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My Bates failure
#1
Sometime 2002 I found Relearning to See by Quackenbush at a local library and took it out. Since that day I have been aware of the Bates method.  Later at a library booksale I found the edited down version of Bates Better Eyesight Without Glasses. Eventually I ordered pinhole glasses and the book Better Eyesight: The Complete Magazines of William H. Bates. But my vision really has not improved much. I do not spend time to use the correct principles of vision at all or test myself with a Snellen chart.

All I really do is try not to wear glasses most of the day, but I am pretty lost without them. So when I drive and things I use a weaker prescription pair of glases that my brother no longer needed. Sometimes in school and such I use the glasses I was prescribed long ago to see the blackboard. I wear pinhole glasses to be able to enjoy TV without glases. But the pinhole glasses do not really help reinforce correct vision habits.

I just do not have much confidence in life that I can do things. Everytime I try something it seems I never succeed. In 1999 I really wanted to learn guitar so I bought one but I still not have learned or practiced. That guitar has a Floyd Rose tremolo and it is just too hard for me to even tune. Since 2001 I really wanted to learn modern Greek. I have taught myself to read at a mediocre level but I never committed to truly learning the grammar so I still speak poorly with bad grammar and cannot write at all. I have started weighlifting because I feel I am too skinny but many times I feel too depressed to workout or eat properly enough to gain weight after workouts. You may wonder what the above has to do with the Bates method, well, when I look to my past I see how many things I failed at or goals I never really applied myself fully with. This sets the bad example for me to continue with the Bates method.

Also I have many deep psychological issues such as depression, panic attacks and social withdrawl. Recently I enrolled in college and it has made me miserable and feel suicidal. I feel like I am wasting my life in college and this has prompted me to post here. In college if I pursue a degree, I will have to learn all this bs info I do not need just because it is on a curriculm checksheet for my major. With that time and effort I could actually pursue the Bates method, learning modern Greek, etc. I am thinking of dropping college by this coming Monday and spending that time learning things I really want to learn, which will hopefully give me confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Sorry for the long ranting post. The only real progress with the Bates method I have made is that now I read without glasses all the time, infact it is uncomfortable for me to read with glasses. Also I use the pc now without my glasses whereas before I used glasses.

What  gives fellow forumers confidence in applying the Bates method and sticking with it?
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#2
RoyFokker Wrote:What  gives fellow forumers confidence in applying the Bates method and sticking with it?
I'm just specifically answering the Bates Method part of your post. Basically it stick to it because I have noticed at least temporary vision improvements in the past, which people say are a sign of long-term improvement. And I would look really ugly if I wore glasses. Smile
but I think you can still practice the Bates Method and still be in college-- that's fine
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#3
RoyFokker,

Ok, let's be specific just for the sake of being specific. When you're lifting weights, focus mainly on short-term goals. Find some way of working up to breaking your max. For example, what I do is start way below my max and over a period of 2 weeks work up to breaking through it. It's actually sort of 6 weeks, depending on how you look at it.

Whatever you want, write it down - Make a wish list of several things you want, and keep checking the list to stay focused. If you can't think of a way to get something on your list now, leave it alone and accept the fact that you probably need to wait for some kind of opportunity or idea to hit you. The thing is, when an opportunity comes up for doing something towards something on your list, you'll remember, because you're keeping track. If you don't do this, you might forget about something for several months and miss every opportunity.

Also there's something I never hear counselors/coaches mention - move things to your "done/received" list. Mine started piling up quick, and now it's bigger than my wish list. I wouldn't have realized how much came true if I hadn't kept the list.

