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You think that's air you're breathing? (3-29-2013)
#1
You think that's air you're breathing? (3-29-2013)
http//blog.iblindness.org/2013-03/you-think-thats-air-youre-breathing/

First of all, I'm not splitting hairs here for fun. I do have a point that I feel is of practical importance.

Remember the Morpheus-Neo dojo fight scene from the Matrix? Morpheus defeated Neo, and as Neo sat panting, Morpheus asked a question

<strong>"You think that's air you're breathing now?"</strong>

We do breathe air, but the question is profound if you think about it in terms of your vision. As you walk along a sidewalk, do you think that you are seeing other people and cars passing you, of the road in front of you, of the buildings next to you and the birds flying overhead? Right now, do you think you are seeing these words in front of you, as they are?

We instinctively believe that what we see is the world around us. But what we see is the product of our mind. Our eyes can't perceive or form any images for your perception. They only collect light rays bouncing off objects in front of them, and even that only if there is enough light bouncing around. The eyes collect the data of stimulated photoreceptor cells and transmit electrical signals towards the brain, at which point any semblance of a real image, represented by light rays, is gone. What the eyes contribute to our vision is nothing more than a pattern of electrical signals.

The image formed in your mind only partly relies on the electrical signals from your eyes. Your imagination is responsible for forming the image. Your imagination draws from your memory, from your eyes, considers what might be, and forms an illusion for you. It may be hard to believe what you are seeing right now isn't real. It appears so convincing, because the details may be so vivid and complex, and the image may appear to be so unchanging and trustworthy, and the images appear to be everywhere.

<strong>"You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television ... It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes ..."</strong>

What you are looking at is an image created by your mind, a representation of the world in front of you. When you look out the window at a tree blowing in the wind, are you really seeing the tree? It is just like when you point a  camera at an object and see the object in the display of the camera. You are not truly seeing the object. You are seeing a limited representation of it. Your eyes point toward the real object and gather data, but you can only examine the image in your mind.

So when you think you are examining details on the tree, you are only examining your own mind. Your eyes are pointing at the tree, but you are just looking at a screen in front of you.
<h3>Why It Matters</h3>
The practical importance of this knowledge is in the way you attempt to look at things. If your eyes get tired because you are tensing them a little bit, deliberately or not, in an attempt to "see" more, you may be doing so under the impression that your vision is real. If your eyes only contribute to your imagination that is forming your vision, then what you're really doing is visualizing the image with some help from the data from your eyes. This concept takes the pressure off what you think you can or can't "see" with your eyes and shifts the burden on to your imagination.

Also consider that your imagination's level of functioning is measured by your ability to visualize. If you are unable to close your eyes and visualize with at least a little detail an object you have studied in great detail with help from your eyes, your imagination is not functioning at capacity and the image it develops will be significantly of less quality than what is possible.

Do you ever have an image flash in your mind, either when you're daydreaming or sleeping? If you mind has the image stored, why can't you recall the same image, in the same detail, again? What's stopping you? Why do you have a clear image in your mind for a moment at one times and are unable to have it at another time? Why does your eyes being open or closed make such a difference in how easy it is to do so? Why does someone with better vision have an easier time doing so? Why are they able to easily visualize with their eyes open? Why can't you seem to remember what things look like in as much detail as they can? Why do some of them have a photographic memory?

I believe that an imagination functioning below capacity is due to lack of appropriate practice. You have grown lazy with your visual perception. You have relegated your imagination to the menial and mechanical task of pretty much using only the data that the eyes provide. Perhaps it is because of this that the imagination isn't even involved enough to direct the eyes in focusing for the correct distance.

I would suggest a few things
<ul>
<li>If you work on visualizing what is in front of you that you want to see, or something similar to it, you will stimulate your imagination to begin working as it is supposed to.</li>
<li>If you consider your eyes and what they are pointing at as only of secondary importance, you will start to relax tension in eye muscles and allow them to function better.</li>
<li>If your imagination is stimulated to visualize what is in front of you, it will start to direct your eyes towards getting more information about the object.</li>
<li>If you work on visualizing something other than what is in front of you, you will still stimulate your imagination, which will improve your ability to use it to visualize what you're looking at when you choose to.</li>
</ul>
 
<h3><span style="font-size 1.17em;">Where You Visualize</span></h3>
Many people have a problem understanding "where" they visualize an object to be. I know I had trouble with this too. I think the trouble is due to your visualization quality currently being so poor that you don't believe that you could visualize clearly in that way. You don't try to form an image in front of you, on a blank wall nor on the black/grey field you see with your eyes closed, ie the inside of your eyelids. It is done in an entirely different place that some people have described as the back of their head.

