Sunday, January 24, 2010

24. See What You Want

The Idea: Blurred vision can be caused by traumatic experiences. Many people cannot see clearly when they are upset, and in some cases, there are certain things that are literally less clear when viewed by some people—particular colors or patterns that are trigering, foods or animals or household objects that are linked to a person's trauma, and individuals that are bound up in painful experiences. That this blurring occur for some may seem irrational, but its manifestation in the vision is as real as the pain itself. Conversely, one can see things more clearly if one really wants to see them.

How To:
Step 1: Look at something that you really like—maybe a delicious meal that you are about to eat, a pet, a favorite shirt or a person who is dear to you. Get excited about whatever or whomever you're looking at. Notice all of the visual details and associate these with the qualities of you're appreciation. Do this whenever you see someone or something that you like.
Step 2: Practice looking at something that you feel relatively indifferent about—a building, a semi truck, a fire hydrant, a blade of grass. Can you bring that same level of interest and excitement into seeing this thing? Notice each and every detail of this thing and appreciate its qualities. Think about the functions of these details—gutters on the building, axles on the truck, spigots on the hydrant, ridges on the blade of grass. Can you marvel at these things, celebrating them for what they are? Can you learn to love even the most banal of objects?
Step 3: Do the above with something you do not like—a vegetable you hate, a ugly piece of art, a publication or business that you despise. Look at this thing. What are its positive qualities? What is likable to others in the design of this thing? Get interested in how others see this thing and what purpose it serves. Actively want to see it despite your aversion to it. Does this change your relationship to this thing? Does it change the way that you see this thing—or the way you see in general?
Step 4. Follow up looking at things you dislike with looking at things you like. Can you you see all these things with equal clarity?

Inspiration: I was reminded of this practice by a new friend who performed reiki on my eyes this afternoon. Later on she told me that what she'd picked up about my vision is that sometimes there are things I do not want to see, and that wanting to see things is part of the process in learning to see. It was a welcome reminder and something that a lot of us could stand to do as part of our saily practice, even if we're 20/20.

I also draw inspiration on this one from Erik Ruin (his art is pictured here) who takes the ugliest of things and situations in the world and make them utterly beautiful. Erik's Mix-A-Days have also served as the soundtrack for my writing this blog.

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