Monday, January 18, 2010

18. Seeing The Invisible

The Idea: Things are easier to see when we know where they are. We can use senses other than vision to do this: we have two ears to be able to discern where in space a sound comes from, and our skin sends us messages about the location of different textures and temperatures. These other senses actually help us to see. Here are two exercises that help build on this ability:

How To:
Step 1: Sit or stand in a relaxed comfortable position. Raise one hand to eye level and rub the thumb and forefinger together.
Step 2: Keeping the eyes closed, look at your hand. Even though you can't actually see it, focus the eyes to where you know it to be.
Step 3: Keep rubbing your thumb and forefinger together as you move your hand around—down, up, right, left, nearer and further from the face. Follow your hand's movements with your closed eyes, switching hands if your arm gets tired.

Variation In Pairs:
The above exercise can be done with one person having eyes closed and another snapping fingers. The person with closed eys loks toward where the snapping sound is coming from.

What's Going On: When your eyes are closed, your brain has a general idea where in space your hand is. By rubbing your fingers together, your sense of touch feeds your brain more information about where your hand is. By keeping the eyes closed and directing them to your hand, your brain is sending your focus to a particular spot. This strengthens the ability to do this when the eyes are open. In the two-person variation, the same thing is happening via your sense of hearing instead of touch. Also the two-person variation is dealing with an unknown object—the other person's hand is not attached to you, so you cannot be certain where it is—whereas when you do this exercise with your own hand, the object is known. By doing both versions of this exercise, one can hone the coordination of the senses.

More Info:
• This exercise, and many others, can be found in Marc Grossman's book Greater Vision.

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