Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Or may be wait until you can enjoy a nap or its bedtime.
Write it, draw it, meditate on it. Stick a Post It on a mirror. Set yourself a reminder on your phone if you’d like to.
Practicing this thought throughout the day will help you notice this sequence and support you to navigate daily life in many ways.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship of the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Rosemary bush in bloom in a front garden, S11
“I am free to receive what I see”
We see with out brain not our eyes.
The inside layer of our eyes has the photo receptors which allow us to receive information about black and white and colours, form, shape, outline. It is only 5% of these photo receptors which are designed and able to help us see clearly. Just 5% of the rods and cones inside the eyeball, the layer called the retina.
That’s all – just 5% for clear-sighted vision.
Our visual brain is dominant in our senses according to Peter Grunwald, one of my Alexander teachers who has discovered a particular branch of this work he calls Eyebody. He combines natural vision improvement with Alexander work using the the delicate and subtle art of directing the structures, fluids and energies within the visual pathway to coordinate brain – eye and body. I have worked with him for 15 years and highly recommend his work. In fact he is due to do his annual UK retreat at Wortley Hall near Sheffield in early August. I have found the work with him hugely insightful and inspiring.
Many of us are a bit ‘greedy’ to see everything clearly, all of the time. To try and do this we may strain and over-focus with our eyes almost out on stalks, reaching out of their sockets. This pulls our head off balance, too far forwards, and doesn’t actually help us see any more clearly. Remember we only have 5% of the eye and brain which could possibility do this anyway.
The other 95% is for movement, light and shade, peripheral vision and depth perception.
When we wear glasses, the glass is cut in such a way to focus the majority of light goes directly to that 5% of photoreceptors. So its like spoon-feeding the clear-sight and yet not so much light goes to the peripheral vision and all those other 95% of the photoreceptors. Daylight is like nutrition for our eyes and brain. Its good to spend some time outdoors letting natural light onto your eyelids.
Obviously direct sunlight on your open eyes can be damaging, so only do this with your eyelids delicately closed.
Try this – look towards a window (not into the direct sun)
- and close your eyes.
- Now just think about closing your eyelids.
Do you notice any difference?
You may need to repeat this subtle exploration. The distinction is between closing your eyes and closing your eyelids.
Here’s what I notice. When we close our eyes – we may scrunch our eyelids, screw up our face, which can mean we squeeze our eyeballs and reduces our ability to see anything, or even perceive much light/shade. This has a consequence of straining the master head-neck relationship too and taking us off balance.
When we think instead of letting our eyelids delicately close, it is just the lightest touch of the inside skin of our eyelids which can then move smoothly over our lubricated eyeballs. When I allow my eyelids to move easily, my senses stay more open – I can still detect light and shade and movement. My curiosity is open.
When you allow yourself to receive what you see, its a different relationship with the light and the outside world. You can let the light in. Through your eyelids, through the 3 layers – like triple-glazing – of the cornea, the liquid aqueous humour in the front part of the eye, and through the jelly-like liquid within the eyeball itself – the virtues humour. The light impulses meet the rods and cones and messages go through the optic nerves which cross sending some information across the bridge and some straight backwards, around to the visual cortex of the brain. Peter maps this at the top and rear of the brain.
“I am free to receive what I see”
If you go back and look at the picture of the rosemary bush near the top of this picture again, see what your experience is like if you allow yourself to receive what you see.
You might like to close your eyelids delicately between each aspect of the picture as you take it in.
Let the colours come in.
Close your eyelids.
Let the form in. Close your eyelids.
Let the shape and edges come in.
Let the depth in.
Open your eyelids – and what do you notice?
I’d love to know how this thought exercise is for you? What do you notice? How does your body respond?
I love hearing what you are enjoying about these daily writings and how your are benefitting and applying this in your lives. firstname.lastname@example.org