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Since it is through our personality that we express who we are, we often see it as the source of our individuality. But consider for a moment the possibility of your personality acting as your mask, as the protection you don for the world. Like performers, each of us presents ourselves as having certain personal characteristics. We may be aggressive or meek, loud or soft-spoken, dominating, loving, inquisitive, or good-natured. Your personality is reflected by how you behave, how you "show up," and how you reveal yourself. But how did you develop the personality that marks you as you?
Imagine a new baby. Soon after birth, it is clear that the infant has already established his own unique behavioral patterns. As with most infants, his cries mean one of three things: Feed me! Change me! or Hold me! His personality dictates that he will perform in a certain way to get his parents' attention. Some babies are loud, others are quiet. Some babies will move their hands, arms, or legs a lot while others are very still. They all have similar basic needs -- food, dryness, and physical contact -- but each has his own special way of expressing those needs. Because a child's personality can be observed at such an early age, it seems likely that genetics plays a role in how it develops.
Personality: It Came from Mom and Dad?
At conception you receive many qualities from your parents and others in your family tree. You receive this genetic programming whether you like it or not. It might appear in the form of a physical resemblance, such as body size, weight, or hair color. You may sound like one of your parents. Best or worst of all, you may even find yourself behaving like them. The physical structure of your eyes -- as well as your way of looking and seeing and your deepest perceptions -- can all be molded by this genetic imprint.
Have you ever considered why you ended up with the parents you did? Have you wondered why you encounter bits and pieces of them every time you look in the mirror or hear yourself speak? Perhaps you are often frustrated to find that you share some of their shortcomings. Like them, you anger easily. Or you hold back your feelings. Or you don't fully express yourself. In all of these observations, you may realize that your life history bears some resemblance to that of your parents. Perhaps even your poor vision is like theirs.
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In your frustration, you may have spent time being critical or disparaging of things your parents taught you. We often judge our parents and their points of view, vowing never to repeat their negative patterns with our own children. And yet, in spite of our best efforts, we often do.
I Was Born With It?
Imagine your parents for a moment. Really see their faces. Hear their voices. Feel their hugs. Remember the snuggles in bed. Smell the odors from their bodies. As you reach back in memory to experience these moments with them again, consider this: Is it possible that it was no accident that those two people you call Father and Mother were the ones who ended up being your parents?
In the larger scheme of things, is it possible that you may have had some say in choosing your parents? For the sake of conscious seeing, pretend that you even helped them decide when to conceive you, in order for your spirit to arrive on planet Earth at a certain time. Just suppose that your parents each reached a certain level of consciousness, at which point you were ready to meet them.
I realize this may be difficult to imagine, or simply too incredible to take seriously. For the sake of cultivating conscious seeing, stretch beyond the way you normally perceive things. As you reach into your imagination beyond your everyday way of understanding things, you may begin to feel that perhaps the consensual reality we so easily accept takes only the surface view of our lives into account. Conscious seeing demands that we look a little deeper.
If, in fact, it is possible that you did have a say in your choice of parents, and you even chose when to arrive, many other interesting possibilities emerge. For one thing, it may be that the elements of your parents' personalities that you received were needed for you to have a particular life experience. This could mean that their good as well as their faults are integral to your individual human beingness. Why? Is it possible that as a child you needed to experience both the positive and negative aspects in order to evolve? Let's take this line of inquiry one step further. Your parents also evolved from their parents, each of whom had their own unique blueprint to contribute to the evolutionary beingness. Open your mind up to these possibilities, if only for a moment, as we explore how all of these elements could come together in our understanding of the development of conscious seeing.
For many years I have been amused at how many conventional eye doctors believe it is impossible for vision to improve. Some point to genetically deformed eyeballs as the primary cause of vision problems. Functional and behavioral optometrists blame environmental factors. They say, for example, that reading requires the eyes to focus too much; poor lighting puts too great a strain on the eyes. In conscious seeing we will discover how all of these variables -- from the spiritual, to the genetic, to the environmental contribute to the way you see, with environmental factors often triggering genetic predispositions.
The Flexible Personality?
Personalities can be flexible or inflexible. In the family I grew up in, it seemed that strong personalities most often revealed themselves as inflexible. Strength of character was associated with anger, fear, and control. Only much later, when I began to see my parents in a more conscious way, did I realize that they were evolving just as I was. Evolution toward consciousness happens simultaneously in all generations, although at different rates. Your parents' generation may not evolve as quickly as yours, nor will your pace match that of your children. Each successive generation appears to travel faster in making adjustments in personality as a way to become more conscious.
In my case I found that I needed to modify a tendency to suppress my feelings. This was very difficult for me at first. What often happened was that I would sit on my feelings, denying them or simply being unconscious of them. When I finally did share what I was feeling, I often did so in a way that was laced with deep, covert anger. As I began to integrate intuition with intellect, being with doing, and seeing with looking, I found it easier to express my feelings without that undercurrent of anger, at least to family members.
Distorted View of Reality?
My incomplete understanding during my childhood distorted my view of reality. My perceptions of hurt were recorded somewhere in the deeper layers of my brain. I had to bring them forth, make them a part of my conscious life. Only then was I able to begin making peace with those memories and progressing toward living a more conscious life. I had to face the shut-down intuitive and expressive, deeply frightened parts of myself. When I did, I experienced a dramatic shift in the way I saw my world.
