I read this and thought it had relevance to vision. It is from “How you stand, how you move, how you live” by Missy Vineyard on page 109. It is a book about learning the Alexander Technique.
“It appeared I had a choice: I could decide to take over the controls if I wished and return to my old habits of moving and the bodily sensations that accompanied it. Or I could allow myself to be moved by this other force, remain within the invisible boundary of a previously unknown but marvelous new coordination of myself, and let the layers of feelings fall away.”
“I began to appreciate how deeply attached I was to the feeling of my muscles working. My muscle tension reassured me that I existed, created my belief in my need to try harder, told me that I was in fact doing and trying as I believed I should. I could see my error now, the hairline fracture in the struts of my logic. It was all so unnecessary.”
What she’s describing is how, after a session with her Alexander Technique (AT) teacher, one night she felt a complete release of tension throughout her body and in fact spent a week not feeling her body. Our bodies send signals back to us indicating that the muscles are in tension, and when this happens it creates a feedback upon which we rely in order to feel our physical existence. This tension is completely unnecessary however and our bodies can function without it (i.e., we can stand up without using hardly any muscles, we become balanced). I read this part of her book, quoted above, after reading Ian’s account of his experience with the AT and the Eyebody Method (EM) and realized this is so true about our vision as well. By trying to control what we see, we are in fact creating tension. Through awareness however, and what she calls conscious inhibition, we can learn to let go of this control, and let our eyes see on their own. I’ve read many accounts and have believed myself that “letting go” is essential to natural vision, but now I feel as if I understand the physiology behind this; it’s no longer just a vague expression describing the path to vision improvement. One thing I found out about 3 months ago, is that when I stand my thigh muscles are constantly contracted. Then one day they released and it was such a sense of relief and lightness. Ever since then I’ve been noticing that I still do this but I know how to release the tension and I can feel the difference even before I think about releasing tension. Eventually I hope to become acutely aware of the tension in my eye muscles so I can learn to instantaneously release it as well.