Mid-May 2022 Newsletter
Hello, and a marvelous Mid-May to you!
Trying vs. intending
Welcome, or welcome back, to my newsletter.
Today's issue is about trying vs. intending.
"If at first you don't succeed, try try again" we're told as children. Yet how often do we keep wrestling with a task, only to be
faced with one setback after another, with that elusive success we're hoping for nowhere in sight? We push ourselves, only to
metaphorically fall on our face. Isn't there a better way to proceed?
We may have had parents or teachers or bosses who pushed us. So we internalized this pattern of pressure to push ourselves, thinking that was
the path to achieving our goal. This could be a desired career, or a financial target, or a health or fitness goal, or even a social step up like
making more friends or finding a mate. Yet does it really have to be such a struggle?
Over 20 years ago when I found out that I could improve my lifelong strong nearsightedness, I dove in headfirst. I expected it to be a lot of work
and effort, but since it was something I really wanted, I was willing to put in the time and energy. I read book after book by famous vision improvement experts.
I did practices obsessively which I thought would help, like
These could feel like work, struggling to push that boulder up a steep hill, with frequent backsliding. Was there a way it could be easier?
The books I read kept saying that trying hard to see would get in the way of clearer vision. What? Everything I had accomplished in my life came to
me because I tried to achieve it, putting forth lots of effort to reach academic or career or fitness goals. If I didn't try, wouldn't I be lazy and accomplish
nothing? Aldous Huxley in his classic "The Art of Seeing" wrote about the greedy end-gainer who wanted better eyesight so badly he pushed it away.
This struck me strongly, and I recognized myself. I was working too hard, pushing my eyes to improve, when they needed a gentler approach.
The alternative to trying is not to do nothing, passively waiting for the gift of what you want to be bestowed on you by some kindly angel. It's to
"hold on loosely", like the song advises, keeping that goal in mind like a guiding principle, but not fixating fiercely on it. You know where your path
is leading, and have confidence you're headed in the right direction. You remain open to feedback, and if you receive messages indicating you should
be doing something differently, you're willing to alter your course accordingly.
My eyesight gives me constant practice at this, to stop trying so vigorously and instead put my focus on intending.
Rather than reading another vision book or listening to a podcast, treating myself like a slow learner who is just not getting it, I simply
look. I intend to see, so how am I doing? Oh, I notice my forehead is a little tense. Can I soften that? I notice my surroundings, near and far, and I notice myself,
especially how I feel about my seeing. Am I enjoying it, or does it feel like too much work right now? If I don't want to ascend one more rung on that endless ladder
to perfect vision today, the goal will still be there tomorrow. Replacing trying with intending, including proceeding at my own comfortable pace, feels so freeing!
To read about an unusual approach to stopping my "trying too hard to see" habit,
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You're helping many other people!
Enjoy the second half of this magical month of May.
I'll write again in a few weeks. Take care!