Originally published August 7 2009
Natural Vision Improvement with Greg Marsh CNVT Part III
by David Hestrin
(NaturalNews) Greg Marsh teaches Natural Vision Improvement to people worldwide, including the Bates Method. Greg came across the Bates Method when he was extremely nearsighted in his 20's. He learned that poor eyesight is a well-established part of how we "see" the world, and his progress was slow until he began to learn from other Natural Vision Teachers about the subtleties and "secrets" of regaining your vision naturally. 25-years of studying martial arts, meditation, and other natural healing approaches combined with the holistic notion of "letting go" have culminated in his creation of the Vision Improvement Center.
David: So we've talked a bit about the psychological elements; can you please tell me more about the work you do in that respect?
Greg: The workshops are really fun, and in a group there's a synergy among people that happens. When one person has an "Aha" it affects everybody else. But then sometimes working with people individually is more helpful. I work sometimes with people that are going blind and they're very scared, and it's weird... you don't always know which is the cause and which is the effect because at some point, the fear feeds the blindness, the blindness feeds the fear, and the Bates Model would say this makes things even worse.
Let go and get life force back
It usually works much better to work with somebody like that individually. And again I have to be very careful to say I'm not a doctor. I have people sign a waiver to acknowledge this is an educational, not medical, approach and that they need to see appropriate medical practitioners for medical prescriptions and advice. I feel that what I'm teaching them is more like yoga, it's more like meditation. We do a lot of guided visualizations. It's just taking a part of your body and mind that is very strained, and it's helping that part relax and let go and get life force back.
David: It sounds like if you can bring someone to meditate they can really transcend their consciousness of the problem or their identity as a having a problem
Greg: I fully believe that. I studied and taught martial art and meditation for many years, and subtle martial art and meditation is so interesting. When you take a western culture, American culture, and people try to meditate often they try to do that the hard way too. And you probably know this, a lot of times when people start to meditate they'll say, "Oh! I don't like this; it makes my mind really noisy." The exciting thing for that person to discover is that they are finally becoming aware of mental chatter that's always been there. And the meditation now can help them erase some of that noisy mind, and the visual strain along with it. In my view that is what this whole natural vision approach is about. You can do a little bit through willpower, but really the tremendous tool is awareness. To become more and more and more aware of when you're straining or when you're relaxing, and then all day long you can keep letting go and keep remembering to move your vision and relax your vision. Most people come in just through the doorway of vision improvement, but most people that spend some time with it really change their lives.
David: And I also wanted to ask, although my prescription is negative 4, I was told I have 20/15 vision. What does that mean?
Greg: Well... did they tell you that with your glasses you have that?
Greg: Okay, well first of all you may want to get some weaker glasses, but that's a great question that raises some key points. Let's say a person is in sixth grade (like you were) or 3rd grade (like I was) or maybe they're an adult... but whatever their age they're starting to "need" glasses. Their vision is starting to get blurry. Maybe they used to have 20/10 vision which means they can see twice as well as this arbitrary standard called 20/20. Or maybe they even had 20/5 which is rare. Dr. Bates was quite taken and fascinated by one little girl who had the ability to see the moons around Jupiter with her naked eye, and who knows, that might have been 20/2 or 20/1 vision. So anyway 20/20 is kind of arbitrary and what a lot of people don't realize is that the vision changes constantly.
Consider this... Let's say you've been studying hard; you've been frantically trying to get something done, or you're feeling a little sick and now your eyesight gets blurry. Is this a good time to visit the eye doctor for a new prescription? Maybe not. Because you may get a new higher prescription that is only relevant while you were stressed or sick. If you get used to these new glasses, they are going to tend to hold your eyes and your nervous system at this higher level of strain. That is a key premise of the Bates Method. A year later maybe you've had more stress; your eyes have been straining blurry again, and you go to the eye doctor and now you need a still-stronger prescription.
