Mindfulness and Eye Care will help you protect and enhance your vision as you spend countless hours gazing at screens. WFH is an excellent opportunity to take care of your precious eyes like you never have before. Like breathing, mentioned in the last article, humans mostly take their bodies for granted until they fail. Now you are your own boss while remote working, you can make time to care for the ‘windows of your soul.’
Soon after we can see, we are aware that we can also be seen. The eye of the other combines with our own eye to make it fully credible that we are part of the visible world. Ways of Seeing by John Berger p9
Always Looking outside
The visual sense is dominant in most humans today because of the immense visual stimulation surrounding us. Sadly, listening has taken a back seat, but I will discuss that in a following article on WFH. We spend a considerable part of our daily lives looking out into the world via media, the internet, etc. We do this because we are persuasively encouraged to play our role in our global and local communities and afraid of missing out. However, continually looking outside sends our perceptions out of balance, dividing us away from ourselves.
Take the example of the internet with its colours and countless pages of images and advertisements, etc. Every moment we are browsing the internet, we make millions of choices and comparisons. This can be overwhelming, so it is advisable to spend the minimum amount of time browsing so that you can rest your intellectual mind. Just work offline in an environment of your choice whenever you can.
We intuitively know there is another aspect of our being we have lost touch with, and we know it leads to duality: us and them, out and in, absent and present, and so on. It is therefore vital that we look inside, too, to integrate. Ideally, without overusing one sense, i.e. vision, we can be conscious with no beginning or end. And now is the perfect time to initiate this balanced way of being.
Mindfulness entails exploring your unconscious mind, as we saw in the last article. One of the crucial things is reconnecting with your own heart by turning 365 degrees and looking inside.
This gazing inside is one of the functions of seeing, and if you do it, you will be amazed at the riches there. Watching inside is the basis of meditation, and we develop the skill of watching our minds and our no-minds.
In short, we need to know ourselves before we can honestly know others. We must see ourselves to be able to see our faces. If you close your eyes, can you remember your own face? We easily forget if we are constantly directing our attention outwards.
Our motivation for looking outwards needs to be examined, too. Maybe we are looking for fame or wealth, for solutions, for answers to questions, for love. But love starts with loving ourselves, and then our spiritual container can expand to fully love and trust others.
Loving is watching ourselves and others without judging or desiring to change. We are perfect just as we are though we are led to believe that we will never be good enough.
So, say to yourself as you start to look inside while gazing at the perfection of a circle:
I am perfect as I am.
And check from time to time to see if you can remember your face. When you do, indigenous people say it is your eternal face, which gets covered by social conditioning and conforming.
• Stand in front of your workstation • lengthen your spine with the thought of an elegant long spine • widen across the lower rib cage as you breathe deeply the air you borrowed from the Earth • visualize your heels going down into the Earth while the crown of your head goes up into the blue sky
When ready, please blink 20-30 times.
(This cleans the eyes and stimulates the optic nerve.)
Let go of the focus of your eyes
It is also essential to change your focus often while looking intensely at your screen.
Please look away into the distance, above, or to the side of your screen every few minutes. Keeping your eyes moving and not staring for too long will help keep them moist and your field of vision clear.
Also, think of your eyes as wide apart to soften the surrounding muscles. The softness of the facial muscles is affected by the tension you hold in your eyes.
Your peripheral vision is vital too. Notice how far to each side of your body you are aware of.
Let go of this limiting focus of your eyes and become vast like reality. There is no difference between you and infinite reality. But the ego convinces you that you are separate!
When you become vast like a horizon or a beautiful fragrance, you are not in control, and at first, that may seem frightening. But in fact, there is nothing to control. Just be for a few seconds! Old Habits interfering
Your mind may interfere from time to time, prodding you and trying to talk you out of becoming vast and touching your true nature.
If and when this happens, see each interference as
A snowflake falling on a red hot stove
Just watch them rapidly melt and evaporate.
