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Conscious Shifting Causes Strain?
#1
So basically I've been trying every now and then over the past few years to get the shifting thing right, and I've read the chapter on shifting for at least dozens of times. So lately I've been trying to constantly remind myself to shift my attention around all the time, like Bates said in his book to consciously imitate the shifting of the normal eye. And I've also managed to notice oppositional movement, which I suppose is the swing? However, it doesn't feel particularly relaxing and actually feels kind of distracting sometimes.

On the other hand, if I just forget all about my eyes and daydream, my eyes and body seem to feel much more relaxed. This is especially noticeable when I'm reading fine print. I just hold the print at a distance I can look at it comfortably and start thinking about stuff completely unrelated to my vision, and after a minute or so the white parts around the words start to become much brighter, and I am also able to notice a very slow and short swing if I do this long enough.

So is it possible that consciously practicing shifting actually leads to more strain? But if this were true, wouldn't Bates' entire chapter on shifting and swinging be paradoxical? Because he keeps telling you to actively do something to obtain normal shifting or swinging.

Please tell me what you think.Smile I'm quite interested in what people have to say on this subject, for having read through a lot of old posts lately, I don't see many people reporting negative after-effects due to shifting. Is it possible that I'm doing it wrong?
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#2
It's possible you're shifting in a trying way. It's also possible you're moving your gaze around mechanically without really connecting to what you're seeing, which I did for a long time thinking I was curing my staring. Shifting can be from one side of a letter to another, it does not have to be for a large distance. Examine what you call shifting when you feel strain, and you'll see you're off-track somewhere.
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#3
vst, you're doing good noticing the right things. Keep it up!

The primary goal is to keep your eyes relaxed while seeing details. Conscious shifting, even though you can sense that it isn't a very coordinated thing to do, might help as an exercise. When you are more focused on shifting your gaze than on how clearly you can see, you might strain your eyes less because you are distracting yourself from the habit of what you think you need to do to see but which is actually causing your vision to be worse.

You have found that daydreaming, in the way you are doing it, is valuable in that you find your visual system for some reason functions better as a result. You are daydreaming because at some level you know that it is something you need.

And an aside I want to note that when you have a moment of clearer vision, it is much more significant than anything you have read or understood about what is supposed to be true.

I read something fascinating recently about the effects on waking reality for people who sleep the typical 6-9 hours every night, in contrast to a pattern of sleeping only up to 4 hours at a time. The larger blocks of time create a stark disconnect between the two states, and with such division we make little effort to relate the two. Night and day, white and black, good and evil. We harden our thinking in terms of contrasts and become fearful of the unseen.

In terms of blurry vision, people develop a strong underlying belief that they must strain their eyes to see, and they create a division, one side between "straining and seeing", the other side being "relaxing and not seeing", such that it becomes apparently impossible to be able to see when they relax. I experienced this early on, where it felt like relaxing meant switching off my vision. That leads us to the misguided belief that a certain amount of tension is necessary so we don't become "too passive", and that's what we see in people with myopia especially, lots of tension that they accept as a normal and necessary part of their experience. In reality, the extreme of relaxation was right. I had to allow the connection between relaxation and seeing, by believing that's how things work, and being patient.

So in terms of your daydreaming and clearer vision, the more you allow this connection between dreaming and waking, or this in-between state, what you need to do will be more obvious. It should also help to consciously reinforce your belief by reminding yourself that there is something important in this daydreaming state that you can use more consciously while fully alert, instead of requiring daydreaming and the division that goes with it.
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#4
(10-05-2015, 09:01 AM)vst Wrote: So basically I've been trying every now and then over the past few years to get the shifting thing right, and I've read the chapter on shifting for at least dozens of times. So lately I've been trying to constantly remind myself to shift my attention around all the time, like Bates said in his book to consciously imitate the shifting of the normal eye. And I've also managed to notice oppositional movement, which I suppose is the swing? However, it doesn't feel particularly relaxing and actually feels kind of distracting sometimes.

On the other hand, if I just forget all about my eyes and daydream, my eyes and body seem to feel much more relaxed. This is especially noticeable when I'm reading fine print. I just hold the print at a distance I can look at it comfortably and start thinking about stuff completely unrelated to my vision, and after a minute or so the white parts around the words start to become much brighter, and I am also able to notice a very slow and short swing if I do this long enough.

So is it possible that consciously practicing shifting actually leads to more strain? But if this were true, wouldn't Bates' entire chapter on shifting and swinging be paradoxical? Because he keeps telling you to actively do something to obtain normal shifting or swinging.

Please tell me what you think.Smile I'm quite interested in what people have to say on this subject, for having read through a lot of old posts lately, I don't see many people reporting negative after-effects due to shifting. Is it possible that I'm doing it wrong?

These are great questions!
Yes, I think constant conscious shifting creates strain, and seeing should be effortless. This seems like a catch 22, but there's a middle way here.
The way I do it is to notice when I'm straining, and then consciously shift my gaze. The strain usually happens when I'm looking far, so then I look in close (though it will happen when I'm looking at the computer, in which case I look far). The shifts should be slow and almost lazy. If you've got the book Natural Vision Improvement by Janet Goodrich, it's well worth carefully reading the section on near and far swings. If you don't, I can quote it here for you. Also, you may do much better if you restrict your shifting to the vertical axis almost entirely; I used to consciously shift on the horizontal axis at first, and eventually found it pointless. I almost never do that now.
I'd also add that if you do plenty of palming, you will be able to do this kind of shifting more effortlessly and naturally. Without the palming or other similar relaxation exercises like meditation, all talk of shifting becomes a little bit theoretical and you'll practise it too mechanically. You have to be in the right frame of mind for it.