When I was a kid I had what was called progressive myopia, where my prescription went higher every single time I ever went to the eye doctor. Today I just know clear as can be I didn't need to get those strong glasses. What happened was I was a little kid; I was shy. I think my vision was fine. And every time I went to the eye doctor I got test anxiety. And there's a name for that... It's well recognized in the medical world. It's called "white coat syndrome". People go into the doctor and their blood pressure goes up. It seems more and more evident to me that when people go to the eye doctor... not everybody, but some people put strain in their eyes in a way that makes them, while they're there, need a stronger prescription. So they get that stronger prescription and then a few days later when they try on the new glasses they feel really weird. And the eye doctor tells them they'll get used to it. Sound familiar?
So this whole thing with glasses, they could be a key agent of strain once you get into them. I've met so many people who've lost their glasses and just said screw it; I'm just going to go without them. And their vision improved just on its own. So, your eye doctor corrected you to an extra-sharp 20/15 with a prescription of minus 4. If he had corrected you to 20/20 your prescription would have been lower, maybe minus 3.5. Eye doctors differ greatly on whether to exceed 20/20 correction. Some avoid it because they think it will cause strain. From the paradigm of Natural Vision Improvement, the higher prescription is just putting your eyesight into a smaller and smaller cage.
So, one of the key things as you're starting to improve your eyesight, is to find an eye doctor who will help you reduce your prescription as much and as quickly as possible. Ideally you would also spend some time without your glasses because that's going to give your eyes the most natural and true relationship with the world, and it's going to give you the most exciting flashes of clarity. But in the real world sometimes we need to see what we're doing, especially driving. So you have to be legal and safe, and you find what works for you. But a key aim for anyone who gets into improving their eyesight is to start reducing their glasses prescription. Many people use two or more pairs of glasses so they can choose the lowest strength to enjoyably do the task at hand. It's good to know something about glasses prescriptions to help you work better with your eye doctor.
David: I'd like to ask about pinhole eyeglasses.
Greg: Yeah. For starters, try this... Roll up your index finger real tight until you can just see a little pinhole of light through it. Now look through that pinhole, bring it right up against your eye. If necessary keep making that hole smaller until you have much clearer vision through it, without glasses. Most people with nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatism, or nearsighted conditions can experience this clarity looking through the tiny hole. So the pinhole glasses are that same principle, but now with a lot of holes all across the visual field. Some people have a dogmatic belief that pinhole glasses cannot help improve vision. I would say they definitely can help, for some people at least. I have known a lot of people who felt that pinhole glasses were a big part of what helped them. Maybe that gets into the whole placebo question. Well if they're a placebo who cares. So much about vision is tied into what we believe we can see, or how easily we believe we can see. Pinhole glasses can help with that belief.
David: I've used pinhole glasses and I noticed that I relax. I relax and it's a whole body thing I think. Once my awareness sees myself relaxing I think allow myself to affirm this and say I am relaxing, and I think that there's a snowball effect with those types of observations.
Greg: Exactly, and you've just explained why pinhole glasses are really valuable tool. I had one person come to see me who had been doing Bates techniques in the way I'd done it when I was younger, the hard way, for many years. There are a lot of books and programs out there that are into the "eye exercise" approach, and these approaches often lead to more strain. So this fellow believed in the Bates approach but he'd never really made it work. He came for an individual session and tried on pinhole glasses for the first time ever. And he started running around the room weeping. He was sort of euphoric and sad at the same time, and it put him in an amazing state of mind. He wasn't just reacting to the sharp vision. Somehow for him it released something that he'd been holding for a long time.
David: That's such a fundamental part of our being. It's kind of like your hearing. You realized that everything you hear is like part of a symphony or something; it's such a huge change.
Greg: Cool. I like that. I like that. In fact let me read you a quote..., a quote from Margaret Corbett who was one of the key early Bates instructors: "Vision should come to the eye as effortlessly as scent to the nostrils, music to the ear, or a touch of velvet to the fingertips." And that's just such an elegant way of saying let it happen. Don't try to make it happen; it's just this beautiful grand design and let it happen.
David: That's great!
David: Thank you so much Greg. It's been a pleasure.
Greg: Thank you David, you raised wonderful questions.
About the authorDavid Shlomo Hestrin is the author of The "Cure" For Blur an e-book written to help people improve their eyesight naturally by improving their relaxation and enjoyment of life. He also does health and nutritional research for the Better Earth Institute.
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