To illustrate this, think of an apple. That first vague image that flashed in your mind was where you visualize. Maybe it was just a vague shape and color, but it was in the right place. Notice that it wasn't in front of you and seemed to have nothing to do with the world in front of you, because you were ignoring the world in front of you while you did it.

Maybe in the next post I'll expand on this topic to help people start visualizing from the right place, if there's any need.
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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
Quote:Maybe in the next post I'll expand on this topic to help people start visualizing from the right place, if there's any need.
Yes! There's a need in me, for sure, so if and when you can get to this I'd really appreciate it. My flash of the apple was inside my head, closer to the back than the front, and to the right of center. I'm wondering if I should try to move it to the center midline, or if the right-brain imaging is more important than the left-brain logic so it DOES belong to the right, or if this has nothing to do with anything. Anyway, Dave, thanks for this post!
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#3
Quote:Notice that it wasn't in front of you and seemed to have nothing to do with the world in front of you, because you were ignoring the world in front of you while you did it.

I think one thing that confuses me is the idea that you can keep up this visualization throughout the day but remain aware of your surroundings. It seems like when I visualize something, I do go out of this world. I don't understand how you could be in that state all or most of the time and still function properly.

Ans also, when your visualizing what your looking at, you forget about the eyes. So what if they drift off a little bit to the side? You are visualizing the point you were looking at, but now your eyes aren't actually there anymore. Is the idea supposed to be that your mind visualizes, what is there, so that your eyes begin their curiosity of that point, trying to match the image with the image in your head?
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#4
There is a movie (old one, forgot the name) about a blind man that meets a lady. Fell in love...
The man would tell her about his childhood, how he went blind from some cause when he was a small boy.
His last memory picture of sight was a big pink thing. (I am not sure of exact parts of the movie)

The lady got him to try a new eye doctor and the doctor brought back his vision with a operation.
But; the blind man had no mental pictures, no memory of any objects, vision to work with. He was like a new born baby, the eyes, mind trying to memorize, store a clear picture of each new object he encountered. The land, road, cars scared him violenty. One day he saw a big ballon and it brought back his childhood memory; it was a big pink ballon or ball that he saw, the last thing seen before going blind.

He lost his vision again by the end of the movie. It was a true story. No where in the movie did they state that the doctors taught him the Bates Method; how to use the memory, imagination... Maybe that would have helped.
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#5
Nancy - When I do it, I can't really tell where the image is, it's just there in some place, but also kind of imposed (but not totally) on what I'm looking at if it's clear enough. Maybe you remember originally seeing the apple to your right as you were doing something else? But I would say wherever it is is just fine, because that's way better than not imagining it at all. If I visualize something, I don't have a clear sense beforehand of what the image is going to look like, or how big it will be, so I guess the same is true for where it is. And I don't consciously create the image. I just kind of ask for it, and it shows up in some way or another.

ted - I think doing it while functioning through the day is a matter of practice. I don't try to do it all day, but it's an interesting experiment in concentration. You could also be constantly losing it and finding it again. I don't know how possible it would be to keep imagining it consistently with no breaks. And the way I do it, it isn't really continuous anyway, it's more like it's constantly being refreshed. As far as your eyes drifting off, I think that's a good sign. If you start to imagine something more clearly, you should instinctively want to look at the object, if it's just a glance away, to see if it's also clearer through your eyes as it is with your mind.
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
Clarknight,

Was the movie called "At First Sight"?

