Inquiry: A Philosophy of Glaucoma and the Edge of Seeing

by LJ Frank

Eyesight and seeing have affected my philosophical outlook. Physically the camera in the back of my brain, the occipital lobe, among other parts of brain matter, utilizes the lens (eyes) in the front of my skull to sort out things it views and acquires for the brain’s memory archives. In my case, it likes being “up close and personal” for the sake of clarity. My brain and eyes cherish positive intimacy that is clear for the sake of a lucid translation, knowing that I am only viewing the reality that’s been presented to me. It’s a complicated process for the term near-sighted is mis-directed. The implications are negative. I sense that being near-sighted influences the idea of what I see and translate. Just as being blind would affect my perspective of any presented reality.

Seeing becomes philosophical and physical when mindfulness enters the picture. What my eyesight beholds in front of them and what my brain sees may consist of two or more different things. Add glaucoma to the mix and eyesight becomes precarious and eyesight involves the optical things whereas seeing for me is deeply curious and provocative. Seeing implies awareness, consciousness and observation beyond the mere optics of the animate and inanimate that appear in front and around me.

Mindfulness meditation I have discovered can lower eye pressure during continuous fragmentary moments with the result of opening different vistas. Think of a complicated jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing thereby affecting the total picture and for moments you are able to see the missing pieces and where they fit in. Another way of looking at it is think of the shutter on a camera lens that photographs a scene and then closes and blocks the light afterwards. Though the brain captures the original photo. You’re conscious of how things fit together.

For the most part my brain is far-sighted assuaging the damaged nerves in my brain from a decades old motorcycle accident. And my brain loves to simplify things into specific rhythms and vibrations – just as my hearing enjoys melodious classic and jazz-like sounds.  Eyesight and seeing are interconnected. When eyesight and seeing are in conflict complexity occurs and markedly so when an associated sound can’t be simplified by my brain.  My muscles contract and that affects my response to what I am to clearly able to see and hear.

Hearing what I see is mindfulness on a different level. Of course my brain thinks it can “see things” through my ears and my mind has a wonderful imagination with few boundaries save experience and reasoning.  Which all of this leads me to the following experiences.

I was traveling on the an interstate highway toward the coast while listening to an internal meditative chant of OM. The wind blew through the open windows. There was a thick-woods on both sides of the highway with tall stands of pines.  Nature appeared clear, lush, vibrant and fragrant. The time frame consisted of minutes. I adjusted my sunglasses as my eyes became relaxed, yet focused. More aware of my surroundings my eyes and brain reveled in a burst of a complete vision – my mind achieved an increased awareness of the natural world around me.

I found the mindfulness again sitting in a half-lotus position at ocean’s edge under a clear sky while optically viewing and mindful seeing with clarity the sea gulls glide above the waves whose fingers in turn spread across the wet sand approaching where I was sitting. Listening to nature’s sensual sounds enhanced the experience. Seconds disappeared into minutes as time became relative and the reality that presented itself filled my consciousness. I was seeing.

In those instances where my mind and eyes worked in harmony the full exposure of awareness as to what my brain was viewing, seeing, recording and archiving occurred. It was during those moments when I discovered the edges of seeing and sight lay within the mindfulness of my brain and transcended any damaged nerves.

The challenge to knowing is for those who appreciate the dynamics of the brain’s potential but have never experienced such events. Such events and experiences that exist outside the realm of one’s personal experience and knowledge does not delegitimize the experience or knowledge of those who have first-hand experience and knowledge. Experimenting and exploring the boundaries of the brain is a beginning to mindful meditation.

Brief examples of Meditation Studies: