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Windows™ vs. The Windows of the Soul

Let's look at how the computer screen affects movement and physical organization.


In pre-tech human life, the eyes were involved in scanning the environment for threats and for opportunities. The eyes were mobile and active, flitting from side to side, capturing a variety of things around us. The eyes were also able to focus and refocus quickly at a variety of depths to perceive distance, speed and direction. The sense organs, and particularly the eyes, the mouth and the ears, are the steering wheels for human physical orientation. We use our eyes to orient our entire selves towards things that we desire to explore.


When using a computer, the eyes are fixed on the very center area of our visual field with only slight movements. The eye movements that are a part of using a computer are highly repetitive: scanning right to left, scrolling up and down. The more complex eye movements involved in following video action are confined to small video players. When watching a computer, the eyes are focused at a fixed distance. The muscles which focus the eye lenses are held tightly to maintain focus on one distance.


The result of these controlled eye movements is tensing and restriction of muscles in the face, jaw, neck and throughout the body, which are strongly connected neurologically. Many people experience headaches and irritability after extended periods looking at a computer screen, a natural response to discomfort. Moreover, the ability to twist the eyes, head, neck, and spine, is lost over time. Eventually, the eyes are unable to focus as well and muscles of the face squeeze and squint to assist. The neck begins to crane, carrying the head and eyes closer to the screen to help see, creating the familiar ‘tech-neck.’ The list of lost motions goes on.


If you must use a computer for your work, or if you want to enjoy surfing the internet, here is something you can do (now, before, or after using the computer) to improve the recuperation and use of your eyes and your whole self.


Palming

1. Lie on your back, close your eyes and gently place the palms of your hands over your eyes. Breathe, allow yourself time to adjust to the darkness. Enjoy the sparkling changing colors that you still see, these lights and colors are the residual signals in the nerves of your eyes and brain.


Press your eyes gently with your palms and notice the changing of colors. Stop pressing and notice how the colors fade. Slowly allow the darkness in your visual field to deepen and spread, look around with closed eyes to find darker areas. Check in with your breathing, and continue to explore the dark landscape you see in front of you as a safe, restful and peaceful place.


The Worlds of Nam June Paik, Bilbao, Photo: Erika Barahona-Ede

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©2020 Connor Voss Feldenkrais Practitioner, Artwork by Tad Beck, Rosalie O'Connor