GAINING PERSPECTIVE THROUGH VISION THERAPY
After 3 months of resting my eyes and brain, I was ready to go back to the vision therapist and be re-evaluated. Two big break-throughs had happened during the rest period and I looked forward to showing them my progress.
Our conversation turned more abstract than practical. Releasing my brain to do what it has been trained for isn’t easy. It involves 'believing' and letting it flow. Just like muscles that tense up when we try extra hard, the brain can get locked up, unable to move forward. The therapist encouraged me to enjoy this experience, just for the experience, and to let go of the outcome.
My modus operandi is about results, the finish, the completed project, . . not resting and flow. If you love something you must let it go? If you relax, it will come? Slower is faster? Aaaaarrrrggghhh, this is hard!
The therapist, Mindy, told me to picture myself moving through space. It’s referred to as optical flow. This is something most of you probably take for granted and haven’t ever put a name to, but was a curious principle to me. She simulated the principle in the vision therapy lab but said it would work much better out in the open.
The next day, I got in the car to visit my parents. The drive was a little over an hour along a river valley, up a big hill, and into the city. I’d done it a thousand times. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear roads and little traffic.
As I left town, I practiced what Mindy had suggested. Although I had a million things to do, I decided to enjoy the experience just for the experience. Optic flow is about things passing by. Although I’m focused forward, things will pass by my peripheral vision. ‘Notice that’, she said. ‘Pay attention’.
It was easy to relax and enjoy my surroundings on that beautiful sunny day. Mindy’s suggestion, however, caused me to open my eyes, brain, and heart to everything in front of me. I let my ‘to do’ list fall away and paid attention to my familiar drive in a new way.
It was as if I had never travelled the road before. My new awareness morphed into a beautiful new experience. The road was like a ribbon beneath me as I floated along through space. The trees floated slowly by in a way I had never experienced. New images came into my perception like the river that flowed close to the highway and the difference in elevations between the lanes of the divided highway. In the distance I could see water towers and smoke from far-a-way buildings.
The road took on a new form. What had always looked like a flat drive turned into rolling hills. Moving my eyes from focusing simply on the car in front of me to all that was within my awareness opened a whole new world. Everything was so much more interesting with this expanded attention to all that was within my view.
Even the dismal time of year in Minnesota became colorful. I saw trees with varying shades of brown and grey. Gnarly leafless tree branches were magnificent and pleasing to my soul. I giggled and gasped as each new figure came into view. There were red barns and worn signage that had never entered my perception. As I drove through the valley, sunbeams streamed along the hills far ahead in a smoky hue. On one horizon I saw a cell phone tower and on another a construction crane. I could see the tops of the trees and sky above, something that had been beyond my comprehension.
I was overwhelmed that this journey I’d taken so many times before could be so appealing and strange. My increased depth perception and peripheral vision along with the understanding that it was to be enjoyed just for the experience settled deep into my soul, creating a content deep well of peace.
What is there to be gained from this new understanding for both me and you? There are almost too many parallels to our lives to mention. When we see more, we understand more. When we see the big picture, the little things fade away. There is beauty in everything, even lifeless trees. Depth adds beauty. We move through space and we move through life. The journey is to be enjoyed. Increased attention brings increased understanding. Sometimes we’re going up-hill, and sometimes we’re going down. Things can pass by us without our notice if we’re too focused on what is right in front of us. The earth and sky are big!
Be aware today of all your eyes see and perceive.