When we don’t see well, we try harder; we squint and strain. If you know this experience, you know your eyes feel like they “bug” out, as if you are squeezing your entire head to grab onto what you are seeing. The effect is that instead of seeing from the center of our head, we are seeing from out in front. This puts us energetically out of balance.
Qigong, Tai Chi, dance, yoga and many other disciplines describe a line that travels from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. I call this line the Core. It is the Midline, the Central Channel, and is a way in which all the major centers are connected. The Core is energetic and yet feels solid and strong. The center for sight is in the center of the head, behind the eyes and between the ears. When we see from here our seeing is much more comfortable and allows us to see more clearly and with greater depth perception. For many people who come to see me, especially when their vision is just beginning to falter, returning to their Core does the trick. They often say, “Oh yes, thank you, this is how I used to see”.
Fortunately, we can return to seeing from the Core. To do this we have to be embodied. This means having a felt-sense of the body as we look at something. The expressions, “disappearing into a book” and “zoning out in front of the TV” illustrate how culturally normal it is to not be present as we use our eyes. We must be present so we can receive what is coming through them. If we are “miles away” thinking about something else, it is much harder to register what is going on around us. Perhaps this is sometimes an advantage, but when it becomes a habit it can lead to poorer vision.
I’m not saying it is easy to always be centered at one’s Core, especially when we have developed other habits, but it is a rewarding practice to follow. At first it is best to practice when closing and relaxing the eyes. Find the felt-sense of the Core through the center of the body, from the crown of the head to the feet and back up again. At the feet you can sense your connection with the earth and at your crown your connection with the sky. If at first it seems impossible, pretend and keep exploring. There is usually some place on the Core where each person can connect most easily. For some people it’s in their bellies, others in their hearts or their heads. Once you’ve found your easy place, you can experiment with expanding it up and down.
When you open your eyes, remember to let what you are seeing come to you at your Core, to the space behind your eyes, or in your heart or belly and notice how you are seeing and how your eyes feel. Enjoy!