Changing my way of seeing

In regard to vision improvement, I’ve mainly been using long swings for relaxation and just trying to use my eyes correctly.  I also bought the 14 E-book set from Clark Night which includes Bates’ book, Perfect Eyesight, and all of his Better Eyesight magazine issues.  These, along with all the other included books, are great materials to have for reference and reading.  Thanks Clark 🙂 .

Anyway, I’ve been reading alot of the articles, blog posts, and forum posts on David’s website iBlindness lately.  I really like how he tries to simplify the components of the Bates method into the most applicable way.  From what I’ve read on iBlindness, and from my own thoughts on Bates’ methods, there are basically two components of seeing clearly.  First, is relaxing your mind and occular muscles.  Second, is using your eyes correctly; this is how someone with 20/20+ vision uses their eyes.

For the first part concerning relaxation, Bates utilized many exercises such as palming, swinging and sunning.  These exercises usually don’t improve one’s vision permanently, but they relax your mind and put you in a good state for the second part.  While Bates shared some stories of people who were cured quickly using these relaxation methods, for most of his patients they just started off their visits or home practices with these exercises.  After they were relaxed mentally, Bates would try to teach them how to correctly use their eyes.  My thoughts on the people who were cured solely with these exercises is that those people had personality traits that made it difficult for them to effectively cope with life stressors (the poor coping ability leading to their poor visual acuity).

Concerning the second part, Bates taught the patients about correct eye usuage using such concepts as shifting, central fixation, and the universal swing.  It seems that most people with imperfect sight, whether they are generally relaxed, are not using their eyes correctly unconsciously.  Relearning to use one’s eyes as one did when his/her vision was good is difficult as one has the opportunity to use their eyes well/poorly every second they are awake.

I believe that I should focus on the second part.  While my job is often stressful, I don’t always sleep well, and I sometimes have a low level of anxiety about uncertain things, I am generally a laid-back person.  While palming and swinging might feel good as I use them, they never really improve my vision.  What I do notice when I wear glasses or see without them, is that I’m prone to staring.  I know that it isn’t my natural inclination to shift, be aware of central fixation and look for details.

Anyway, this post is mainly just a way to organize my thoughts and focus my future vision improvement practices.  I think if I really focused on one thing, it would be looking for details.  This practice alone utilizes shifting and central fixation and can lead to the appearance of the universal swing if done unconsciously.  David also seems to have come to this realization and has written multiple blog posts on ways to look for details as someone with good vision would do.  I believe all my future vision work needs to be focused on always looking for the smallest details in the things I see.

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11 thoughts on “Changing my way of seeing

  1. Lord says:

    Hi Mark.
    Although, maybe, I’m not an expert in the matter. I would like to help you clarify some things I’ve saw here in your posts to not be correct.

    First, these people you says that were cured quickly, they simply did it in such short time because they just followed instructions and didn’t wasted so much time arguing about other things out of context. So when they did demostrated themselves how they are making an effort to see and that there is no need to make MORE effort with the purpose to ease or let go of the mental strain which is causing it, they were successful (and as well, you will be).

    “Central-Fixation: The illusions of normal sight include all the phenomena of central fixation. When the eye with normal sight looks at a letter on the Snellen test card, it sees the point fixed best, and everything else in the field of vision appears less distinct. As a matter of fact, the whole letter and all the letters may be perfectly black and distinct, and the impression that one letter is blacker than the others, or that one part of a letter is blacker than the rest, is an illusion.”

    The shifting, and the swing as other illusions of normal sight are always present in the eye that has central fixation. So there is no need to separate this process into two path or steps. As you sucessful get relief from the chronic tension/mental strain, when your mind is relaxed this just happen, no need to do anything than just raising the kite — letting go of all tensions in your body. Once you find how to do it, all is done.

    Keep it easy, and read Bates’ own material instead of its variations, the more you get away from it (Bates), the more likely you are, to fail.

    I encourage you to read my blog, so you can see what is helping me
    Lord

    • mark825 says:

      As far as the people I mentioned who were cured quickly, I was talking about those who did so just by relaxation methods. They used sunning, swinging, palming, imagination, etc. and were then able to see clearly permanently without much need to practice the eye chart or shifting on objects. These people, from my reading and understanding of Bates’ writings, were the minority. Most of his patients needed to practice correct eye usage with the Snellen chart over the course of weeks, months, or years in order to have permanently good vision. Bates’ and Emily’s stories on how they treated patients very often took the structure of first using a relaxation technique, then practicing correct vision habits with the eye chart or detailed objects.

      While I do agree with you that the universal swing and central fixation should be unconscious habits of someone with perfect vision, I do not agree that one only needs to focus on relaxing the mind in order to see perfectly. If that were true, wouldn’t people who practice meditation or relaxtion exercises for several hours each day (buddhist monks, yoga teachers, practitioners of internal martial arts, etc.) have the best vision of anyone? I know I’ve seen many people from these groups who wear glasses or contacts. A couple examples are the current Dalai Lama, who I’m sure meditates for hours everyday (the goal of which is to release thoughts, feelings, emotions), and the author of a stretching book I have who obviously has achieved great relaxation of his muscles in order to be so flexible.

