A student once asked me, “Do I have to do the Bates Method for the rest of my life?” At first I replied that he had a choice. He can either use the Bates Method and maintain or improve his vision naturally for the rest of his life or he can use glasses or contacts and slowly lose his vision for the rest of his life. Upon further explanation, I informed him that the Bates Method establishes new and proper vision habits into the subconscious so that we end up doing them all day every day for the rest of our lives without even knowing it or thinking about it. It simply becomes the new way we use our eyes; relaxed and normally. In other words, once we learn the Bates Method we end up using it for the rest of our lives, but it will not take up any extra time in our days. When first learning the techniques we must invest time each day to palm, swing, shift, flex, sun and centralize… but these actions only need to be performed for as long as it takes to memorize them and integrate them into our subconscious so that they become automatic. The question that the student posed was a valid one and the only difference between the two choices that I gave him is that one involves work and the other does not. Self-healing through the Bates Method is possible only if we take charge of our eyesight and responsibility for our healing. The second choice of wearing glasses or contacts is the exact opposite, it is choosing to not play a part in the health of our eyes.
The greatest thing about improving your vision is that it doesn’t stop when your Integral Eyesight Improvement lesson ends. It’s akin to the idea that your yoga practice doesn’t stop when you step off your yoga mat. In this way Yoga and Integral Eyesight Improvement share the same goal of raising awareness. It is fairly simple to feel calm and peaceful while breathing and stretching during a one hour yoga class or to sit in a corner and meditate in silence. The real challenge is to maintain those easy conscious mind-states once you leave the yoga class and get cut off on your car ride home. Likewise, it is simple to attain relaxation and clear vision while practicing the Bates Method in a one hour Integral Eyesight Improvement lesson. The real challenge arises when you leave the vision lesson and opportunities and obstacles are presented to test your ability to apply what you have just learned. Life is the real classroom. A real yogi or yogini maintains his or her inner peace no matter what type of chaos comes into their orbit. A real vision student maintains relaxation of eyes and mind no matter what situation, activity, or stress they find themselves in.
This is good news. The process of building vision is extremely exciting. It is empowering to reclaim the clear vision you once had. What you learn during lessons is not meant to only be re-applied at your next lesson. It is meant to give you tools to use 24/7 so you may enter the world with confidence and clarity. Real teachers exhibit one true quality underneath all else: they do not want students for life. Rather, they want to raise their student’s consciousness to a level of inspiration and independence, equipping them with a full toolbox allowing them to go out into the world with the skills they have acquired and accomplish something great.
Relearning to see is not like learning to play the piano or to ride a bike in which you rely upon an external instrument or object to practice. You already have everything you need. All you need are your eyes, your memory, your imagination, your energy and your excitement. Every moment will become an opportunity to improve your eyesight, it just depends on how you look at it.