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centering your gaze
#1
Some Bates teachers advise things like the nose feather, pretending you have a feather attached to your nose and essentially pointing your nose (or face) directly towards what you're looking at. Others don't advise it, as it isn't something that's in what Dr. Bates wrote, and they feel it's an incorrect way of practicing shifting.

One thing that struck me recently is I think that there might be a tendency in people with refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, etc.) to not face directly what they are looking at, and that this is why the nose feather and similar methods can have a noticeable positive effect.

Try this for a day or two and report back here: Remind yourself frequently to look straight ahead out of your head. If you're looking down at a book, turn your head down, not your eyes. If you're looking into the distance, turn your head towards what you're watching. Check to make sure that your eyes are primarily (the majority of the time) pointing straight out of your head, not slightly up, down, or to either side. See if you can tell about what position that is. There might be centered position that you think might feel a little more comfortable. If something to your left catches your attention, you can certainly lead with your eyes, as your eyes can move quicker than your head, but do turn your head to face it head-on, so that your eyes are not kept in an off-center position that requires significant tension on the part of your eye muscles to maintain. The idea is that this tension greatly to the strain put on the eyes and the refractive error produced as a result. Do you sometimes unconsciously turn your head so that one eye (perhaps your better eye?) is closer to the object you're looking at? When you look straight ahead and your eyes are kept mainly centered, they aren't tensely held in an awkward position for a significant period of time (not more than the second it takes to turn your head towards what your eyes look at). As you look at details of an object, however, you don't need to try to turn your head tiny amounts as if brushing it with a nose feather. Nobody does that, right? No need to. There's a certain amount of movement your eyes can do and still pretty much be pointing straight ahead. Your eyes, after all, were made to move a lot; they just weren't made to be kept in a significantly off-centered position for more than an instant.

Check out how someone with normal vision reads a book. More than likely he doesn't keep his head up and turn his eyes down, he turns his whole head down or moves the book up or whatever, to somehow directly face the book.

Dave
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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#2
All I can say, is that I like this idea quite a lot and that it's daunting the amount of
habitual neck rigidity and stillness that I have. Playing around with centering the
gaze makes this undeniably clear. Moving my neck to look at
things feels weird and inconvenient. Big Grin
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#3
Right, people seem to have a lot of neck tension too.

And this applies while practicing the long swing too. Your gaze should be about centered with where your head turns. You should still look around at the details, but only within a small area, like a few degrees, where your face is pointing. Meaning, don't practice shifting by moving your eyes from side to side over a long distance; your head should move too.

Dave
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've been using this and it seems to help-less strain in general moving my eyes. Also, when shifting or moving my gaze, I like to have the feeling of moving into an emptiness or void. I hollow out the space into which my gaze is moving and my attention just floats int it. Where my eyes-and head- move is determined by where my interest takes me and the movement is effortless because there is no pushing a movement into emptiness. Oppositional movement follows naturally out of this.
I borrowed this concept from tai chi. I hope this might help someone. Smile
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#5
I've always hated reading. Ever since I started to simply move my head as I read it became so much easier and I can read much faster with better comprehension O0 Definitely going to practice this some more.
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#6
After putting this method aside for a few months, I have noticed again how it can be really helpful. I think the main thing for me is to not try to do it artificially. I start with some big head-turning shifting, start noticing the oppositional movement, then I as my eyes relax, I realize that my gaze is just naturally centered when I am relaxed. My head movement is working in tandem this my eyes when I change point of observation. At this point, I sort of notice that not only is it easier to look in this manner but it feels infinitely better and as I get past the newness of the way of being I start naturally operating in a more perfect way which maintains my health by avoiding stress.
I had the sensation of letting go and sitting back in order to be an impartial, content observer. Big Grin Thanks for letting me meander Wink
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#7
Hi,
I have not been able to centralize, since my eyesight was far from perfect. I was not able to imagine a full stop perfectly, as suggested in Dr. Bates' writings, nor was I able to 'sketch' using nose feathers or see a part of a letter worse than the part regarded.

However, one method seem to help me, that is by using a 'pointer'. When reading the eyechart, I would place my finger in front say 30cm away from my eyes(have very bad myopia). I would place my attention on the finger for a while, relax and blinking when needed, the surroundings would become clearer and I can see the eye chart better.

