Omer Day Ten: Harmonious Vision
25 Nisan 5780
Sunday 19 April 2020
Day 10 of the Omer is associated with Harmony within Discipline — Tiferet within Gevurah. In today’s practice we focus on gazing, taking a break from the big muscle strengthwork for upper and lower body to focus on mobilizing and strengthening our eyes. The human eye is capable of seeing up to a mile and a half away! And yet we spend so much time inside that we’re rarely looking more than 20-30 feet away most of the time (and much of that a matter of a few inches in front of our face #smartphones). Our eyesight uses muscle and tissue just like everything else in the body, and both the eyes and the brain really benefit from sessions that utilize their full capability and range of motion. Some also say that using wide angle vision while in nature changes the types of bird song one hears, perhaps because our presence is perceived as less of a threat than when walking through nature with single-point focus.
Jewish wisdom utilizes the language of gazing as a metaphor for both understanding and creating the world: “When Abraham our father, peace unto him, gazed — looking, seeing, probing, understanding, engraving, carving, permuting, and forming — he succeeded in creation. Immediately G!d manifested to him, embracing him, kissing him on the head, calling him ‘Abraham, my beloved.’” ~Sefer Yetzirah (trans. Daniel Matt) Likewise it behooves us to practice our own internal and external visioning practices.
☀️Omer Day 10 practice [25 Nisan 5780 | Sunday 19 April 2020] ☀️
- Find a place where you can view things that are far away — outside is ideal, but through a window works too.
- Practice Owl Eyes / Wide-Angle Vision by gazing forwards and letting your focus soften so that you’re not focusing on a single point but trying to take in everything equally. (1 minute)
- Move back and forth between single-point focus and owl eyes. Notice how each position feels different in and around your eyeballs and what you see differently in each. (2 minutes)
- Eyesight distancing: Locate the farthest object distinctly visible to you. Focus on that object for 10-15 seconds. Then locate a distinct object slightly less far, and focus on that for 10-15 seconds. Continue focusing on different objects, moving progressively close to you until you’re looking at something very close, then repeat in the opposite direction until you’re focusing on the most distant object again. Repeat 2-3 times. (2-3 minutes)
- Return to Owl Eyes. Let you focus soften and gaze forward, focusing on deep and slow breathing to rest your eyes and find calm. After 1-2 minutes softly return your focus to normal, breath, and end your practice.
- Room or space with a view (outside preferred)
✨Practice Notes ✨
- Some folks describe owl eyes as similar to doing Magic Eye puzzles from back in the day. Another method to find wide angle vision is to start with both arms extended in front of you, pointer fingers together and pointing up. Keeping your gaze forward, slowly separate your fingers continue moving them apart but “watch” your fingers using your peripheral vision. Widen your arms and fingers until they are at the outer limits of your peripheral vision but you can still see them. If you lose the wide angle vision, soften your focus again, and repeat the finger exercise as needed.
- Owl Eyes are named as such because this soft focus is particularly good for seeing movement across a wide plane of vision — a key skill for hunting small prey who could show up anywhere at any moment.
- For eyesight distancing especially, the more distant the view you can find the better. Try to at least find a view with several hundred feet of distance but ideally you’re looking in the realm of e.g. half a mile or further.
- Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Next time you get one, try finding something far away to look at and practice distance viewing as well as wide angle vision. It might help!
☀️This post is part of our Omer Wellness Series – a daily 7-minute opportunity for introspection and intentional focus on caring for ourselves, each other, and our environment in this incredibly challenging time.☀️
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