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132512/">http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132512/</a><!-- m -->
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#7
Yeah, maybe, looks like the guy. Will have to see if there is a clip on YouTube.
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#8
The famous experiment with a 5 minutes-film shown in African villages to educate the people about health and sanitation problems demonstrates, that we can't even make out what we see without an interpretation of the data in our mind by the help of imagination (using the categories laid down in our memory).
The only thing the spectators "saw" in the film was a chicken - which on the other hand the producer of the film had nod seen at all, because it was only visible for about a second and he had concentrated only on the contents he wanted to transmit.
(see: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://books.google.ca/books?id=9e3GXZY-m0wC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false">http://books.google.ca/books?id=9e3GXZY ... &q&f=false</a><!-- m --> chapter 8 We learn how to see)

When we see "the wrong way", that is producing an error of refraction, we also use imagination all the time, but in a wrong way.
We have a perfect image in our memory and in our mind, for example of a "tree" or a "house". But what we actually see appears blurry to us.
Now we 'use' this perfect "pattern" to tell ourselves, how poor our eyesight is, to convince ourselves that we re not able to see correctly and that we should "do" something to improve our eyesight.
And then we do a lot to improve it, we start to squint and tense our eye muscles and put a lot of effort in the seeing process, which should be effortless and natural.

When babies learn how to see, their eyesight is very blurry in the beginning. But since they don't have this 'desatrous' self reflection, they are able to use the "patterns" they acquire to "model" their eyesight accordingly during the process of learning.
I think we should try to follow their example.

Bates had very quick results with his imagination cures, when he could convince the patient, that the real letter is black and clear and that the eyes can "correct" their error easily simply by following the clear pattern in their mind - without doubt and self critics.
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#9
Interesting. As I learn more and more about vision and get more profound successes and greater clarity I find myself thinking like this too. The eyes have almost nothing to do with it, as long as you aren't tensing them they will adjust based on your mental state and actions. I have confirmed this over and over again. I would like to make an addendum to the "visualizing like its at the back of you head" thing. While this is true, when I am fully involved with my imagination to the point where it occupies my entire mind such that it becomes the new primary place where my attention is (rather than strain) it literally feels like I am in the visualization or are part of it. The idea that you have to force yourself to make images and that they should feel like they are "distant" from you is a distortion of the imagination in the first place.
Doing this of course requires some intense interest, patience and immersion, imagination should take the place of strain as the primary source of attention. I am going to be writing about this phenomena soon.
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#10
So when I talk about mental images, I mean actually seeing an image in your mind's eye, in as much detail as you can manage, and examining it continually.

If you focus entirely on what you see without any thought of mental images, you keep your imagination relatively inactive. In doing this you also detract from your perception of form, context, depth, curiosity... It becomes a game of how meaningless you can make what you're looking at, with the idea that if you don't care at all then you won't strain. I would suggest this isn't a healthy thing to do.

If you compare what you see to your mental image, and try to make what you see match what you imagine, you will be most likely straining your eyes. But when you do this I would suggest you're not really paying attention to mental images but instead have more of a vague impression that what you're seeing is not of good enough quality, ie: you know it's blurry and you're trying to fix it. So it's much like what is described in the previous paragraph.

If you focus entirely on mental images, you'll miss some opportunities to see things, but at least you're stimulating your imagination. And with continued practice you get better at visualization, which I would suggest makes you actually see better and gets your eyes to focus better.

If you look around and see what you can, and if you fail you focus on mental images, you've got a pretty good balance going on.

You don't want to get stuck in a logical trap based on incorrect ideas. If you believe that by doing something, something should happen, and it doesn't, you're stuck with either trying again and maybe getting the same result or trying something else that wasn't really part of your plan, like reacting with a hard blink or whatever else you do to try to fix the image you see. So you always want to know what you should do next. Here, you know that if you don't see as much as you want, you can start visualizing it. If you can't visualize it, you can visualize something else, maybe a favorite and simple "go-to" image that you're pretty good at visualizing. If you can't do that, then whatever pops into your head is fine. If you get nothing at all, then practice doing it for longer, or sit quietly and get close to sleep where you may have more vivid imagery. If you keep losing the image, check back at what your eyes see to see if you can see better or see more.
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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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#11
In his book "The Experience of a Fool Who Had An Epiphany About How To Get Rid of His Glasses", the author (Norbekov) demonstrates to the readers how mental images in the imagination provoke a direct bodily response if they are clear and concrete enough to the person imagining it.