This method seem to work well for me, but it has to be a 3-dimensional, long shaped object, be it a pole, a pen, or an eraser, and the object doesn't even need to have a lot of detail, nor be really fanciful. Signs and print-outs doesn't seem work as well. I have one concern though, will repeatedly looking at an object in the center of sight causes one to have get cross-eyed? If so, is there a critical distance to place the object so that the eye will not cross? I had seen a baby becoming cross-eye because his sister could not resist resting her finger on the baby's nose, watching the eyes turning in for the sake of amusement. The baby's eye could not return to normal position, even after the finger lifted away Sad

Regards,
Petal
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#8
"After putting this method aside for a few months, I have noticed again how it can be really helpful. I think the main thing for me is to not try to do it artificially. I start with some big head-turning shifting, start noticing the oppositional movement, then I as my eyes relax, I realize that my gaze is just naturally centered when I am relaxed. My head movement is working in tandem this my eyes when I change point of observation. At this point, I sort of notice that not only is it easier to look in this manner but it feels infinitely better and as I get past the newness of the way of being I start naturally operating in a more perfect way which maintains my health by avoiding stress.
I had the sensation of letting go and sitting back in order to be an impartial, content observer. Big Grin Thanks for letting me meander Wink"

I think you put it well when you say 'your head is working in tandem with your eyes when you change point of observation'. I suppose people with normal eyesight do this naturally but it is something those with poor vision need to learn. I believe that for some people, myself included, when the head (which also includes the neck, too) and eyes do not work in harmony in this way, it can be very anxiety producing. Others might just find it stressful or bothersome; but in no way could be it seen as a productive habit.

JW
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#9
I wonder if someone would be able to recognise if this is a correct habit when centering.

I've started to notice that when I get clear flashes, I find that the point from where I'm looking from appears to be from a different place than my "normal" strain.

It almost feels that this vision is coming from somewhere between my eyes and as if it were "within the head" as opposed to my "normal" feeling of from the eyes. Also, the feeling I get within the forehead is both a minor relief or lessening of tension, but also on the fringe I can "feel" the old habit pattern wishing to re-assert itself.

I'd be grateful if this is a part of the correct vision habit revealing itself and one that I should allow to cultivate?

Regards
Sean
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#10
I'd say play with it. If it feels more relaxed & your sight is clearer, it's probably the right thing to do. Peter Grunwald, the Eyebody guy, says you see from further back in your head than you think, from the brain & not the eyes. The brain leads, the eyes & head & body follow. I took a workshop with him in the summer & am experimenting with seeing this way myself. It feels better, with less tension around my eyes, but I often feel like I don't know what I'm doing.
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#11
Thank you very much for your comments Nancy and your advice. I will continue!
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#12
Central fixation brings a equal balance to the the visual system: left and right eyes, outer and inner muscles and helps to balance function and integration of the left and right brain hemispheres.
I know the feeling you are describing; relaxed, 'centered', clear, positive state of mind, body, eyes. Feels like everything is working right.
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#13
That helps to describe it well. It only lasts for a short time before the old pattern re-asserts itself, but will take it as being a good signpost.
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#14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HcAMLGptHo
Videos. Central Fixation. Clarity and sound not perfect but gets the idea across.


See the dot in the center of the circle on the video.
Thats the exact center of the visual field. It moves part to part (point to point) on objects, parts of objects.
A person that points the center of the visual field away from the object they want to see will feel strain, blur.
Example; If you try to see a object clear that is way out to the far edge of your peripheral field by using the peripheral vision, it will remain blurred and strain is felt.
The inner peripheral field is also around, close to the exact center of the visual field. Even the macula surrounding the fovea can be considered peripheral if you want to be exact, use the fovea centralis/most clearest central area to see fine details clear.
Even if the eyes point the center of the visual field only a small amount of space away from the object - say you are looking at the letter e and point the center at a letter next to it while trying to see the e perfect clear. Strain can still be felt. Clarity is imperfect.
Now point the exact center on the e and shift that center point to point on the e and blink.
Relaxation and clear vision occur.
Using the center of the visual field results in very clear central vision and also improves all areas of the peripheral to its maximum clarity.
Shifting is combined with central fixation; move the center, keep the eyes moving, easy, relaxed. With practice it occurs on its own.
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#15
Thank you very much for the link. That's a huge help. Most of the times when I have felt my vision move to the centre of my head it has been unconcious. It was just there and then left.

Using the technique on the video, I "felt" it slide into place, and while I investigated the door frame on the video without my glasses from maybe 2 1/2 feet, it became clear. This was really interesting to me - alarming almost, because I then completely lost the feeling and diffused again. I was able to re-relax and recover some of the clarity and for maybe 15 minutes, I was sitting with a clear feeling in my head.
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