Life Looks for You, Your Eyes Do Not Look for Life, by Dr. Jacob Liberman
Renowned expert in field of light and color therapy Dr. Jacob Liberman on why the act of "attention" is inseparable from vision.
When we think of "attention" - something that grabs our attention, for instance - we have a misconception that we are doing something. But in fact, the process that occurs is actually 180 degrees different from that.
"It is not the eye that is looking for something in life," says Dr. Jacob Liberman, a world-renowned expert in vision and in the field of light and color therapy and founder of Exercise Your Eyes, Inc., as well as the author of several books, including his latest, Wisdom From an Empty Mind. "It is light looking for the eye."
Dr. Liberman believes strongly that the eye does not move toward something to pay attention to it until it is stimulated by light. This concept is very important, he says. At a deep, philosophical level, we know the tides move, seasons change, the sun rises and sets - "it seemingly just occurs. Whatever is animating those very dramatic and miraculous changes in Mother Nature is also animating us."
"So when we say 'it' caught my eye – we never ask the question: What is the 'it'? The 'it' is light – the energetic intelligence of life that which animates everything and guides our every move by letting us know what aspect of life is looking for us next," Dr. Liberman says.
"My experience in life is that life is looking for me. I have been very profoundly affected by this experience, and feel choiceless in my life. It seems like things are moving me in a certain direction and I try to look at vision in this way because we think we're actually doing something with vision but it's actually the other way around – the light is guiding the eye. It's sort of telling the eye which way to look; when the eye moves, the body re-orients itself to be present with that.”
When light attracts the eye, the eye moves, and we, in turn, move our body toward the light - which creates the condition called "presence." The natural outgrowth of presence is "attention" - which occurs when something catches the eye and the eyes aim to respond to it. That aiming process, Dr. Liberman says, is "critical."
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"There's so many things going on in the world at the same time. How do you know which one to attend to?”
For example, if you're looking at something and simultaneously listening to music, if you close your eyes, the music will seem to get louder, then softer when you open them. That occurs because the process of aiming and focusing the eyes sets the stage for our ability to selectively attend to something. Another example is when one is meditating. Even though the eyes are closed, the process of focusing on a mantra or one's breathing causes the eyes to aim and focus in the same way as if they were open.
"The process of focusing - even with the eyes closed - causes the eyes to converge, simultaneously reducing the noise of the outside world and the mind chatter of the inside world. That’s what allows us to attend," Dr. Liberman explains. "Attention is inseparable from vision."
This concept is why vision training can help the brain move to a higher level of efficiency, particularly when 90 percent of your learning occurs by way of vision.
"When you become more visually efficient, your life changes ... every move a human being makes is visually guided. There's almost nothing, other than sleeping, that isn't guided by your eyes," Dr. Liberman says. "Vision is not what you see, it's what you do when you see. It’s your response to life."
Therefore, as your vision is enhanced, so is your ability to perform at a higher level.
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