Eye Floaters as Shining Structure of Consciousness
by Floco Tausin
- „Circular Figures with Double Membrane“
- „Dancing out of Mind“
- „Mouches volantes“
- „The Layers of Consciousness“
Eye Floaters as Shining Structure of Consciousness
by Floco Tausin
„Circular Figures with Double Membrane“
In late summer of the following year, the day was there when I took all the information I had gathered on afterimages and went up into the Emmental to visit Nestor. After my arrival it didn't take long until we addressed the subject of afterimages, because he announced that he had built a more stable Hüenerstängeli, as a roost is called in Swiss German, that I could use for seeing the afterimages in the chicken house.
I grabbed the chance and immediately countered his thesis, casting doubt on the effectiveness of seeing afterimages, and explained this with the results of my research.
»In the human eye, there are two kinds of photoreceptors: the longer rods and the shorter uvulas,« I read to him from my notes. »In the case of the uvulas, science distinguishes between three different kinds: those that respond to red, to blue and to green light. Our physiological visual system is based on the so-called additive color mixture; this means that the different colors we perceive are produced by different levels of stimuli that these three kinds of uvulas are subjected to: for example, we see blue when only the blue uvulas are stimulated, and we see yellow when the red and green uvulas are both stimulated to the same degree. If we see white, all uvulas are equally stimulated. All colors we can perceive are a mixture of the three basic colors red, green and blue.
If we look at a red object for a longer time, for example a red cup, then the red uvulas are stimulated. Over time, however, the red pigment in these uvulas are subject to exhaustion and depletion which means that their performance gradually deteriorates. Therefore, if we now look at a white surface, the performance of the red uvulas which we had strained more than the others is very low while the blue and green uvulas still perform a hundred percent. The result is that we see the afterimage of the cup in the color blend blue and green, turquoise, which thus is the complementary color to red. This turquoise-colored cup is called a ›negative afterimage‹.«
I looked over to Nestor. He shrugged his shoulders and made a defensive gesture.
»This is scientific knowledge, Nestor,« I confirmed my explanations. »This is scientifically proven knowledge.«
»It is no direct knowledge,« he replied. »That´s why this knowledge will not help you in getting the perfect restoration done. Who cares, after all, how the afterimages come about? In order to know what they really are, you have to see them, not read or think about them.«
»Afterimages are the result of a deteriorating performance of photoreceptors in the eye. This is scientifically proven.«
I passed my notes over to him. He took the sheets and looked at them. But he didn't read them; he merely glanced at them superficially, and this made me angry.
Nestor shook his head. »And now?« he asked me. His voice sounded serious, and he gave me a stern look.
»You haven't read it,« I accused him.
»I don't have to. I know what afterimages are,« he claimed.
»But you're distorting the facts,« I called out enraged. At this moment I felt a stinging pain below my navel which in turn caused my heart to start pounding, as if I had run for miles without taking a break.
My voice was trembling when I tried to defend my viewpoint. »You´re talking about the afterimages as if they would represent a real world, analogous to our world. But they are nothing else than physical stimuli and biochemical processes in the eye itself.«
»Right,« he acknowledged me with a certain tone of irony in his voice. »Your whole life consists of physical stimuli and biochemical processes – there's nothing else.« Nestor returned my papers to me.
»Don´t be naïve,« he said gently. »Don´t try to cling on to that scribble. The afterimages are actually a real inner world. A world you need to learn to see, first of all. What we're dealing with is not a scientific knowledge of physiological processes in the eye. What you have noted on your sheets there may be true for the scientific world – but it is of no value to us. What we are interested in is to become familiar with the afterimages and getting to know the inner screen. But in order to do so, you'll have to stop to reduce your experiences to material processes only. If you do that, you constantly put your small world into the picture, and this is what distracts you from perceiving the inner screen.«
„Dancing out of Mind“
I told Nestor of this cloudy spot. He was unusually interested and asked me quite a few questions, for example if that thing was rather bright or dark; what form it had; whether I could see just one or more of these spots. I described to him, as best as I could, what I had perceived.
»Is this spot in constant motion?« he kept asking.
»I´m not sure but I believe so.«
»Beliefs won’t do for us here,« he replied sharply. »If you don’t know it, just take a look at the spot.«
»Why? Is this important in some way?« I asked, irritated over his rebuke.
»It could change your life,« he answered.
Somehow his words had something threatening. At this moment I would have preferred to clarify the situation and ask him what exactly he meant. But Nestor urged me to keep on looking at the spot.
Again I looked into the rising sun and tried to concentrate on the afterimage. When I shifted it back and forth across the sky, the dark spot soon swung along with it again. Immediately I tried to look at it, but that didn’t work out as it flowed out of my field of vision right that moment. I tried some more times but became desperate after a few attempts. It seemed as if I myself wiped away that spot with my eyes as soon as I wanted to take a look at it.