Cheers,
JW
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#5
(10-05-2015, 04:47 PM)Nancy Wrote: It's possible you're shifting in a trying way. It's also possible you're moving your gaze around mechanically without really connecting to what you're seeing, which I did for a long time thinking I was curing my staring. Shifting can be from one side of a letter to another, it does not have to be for a large distance. Examine what you call shifting when you feel strain, and you'll see you're off-track somewhere.

I usually feel strain when I start to think of anything related to shifting, such as what Bates wrote about it in his book. Otherwise, my eyes feel fine if I just leave them alone.

(10-06-2015, 11:31 AM)David Wrote: vst, you're doing good noticing the right things. Keep it up!

The primary goal is to keep your eyes relaxed while seeing details. Conscious shifting, even though you can sense that it isn't a very coordinated thing to do, might help as an exercise. When you are more focused on shifting your gaze than on how clearly you can see, you might strain your eyes less because you are distracting yourself from the habit of what you think you need to do to see but which is actually causing your vision to be worse.

You have found that daydreaming, in the way you are doing it, is valuable in that you find your visual system for some reason functions better as a result. You are daydreaming because at some level you know that it is something you need.

And an aside I want to note that when you have a moment of clearer vision, it is much more significant than anything you have read or understood about what is supposed to be true.

I read something fascinating recently about the effects on waking reality for people who sleep the typical 6-9 hours every night, in contrast to a pattern of sleeping only up to 4 hours at a time. The larger blocks of time create a stark disconnect between the two states, and with such division we make little effort to relate the two. Night and day, white and black, good and evil. We harden our thinking in terms of contrasts and become fearful of the unseen.

In terms of blurry vision, people develop a strong underlying belief that they must strain their eyes to see, and they create a division, one side between "straining and seeing", the other side being "relaxing and not seeing", such that it becomes apparently impossible to be able to see when they relax. I experienced this early on, where it felt like relaxing meant switching off my vision. That leads us to the misguided belief that a certain amount of tension is necessary so we don't become "too passive", and that's what we see in people with myopia especially, lots of tension that they accept as a normal and necessary part of their experience. In reality, the extreme of relaxation was right. I had to allow the connection between relaxation and seeing, by believing that's how things work, and being patient.

So in terms of your daydreaming and clearer vision, the more you allow this connection between dreaming and waking, or this in-between state, what you need to do will be more obvious. It should also help to consciously reinforce your belief by reminding yourself that there is something important in this daydreaming state that you can use more consciously while fully alert, instead of requiring daydreaming and the division that goes with it.

Thanks! However, I've decided to give shifting a break(this is like my dozenth time failing at it, so I'm quite experiencedTongue) From what I've learned in the past, it's probably no good to keep trying at it and hope to get it right someday.

In the meantime, I've decided to finally give the "making my sight worse" exercise a try. It's the only thing from the Bates method I haven't seriously practiced yet. I've been doing it over the past few days, and I somehow have a feeling it'll probably work quite well for me. Already I feel something about me has definitely changed. Being able to demonstrate over and over that I can make my vision worse consciously seems to have alerted my subconscious that I actually have more control over my vision than I think. My blinking also seems to have improved. When I look at my reflection in a mirror my blinks seem to have a relaxed and natural quality about them, something that definitely wasn't there before. My shifting also seems to have improved. Before, when I shifted on objects at a distance I couldn't see clearly, my eyes would feel a jerky and twitching sensation. Now that feeling has mostly gone away. However, my shifting still kind of goes haywire if I pay conscious attention to it. I'm thinking about writing a more detailed post on seeing things worse if it continues to bring benefit.

What really surprises me is how hard it is to make a blurry object even more blurrier. I often just end up creating a lot of tension in my face and neck without creating any apparent change in my visual acuity.

On a side-note, I've tried breaking up my sleeping pattern into shorter periods of time before. But after being woken up by my alarm in the middle of the night, I would fall right asleep before even mustering the willpower to get out of bed. Sometimes I would even fail to hear the alarm go off!Big Grin
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#6
What you might find in trying to make your vision worse is you make it better. For example, if you strain your eyes on a detail and let your eyes blur, you might actually be paying attention to details better and the "letting go" is actually letting your eyes relax. It takes zero conscious effort for your eyes to focus, and your eyes will only focus well with zero conscious effort, ie: autofocus.
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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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#7
Actually I didn't really focus on looking for details, but strangely, making my vision worse does make my vision better. Right after I let go of all the effort, the whatever object I was looking at suddenly becomes clearer than it was before. I have been able to use this to bring out letters I couldn't see. I guess this is probably because as I let go of the strain, I also let go of some of the unconscious strain I was originally carrying around.

Although this is only my third day of practicing seeing worse, it is not an overstatement to say I learned more about how vision works over the last few days than I did over the past five years of practicing the Bates method! Just today, I finally realized why I wasn't having much success. The reason is that when I tried to relax, such as by shifting or by remembering something, I would constantly worry in the back of my head if I was doing it wrong, and this led to even more strain.
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