College aint for everyone. It's good for some things, but yes, you pretty much have an accurate idea of it - lots of GE garbage that they really should have taught you in high school, mixed in with some good stuff. Some GE classes I took were absolutely ridiculous in how useless they were. A friend of mine went straight to college and flunked out every semester. Finally he gave it up, did some other stuff, and now he went back to college and actually likes college and learning in general. Doesn't matter what subject it is. I went straight to college and received a ton of money from the govt to help get me through it, because of a rare situation, and I wouldn't have gotten it if I had gone to college after I was 25. And I wasn't exactly consistent in my direction of study. Even most of the stuff in my major I never used again once I got the degree, and never wanted to learn in the first place. But the degree happened to lead to a chain of events that got me where I am today, so I'm glad I did it. So if you can find a way to pull it off, I'd say forget about college for now and learn what you want to.

David
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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#4
I agree with Dave, I think it would be very helpful to make a list of things you've completed.  I used to like getting my feet wet in everything, but lacked the commitment to actually go through with any of it.  Now I realize that this is largely because I wanted to do everything at once, and after a period of time I wasn't good at anything in particular and didn't feel the incentive to continue.  You should prioritize.  After making the list of what you want to accomplish, take a few of the items and leave the rest for later.  Work on those few items until you've gained a lot of experience with it.  In my opinion, expertise in an activity is a large factor in keeping your interest in it.  There are those who are naturally skilled at soccer, and not that good at baseball.  If they attempt both activities, they would probably be more committed to soccer than baseball.  So the idea is to focus on a few activities (be realistic with time), and leave the rest for later.  This develops the necessary expertise in those few areas that you'd want to keep getting involved, after which you can move on to the next item. 

Another thing to consider is that you have to enjoy the activity as much as the goal.  You want to learn modern Greek, which is a very nice goal, but do you enjoy learning new languages?  Many want to become huge, but only a few actually enjoy working out.  You have to find interest in the process that leads to the goal, and perhaps be more interested in the process rather than the goal (i.e. meet some people at the gym, socialize and attend gym with them).  This is where most people fail in terms of the Bates method.  You have to develop interest by asking, "I wonder how Dr. Bates was able to cure his eyesight?" "I wonder how he came to the conclusion that relaxation was the key to eyesight improvement?", which leads you to go into the text, learn the technique of simultaneous retinoscopy and see exactly how he came to that conclusion.  Answering each of these questions helps you learn more about his methods.

Depression usually comes and goes for everyone.  I find the best cure to depression is sleep (causes >95% of depression), so make sure you get enough of it.  Most people don't enjoy sleep because they think of it as a necessary time-waster.  To develop interest, some people play with lucid dreaming.  When you enter the dreamworld (the reality of which is indistinguishable from real life while you're in the dream), you can play with it - it's fun to be in a world that doesn't impact real life.  Then you start seeing yourself want to go bed earlier and looking forward to it, as not that much dreaming can be done in a 4-hour sleep.  This is just an example, if you're interested in it (involves some research), put it on your list...

Lastly is education.  Dave is absolutely right, you can only succeed in school if you are doing what you enjoy.  As you have finished high school, you find that university can become very specialized.  You have to sit down and think about what you'd like to do, and what interests you the most.  Once you start school, try your best and don't worry about the marks.  To be honest, I can't stand school either, but after 4 months of summer vacation I can't wait to go back!! Just try your hardest to make it through one year, and if you absolutely hated it and don't want to do it again, don't.  Perhaps try a different discipline?  It's your life, you have unlimited number of choices, and you are in absolute control of where you want to take yourself.

I hope we have given you some light to find your way, I wish you the best. 
Paul A
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#5
For weight lifting, what do you mean by breaking your max?  Do you mean keep doing the max number of laps of the highest weight you can for 2 weeks?
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#6
I think the text below explains in great detail in part why I feel frustrated. I have a malignant hatred to the society, social order and Nation State forced onto me by birth which also fuels my powerlessness and depression. I just feel like there is no point to life the way our lives structured by historical developments outside of our control.

As for the Bates method, I have stopped college which means I do not have to wear glasses to see a markerboard. Sometimes I get flashes of better vision when I try to sketch, breath and blink and relax. Still I feel like I can never reach the goal of never needing glasses again.

