One night, years ago, I ate dinner with some friends who had just had a baby. As the sun set, one of my friends lit some candles, and we sat close in the dim light of their flames as the darkness gathered around us.
This, to me, seems to be the most singularly human experience. Community, drawn together around a fire, basking in the gift of its warmth and light.
Perhaps this is the perfect symbol for the weird turn that we have taken in recent history. These days, it seems each of us is drawn, alone, to the bright screens of our e-devices. And, as grateful as I am for what those contraptions make possible (you wouldn’t be reading this without one!), I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all just…turned them off more often.
One thing is certain: spending too much time looking at backlit screens is affecting our vision. For one thing, we are just using our eyes in an intense way for too many hours now that we don’t allow ourselves to be in the dark after the sun sets.
The bluish light of the displays disturbs our melatonin production. In addition, studies have shown that more and more people are becoming near-sighted as they spend less time gazing off into the distance outside. For some people, dreams become a weird collage of memes burned into our eyeballs throughout the day…our inner vision can get lost.
Sorry to get a bit serious, but our sense of sight might be our most impressionable sense gateway. It matters what we choose to (or not to) look at. And it matters if we are blinding our inner vision.
Connecting to your sense of sight:
- You will need something simple and beautiful to look at for this contemplation. Traditionally, it is done with a bowl of ghee, a flower in full bloom or a candle flame.
- Sitting comfortably with eyes closes, spend a few moments breathing deeply into your belly. When you feel relaxed, slowly open your eyes and rest your gaze upon the object. Try not to stare with intensity–you don’t want to pierce the object with laser beams from your eyes ;-).
- You may notice that your eyes tear a bit. This is part of the process of your sight channels clarifying.
- Continue to gaze at the object as long as your experience of it feels fresh. Once the image you perceive starts to dull in color or lose it’s crispness, close your eyes and return to focusing on full, deep breathing.
After you are finished, rub your palms together to generate some warmth between them. Close your eyes and place your warm palms against the eyelids, breathing in with the sense that you are drawing the warmth and energy into your eye sockets. This can also be done anytime during the day when you feel that you have been straining your eyes.