November 2020 Newsletter
Hello, and a noble November to you!
Details and the big picture
Welcome, or welcome back, to my newsletter.
Today's issue is about details and the big picture.
People seem to have an inborn preference to either focus on what's far away, or on small details right in front of their nose. The former are the
"big thinkers" who design skyscrapers and spacecraft, while the latter are the engineers who make sure the construction is precise and accurate,
so the building or rocket is safe. We need both types of ability as a society.
Where do you fall on this continuum? Are you likely to get "lost in the details", or more apt to be the sometimes unrealistic dreamer? Ideally, you can develop
both types of attention. Looking at the porthole above, I'm as drawn to the intricacies of the lavender frame as I am to the ocean view. Although I'd like
to think my attention is balanced, I have to admit I probably do favor the minutiae over the expansive view.
Speaking of balance, the Middle Way is recommended by many spiritual and esoteric teachers. Not too fast, not too slow, not too much activity, not too
much rest. As a vision teacher, I encourage this diversity of looking too, to appreciate both the forest and the trees.
A healthy visual system is constantly scanning the environment to pick up additional information, painting a more complete picture in the brain of what
we see. This could be a flower close to us, petal after petal, curves and colors and maybe even a crawling bug, or distant mountain slopes. The eye is
built to zoom in to inspect the bug, and to zoom out to glide over those peaks.
On days where I spend a lot of time at the computer reading and writing, I can catch myself getting stuck in Detail Mode, worrying about
every tiny speck and scrap, trying to micro-manage it. I become like the person in the picture, my mind cluttered with no room for new creative
ideas. My solution is often to go for a walk outdoors and deliberately think of nothing.
Every grandiose panorama is composed of many uncountable details. A simple vision improvement practice is to notice a specific detail in the scene in
front of you, at any distance. Slowly gaze at it, letting more details within it and around it emerge. Now shift to something nearer or farther away, and explore that a bit,
before returning to the original view. Can you see more now? People often complain they can't see well, when they're not really looking! Let your sight be
curious and interested, and what you see may fascinate you.
For an article on looking at details to help your vision,
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that topic. Thank you to those who have sent me questions, or see
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You're helping many other people!
Enjoy the start of this nuanced month of November.
I'll write again in a few weeks. Take care!