last night.

Greg Marsh says something similar to David; he keeps moving through the pain.
Several months ago I got the Body Back Buddy. I use it almost daily on points on my back, often multiple points. Exercise twice a day helps, both running and certain weight lifting exercises. And I do inversion and inverted situps. I don't do any static stretches, other than standing and stretching my arms overhead until I feel it in my lower back. The worst thing I've found is sitting on this chair I have that has an inflatable exercise ball built onto it. I'm getting rid of it.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Where did you buy the body back buddy? Picture? I am looking into a recumbent bike with built in arm ex. too.
I bought it on Amazon. It should come up as the first link on a search.
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
So, for instance, when you are reading text on the computer from a slightly blurry distance, you should keep your attention moving even when you come upon a word that is blurry and not legible' Even after you spend a couple seconds looking at it and looking at what seem to be letters of the word, shifting your gaze around it. I'm still undecided about what to do when I reach that word, and have spent the time looking at it but it's not coming into focus. What I usually do is look at other words in the sentence or read on and hopefully figure out what the word is through context. Then I look back at it and sometimes it will clear up, sometimes not.

Does anyone have a more effective way?

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