and baffling experiences
By not tackling for many years the eye problem directly, I've come across
a lot of interesting, and somehow baffling experiences. Yes, our eyes are
the most elusive part of our body, the more mysterious, the gateway to our
soul... and our soul is not very naïve, you know.
In 1974 new year's eve I was taking part to a seminar with Jules Grossman,
a big name in bioenergetics that was going to move to Italy. Most of the
other participants were my friends. As a matter of facts we were feeling
like forerunners, a vanguard engaged in something historical. And the place,
an ancient villa on the Como lake in northern Italy, was contributing to
create an atmosphere of daring and enthusiasm. At a particular moment of
the process Jules proposed us to involve ourselselves in a deeper way and
suggested a frame in which strong emotional sharing and expression were
given total freedom.
At the end of the three days, everybody felt ecstatically lost in an
ocean of love and on New year's eve nobody went to bed before midday of
the following day. By the evening we decided to drive up one alpine valley
to a special restaurant. Riccardo was driving the car I was in, and he
was driving in the dark and in the fog with no glasses! Sure, during
the three last days he was not wearing them, that was a rule of the frame
everybody had accepted, but otherwise he was supposed to be heavily short
sighted. And finally he himself realized both that his sight was now absolutely
normal, and that during the last three days he had simply forgotten
about his vision problem.
Life is not a fairytale, and he didn't "live forever happy ever
since". In the following three days his problems came back, little
by little. And we were feeling so sad, so helpless. Somehow that feeling
grew in my heart along the years: yes, there must be a way to help miracles
like that happen, and make them last.
Years later I was giving a session to a person I knew relatively well.
I had integrated my basic shiatsu approach with some very interesting new
Rolfing techniques I had recently come across, and I was feeling very satisfied
with the results. I was particularly impressed by the degree of relaxation
that showed on my patient's face; he had actually changed to a new person,
stronger, radiant, younger and handsome. I was proud and ecstatic! So I
asked him to look at himself in a mirror. My pleasure grew as I saw by his
expression that he too was very pleased by what he saw.
Then... then I had a sudden idea. I asked him "Do you, by any chance,
feel that your eyesight has improved?" The answer was baffling: "Yes,
sure!..... Perhaps there is a real improvement... But.. Well, no,
I felt something shrinking inside me. The worst was that, while
he was looking at his image and deciding about his sight, his habitual frown
came back, assuming a judgmental attitude and looking closer and closer
into the mirror. And together with that I saw many of his tensions come
back and take possession of his body!
From that experience I immediately took few lessons: never ask that
again! The eyes (and the brain behind them) seemed to be the source
of tensions. So, for the moment I had better to be extremely careful with
Some years later I had gained more understanding of the emotional anatomy
involving the eyes and I was offering Rebalancing sessions, a very comprehensive
kind of bodywork. I was now able to work directly on the eye bulbs and inside
the orbs. It may look astonishing, but this is for most people a very pleasant
and relaxing experience. But, beneficial as it may be, this kind of work
was unable to produce durable changes in the vision power of short and farsighted
people. The moment they got up from the massage table, they would put their
glasses on, immediately wasting any improvement in their vision.
That was more of less the time I came in touch with the Bates method
of vision improvement, and started to advice my clients on vision fitness
Although Bates is one of those men that can be considered pioneers, opening
totally new avenues to man's search for well being, and his work can be
seen as rich and innovative, I was not satisfied.
He had lived fifty years ago, nobody knew anything about body and emotions
at that time. Nobody ever had the idea that different characters could be
linked to different body postures and eye problems (which was becoming increasingly
clear to me). Nonetheless Bates had a basic intuition: tension brings sight
defects. Yes, this is basic, but what tension means for someone, is something
different for somebody else. Today we know a lot more on stress and characters.
I had a group in which almost nobody improved. That was not totally unusual,
but I knew I had put my best in the group; then why? Who did in facts improve?
Rather amazingly the best results were achieved by one of the assistants
and one of the foreign language translators. And both of them had been doing
the various exercises in a rather sloppy way, at times they even had to
skip them because they were busy.
Okay, I thought, it is as simple as this: if you try to see better,
you see worse. The harder you try, the worse you see. And, conversely,
the less you are concerned about it (still "keeping an eye" on
it), the better your vision.
Now here we have a nice Zen problem: if you don't try to improve of course
you can't improve. And if you really commit yourself, you don't improve
as well! This is pure Bates, but still many Bates teachers can't handle
I never had problems with my sight, and therefore I had no personal investment
in the theory that only through prolonged personal effort it is possible
to achieve relevant gains. Then why not drop effort, once and for all? This
is the core of Bates' message, after all, isn't it?
That brought me to drop the idea of therapy itself. I started to work
and experiment on the line of a process in which stress, and therefore expectations
of improvement had no part. A process pleasant, surprising and entertaining,
rewarding in itself... like a good movie... like a pleasant holiday... like
your favorite hobby...
I found help in different fields. For example from Neurolinguistic Programming,
from the work of Tomatis in the field of hearing etc.
But to translate these contributions into the specific field of vision
took time and experimentation. I took part in stress reduction seminars
for executives, in communication skills workshops for managers, etc.
Now I have come to define a process which I call "Buena Vista, designed
to provide simple and pleasant (visual and non visual) experiences. Understanding
of the mechanism of seeing and its obstacles follows naturally and it is
immediately releasing. No boring exercises, no heavy emotions. Pleasant
surprises happen in an environment of support and friendliness.
Does this sound like a beauty farm or a sort of artificial paradise?
Perhaps, but it is above all an opportunity to change one's point of view
on the world and start dropping limiting beliefs.
Working with people's eyes
Summer holidays in Italy
conference of italian vision educators
pinhole glasses difference between the