Open Focus

 

3D Magic Eye images are computer-generated pictures that contain hidden three-dimensional images beneath a surface of really busy patterns. To successfully see the image, you have to be able to shift your focus to a more relaxed gaze and see “beyond” the surface into its depths. I used to do this with physical posters in high school, but you can also buy Magic Eye books or, most easily, google images on your phone. Whatever format you choose, know that you will probably be physically moving your eyes and the images away and toward each other until you find the sweet spot where the image suddenly emerges. As I wrote in the minutes, “To successfully see the hidden images in these sorts of [pictures], you really need to shift how you look at the [picture] by softening your gaze and looking past the surface details and finding the hidden depths.”

Interestingly enough, barring any eye or brain conditions, what gets in the way of us seeing the hidden images are many of the same things that get in the way of us connecting with our own internal sense of vision: inflexibility, impatience, and doubt, for starters. I was gonna write that I haven’t found anyone else who’s made the connection between intuitive development and 3D Magic Eye images, but it turns out that holistic optometrist, Dr. Marc Grossman, has published a series of 3D Magic Eye books. The promotional copy for one of his books states that

Magic Eye has also become very popular with students of “whole mind” or “brain synchronization” practices, including accelerated learning, speed reading, stress management, pain management, meditation, yoga, “expanding your mind” accessing presence,” and developing your intuition. These practices focus on inducing the same state you may induce by viewing Magic Eye Images.

Another kind of fun way of training our vision and opening up new ways of seeing is by Open Focus practice. In his brain research, Dr. Les Fehmi noticed that many of the maladies that plague our society today—namely, depression, anxiety, ADD, stress, and chronic pain—are rooted in the way we pay attention to almost everything in our life at almost every waking moment in a narrow, objective way. He explains that the tendency to focus in this way (on a narrow field, distanced from whatever we are observing or doing) is the style that is cultivated by our educational system and rewarded by society.

On the brain: the way we are conditioned into a perpetual state of narrow mental focus, a way of being that we associate with productivity or anxiety management. Dr Les Fehmi details the costs of chronic narrow-objective attention (stress, anxiety, depression, migraines, burnout, ADD, etc.), and shares very practical exercises for developing a more relaxed attention style that opens us to creativity, inspiration, peak performance, and overall #wellness.

To break this habit, he recommends a more flexible approach to paying attention, so that depending on the occasion we can broaden or narrow our focus, and step back from or immerse ourselves in whatever we are doing. From a neurological perspective, being able to shift out of narrow/objective styles causes our brain waves to slow from beta (problem-solving) to alpha (visualization and meditation) states or deeper. From a physiological perspective, this deactivates our sympathetic nervous system (flight/flight/freeze) and activates our parasympathetic response (rest and digest), slowing our heart rate and relaxing our muscles in the process.

With practice, Dr. Fehmi’s clients were able not only to overcome their problems with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, but also tap into their creativity and reach peak athletic performance. They are also able to see their lives from a higher perspective and open to their inner wisdom. The flexible attention style that he describes is what I noticed is demanded of an Akashic Record reader. (Fodder for another post, but for those of you interested in learning how to work in the Akashic Records, this is yet another “life skills” benefit to this practice!)

Although I don’t recall ever seeing the term “non-duality” in Dr. Fehmi’s book, I believe that his exercises lead us to an experience of non-duality because it encourages us to become aware of the space that pervades everything. That is, rather than seeing our bodies as matter occupying empty space, he urges us to feel ourselves within the very matrix of space. The body awareness that develops from his prompts is very different from guided visualizations that simply have us plop into the materiality of our bodies. In this aspect, his work is strikingly similar to Dr. Judith Blackstone’s Realization Process, which explicitly aims to cultivate an embodied experience of non-duality.

I am including audio tracks from the work of both Fehmi and Blackstone below. See which one resonates more with you!

Audio

LES FEHMI, Open Focus

Head and Hands Intro 1 (4:23)

This is an explanation of the exercise that is useful for people who tend to get into their head with guided visualization. Dr. Fehmi explains what he means by opening to the imagination with his questions.

Head and Hands intro 2 (1:26)

This bit is to get you to ground and center for the guided meditation.

Head and Hands meditation (28:42)

 

JUDITH BLACKSTONE, Realization Process

Disc 1, track 2 (30:22)

This is just one small part of the Realization Process. (Another bit of it is the exercise you might remember from 2016 where we center in our head, heart, and belly, one at a time and then simultaneously to activate our subtle core.) This exercise below is the full body exercise where Judith Blackstone invites us to sit in each part of the body, beginning at the feet and working our way up. Later practices have us feeling ourselves within the body and then beginning to feel the barrier between the body and what’s “outside” of us dissolve so we can feel ourselves within the space that pervades everything. I highly recommend checking out the full album!

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