For weightlifting, I should lift 3 days a week and rest the other days. But I cannot stick to the program due to pyschological and motivational reasons. As a consequence due to so many missed sessions I have to continually get back to where I started before I left off from not training instead of meeting my true potential for progress by adhering to the program. This is also the reason why I cannot meet any other of my surrogate activity needs for the power process described below.

Quote:Industrial Society and Its Future by Theodore Kaczynski

The power process

33. Human beings have a need (probably based in biology) for something that we will call the "power process." This is closely related to the need for power (which is widely recognized) but is not quite the same thing. The power process has four elements. The three most clear-cut of these we call goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The fourth element is more difficult to define and may not be necessary for everyone. We call it autonomy and will discuss it later (paragraphs 42-44).

34. Consider the hypothetical case of a man who can have anything he wants just by wishing for it. Such a man has power, but he will develop serious psychological problems. At first he will have a lot of fun, but by and by he will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he may become clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend to become decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have to struggle to maintain their power. But leisured, secure aristocracies that have no need to exert themselves usually become bored, hedonistic and demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power is not enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one's power.

35. Everyone has goals; if nothing else, to obtain the physical necessities of life: food, water and whatever clothing and shelter are made necessary by the climate. But the leisured aristocrat obtains these things without effort. Hence his boredom and demoralization.

36. Nonattainment of important goals results in death if the goals are physical necessities, and in frustration if nonattainment of the goals is compatible with survival. Consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.

37. Thus, in order to avoid serious psychological problems, a human being needs goals whose attainment requires effort, and he must have a reasonable rate of success in attaining his goals.

Surrogate activities

38. But not every leisured aristocrat becomes bored and demoralized. For example, the emperor Hirohito, instead of sinking into decadent hedonism, devoted himself to marine biology, a field in which he became distinguished. When people do not have to exert themselves to satisfy their physical needs they often set up artificial goals for themselves. In many cases they then pursue these goals with the same energy and emotional involvement that they otherwise would have put into the search for physical necessities. Thus the aristocrats of the Roman Empire had their literary pretensions; many European aristocrats a few centuries ago invested tremendous time and energy in hunting, though they certainly didn't need the meat; other aristocracies have competed for status through elaborate displays of wealth; and a few aristocrats, like Hirohito, have turned to science.

39. We use the term "surrogate activity" to designate an activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the sake of the "fulfillment" that they get from pursuing the goal. Here is a rule of thumb for the identification of surrogate activities. Given a person who devotes much time and energy to the pursuit of goal X, ask yourself this: If he had to devote most of his time and energy to satisfying his biological needs, and if that effort required him to use his physical and mental facilities in a varied and interesting way, would he feel seriously deprived because he did not attain goal X? If the answer is no, then the person's pursuit of a goal X is a surrogate activity. Hirohito's studies in marine biology clearly constituted a surrogate activity, since it is pretty certain that if Hirohito had had to spend his time working at interesting non-scientific tasks in order to obtain the necessities of life, he would not have felt deprived because he didn't know all about the anatomy and life-cycles of marine animals. On the other hand the pursuit of sex and love (for example) is not a surrogate activity, because most people, even if their existence were otherwise satisfactory, would feel deprived if they passed their lives without ever having a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. (But pursuit of an excessive amount of sex, more than one really needs, can be a surrogate activity.)

40. In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs. It is enough to go through a training program to acquire some petty technical skill, then come to work on time and exert very modest effort needed to hold a job. The only requirements are a moderate amount of intelligence, and most of all, simple obedience. If one has those, society takes care of one from cradle to grave. (Yes, there is an underclass that cannot take physical necessities for granted, but we are speaking here of mainstream society.) Thus it is not surprising that modern society is full of surrogate activities. These include scientific work, athletic achievement, humanitarian work, artistic and literary creation, climbing the corporate ladder, acquisition of money and material goods far beyond the point at which they cease to give any additional physical satisfaction, and social activism when it addresses issues that are not important for the activist personally, as in the case of white activists who work for the rights of nonwhite minorities. These are not always pure surrogate activities, since for many people they may be motivated in part by needs other than the need to have some goal to pursue. Scientific work may be motivated in part by a drive for prestige, artistic creation by a need to express feelings, militant social activism by hostility. But for most people who pursue them, these activities are in large part surrogate activities. For example, the majority of scientists will probably agree that the "fulfillment" they get from their work is more important than the money and prestige they earn.