»I can’t really see that spot, Nestor. It escapes me time and again.«
»Try to hold it in suspension just like the afterimages,« he advised me.
»Push it upwards vigorously. If you see it, shift it back and forth so that it’ll remain in your field of vision for as long as possible. Watch how it flows.«
Gradually I was able to keep the spot in my field of vision for a longer time. In doing so, I realized that it was an overlay of rings and dots in different sizes – partially blurred, partially more in focus. I could only recognize them because of their more conspicuous contours, because they were colorless and completely transparent.
I told Nestor my observations. He seemed satisfied, smiled and found that this was actually a small realization of consciousness. He asked me to direct my attention to these spots from now on.
»But what is it?« I asked him.
He remained silent and seemed to take some joy in it before he finally answered.
»What you’ve seen,« he explained it with a mysterious tone of voice, »is a small detail of the picture´s basic structure.«
»Basic structure,« he replied laughing and mimicked my puzzled face. »The scaffold, after all, that holds the entire scenery here in suspension.«
But as soon as I was back in my habitual living environment where everything had – and had to have – its rational explanation, my intentions and insights vanished quickly. I had to find out what it really was that was moving about in front of my eyes and that I was supposed to stare at – in order to eliminate any potential risk.
So I went to an ophthalmologist to do a check-up on my eyes. The man calmed me down and informed me that these opacities consisted of detached particles in the vitreous. He called them mouches volantes, an annoying and widely spread but harmless phenomenon. According to him, it was impossible to treat it, and I would have to learn to live with it. He advised me that it would be best to simply neglect it.
I, for my part, however, had to find out more about it and began collecting information on these opacities. »Mouches volantes«, I found out, is the general term for this phenomenon in both French and German ophthalmology. The common German term is »Glaskörpertrübungen« or »fliegende Mücken« and »Mückensehen« . In the Anglo-Saxon part of the world, these dots and strands are known as floaters. In addition, there is a multitude of terms paraphrasing the phenomenon: dark spots, streaks, thin hairs, small black lint, fluff balls, dust particles, little worms, rings, flitter, as well as cobwebs, threads, circles and oblong strings – not to mention dots and strands and their belittled form.
Mouches volantes are classified as an »entoptic phenomenon«. This term refers to the perception of objects that the viewer believes to see outside of himself but in actuality are located within his eye. Mouches volantes are distinguished from other such phenomena, for example Purkinje´s vessel shadow figures, that is the perception of small blood vessels in the wall of the eye when light is shining into them from sideways. Another phenomenon to be distinguished from floaters are the so-called »flying corpuscles« or »luminous spots« – small bright spheres moving in wound tracks – that can be traced back to leukocytes or white blood cells flowing in the capillaries (or capillary tubes) of the retina. Behind the term mouches volantes, however, a multitude of different viewpoints and explanations is hidden with respect to the nature of these floating particles as well as the cause factors and precise location in the eye.
„The Layers of Consciousness“
»Nestor has told me about you,« she went on. »You´re visiting him regularly to restore that piece of furniture.«
»I don't know if I'll ever get done with that restoration in this lifetime,« I wisecracked. She didn't laugh but rather concurred with me that this certainly was a difficult task.
»You´re so right,« I bragged. »This particular piece of furniture has been built by a very special person, and I really would like to know who it was and what he or she has done in their life.«
She claimed that a close look at an object could already shed some light and give information about the builder and that which obviously was important to him or her in their life. I objected that that kind of »information« was merely an interpretation of things. In order to really find out something about the builder, one had to proceed methodically. I described to her how I had followed up the name on the secretaire, reviewing the history of the 19th century Emmental in the course of it so as to obtain the desired answers.
Then I started to talk about Nestor and the perfect restoration. I became quite talkative and started to rave about the difficult exercises that Nestor and me practiced for the purpose of the perfect restoration. I also told her about the mouches volantes that were particles of our material world's basic structure. With a strict disciplined lifestyle we could develop them within ourselves, enlarge them and thus – incredible but true – recognize them as a first effect of our consciousness. With an adventurous tone of voice I implied that Nestor, I and our neighbors on the left side of the Emme were some kind of secret society, a very old mystical community striving to overcome duality and attain perfection.
»For Nestor and me«, I finally added with some slight exaggeration, »the restoration of this particular piece of furniture is the key to understanding who the builder was and how that person had striven for perfection.«
I felt exhausted. For some strange reason, my explanations had demanded an unusually high degree of concentration of me. It was as if I had to press against an overwhelming force while talking to the woman so as to be able to even address and convince her. She was still leaning against the wall; all the time she had remained silent and listened to me.
»Yeah, the restoration of Mari Egli´s secretaire will certainly continue to give you an exciting and eventful time,« she answered succinctly.
Her mentioning of Mari Egli´s name made me listen up at once: how did that red-haired lady know that this was the name inscribed on the secretaire? I hadn't mentioned it all the time up to now.
