One of the techniques that is key to my Akashic Records practice is soft focus. Not all readers do this, but to me this means practicing with my eyes open. This throws many beginning practitioners for a loop because to a lot of people “going inward” automatically means “shutting the world out” by closing one’s eyes. But this is actually the opposite of what we wish to do when we connect with the Records. After all, we tap into the flow of the Akashic Records to expand, not limit, our consciousness, and when we open to them we make every effort to be just as aware of what seems to be going on “out there” as to what’s shifting in our bodies on the most physical terms.
This morning I turned to the Records to ask for more information about the significance of maintaining a soft gaze in our practice. The first thing they told me was that the reason soft focus can present challenges is because it requires an entirely different mode of perception than what most people are used to maintaining throughout their day. It requires that we lightly engage both our inner and outer senses, and it is the opposite of the hyper-vigilant sort of alertness or tunnel vision that many of us are in the habit of maintaining.
By way of example, they showed me what it was like to stare at the horizon waiting for ships to come in. This is the hard gaze loaded with expectation, impatience, urgency, and worry. In contrast, they offered the gaze of the daydreamer, staring at the sky, letting her thoughts wander lightly, and allowing herself to get distracted by the flight of a bird, fascinated by the swirling cloud forms, and then suddenly aware of the bug that just landed on her arm. She is also attuned to the warmth of the sun and the itch of the grass beneath her.
Since people reported feeling distracted when they had their eyes open, I asked the Records about the energy of distraction. They said when you notice you’re distracted, it’s because you’ve expanded your circumference of awareness without first stabilizing the area in your immediate vicinity. When you find yourself distracted, it is a sign to pull back and recenter your energy. Instead of extending your gaze to the far wall, for example, bring your awareness to the intervening empty space.
In my own experience, I’ve found keeping eyes open during readings has not only provided a solid foundation from which to practice, but it’s also enriched my reading in really surprising ways. I will reserve details for a later time, but will mention briefly that sometimes my eyes will actually register when physical objects in my immediate vicinity that are to inform the reading. And even wackier than that, sometimes I will look at an object and see it not for what it is, but what it’s supposed to symbolize in the Records. That is to say, there is something of an energetic overlay that I see on top of the actual physical object (which I also continue to see). Keeping the focus soft stays my chattering, controlling mind and allows for this sort of input to enter my awareness. I don’t zoom in on any one thing until I get the impulse from the Records that my attention should go in any one direction or deepen at a certain moment.
Practicing with eyes open in, in the end, a personal choice. I’ve heard a claim that keeping eyes open is important to maintaining the connection to the Records, but I know at least one professional reader whose default position is eyes closed, and when she needs to open her eyes to see something in her surroundings, she is thus prompted by the Records. I have personally found that my mind can slip into a closed loop when I shut my eyes, so the only time I close them is when I need to sink into the energy a bit more. But I very rarely need to keep them closed for more than a few seconds at a time. The choice is ultimately yours to make, but I do encourage you to play around with eyes open / eyes closed. Whichever you choose, remember that soft focus is still an indispensable part of the practice.
P.S.: In last October’s Dreamers & Schemers gathering I brought in the work of Les Fehmi on what he calls the “open focus brain.” He comes to this work with an interest in getting people out of fight / flight mode and into a more balanced and perceptive frame of mind and use that to pursue whatever it is they wish, whether it’s success in business, relationships, athletics, etc. I’d been trying to get people to meditate with their eyes open because in my opinion, if we can’t bring our meditation practice “off the mat,” so to speak, and we wall it off into pristine spaces and limited pockets of time, then we’re eventually going to plateau and wonder why meditating isn’t helping us develop equanimity in all aspects of our lives. Semi-secretly, though, I was already laying the groundwork for the Akashic Records study circle. 😉