Sassisailor’s Weblog

A description of my journey to improve my eyesight naturally

“The Incredible Lightness of Being” April 25, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes!,My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 9:25 am

This is a phrase from my very favorite book, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. It is so dear to me I would equate it to the bible of my core beliefs. This post is not about this book, but this phrase sticks with me every day and has so many different meanings for me. When I sat down to write this post this is the phrase that came to me and it speaks very well to the thoughts I want to express.

A while back I posted about the strange, new, and exciting feelings I experience when my vision truly clears (more than a clear flash, an extended clearing of my vision that lasts for a minute or more). I posted about how I feel more connected to my surroundings and I experience depth and the three-dimensional world in a very personal way.

When this happens a shift occurs in my being; I feel light — and true. My body feels lighter, my head feels more balanced on my neck, and my neck becomes very loose. My breathing is metered and easy, and my heart is strong and steady. When I say that I feel true, I feel that I am experiencing life and vision as it should be, it is unlabored and natural.

The other feeling I experience when I have correct vision is very similar to what I feel during a deep meditation — also what I would describe as “an incredible lightness of being”. Not only does my body find it’s true position but my mind feels open and connected to everything. My conscious awareness is heightened and I feel very happy and at peace. I realize this is starting to sound very esoteric, but it best describes my experience. The openness is something I also experienced when I was a student at a Zen Center, which my teacher called “Big Mind”. He would help us get to this “Big Mind” state (without drugs!) and it is a wonderful feeling. I don’t think it is a coincidence that “Big Mind” coincides with correct vision. This feeling originates in the back of my skull, near where the visual cortex and also further down in a location that has been termed the “Gates of Consciousness”. I have not read Aldous Huxley’s book “The Art of Seeing”, but I believe he also talks about this. What I find amusing is that Huxley also wrote a book titled “The Doors of Perception” and this is where The Doors (the band) got the idea for the name of their band.  Of course this book describes his experience with mind-altering drugs, but I have heard from a person whom shall remain anonymous that the experience of mind-altering drugs compared to meditative effects are almost identical.  I have loved The Doors since I was in grade school and I find it incredibly amusing and interesting how everything comes around full circle and finds similarity and connection.  Of course I do not condone drug use by any means, I think this feeling of mind-alteration can be achieved through natural, safe means.   I believe a true and happy existence (which includes correct vision) is all connected and has a foundation in the same basic principles. Our bodies, minds, and spirits are all interconnected and I don’t believe our whole existence can be at its full potential if all three are not melded into one happy, healthy and cohesive whole.

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Vision improvement since thumb injury April 11, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes!,My Daily Progress,Uncategorized — sassisailor @ 6:07 am

An excerpt from an email I wrote to my NVT (natural vision teacher) describing my vision since I injured my thumb.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my vision has been noticeable improved ever since I injured my thumb. I’ve been thinking about it yesterday and today because it has persisted for four days now; I think it’s because it has brought my attention to my thumb (before I was always focused on my vision) and it has forced me to start using my left hand for almost everything. I have had long moments of very interesting and new visual experiences. It’s hard to explain. My vision becomes very sharp and clear and things look much different than they do when I’m wearing my glasses. I don’t know if I can describe it, it’s almost like everything is “alive”… I don’t know if that makes sense… I sat here for a moment trying to think of a way to describe it and that’s the word that came to mind. When this has happened it’s like my relationship (spatial wise) with objects in the room has changed. It’s very similar to the experience I had in the canyon where I was perceiving depth in a very exaggerated way, except in a small room it was that much more dramatic. I then had another new experience when I was looking at my Snellen from 20 feet today; I was able to focus in on the letters I was looking at, almost like I was zooming in my vision and bringing the image closer to me… this probably sounds weird and unreal, but that’s the only way I can think of describing it. My eyes felt physically different when I was able to do this. Unfortunately I had to stop working on my Snellen so I wasn’t able to see if I could keep repeating this strange feeling.”

