Friday, October 24, 2014

PBP: Week 43- Vision

I read a book a bit ago: Steampunk Magic by Gypsey Elaine Teague. Definitely a book I'd recommend, it covers a whole style of magic based on the steampunk genre. One of the tools that was mentioned was goggles, with the idea that the goggles were worn as a way to see into the beyond. And it definitely got me thinking.

I wear glasses. I have since middle school. Both my parents wear glasses, and when I was little, I so wanted to wear glasses because they both did. Of course, not long after I ended up needing glasses, I realized they were a bit of a hassle! But I have been wearing glasses for a very long time now. My eyes are a bit tricky, one is more farsighted while the other is more nearsighted. Without my glasses, everything is in a kind of soft, fuzzy blurriness. I can see well enough to not bump into things, and I can read stuff up close (thought it is blurry), but anything much beyond arms distance I need glasses to see well.

I used to think I could see really well at night, because I never felt blind in the darkness. What I realized was that I was sort of used to being able to function with that level of blur, and so it didn't unnerve me. Nothing was actual in focus at night, but my brain ignored the soft edges and told me what was there anyways. And I rarely tried to read in the dark so sharp focus wasn't needed. I still have no problem wandering around my house in the dark in the middle of the night. In fact, I sometimes feel more at home in the dark when everything is fuzzy because I don't feel like I need to rely on my eyes as much....I feel more than I see.

So how does this relate to my practice? Well thinking back to the goggles, I had thought about trying to make a set, because I loved the idea. I had a lot of interesting thoughts about it: things that could be done with the lenses to change the way you saw the world (there are a lot of awesome things that can be done with camera lenses in the same way). You could make the light refract so there would be rainbows everywhere or tint the lenses so you see the world in shades of different colors. You could make different glasses or goggles for different workings (imagine a set of colored lenses for working with chakras).

For me, though, a lot of this 'stepping outside the mundane' can be established by simply taking off my glasses. My glasses form a shield between me and the world. I am constantly aware of them, either by feel or sight (I can see the frames). I have worn them long enough that most times they don't bother me, but if I am fighting a headache, I would rather have them off than on. But I definitely think I see things more intuitively without them on. I have taken my glasses off for ritual many times. Even if I need to read something, I can manage without them.

I feel that when I take away the sharp focus, the clarity of vision that my glasses provide, that I pull back my attention on the physical. If I can't make out the details on a thing, I don't typically try to force it into focus. Instead, I look beyond it's material characteristics and see the essence behind it. I definitely think I rely more on other senses when I am not seeing clearly (especially at night, I rarely am vision primary at night), which works for me because I am not a visual primary person to begin with (although sometimes I think I try to be because so much of our world is based on sight).

When I was little, before I learned about meditation, visualization or aura perception, I used to daydream all the time. And I had a vivid imagination. I created and lived in worlds of my own making. And I could 'see' those worlds over the waking world, even with my eyes open. But I would drop all focus on the material world. If you have ever tried one of those 3-D images (the ones that are all made of dots, but if you shift your focus the image appears), it was like that, except the image that appeared was in my mind...the rest of the world just blurred out behind it. And even though I say image, it wasn't a picture. It was simply a knowing. Like when you read the word chair, and your brain pulls up an amalgamation of different examples of chairs. You may or may not have an actual chair pictured, but you definitely know what the meaning of chair is.

I have found this type of visual refocusing to be very helpful. While I do meditate and visualize a lot with my eyes closed, I find a different type of experience when I do it with my eyes open. I can move through the world and still see another world entirely.

We use all kinds of tools in our practice, and yet this mention of goggles in Steampunk Magic was the first one that I recall that focused on shifting vision (not counting things like the black mirror which are scrying focused). I think that there is a lot of potential in using tools to help facilitate a visual shift, or to help us step into other worlds. The tool doesn’t' even have to be glasses or goggles, you could use a veil (which is great for creating a separation from the physical), a mask or even makeup.

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