is a five-word direction that can help to dramatically enhance the quality of one's perception while simultaneously reducing
tension levels. The direction is, 'Eyes Free to Go Apart'.
The words in the direction are not intended to be taken
literally, for the eyes actually do not move with this direction.
Nevertheless, by saying to oneself, 'Eyes Free to
Go Apart' with eyes either open or closed, gentle release is provided from a common tendency in seeing to over converge.
overconvergence limits and constrains our seeing, whether looking outwardly or inwardly. With the 'Eyes Free to Go Apart direction,
a palpable, expansive shift in the quality of our seeing and being is possible.
This direction was created by the
late master Alexander Technique teacher, Countess Catharine Wielopolska in 1967. She recounts in a transcript from a 1970's
talk she gave at a New York Alexander Technique Center, how she was upset about her sister having just received a double cataract
Hoping that the Alexander Technique approach could somehow have a positive effect on the eyes, as she sat
in front of her mirror giving herself Alexander directions to release her head, neck, shoulder, back and knees, she added,
'Eyes Free to Go Apart'.
She was astonished to find her forehead cleared, her mouth went into a smile and her shoulders
released and her knees also released.
Further experimentation with the 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction led her to
discover that this direction also encouraged release in the mouth, lips, and tongue as well as the seventh vertebrae and the
inside of the hip joints.
The countess related in her talk how she kept the 'Eyes Go Apart' direction to herself for
the most part until she could find someone who could explain why these words could release other parts of the body so effectively.
found such a person in Dr. Mario Pazzaglini, a clinical psychologist. Mario co-presented the talk at the New York training
center with the countess, who was addressed as Kitty throughout the talk.
Mario and Kitty explained that most animal
movement is lead by the eyes, so if you have something that can release the eyes, this release is quite capable of affecting
other parts of the body as well.
Mario further offered that the 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction tends to trigger
an opening process already pre-existing in the human body.
I would offer that as cavemen or women, we couldn't afford
the kind of excluding concentration we often presently adopt where we pay attention to only one immediate task.
chipping away at our stone axe n front of our cave and being oblivious to our surrounding would leave us unlikely to remain
around long enough to pass on our genes.
We would, in addition to paying attention to the task at hand, need to be
alert to the crackling of a branch that might signal an approaching predator or prey, one also would also have to be ready
for the smell of smoke or a change in the weather and countless other possibilities.
In short, one needed to utilize
a more permeable attention, one that would keep us alert with all the senses heightened, a way of attending that, incicentally,
is characterized by calm awareness rather than tense effort.
The 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction supports a release
from staring, with its narrow focus and tense resistance to other input, whether looking outwardly or inwardly.
my background in biofeedback I have surmised that the 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction enhances alpha waves, as it supports
a mode of consciousness that may be characterized as multisensory.
As the consciousness dominating aspects of hard
looking and thinking is released, other, previously dormant senses and freer, more creative thinking can become more easily
accessed and untilized.
By saying to oneself, either out loud or silently, 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' or 'Eyes Go Apart'
, which Kitty also used, we are inviting a sense of relaxation and an expansion of perception.
Life sometimes spontaneoulsly
offers other ways to access a less effort-bound kind of seeing. Too often, however, we may come upon a softer, less stressful
way of seeing and being, and then, by associating our shift in seeing with the situation that was present at the time, we
can tend to convince ourselves that only then, when we were in the Sierra Mountains or when we were younger or with a particular
person or in other special circumstances, could we see and be in a distinctly more relaxed and conncected way.
'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction offers an opening to a less stressful, more present way of seeing that potentially may be
accessed at any time in virtually any situation. For instance, I have found it useful when dealing with my reactions while
negotiating intene LAX Airport traffic.
Of course apply the 'Eyes Free to Go Apart' direction in such a demanding
attentional situation as driving in rush hour airport traffic will not affect you in quite the same say, as doing it when
you are sitting on a beach watching the play of sunlight on the surface of the ocean water, but the eyes free release even
in a less relaxed setting, can still support more awareness and less tensing and bracing.
Please play with the direction,
'Eyes Free to Go Apart' or 'Eyes Go Apart'. You simply say either phrase to yourself silently, as often as you choose, or
you can say eithr one aloud. Either phrase is also effective when your eyes are closed.