Meanwhile, my daughter honed her ability to bring her deepest feelings into her awareness even more than I. As a small child she projected her anger directly onto me in a rather unskillful way. As she grew older, with the help of her mother and others, she dealt with her personality imbalances and faced her fears. Then she could communicate with me from her true nature. She was able to tell me how she felt and be fully conscious and present with me. She evolved to this stage at a much younger age than my father or I had. What she accomplished by age twenty-one, I was just realizing at fifty-two, and my father at eighty-two. In my daughter's generation there was a thirty-year acceleration in the evolution of consciousness.
Do You Believe You Are Your Personality?
For much of my life I received and accepted many mixed messages about my personality. First, I believed that I was my personality. I thought my identity was rooted in how smart I appeared, my physical appearance, whether I met society's expectations of how I should behave, and how effective I was in my career.
Examine for a moment what perceptions you have about the relationship between your personality and who you are. Spend some time looking deeply into your life and your self.
- Do you gauge your magnificence based on material success or outward appearance?
- On what do you gauge yourself and your life?
- Is it more important for you to acquire material things rather than explore pursuits that enhance your knowledge of yourself?
- When you clearly look back into your life do you discover experiences that were left incomplete?
- Are you attempting to prove your success to others?
- Do you try to control others because you feel uncomfortable with parts of yourself?
- At the end of the day do you feel like there is something missing even though you have all your physical needs met?
- Do you see yourself as being inadequate compared to others, such as your work colleagues or family members?
- Can you honestly say you love your body?
- When you look into the mirror do you spend moments reflecting upon how much you enjoy and love seeing your essence in your eyes?
If you answered yes to all but the final two questions, see how you can vary your daily patterns to reach the point where you no longer agree with the questions. In conscious seeing the aim is to be able to be with yourself nonjudgmentally, fully embracing the many parts of yourself and striving to be aware of what feeds your essence.
Materialistic Evaluation of Who We Are
The predominant materialistic, capitalistic lifestyle in our culture tends to cause us to evaluate ourselves primarily from its own perspectives and how we fit into that model. Look good. Drive the right car. Live in the best neighborhood. Make lots of money. I suggest that for many people these values may limit their level of consciousness. I find that many of my clients who have attained these materialistic goals are plagued with eye disorders. These eye conditions indicate an imbalance in their perceptions of themselves. Their personalities are doing battle with their authentic natures, each one vying for the dominant role in governing their lives. In a more ideal world, the authentic nature informs the personality to achieve greater harmony and balance between the cultural demands and the unique personality of the individual. If the effort to find harmony between the two is consciously pursued, it can lead to a deep integrative process that results in a more flexible and genuine personality. Conscious seeing can be a helpful start in this process.
Sonia's story helps to illustrate this point. Her vision was dominated by perceptions of being stuck in the personality of her career life. When she realized this it helped her create a new vision.
Sonia was successful in her career working in a large auction house in London, England. Her job was exciting and offered opportunities to travel, be challenged, and socialize with people from all walks of life. Her relationship to her vision was a simple morning and evening ritual of slipping her contact lenses in and out. Sonia never really considered that her eyes were a problem or that she needed to focus on them in any way.
She eventually fell in love with Godfrey and they were married with great pomp and style. Sonia felt so taken care of by Godfrey. He offered her security, a gorgeous home, and a future filled with excitement and possibility. She continued to work but cut back her hours to enjoy being at home. Sonia thought she had it all. Godfrey began traveling abroad and Sonia was left at home for long periods during his absences. She began observing that she felt empty. She realized she was neglecting her former friends and hobbies. She became dissatisfied with her daily life patterns. At this time her contact lenses began giving her difficulties. Sonia had to radically cut back the wearing time and had to resort to using her backup glasses. She introduced the conscious seeing concept of spending time in her "naked" vision and patching her eyes. This is a therapeutic concept in which part or all of one eye is prevented from seeing by covering a lens or wearing a covering over the eye.
While patching her dominant "doing" right eye, (the eye generally associated with the influence of the father), feelings of abandonment surfaced. Sonia started making a distinction between her perceptions governed by her personality and those of her true needs. She went deeply into her feeling and emotional nature. She began to see that being stuck in her stunning home alone while her husband traveled promoted a feeling of loneliness. Her house seemed like a mausoleum in Godfrey's absence. Sonia permitted herself to deeply feel this emptiness. Her true heart nature was asking her to stop giving up her emotional power to her husband. Sonia's desire was to travel and pursue her interest in the spiritual life of other cultures.
Looking through lower-strength spectacle lenses, and wearing her contact lenses less, helped Sonia to focus on her buried feelings and reclaim her true natural way of seeing herself and life. She now travels with her husband half the time and visits other countries on her own. Sonia is connecting to her own friends again, which she finds promotes her inner balance and joyous feeling for living.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Beyond Words.
Conscious Seeing: Transforming Your Life through Your Eyes
by Roberto Kaplan.
If the eyes are indeed the “windows to the soul,” then there might be a deeper significance to the emergence of an eye problem like nearsightedness than one might think. In Conscious Seeing, Dr. Roberto Kaplan explains that how we see is the largest determining factor in what we see. When we look at our eyes beyond the diagnosis of a problem, we can come to understand that visual symptoms are valuable messages through which we can be more aware of our true nature. An insightful, practical, and holistic approach to eye care, Conscious Seeing gives you the tools to reprogram your consciousness and gain skills for modifying your perception.
Info/Order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Roberto Kaplan, O.D., M.Ed., is a photographic artist, an internationally known scientist and author, a medical intuitive, and an optometrist who is at the leading edge of twenty-first century health care. Dr. Kaplan holds a doctorate in optometry, a master's in education, and is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and College of Syntonic Optometry. He is the author of Seeing Without Glasses and The Power Behind Your Eyes. For more info visit https://pashyaroberto.wordpress.com/. For info on Vision Therapy, www.covd.org