I experienced clear flashes that lasted for minutes and minutes… sometimes as long as 20 minutes! I’ve been able to start looking at something and “pick out” the correct form and see through the blur to the clear image. Then the whole image clears up and I can see it – this doesn’t happen all the time, just for some objects with well-known and clearly defined boundaries. I haven’t been doing much since I injured my thumb; no long swings, palming or anything. Just an occasional autogenics session. I plan to get back to my Bates practice and Eyebody work today, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. My observations below make some comments about how beneficial some other things may be, but I still think that the traditional vision improvement techniques are very valuable tools and should not be discarded.

Important observations (in my own humble opinion of course):

  • Changing your mental frame of reference is valuable. Being forced to focus my full attention on minute daily activities must be good practice. You could call this “the zen of vision improvement” 🙂
  • You don’t have to be focused on your vision to see (at least some) improvement – for me at least. My vision has been better these past four days than ever before and I wasn’t working on improving my vision. I still think “working” on my vision is important and I still plan to continue Bates/Eyebody and reading about the Alexander Technique. It must be important or I wouldn’t have been at my current improvement before I injured my thumb.
  • It is my unnatural and incorrect habits that have lead to my nearsightedness (myopia). This week I have been forced to do without some habits. Most of us can make it through the day on habit; we don’t have to think about how we breath, stand, sit, type, read, brush our teeth, put your coat on, wear your gloves without the thumb, open a door, typing, etc…
  • I will continue to exam my habits. Maybe some are OK, others I will need to change. I don’t have a source to quote on this but I’ve read many times that it’s very beneficial to the brain to change your habits. Vision is a large part of our brain, I now believe this is beneficial to our vision too. Some suggestions: try brushing your teeth regularly with your opposite hand, put your keys in a new place (but where you can still see them!), put your opposite shoe on first, change the order you get ready in the morning, use your non-dominant hand for anything you can (that is still safe of course).
  • There is no exact “recipe” for improving vision; it is a journey (like most things that we impatiently desire to have right now. Vision improvement requires reflecting on how we conduct ourselves (or “use our self” as stated by F.M. Alexander). Obviously this means that vision improvement is very personal and will differ for each individual. What works precisely for me may not work for someone else. Bates was a very observant doctor and scientist. I believe he had incredible success because he paid close attention to each individual and was able to recommend relaxation techniques based on their personality and habits. After years of studying vision I’m sure he gained a very natural and intuitive sense about how each person’s habits affected their particular eye disorder. It is more difficult, but I think it’s possible for each of us to observe ourselves and objectively decide what action needs to be taken. The natural vision teacher can be of extraordinary help if they are the right teacher for you because they are able to observe you from the outside. They may notice things that you will not. Often we do not see things we do not want to see. There are many resources available to help guide us (Bates, Eyebody, Alexander Technique, and many more) and we all have our own creativity and experiences to augment the improvement process.
 

February 17, 2008 February 17, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes!,Snellen Chart Results — sassisailor @ 6:03 pm

20/200 in full sunlight!!!

I continue to have more and more frequent clear flashes, I would say short ones at least everyday if not multiple times per day.  Often times they only last for a blink or two, but they are very clear and I can tell the frequency is increasing!!!

 

February 7, 2008 February 8, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes!,My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 7:11 am

Today I had some very good success with clearing my small Snellen test card to the second to last line!

The small Snellen card I refer to is one with black background with white letters, with the Big E on top.  The lines are of size 50, 30, 20, 15, 10, 5, 4, 3, and 2.

What preceded my clearing today was noticing that the lines that I was typing on the computer were moving up and down! I was able to see this movement with my -5Reduced pair of glasses on and my vision cleared a little with my glasses on (it became very sharp), so I took them off and noticed that my vision was better than normal without them on. I looked at my computer screen without glasses on and saw the lines moving slightly! When this happened I started to look over the typing as if I were reading it, the up and down motion was still happening and I had a clear flash! I was able to read the small typing on my computer without my glasses! This continued long enough for me to read two and a half full lines of text across the screen. My swing windows program was NOT running, this motion I saw could only be explained as me finally being able to see the universal swing! When I could see the swinging motion is when my vision would clear up.  My computer monitor is at least two feet away from me, as I have tried to push it as far away as possible.

I then decided to look at my index card with a period on it and close my eyes to visualize it in order to rest my eyes because they were feeling a little dry and tired. Then I moved to my small Snellen test card that is posted on the side of my monitor. As I was sitting I imagined that the lines on my computer were still swinging and then I started to feel a “pulsing” in my body, like I was sitting in a chair that was swinging towards the front of my body and then the back in firm but short movements, and then everything in my peripheral vision began to swing slightly! I could see my lab notebook moving slightly, and other items around my desk were also “pulsing”. Then my vision cleared and as I read my test card I could clearly make out each letter I was looking at. My vision was clearest as I would look at each letter individually. So I started to read my Snellen, letter by letter, line by line, and made it down to the end of the “3” line before I lost my clear flash!  If I tried to see the whole line the letters lost their clarity, but if I looked at each one individually they were very clear and had a glow around them.

The most amazing thing however is that I have been able to do this at will! I did this a number of times over the course of the day and throughout the evening and was able to visualize the period, feel the swinging, and then clear my small Snellen test card! When visualizing the period I can only visualize parts of it at a time, which seems to be the correct method. In my mind I look around the edge of the period where it is most clear and there is a high contrast between the black and white. I also imagine that it is swinging slightly. When my eyes are open I keep this image in my head as long as possible focusing on the period and I imagine it getting smaller and smaller, as if it were moving away from me. I’m not sure if I completely have the technique down correctly, but I think I’m getting very very close! This, in addition to feeling the swing and seeing the swing has done leaps and bounds for my vision! I’m starting to be able to better understand what these concepts mean and the importance of visualizing and the universal swing for correct vision. Yesterday I felt like I was on such “the verge” that I actually thought my vision was going to clear permanently! Alas, that didn’t happen, but it was the longest, and clearest vision I’ve experienced thus far.  And now I’m more convinced than ever that this method is going to work!!!

I have continued to work on my autogenics and am now on the “both arm” warming phase. I have also been taking daily walks between 15 and 25 minutes outside, WOG. Everyday I am doing palming and swinging as well. I have been doing 100 long swings in the morning after waking and 100 swings before going to bed. I have not been doing the morning routine as I’ve been trying to get to work before 8am and I have been too tired to get up in time to do the full morning routine in a relaxed manner. I’m hoping that next week I will be able to get back to this. Instead I have been doing each component throughout the day as I find time and it’s been much more relaxing for me.

I won’t be able to post for Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I will be continuing my practice. On Sunday night or Monday I will post my experiences for these days!

 

February 6, 2008 February 7, 2008

Filed under: Bates Method,Clear Flashes!,My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 10:36 am

I have two important things to share today!

First:  I was taking a short break at work and went out of my office and walked around the halls.  While I was out of my office I was certain I had grabbed my -5reduced glasses (just in case I needed them).  I put them on in the hall because I saw someone I wasn’t sure if I knew and I was seeing just as if I had my -5reduced pair on.  But when I got back to my office I saw my red glasses (the -5reduced) on my desk!  Immediately I realized I had on my stronger pair and I then was able to see everything much sharper!  So I had had on my 20/20 pair of glasses accidentally but I was seeing like I do with my -5reduced pair!!!  I couldn’t believe that my mind could see “poorly” with my sharpest glasses on just because I thought they were my reduced pair.  It was an unbelievable realization of how powerful the mind is and the role it plays in our vision.  I only wish that someone could put fake lenses in my glasses without me knowing it to see if I could actually see well thinking that I had full strength lenses in.

The second thing that I experimented with today was the black period that Bates talks so frequently about.  I read two chapters in his book Perfect Sight Without Glasses, the chapter on Memory as an aid to vision, and Imagination as an aid to vision.  I was reading about the profound effectiveness of being able to visualize a perfectly black period and holding this imaginated image while looking at letters on a test card.  So I took some very white 3″x5″ index cards and with a black sharpie I drew a period on each index card, of different sizes, in the center of the card.  Next, I would look at an index card, close my eyes to image it, then look at the card again, imagine what I saw etc.  I kept doing this for about 30-40 minute (I’m not sure how long).  Then after doing this I looked at a small test card approximately 2.5 feet away (I didn’t measure).  What I noticed over the course of less than one hour was that I went from being able to see only the top letter to being able to almost read the fourth line!  It was not a clear and permanent state, but when I would look at the period and then visualize it, my vision was clearer after I opened my eyes.  I would not continue staring at the test card however, but would switch to looking at the period I had drawn, then imagine it in my mind, and look at the test card.  I was utterly surprised and excited at how well this helped to clear my vision.  After I finished looking at the periods I looked at my big test card on the wall from 10 feet and was able to read the second line for a few minutes!  Then it went away  because I stopped thinking about the black period and was “seeing” with effort.  Here are some good quotes from the PSWG book (available online in its entirety at http://www.central-fixation.com):

“The condition of mind in which a black period can be remembered cannot be attained by any sort of effort. The memory is not the cause of the relaxation, but must be preceded by it. It is obtained only during moments of relaxation, and retained only as long as the causes of strain are avoided; but how this is accomplished cannot be fully explained, just as many other psychological phenomena cannot be explained. We only know that under certain conditions that might be called favorable a degree of relaxation sufficient for the memory of a black period is possible, and that, by persistently seeking these condition, the patient becomes able to increase the degree of the relaxation and prolong its duration, and finally becomes able to retain it under unfavorable conditions.”  PSWG Chapter XIII: Memory as an aid to vision

“Imagination is closely allied to memory, although distinct from it. Imagination depends upon the memory, because a thing can be imagined only as well as it can be remembered. You cannot imagine a sunset unless you have seen one; and if you attempt to imagine a blue sun, which you have never seen, you will become myopic, as indicated by simultaneous retinoscopy. Neither imagination nor memory can be perfect unless the mind is perfectly relaxed. Therefore when the imagination and memory are perfect, the sight is perfect. Imagination, memory and sight are, in fact, coincident. When one is perfect, all are perfect, and when one is imperfect, all are imperfect. If you imagine a letter perfectly, you will see the letter and other letters in its neighborhood will come out more distinctly, because it is impossible for you to relax and imagine you see a perfect letter and at the same time strain and actually see an imperfect one. If you imagine a perfect period on the bottom of a letter, you will see the letter perfectly, because you cannot take the mental picture of a perfect period and put it on an imperfect letter. It is possible, however, as pointed out in the preceding chapter, for sight to be unconscious. In some cases patients may imagine the period perfectly, as demonstrated by the retinoscope, without being conscious of seeing the letter; and it is often some time before they are able to be conscious of it without losing the period.”

PSWG Chapter XIV: Imagination as an aid to vision.

 

A series of clear flashes (Jan 26 – Jan 31, 2008) January 31, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes!,My Daily Progress — sassisailor @ 9:15 am

Last weekend and throughout this week I have been experiencing a series of clear flashes! I remembered to write a post because I had three this morning! We were sitting in the car in the driveway getting ready to go to school and I had my first one. The clock and temperature display cleared up and I could read them! I continued to blink through the flash and I could still see!!! The bricks on our house were also crystal clear. I maintained my level of thought and relaxation through this time, attempting to maintain the feeling I had when the clear flash started. Then, my vision started to blur a little and I was able to bring my clear vision back! It’s almost like I had it figured out how I was blinking and looking at things in order to bring back the clear flash. As we pulled out of the driveway and drove down the street I was able to read license plates as well! The clear flash ended after this, but it was incredible. I’m learning a lot about my vision when I have these because if I pay attention to what precedes the clear flash it teaches me something new about how to ‘see’. I think the key this morning was my relaxed vision and my blinking. I wasn’t looking at the clock to see it, I just noticed I could see it! This may be related to the Bates’ observations about the lack of refractive error when staring at a white wall (also discussed on sorrisi’s blog). Perhaps I was viewing the inside of our truck like a white wall- perfectly relaxed, for a minute. Unfortunately once I am conscious of this happening my adrenaline starts pumping and I become aware of using my eyes to see and I must induce strain as a result. Hopefully I will be able to keep holding on to these clear flashes for longer and longer periods of time!

 

My First Significant Clear Flash! January 9, 2008

Filed under: Clear Flashes! — sassisailor @ 1:37 pm

On January 8, 2008 I had my first significant clear flash! My husband was driving and my vision cleared to such a degree that I was able to read a license plate that was at least 30 feet from our vehicle! It was very clear and my husband was SHOCKED that I could read it without my glasses on (as was I). I was shaking I was so excited and my adrenaline level was so high the rest of the day that I was absolutely exhausted last night when I went to bed 🙂