41. For many if not most people, surrogate activities are less satisfying than the pursuit of real goals (that is, goals that people would want to attain even if their need for the power process were already fulfilled). One indication of this is the fact that, in many or most cases, people who are deeply involved in surrogate activities are never satisfied, never at rest. Thus the money-maker constantly strives for more and more wealth. The scientist no sooner solves one problem than he moves on to the next. The long-distance runner drives himself to run always farther and faster. Many people who pursue surrogate activities will say that they get far more fulfillment from these activities than they do from the "mundane" business of satisfying their biological needs, but that it is because in our society the effort needed to satisfy the biological needs has been reduced to triviality. More importantly, in our society people do not satisfy their biological needs autonomously but by functioning as parts of an immense social machine. In contrast, people generally have a great deal of autonomy in pursuing their surrogate activities.
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#7
Hmm. Interesting point you have, RoyFokker. About life not having a point and being structured by historical things outside of our control - our society is really screwed up, people are insane, and we are enslaved. If that's what you're saying then I agree. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about the power process quoted. You mention psychological and motivational reasons for not sticking to things, but what are those?

Sometimes people get the clearest view of what's going on around them. They see the traps and the enslavement and the ways we get controlled by things that really if we were given a choice we would not be controlled by. There's nothing wrong with disliking all of that and seeing the limitations that were put in place by something other than you. And people like me are always looking for ways to further edge themselves out from under the spell.

David
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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#8
This excerpt describes the power process:

Quote:The power process has four elements. The three most clear-cut of these we call goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The fourth element is more difficult to define and may not be necessary for everyone. We call it autonomy


It is nothing more than setting a goal and the process of meeting that goal. Even before reading that critique I knew I was unsatisfied because I kept failing in my goals resulting in lack of confidence, depression, powerlessness. 

Since life is so easy in societies with modern technology and capitalism most needs of the power process have to be met by surrogate activities. Surrogate activites are artifical goals set just to meet goals, if you fail to meet these goals you will still live because they are not necessary goals. By artificial he means that unlike in earlier stages of history where just living and meeting the vital necessities for life are no longer the huge challenge they once were in this stage of historical development. Since living is rendered so facile, to meet the needs of the power process surrogate activities have more of an impact than before. That is if we can self delude ourselves.
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#9
I think you need to ask yourself the following question  "What is it that you want?"

If you hate strict law, enforcement, fabricated and unimportant goals, I know MANY places in this world where it's the opposite.  There are tons of places where you can go if you want the struggle of gaining basic necessities: food, water, shelter, etc.    It's your choice.  I don't feel that any of us are bound to the society that we live in.  If you don't like the values of your current society, leave it Smile.  So what is it that you want?
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#10
Lately I have been reading The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Rinpoche Mingyur and have been practicing Buddhist meditation as outlined by the author. The author also has many disciples and followers in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, physics who transmit to him orally through conversation the Western scientific theories, and since they transmit to him this info orally his explanations are easy to understand and free of jargon.

This has helped my practice of Bates teachings. Bates often just says you need to obtain relaxation and to use imagination and the mind, but his descriptions and methods make it hard to discern how to obtain relaxation.

