Imperfect Sight

I’ve worn glasses since grade school. I used to leave them on my desk before running out to recess. As an energetic, athletic boy, I played all kinds of sports and loved to run. I did all this without my glasses, because they would get really uncomfortable when I was sweaty.

Somehow as time passed, I grew more attached to having sharp vision. I wanted to be able to have all the visual details, and not just inside the classroom. Once I got contact lenses, I never stepped on a field or court without them. I couldn’t imagine playing with blurred eyesight. How would I be able to see the ball? Or people’s faces for that matter? It became a crutch.

My dependence on lenses only grew stronger once I started to drive a car. There was absolutely no way I could be on the road without them. I could hardly see the street signs with my bare eyes. Think about at night. A small fear began to develop. What would happen if I lost a contact lens away from home? How would I be able to drive back?

On a few occasions, an eyelash or dust fleck would get in one of my eyes while I was driving. I would do a permanent wink and drive with one eye, as I tried to rub out the foreign object from the other. Once, I had to pop out the lens because it was so painful.

The seedling of doubt about my eyesight grew into a deep-rooted belief that I was at a steep disadvantage because of my limitation. The future of my sight was dim; it seemed I would either need a laser surgery or have to wear contacts and glasses for the rest of my life.

The second option didn’t appeal to me. There was just so much hassle in putting on, and taking off, contacts, and carrying glasses on travels. And the risk of losing either, far away from home, gave me a chill.

Until I started, one cool night, to walk outside without glasses. No contacts, either. Just me and my eyes.

The first thing I noticed was how nice it felt to have the breeze touch my eyeballs. And as I fumbled to walk straight, I realized that it wasn’t that hard. Actually, it was easier in the dark to let go of my vision as the primary sensory receptor.

I found my mind leaving my eyes and going elsewhere. Primarily down to my feet, with all the textures of the ground. I sensed more through my ears, nose, and skin. And most interestingly, my heart. I could feel comfort or danger as people passed by me.

Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with this. I’m exploring how much I can do without my glasses. I am much more comfortable with naked eyes. I take walks, cook, and even read without my glasses, as much as I can. I enjoy the lesser intensity of not seeing every single detail. It takes a lot of calculation out of life. And I’ve adapted.

When I can’t clearly see someone’s facial features, I default to a smile, regardless of what they look like. Prejudices go down and guesswork disappears because I just don’t have the option to analyze little things. When I’m roaming around with fuzzy vision I go by feel more than anything else.

And the more I do so, the more I feel. It’s amazing how much we are able to sense things through our instincts. I’m sure heart rate variability has a lot to do with it, too.

Go out into the neighborhood with your own eyes, un-enhanced. Just for one moment, feel what it’s like. Talk to someone without your glasses. See how hard it is, how vulnerable it feels for the first time.

Even if you have “perfect” vision, try a night-time walk, paying more attention to your other senses. You’ll find energies you might not have known to exist.

Live powerfully,

Steve

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