»Do you know from Nestor that this secretaire originally belonged to a woman called Mari Egli?«
»No,« she replied in a childlike tone of voice. »I've seen that piece of furniture myself, many times. I'm visiting Nestor now and then, you must know.«
»You´re visiting him now and then?« I asked, slightly confused.
»Of course, we´re neighbors. My house is just a little bit further up the hill.« She gave me a smirky smile.
The blood was rushing into my head and my heart rate picked up. All that time I had believed that she and Nestor had met at the party by coincidence, and that their acquaintance had been cursory – in other words, that the young woman didn't know anything about mouches volantes, seers and the perfect restoration. But Nestor had mentioned several times that the only people who could permanently live on the left side of the Emme were seers. According to that, this woman was a seer and therefore completely in the know about everything! I didn't dare remember how I had bragged about all the activities and exercises just before. As cold as ice, this redhead had lured me into a trap.
I tried to stay calm and draw the attention off of that embarrassing situation with some informal remarks. But my willpower succumbed to my body: too fast was my heart rate, too irregular my breath and thus too shaky my voice. The shame and disgrace finally caused me to drop into a blocked silence. I was searching for a clear expression in the face of the young woman, for a sign of her exhibiting her triumph and putting me back in my place. But I was searching in vain – there was no expression at all in her eyes and face. To me, this was the final proof that the redhead was a seer, a woman who could put her energy into the picture as a whole and who therefore was able to be present in the picture with her full attention, without having to make a judgment or a change.
„The Shining of the Basic Structure“
I fixed my gaze on a strand familiar to me. For quite some time I played with it, holding it in suspension in the center of the picture or shifting it horizontally across the misty but bright sky. The longer I did this, though, the more it changed: to my surprise, the strand, in fact transparent, didn't only turn smaller and become more sharply focused – it also started to light up.
I quickly realized that looking at the strand in this luminous condition was something that didn't last for very long: one wrong movement of the eyes – too strong or too lax – or one look at the environment was enough to make the strand assume its original size again and lose its luminosity. Several times I focused on this, and each time the strand lit up again after some time. Concentrating on it for a longer period made the strand light up more intensely, even brighter than the environment; at the same time, however, I also noticed the same luminosity in the dots and strands immediately surrounding the one I focused on.
All excited, I told Nestor of my perception.
»What you've seen is the light of consciousness,« he said as if it were self-evident. »You can see it because you have compressed and condensed the layers of consciousness – but this time you did so without moving your body.«
I asked him what that meant. Instead of answering, Nestor pointed to a large bright stone to our right and asked me to superimpose my strand over this particular stone. When I had managed to do so he instructed me to walk up to the stone without taking my eyes off the strand. It took quite a few attempts but then I managed to hold the strand in suspension and, at the same time, move up so close to the stone that I almost touched it with the tip of my nose. In amazement, I realized that the strand turned smaller and started to light up when I approached the stone, just like I had observed it before when looking at the sky.
Then Nestor asked me to stretch out my arm and superimpose the strand over the palm of my hand. Now I was supposed to hold the palm of my hand close up to my face while still looking at the strand. The same thing happened here as well: the closer I held my hand in front of my face, the smaller and more luminous the strand became.
»That is concentration,« Nestor finally explained. »The light of consciousness becomes better visible due to your concentration. When seeing, you can experience directly and firsthand what concentration actually is: it´s scaling down the section of the picture you look at. In the process, the space you spread the light on is smaller. Or in other words: you are compressing the layers of consciousness.
If you walk up to an object, or if you pull it towards you, it means on the outer screen that you can look at a smaller section of the object magnified, richer in detail and more sharply focused. You did the same when we were talking about the layers of consciousness, when you pressed your cup against your forehead – but back then you couldn't see what was happening simultaneously on the inner screen with your basic structure. Now you can see directly that the dots and strands become smaller but at the same time more focused, intense and luminous – and that's concentration.«
Nestor considered it a progress that, from now on, I wouldn't have to look at the outer screen any longer in order to concentrate myself. Concentration, according to him, came about by seeing the basic structure, independent from the material world. I pointed out that I was able to also concentrate on things such as thoughts, ideas and memories without having to directly perceive the material world, either.
»That´s no real concentration,« Nestor replied determinedly. »People believe it's concentration when they ponder over something. But what is their attention actually doing in the process? It is constantly being realigned. People in thoughts relax time and again when they don't fix anything with the eyes and hold the picture in suspension. Full concentration, on the other hand, means that you can hold your dots and strands in suspension so adroitly that they don't flow away any longer.
Today you've seen that shining light for the first time. And starting today, you should, when looking at your dots and strands, apply enough attention and concentration each time so that your basic structure starts to light up. Therefore, the way your dots and strands appear when looking at them will show you your actual level of concentration.«