What we do with our eyes affects our nervous systems. In nature, creatures focus intently on details when they are seeking food, figuring out puzzling living logistics, or in intense interaction with another.
When we spend our time looking at tiny details, small things - our computers, phones, doing tasks requiring attention to detail or even looking into the eyes of another for deep conversation - this focusing of our eyes on small, close things sends a stress signal to the nervous system. Highly focused eye activity takes place when things are either mildly stressful or perhaps intensely so. Thus, while focusing on small things, the body remains in a sort of chronic, low grade stress mode. . . . But we don’t often think about this because, well, it is what we are used to. . . We know, however, that chronic stress - even low grade stress - takes a toll and after weeks, months or longer of this attention to the tiny, usually in a downward gaze, our systems become deeply exhausted. All this, from what you are doing with YOUR EYES!!
When creatures in the wild are relaxed, their gaze goes softly UP and OUT. . .
SO, MY FRIENDS, TO RELAX YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM YOU CAN SIMPLY SOFTEN YOUR GAZE!
Look away from screens, faces, your work at hand - stop focusing on small things and WIDEN YOUR VIEW.
Even if you are inside; IMAGINE THAT YOU CAN SEE THE ENTIRE HORIZON.
Softly notice your PERIPHERAL vision.
Imagine you can sense the horizon to your right and left.
Maybe you can even sense it even behind you.
While doing this, notice your breath, and if you have not already done so, take a slightly deeper in-breathe, and slow your out breath a bit. Allow your breaths to connect you to your belly, allow your chest to become gently wider.
Notice how you feel after just a few seconds of softening and widening your gaze. For most of us who have been lost in the tiny things, this short exercise can offer a true shift.
Do it often.
Every hour if you think of it, especially when you know you are having a day with a lot of the tiny stuff in it.
Let your eyes remind your body to take a breath, let them remind your nervous system
"All is well, we are safe enough to soften our gaze, take a moment to simply be present in the vastness that is life on Earth".
Enjoy, dear Friends.
And Live Heartfully!
Rev. Maya Massar