By, Sean Light PRT, RSCC, LMT
“The eye holds no vision.”
As I write this article, I’m sitting in a Starbucks on East 84th Street in Manhattan. A taxi cab is stopped outside the window to my left, the pedestrian crosswalk signal is flashing, there’s an older lady and a tall man with a white cap crossing the street. Buildings are tall, really tall, scraping the sky. And yet, my eye sees nothing. Nothing but light that is.
Eyes are incredible. They are these super fancy light detectors. They take that light and send it to the brain and your brain does the rest. Everything you see is a projection of how your brain perceives the world.
Some may argue we have a few more (myself included) but traditionally speaking, we have five senses. Touch, taste, hearing, smell and vision. Vision is BY FAR the most developed and most efficient of them all. Because of this, it becomes extremely easy to become reliant on vision to navigate the world. The problem with this is that in order to function properly, we need all of our senses to be firing on all cylinders.
Here is a simple test to see if you are relying too much on vision. Stand on one leg, eyes open, and bend down and touch your toe with your opposite hand (so if you are standing on your left foot, touch the left foot with your right hand).
How was that? Probably a little wobble. Maybe a loss of balance but all in all, you probably can do it.
Now do the same move with your eyes closed.
Wayyyyy harder right?
If you were wobbling all over the place then its fairly safe to say that you are someone who relies too much on your visual system to stabilize your world.
Many people will even feel like their feet aren’t even touching the ground when they close their eyes. So we have to find ways to make them feel the ground. They need to feel that anchor. Using a cobblestone mat is a great way to blast some sensation back to your feet.
If you were able to do it with just slightly more wobble then you are probably good to go. It should be harder. We want you to use your vision but I don’t want you to use only vision.
You see, vision is the your brain’s way of touching the world. I remember when I was young and gym teachers would teach us to stare at one spot on the floor in order to help us balance. This is essentially teaching us to rely on visual stabilization. The problem with this is that we forget about all those other stabilizing muscles in our body.
This is where nearsightedness (Myopia) comes into play. Myopia is when you can only see things that are close to you. It is my opinion that, in most cases, this does not actually exist. My interpretation of Myopia is that your brain is trying to find a way to stabilize the world because it cannot find stability through your other senses. This is an individual who is COMPLETELY reliant on their visual system. Their brain keeps eliminating peripheral awareness and increasing central focus in order to stabilize their system.
When you become “nearsighted,” this means that your body is locking this in. Your brain thinks you NEED this but with the right training, you can improve your vision and hopefully restore it back to normal.
The problem with all of this is that when you become “nearsighted,” you have essentially become permanently in a state of focus. In the medical community this is referred to being in a Sympathetic state. This is that “fight or flight” mode we hear so much about. You are in “Go” mode. You are in “Go” mode ALL THE TIME!
I love “Go” mode. I love they sympathetic system. This is what lets me lift heavy weights, dunk a basketball, hit home runs and its what was activated to make sure our ancestors were able to run away from Sabre Tooth Tigers. This is POWER.
But you can’t be in power mode all the time. If we can turn it on, we have to be able to turn it off. Vision dominant people have recovery problem. They can’t shut down the system. They have trouble sleeping, they have anxiety, they have high blood pressure. They need to recharge!
Imagine you have a power meter that has ten levels of power. When you jump as high as you can, try to crush a 300 yard drive, sprint or try anything with max force you want to use as much of that meter as you can. You want to start at zero and use every ounce of power imaginable. However, if you are a vision dominant person, you are starting at level five. You are butchering the amount of power you should be developing.
Keep this in mind as you walk around today. Try to see a broad view. Use your peripheral vision. Don’t look down when you walk. Look up and admire the entire scope of your vision. Feel your feet hit the ground. Smell the morning air. Hear the sounds of your environment. Touch your world. Don’t rely on your vision!