Vision as a Metaphor
by: Martin Brofman
Why are our eyes called the windows to our souls? Why do we speak of the way that we "see" the world? Why do we say, "I see", in order to communicate that we understand? What is the understanding? What is the relationship between our vision, our eyesight, and our way of Being?
Eyesight is not just a physical process involving acuity. It is a multi-dimensional function affecting and affected by our emotional and mental state of Being, and linked to our personalities. That is, each type of vision impairment correlates with specific personality types.
All nearsighted people have something in common in their personalities, and all farsighted people share a particular character trait, and all those with astigmatism are working with a similar issue in their lives.
All kinds of impaired vision represent stressed ways that a person interacts with their environment.
Some say that stress is responsible for all emotional and physical imbalances, and stress reflects how an individual interacts with his or her environment in a way which is not "at ease". Stress is stored in the physical body in a number of ways, including stress or tension in particular muscles.
We can say, then, that physical tension is emotional or mental tension stored in the physical body, in the muscles. Tension in particular muscles is related to particular emotions and mental states. In other words, where you feel the tension is related to why you feel the tension.
In the case of vision, different visual disorders have been identified with excessive tension in particular extra-ocular muscles (the muscles surrounding the eyeballs), and with particular emotional patterns. To understand this process, let's look at how it works.
Surrounding each eyeball are six eye muscles (see illustration). We use these muscles to move our eyeballs in different directions, and for a while it was thought that this was their only function. Then, it was discovered that these muscles are about one hundred times more powerful than they need to be to accomplish this, and since structure and function are related in the human body, it seemed evident that these muscles must have another function. They do.
The extra-ocular muscles also serve as part of the focusing mechanism for our eyesight, along with the lens. They cause the eyeballs to elongate or shorten, depending on what we are looking at, and what we are thinking or feeling. In this way, the eye operates more like a bellows camera, with variable focus, than a box camera with a fixed focal length.
Four muscles pull each eyeball straight back into the eye socket, shortening the eyeball. Excessive tension on these muscles, called the Rectus muscles, creates a condition of farsightedness, and is experienced emotionally as tension in the consciousness, as coming out of one's Self, focusing on Image. It may be experienced as suppressed anger, or anger at one's self (guilt), or a feeling that in some way, the individual is not as important as other Beings.
Two muscles around each eyeball, the Oblique muscles, circle it like a belt, and when these muscles are tightened, they squeeze the eyeball, and it elongates. Excessive tension on these muscles is related to nearsightedness and this tension is experienced in consciousness as hiding within one's Self, retreating inward, as apprehension, fear, or non-trust as a perceptual filter, a sense of feeling threatened, not safe to be one's Self.
Uneven tensions on different muscles can create a condition of astigmatism, distortion of vision, by squeezing the eyeball unevenly in different directions, so that the eyeball is pulled out of roundness. This is experienced by the individual as a sense of being lost, as having uncertainty or confusion about their values, what they really want and/or what they really feel. Values from the "outside" have been included "inside", in a way which is not natural, organic, or real for that individual, and the stress of this situation is experienced in the person's consciousness as well as in the eye muscles.
Impaired vision comes about at a time in people's lives when they are experiencing stress in relation to their environment, and do not see clearly at that time, both literally and figuratively. When this goes on for an extended period of time or to an extreme of intensity, the eye muscles which hold these tensions may become temporarily "frozen", holding the eyeball in an out-of-focus condition. Since the tensions in these muscles correspond with tensions in the person's consciousness, this also holds the individual in a particular state of consciousness. These eye muscles can, however, be relaxed, and clear vision restored, using relaxation techniques and Hatha Yoga eye exercises (similar to what optometrists call "motility training.").
When the proper "tone" is restored to the eye muscles, the eyeballs are able to resume their natural shape, and clear vision can return. Tensions are released in the person's body and consciousness as well, and there is a return to an easier, clearer, more natural (for that person) way of Being.
The natural state of our vision is clear, and returning to clarity is related to returning to balance, and really being ourselves.
Since vision is a metaphor for the way we see the world, and related to personality, once the elements of a person's experience that relate to their impaired vision are identified, they can be released, and clear vision can be restored. Rather than being at the effect of perceptions we know to be distortions, we can decide to be at the cause, to consciously align with and choose those perceptions we know to be really true for us, and which will be more successful for us in our interactions, more in keeping with who we really are.
When we release the excessive tensions in our consciousness, the tensions are then released from the eye muscles from the inside, and the eyeball returns to its natural shape, and clear vision returns.
Naturally, since each type of vision impairment corresponds to a particular personality type, a change in personality may be expected to reflect the change in outer vision. The "new" Being will have the same Essence of Being, yet with a different way of interacting with the environment, a different "dance," without what had been excessive tension for that individual. It will seem as though the individual had awakened from a very real-seeming dream, and things will make sense in a different way A perceptual filter will have been removed, a filter through which values had been determined, and without that filter, truer values will become evident. The "new" Being may even have different tastes in food and/or clothing, and different personal habits, yet will feel more themselves, being who they really are. It will be a welcome transformation.
Approaches to vision improvement which have not considered the aspect of personality change have had only limited success. In cases where vision has been restored, the person involved has been through a transformative process and has, in fact, dropped a role, and become another Being, with another personality, more real, and with another way of seeing the world. The degree of improvement and the rapidity of improvement has been connected with the willingness on the part of the individual to accept the changes, to accept the new personality, to become the new Being, or rather, to become and live who they really are.
If we imagine that each of us is surrounded by a bubble of energy, our individual perceptual filters, we can see some metaphors. People who are nearsighted see what is close to them easier that they see what is far away. They are more focused on what is in the bubble, and less on what is outside the bubble, preoccupied inside, not looking outside. Energy, the direction