Your mind is essentially emptiness, but from this empty state everything arises: the potential to see with perfect vision and the tendency to stare(imperfect vision). Meditation is about just simply recognizing the thoughts in your head as they arise from nothingness and descend back into nothingness. You can meditate on just sound, by conciously making yourself aware of the various sounds around you and how they enter your mind. You can do objectless meditation where you just recognize the various thoughts that come into your head and realize that they are just that thoughts. You can meditate on smell just by recognizing the various smells around you as they enter your mind.

Bates often says to recognize oppositional movement and imagine it exaggerated. When doing this often I used to have flashes but I would stare to try make the flashes better and lose these flashes as quick as they came. According to Yongey Rinpoche:
"All mental activity, in other words evolves from the combined activity of bare perception and long term neuronal associations." [1]

So when the bare perception of the flash came into my mind, my brain went to my stored neuronal association which told me: STARE, STARE, STARE, that is how you see better STARE! But since Buddhist meditation is about relaxing by just recognizing that the perceptions and thoughts that just enter your mind are, just mere thoughts, I am able to just accept the clear flashes for alot longer and to obtain them much easier. Buddhist meditation makes your base relaxation level much greater and increases your ability to just accept the thoughts and sensations without assigning past value judgments; and for us with imperfect sight our mental judgments about vision are all wrong! What we need to is use Bates instruction to help obtain a "spark" of better acuity and make this "spark," light a fire.

I advise everyone to read the book I cited to make the obtaining of relaxation and the acceptance of clear flashes much easier and to help clear the neuronal gossip telling you to stare which makes the flashes go away very fast otherwise.

[1.] The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
by Yongey Rinpoche Mingyur, p. 34.
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#11
The library has many books on how to conquer panick attacks, depression.
Relaxation and not being afraid of the uncomfortable body symptoms, floating with them, not worring as opposed to reacting with fear and thinking what if it feels worse...Changing your thoughts when feeling stressed are some things to look for in the books.
With practice these methods change brain chemistry, habits for the better.
Every thought, emotion has a corrosponding chemical action, pattern in the brain.
Change the thought, emotion to positive, constructive and the brain chemistry, patterns change.
With practice the healthy patterns, chemistry becomes permanent.
Tieing your shoes activates a specific brain pattern, electrical signal, chemical action.
Books on positive thinking, how to control your brain function, thoughts, emotions are helpful.
Read; Phycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
A old but effective practice.

Panic attacks can also be caused by lack of vitamin B3 niacin, B1, B12, magnesium and other nutrients.
Study food sources for these.
In the past doctors would give B12 shots which cure many health problems.
In moden times the doctors wont mention B12. They prefer to sell drugs that cause more health problems, never cure the main health problem and leads to purchase of more drugs.
Niacin in pill form is not tolerated by the stomach, liver by some peole.
Peanuts may contain niacin, B1?
All nutrients are not listed on food labels.
Avoid caffine, sugar, aspartame and other artificial sweetners.

The Bates method should be practiced without effort.
Once you obtain clearer vision, the normal eye function; shifting, central fixation occurs automatically, on its own, all the time.
Avoid concentrating hard on the Bates activities.
Spending all day thinking about shifting and other eye functions, constantly thinking about the eyes can actually interefere with complete natural eye/brain function and clear vision.
Learn and practice the activities, then let the eyes alone and see if shifting, central fixation and clear vision occur without thinking about it.
If the vision is clearer, the eyes are returning to correct function.

I have 20/20 vision, often clearer from practicing the Bates method.
Occasionally vision fluxuates to 20/25, 30 always when i am stressed, eating alot of sugar, other unhealthy food.
It always returns to 20/20 clearer when i return to a good diet, relax, think positive, practice alittle shifting...and then stop thinkink about my eyes and clarity of vision.
Dr Bates said that it is normal for the clarity of vision to fluxuate.
People must avoid eyeglasses when the vision is less clear.
The vision always returns to normal when eyeglasses are avoided, when squinting, straining, worring about the vision is avoided.
Most people with clear vision do not need to practice the Bates method because their eyes naturally activate all the normal eye/brain functions Dr. Bates describes.
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