There’s a mysterious connection between how you see and who you are. Nobody understands it exactly, but it’s been documented for more than 100 years.
The more that I have studied the eyes, and the more that I teach people to gain better vision – as I have for over three decades – the more I appreciate how deep and profound our sense of sight is.
And, eye problems and imbalances are also a reflection of deeper imbalances and patterns of perception.
One example of this that I’d like to talk about today is nearsightedness (myopia), or not being able to see clearly in the distance.
Beyond not being able to focus clearly in the distance, what does being nearsighted say about who you are and how you approach the world?
Researchers have been asking that question for more than 100 years, and what they have found both holds the key to a more holistic understanding of vision and a way to improve your sight.
Studies going back to the 1900’s demonstrate that there is a relationship between personality and vision – that people who are nearsighted tend to exhibit certain personality patterns and traits more often than people who are not nearsighted.
In the mid-1970s a Harvard researcher wrote a paper in which he summarized all the research that showed a relationship between nearsightedness and personality. The basic thrust of his paper was that people who are nearsighted, who can’t see far away, have pulled their world into them or have retreated from one part of the world in some way or another. So, in terms of these personality measurements, nearsighted people tend to be more introverted, to lack a certain amount of social confidence and are shyer.
Interestingly, we don’t need research to tell us this. We know it intuitively.
What happens in the movies when the director or writer wants to portray a character who is timid, lacks a little confidence, is shy or introverted? They put glasses on him, right? We subconsciously recognize that the need for glasses goes with that personality type.
The stereotypes we see in the movies are often just a superficial reflection of a deeper truth. Look at some of the writings of people who are involved in spiritual development and personal growth. Years ago Louise Hay wrote the groundbreaking book, You Can Heal Your Life. In her book she lists a variety of physical dysfunctions and diseases and outlines what the inner psychological or psycho-emotional aspect is that connects to that issue. She says that for nearsightedness it’s the unwillingness to see what’s ahead, to see what’s coming.
Jane Roberts, author of Seth Speaks, says that not being able to see the world clearly is a manifestation or reflection of a part of yourself that you don’t want to see.
All these examples point to what I call the “nearsighted personality”, which is much more than what’s going on in the eyes. It is reflected in the body, the mind and the emotions. Again, let’s look at the movies: the character who wears glasses and looks a little timid and shy and lacking in confidence, particularly the social type of confidence—well, there’s a whole personality that goes with that. It’s not just the glasses, it’s also the shyness, it’s also the way they carry themselves physically, its also the way they think about themselves or think about the world or think about their relationship to other people. So the personality of nearsightedness has a physical component, a emotional component, a mental component, a perceptual component, a self image component, and it has a physical eyesight component as well.
Let’s look at Multiple Personality Disorder – here is something I think is incredibly interesting: there was one case of Multiple Personality Disorder and an optometrist measured the vision of the person while they were in their different personalities. In one personality the person was nearsighted. In another personality, the same person was farsighted, in another personality they had hypertension, in another personality their blood pressure was normal. Remember, these are completely objective scientific measurements of what happens when that person was in a different personality.
Well I’m suggesting that as a nearsighted person we have a nearsighted personality and that personality, as I said, is holistic, it covers our emotional, mental, and spiritual world views. The same is true for farsightedness and astigmatism, but the consciousness aspects that are related to those are slightly different. Even Freud weighed in on the subject when said that nearsightedness was a manifestation of a castration anxiety.
Here’s another interesting study that was done a while ago: A group of nearsighted people were exposed to a pressure situation. Specifically, they had to come up with answers really fast in a pressure situation. The researchers discovered that the nearsighted people, when exposed to the pressure, became more nearsighted. People who were not nearsighted, when they were exposed to the pressure situation, instead, their vision became more heightened.
So it’s not the external pressure that forces somebody to be nearsighted, it’s the internal response that says something like, “Oh, I’ll pull away when it’s too much out there,” or “I’ll pull in when it’s too intense.”
There’s another thing they do in the movies when they want to portray a nearsighted personality – they’ll put glasses on somebody because they want them to appear smarter, right? That’s another piece of the nearsighted personality – nearsighted people always score higher on intelligence testsr.
Now it’s easy to create nearsightedness in reverse, so they do experiments with monkeys where they have the monkeys wear blinders so that their visual field is restricted; or ifNavy personnel spend a lot of time in submarines where their visual field is restricted, they have a higher incidence of myopia. It’s easy to cause myopia from the constriction end where you just force the person’s physical world to be pulled in, and so you can make an animal or person nearsighted by putting them in an enclosed visual environment.
But it also works that from the emotional, consciousness and energetic process, you can pull in your visual world and then have it seep down into the physical.
All of this data and information points to the idea that nearsightedness and its associated personality are a particular way of responding to external stress. We’ve all heard of the fight or flight mechanism. Well you might say that the nearsighted personality is a flight response without literally running away. It’s a way to pull away from threat or stimulation or anxiety without getting up and running. For example, if you’re in school and you don’t want to be there, you can’t walk out, but you can keep your eyes open, pretend like you’re there, but really you are a million miles away. Or we can drive down the street in our cars and do the same exact thing. So it’s easy for us to pull away from the world. Many people pull away from the world temporarily, even if they’re not nearsighted; there’s a cycle to that, a kind of cycle of energy going out and energy coming in. But people who are nearsighted, the myopic personality, they tend to have that pattern be charged with emotion and it becomes a habit.
If nearsightedness is more than just an eye issue, if in fact, there is a nearsighted personality and a nearsighted response to the world, then how can you go about changing that if you wear glasses and want to sharpen your vision.
We’ll explore some ways to do that in Part 2.
Martin Sussman, an internationally known expert in holistic vision care, is the author of five books, audio courses and DVDs, including the #1 best-selling The Program for Better Vision and the Read Without Glasses Method (for middle age sight). He is the founder and president of the Cambridge Institute for Better Vision, which he established in 1976. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about his approach to vision improvement that is more than eye exercises can be found at www.BetterVision.com.