      However, if the concepts in your comment are what allow you to improve your vision, then you should keep practicing them and I hope you continue to benefit from them. For me, however, choosing just to focus on seeing details (while keeping in mind Bates’ principles of good vision) is the simplest and most understandable way for me to improve my vision. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Lord says:

    I’m not here to convice you about my insight regarding vision improvement, but mostly to help you so you don’t fall in the same errors that I did and most people do when reading Bates.

    I used to take what he said like something so physical, I meant, I could be trying to make swing things, by moving my eyes in a weird way, suppressing blinking, grabbing too much at once, etc, “practicing” every “exercise”. I used to do all that and everything with a lot of effort, For example I went for a while doing the long swing for hours a day, with very little benefit, although what I gained from all these hard-working activities was slight, I thought It what ‘normal’ to be that slow, but after thinking more in the matter, I was not improving at all, I was getting clear flashes but they always were gone as soon as I blinked. So something was wrong there, I was not letting go of my eyes and not actually letting my attention shift around… and still straining a lot to see.

    You said: “While palming and swinging might feel good as I use them, they never really improve my vision.”

    Well, palming sounds too cliché, there is so much emphasis placed upon it. People often strain more while doing palming than when their eyes are open!
    I remember when I was palming for months, lying on my bed, maybe 2 or 3 hours a day with no benefit. Until I realized that just closing my eyes was the most powerful “technique” to release tension around my eyes, and bring awareness about how much I’m trying to see, in few words: How wrongful I’m using my eyes. In Bates’ words, “Trying to do the impossible”. You don’t gain from the technique itself, but by doing it without straining.

    The swing does not bring relaxation, Bates is very specific that, It’s rather an evidence of relaxation and that we are shifting correctly, so when you do notice oppositional movement you are actually letting go of the previous point. Bates once said that all his “techiniques” or “exercises” either you want to call it, are a way of “dodging” vision, whatever It’s clear or blurry.

    Chapter XV – SHIFTING AND SWINGING
    “The eye with normal sight never attempts to hold a point more than a fraction of a second, and when it shifts, as explained in the chapter on “Central Fixation,” it always sees the previous point of fixation worse. When it ceases to shift rapidly and to see the point shifted from worse, the sight ceases to be normal, the swing being either prevented or lengthened, or (occasionally) reversed. These facts are the keynote of the treatment by shifting.”
    “…One of the best methods of improving the sight, therefore, is to imitate consciously the unconscious shifting of normal vision and to realize the apparent motion produced by such shifting. Whether one has imperfect or normal sight, conscious shifting and swinging are a great help and advantage to the eye; for not only may imperfect sight be improved in this way, but normal sight may be improved also. When the sight is imperfect, shifting, if done properly, rests the eye as much as palming, and always lessens or corrects the error of refraction.”

    So remember to blink through the day, rest your eyes, keep your attention moving, point to point, noticing opposional movement… and all advices by Dr. Bates.
    Cheers

    • mark825 says:

      “So remember to blink through the day, rest your eyes, keep your attention moving, point to point, noticing opposional movement… and all advices by Dr. Bates.”

      Yup, this ^ is what I’m focusing on.

  3. Lord says:

    I forgot to ask you:
    How much have you improved your vision so far? in terms of 20/??

    • mark825 says:

      I’m not sure since I don’t regularly practice with a Snellen chart. When I have clear flashes, they can be pretty good (I would guess about 20/30). The rest of time it’s worse. I just checked using the IVAC online eye chart and was able to make out the letter of 20/200.

  4. dreamersight says:

    Mark,
    Hi — good post, as usual. I agree with your dual focus on relaxation, then good visual habits of looking. I’m finding for myself that the relaxation has to involve my whole body, not just my face and eyes. I’m realizing this is why my vision is always clearer after a chiropractic adjustment or a massage or an intense exercise session. So I’m reminding myself AGAIN that awareness of myself, including how my whole body feels, and just pretending I’m OK enough is not adequate. If I’m tense I have to address it, or I can’t expect my vision to be great. I mention this in case it applies to you too. Always good to read your words, and I appreciate your thoughtful methodical approach — take care.
    Nancy

    • mark825 says:

      Thanks Nancy 🙂 Yeah, I was just trying to simplify things for myself, and I noticed that David (from iBlindness) had a similar thought process as me on the Bates method application. I agree with you that it’s important to be aware of tension and strain in your body so it can be released. I hope this coming week brings you much improvement in your vision.

  5. FIAT LUX says:

    This is off topic, but if you know why things are the way they are I’d appreciate it.

    It’s 1831 my time as of posting the comment, and the last comment was supposedly at 2031. It doesn’t say time zones, but huh?

  6. JMartinC4 says:

    I am. Sure, that is. I know what ‘lights the fuse’ for myopia in probably 90% of the ordinary cases. But no one wants to believe it. Not even those who believe in the outdated Bates Method or any other natural vision improvement methods.

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