For example, if you imagine having a cockroach in your swimsuit, you can literally feel the shiver or goose flesh creeping up... (if not, he suggests that you should catch a big fat one and drop it into your underpants - "you will never forget the feeling...")
He describes a lemon in all details, the appearance, the touch, the smell - and the makes you imagine biting in the fruit and taking a big mouthful, the juice running all through your mouth...
Then you can immediately feel how your body responds directly to this imaginary fruit, your mouth begins to water - you don't have to "do" anything deliberately to "stimulate" the production of saliva.

Then he tells you to imagine a big, ripe Bengalese nut. Take a big bite and chew it.
What will happen? Nothing. Because you don't know, what a Bengalese nut tastes like - which is not very surprising since such a nut doesn't even exist; Norbekov only invented it for the demonstration!
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#12
I've been quite busy lately, but I just wanted to say that I found this post very, very useful! It's another misconception that I had before that I am starting to work towards correcting because this post was able to help me identify it. Before, I thought that seeing something and processing it involved sort of holding it in my mind, which is the same kind of mistake as trying to paint a mental image onto something in the real world. It's still a struggle keeping myself from straining like this, but if I remind myself that the image should be mental and that I should make no effort to "see" the mental image, I can usually relax to a degree.

I also really like the title and reference. Every now and then, I'll say it to myself and it actually gets me into a good state of mind relatively quickly. Thanks, David! Smile
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#13
Nini Wrote:In his book "The Experience of a Fool Who Had An Epiphany About How To Get Rid of His Glasses", the author (Norbekov) demonstrates to the readers how mental images in the imagination provoke a direct bodily response if they are clear and concrete enough to the person imagining it.

For example, if you imagine having a cockroach in your swimsuit, you can literally feel the shiver or goose flesh creeping up... (if not, he suggests that you should catch a big fat one and drop it into your underpants - "you will never forget the feeling...")
He describes a lemon in all details, the appearance, the touch, the smell - and the makes you imagine biting in the fruit and taking a big mouthful, the juice running all through your mouth...
Then you can immediately feel how your body responds directly to this imaginary fruit, your mouth begins to water - you don't have to "do" anything deliberately to "stimulate" the production of saliva.

Then he tells you to imagine a big, ripe Bengalese nut. Take a big bite and chew it.
What will happen? Nothing. Because you don't know, what a Bengalese nut tastes like - which is not very surprising since such a nut doesn't even exist; Norbekov only invented it for the demonstration!

I looked for the book, but it looks like it must have had a small printing run and is hard to find.
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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#14
Pikachu,

Sounds good. Visualization works best when you can recall an image without drawing it and without forcing it to be what you think it should be, such as if you try to make the apple a certain shade of red because you think apples are red. As it turns out, maybe the apple you are best able to recall has quite a bit of green or yellow on it, and you won't know that unless you give yourself a moment to find out. And it works best if you think of different parts of the apple, not by forcibly moving your attention to another location on the apple, but by merely thinking of how the bottom of it would look, or how the stem looks.

Practicing this helps remind you how to see best. When the object is not in front of you and is entirely in your imagination, it's easy to accept the idea that your thoughts and attention have to drive what you imagine, because you completely and immediately lose the image if you stop thinking about it. When your eyes are open and you're actively seeing, it might be a little harder to accept the same sort of idea because you have such an abundance of visual distraction, with things appearing everywhere whether you're thinking of them or not. So it might help to remind yourself how you were able to visualize best, and then work on using that idea to see best. You were able to visualize best by not being concerned about where your attention was pointed but about the details or possibilities of the objects themselves, and letting those details appear as you wait.
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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#15
David Wrote:I looked for the book, but it looks like it must have had a small printing run and is hard to find.

I read his book (not in English) a few months ago and I like it very much.
The author seems to be very successful in his seminars; he claims to have a "healing rate" of almost 100%. His book is less successful, because in 'home training' you can't eliminate all negative influences and "keep the wheel turning" in the same way.

In his seminars, people need about 40 days to change their wrong way of thinking plus 3 to 6 days per diopter to get completely cured.

In the book he demonstrates how wrong thoughts and wrong ideas turn into bad habits and manifest disease and how you can bring about a change. With lots of examples of his own life, full of humor and self-irony, sometimes in drastic language, and a small part of exercises, but he always stresses, that 90% is 'mental', the correct 'mind setting' and only 10% the exercise itself.
Maybe there will be a reprint.
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