So I've read through David's Method and I've read Bates Book as well as some other information and I've been practicing vision improvement off and on for a while.
While I'm reading, I usually try to keep the text just beyond clear focusing range and when things do start to clear (which usually can happen every time I pick up the book or read on the computer screen, even if it's just a tiny bit) I increase the distance that the text is from my eyes. I think I've heard of other people doing this somewhat. Has anyone had a lot of success with it?
On to the main point. My question is, when one does have to shift their gaze very quickly, like when one is looking at each key on the keyboard while typing, or when one has to read something very fast and they don't have the time to FULLY register what they are looking at, is it best to just shift the eyes rapidly, even if that is not enough time to really register what is being looked at?
Or say one is watching a moving object like a bird flying through the air or a bug moving around that landed on their hand or somewhere near. In these cases, there's not enough time to take that two seconds to really register what you see at the point.
I guess I'm taking this perspective from someone just starting out David's Method that begins by taking a couple seconds to register each point being regarded before moving to the next.
On a relatively unrelated note, I find that observing my hands massaging each other is a very good way for me to get "out of my mind" and into the present reality. It doesn't seem to last long, though, before I feel like I need to look at something farther away.
You can start out by taking longer on each point to get the idea of it, but after that speed up. There's no need to slow the movement of your attention except to better examine what you're doing.
Your attention has to lead and let your eyes follow. You can go through the motions of moving your eyes, but it doesn't do much good. Your attention can't be faked, and that's what has to move. In order for your attention to be engaged, you have to think about what you're looking at and have some kind of interest in it. Part of that is visualizing. You can visualize the detail you're looking at, such as what some details of the bird you're watching should be, or might be. Or you can imagine there might be other birds in the branches of the tree that the bird just disappeared into, and in doing that you're visualizing and moving your attention to other spots in the tree. Wondering and imagining what might be there, in as much detail as you can manage in a short moment, is how you move your attention, because if you already know what's there and have no reason to think about it then there's no reason to move your attention or your eyes and you would be just forcing your eyes to move without rhyme or reason. It needs to be an integrated visual perception process. So instead of taking control of your eyes, you're taking control of your mind, and it takes control of your eyes.
Bruce Lee described something like this. He mastered the quick movement of his body to the point where all he had to do was think, and his body moved as quickly as his thought appeared. His mind and body became one. But that's an extreme example, and it's a simple task within the reach of everyone to get their mind and eyes connected better to see clearly.
Visualization is something I haven't added to the David's Method article yet. I guess the reason for that is I didn't have a very good idea of how it should fit in until now.
"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
Ted, removing your glasses and just moving the text just outside your clearest zone is a good way to gradually challenge your visual system to make the adjustment, without getting too overwhelmed. Eye movement at the nearpoint isn't much different that in the distance, and what you learn to do correctly at near, will carry over to viewing more distance objects.
The eye can process points of fixation with incredible speed - in a fraction of a second. People with normal sight are doing this all the time, not even aware of how they are doing it. Their eye movement is governed mostly by the lower brain that controls all involuntary movements. To become an accomplished typist, a pianist, or any other fine motor skill isn't too much unlike relearning how to move the eyes. One starts out a little slower, and gradually increases speed and accuracy with practice. If you have to keep looking at the keys, that's going to inhibit your progress. At a certain point, your fingers learn certain patterns, and the fingers just start to strike the keys with less and less conscious thought. Eventually, with more practice, you are not even thinking of the keyboard, just thinking words - and the fingers just follow the thought process. *Yet,* not matter what speed you striking the keys, you are still striking them, even if it is for a fraction of a second - else the keyboard will not send the signal through to where it needs to go. Likewise, no matter how fast you can shift, or how involuntary the visual control, the eye must still process every point of fixation better than all the rest around it in order to maintain normal vision. Well, nobody does this with perfection in every shift, therefore the visual system has a built-in correctional movement system. We commonly make larger, cruder shifts, landing us somewhere near our attentional target, then make several, or however many tiny shifts are needed to better fix it on the fovea. The myopic is like the typist who is looking too long at each key, holding it down too long, or striking several keys all at once. Their fingers just get stuck on keys, their thinking too much about moving their fingers, etc. All this leads to inaccurate, inefficient typing, and one is slow to progress if at all.
I think of the reading process in the same way. I let my eyes land on some letter of each word, and my attention is directed at that letter or some part of a letter, seeing each letter or part better than adjacent letters. Then I move my attention to the next spot, then the next, in the same manner. It's at first a slower process, but one gets better and faster at it, eventually not even thinking about anything except the ideas that the words convey. If I feel my eyes straining, or things getting less sharp, it's usually because I'm trying to see too large of an area best all in one glance, a bad habit picked up from speed reading long ago.
It all takes a lot of mental control, and David is doing a good job at explaining the mental control needed in the shifting process that Bates had touched on in his book and magazines. You will be the best judge of gauging how fast or slow you need to go. One can go too slow, or too fast at first, and in either case central fixation can be compromised. You'll want to find that right middle area, where you can still control it, yet not be overbearing.
Thanks for the replies guys. This makes a lot of sense.
It does seem like it will require an extreme amount of present moment focus and ability to "stick with it" until things begin to move on their own. I will continue practicing this when I remember to and see what happens.
Also, I have been able to notice when I lose touch with this method and start "zoning out" in my head. There is a great urge to let myself go into my thoughts, but also, there is, I think, a feeling deep down of which path would be more beneficial to me (i.e. staying in the present moment, perceiving and attending to whatever it is I'm looking at or desire to look at). There is a great, difficult to explain, relief when one is able to let go of the burden of continuing to think thoughts which ultimately serve no real benefit to oneself.
It doesn't seem like one should have to practice this method where one's vision is normal (looking at the close up objects for a nearsighted person) but what about that distance that we are talking about, just slightly beyond what is clear? I feel as though I could practice this method at the near point but that it might be counter productive, because I already see fine at the near point. But when things do start to get slightly blurry....maybe I can do a combination of remembering how I saw close up AND applying these new principles?
Of course you will have to go outside your comfort zone if you ever want to progress. The near point where you see best is where you are exerting the least negative influence, on either a conscious and/or unconscious level. I don't think it would be counterproductive to practice at that point, as most can see well, but not as sharp at the nearpoint as those with normal sight. The closeness of the text, and the size of it make it possible to see well even though we are maintaining a strain. Practicing with very small print (in Bate's day it was also called 'Diamond type'). can help one let go of it. Once you think you have a handle on the techniques, you have to push yourself to further distances, where it's going to be blurrier, and initially, more uncomfortable. You're the best judge of how far and how fast you can push yourself, before it becomes counterproductive. Do you have any charts? An eyechart for the near distance, and one made for the distance are good to have to gauge your progress, and know at any moment the level of your visual acuity.
Yes I do have eye charts. I have been experimenting with looking at texts of different sizes at the point where it just starts to come into focus.
I will continue to try and keep attention where my eyes are pointing, and also take my eyes to where my attention is leaning, while trying to pick out the smallest spot I can to focus my attention.
It reminds me of a golf psychology book I read. It describes that for any sport, baseball, basketball, golf, the best results come when the player is focused on the smallest point, the smallest target they can. It's the difference between saying I want to hit it in the fairway somewhere and....I want to hit the ball near that speck of brown grass thats two feet wide and 275 yards away. The smaller the target, the better one's concentration and likelihood of reaching that specific goal.