Indigenous people visual acuity
By way of inspiration, the people in the world who have the best vision are the indigenous people living traditionally in the interior of Australia. They can see accurately 4 times further than so-called developed people: 6.8 as opposed to 1.4 metres.
They still live close to the land and need excellent vision. At the same time, we who stay inside or in polluted cities so much of our days have poor vision comparatively. Experts say that aboriginal brains are wired differently, and their struggle to survive in one of the harshest environments on the Earth is connected to their visual acuity.
I have had personal experience of this. I lived with a group of aboriginals who were leaving the settlements provided by white Australians to go back into traditional life deep in Arnhem Land in the very centre of the continent. One day the women took me hunting with them. One of them used a boomerang and incredible skill, spotting an elderly emu that I couldn’t begin to see. Then squatting and launching her boomerang decorated with her Emu totem markings in the opposite direction to her prey. Seconds later, after the whirring circular motion, the emu was killed outright, no fleeing and no unnecessary pain.
It was an incredible feat.
Imagine if we still lived close to the land and hunted ethically and so skillfully to survive? Our eyesight would be quite different.
Indigenous Australians never turn their back on the Earth, which they believe to be their Father. They are tireless and watchful custodians of their Lands across the whole of Australia.
Practical Suggestions for Eye Care.
I mention practical ways in previous articles, e.g. workspace lighting, natural light, air circulation, etc. You may suffer from ‘dry eye’ because of all the emissions in the atmosphere, and this can be kept under control with proprietary eye drops used a few times each day.
It is well researched now that the aboriginal diet includes large amounts of zinc. So, you can improve your eye health by being sure to eat green vegetables every day, plenty of eggs, oranges, corn, purple berries, strawberries and raw garlic.
I make a green leafy vegetable smoothie every morning, adding as many of these zinc-rich ingredients as possible. As a result, I no longer depend on glasses.
Blackness and sunlight for eye care
Every day, we should spend some time outdoors. Sit in the garden or the park, find a sunny spot, close your eyes, and look up to the sun. Direct sunlight allows our bodies to create Vitamin D, which strengthens the eyes.
After ten minutes of sunlight, cup your palms over your eyes or use a black mask so that you can see perfect blackness, Imagining black velvet. This warms the tissues around the eyes and helps the related muscles soften.
There are many meditations to cultivate watchfulness, but I will save those for the next article as they are complicated.
In terms of mindfulness and your eyes, please just ponder the idea of witnessing every moment of your existence. For short periods, see to it that nothing is done mechanically.
See like a baby does, without the intellectual function or any judgement. Before being socially and culturally conditioned, a baby is fully conscious. This is what we can reach by going down the meditation path.
Young child watching
Your eyes and writing and reading
It may be surprising to know that there is a strong connection between the eye and the voice. Working alone with text, reading aloud can update the brain if you are tired or not thinking clearly.
Reading aloud involves working the memory. If you have reading to do, then read it aloud standing at your desk and be sure to look away from the screen beyond your screen and back to your screen while memorizing short chunks of the text. It also helps to imagine you are reading to someone else.
As far as writing goes, when I have finished writing something, I always read it out loud into an audio file and then play it back and listen. The act of reading what you have written so carefully into the air indicates the places that don’t flow smoothly or may have grammatical flaws, etc.
The other option is to make a video or audio track to accompany your writing when it is published. This is very fashionable at present.
It also gives your collaborators or colleagues a chance to listen to your writing when they are relaxing, or commuting or driving. This will allow them the opportunity to rest their hard-working eyes, too.
It’s worth investing in a good quality USB desk mic to be able to provide quality recordings.
In fact, I provide audio recordings for all my articles and posts. I can then be sure that my writing flows and has enough clarity and variety.
Watchfulness is the most critical function of your eyes to preserve your mental health and happiness. This is the path to connecting with your True Nature.
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