Further Holistic Vision News: Archive
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eye meditation on eye floaters
Eye floaters and their meaning were interpreted differently depending on the time, culture and personality of the observer. We learn a spiritually meaningful perspective about floaters from Nestor, the seer, with whom I have studied and whose teachings I recorded in the book „Mouches volantes – Eye Floaters as Shining Structure of Consciousness“. In this category, a particular statement from the book on floaters shall be presented and explained.
From: Mouches Volantes – Eye Floaters. The Shining Structure of Consciousness, p. 272. (source)
Nestor speaks of the two visual effects that a seer sees and distinguishes in the shining structure: the “static effect”, i.e. the shining structure itself, and the “dynamic effect”, i.e. the energy that flows in that structure. Therefore, the seers suggest that observing one’s own basic structure does not only reveal its shining, but the shining is recognized as a flowing – in the form of glowing little spheres that move in curved tracks.
With this, the seers combine two subjective visual phenomena that have nothing to do with each other in physiology: on the one hand, the non-pathological eye floaters which are regarded as vitreous opacity; on the other hand, an entoptic phenomenon that is known as “starlets”, “flying corpuscles” or “blue field entoptic phenomenon”. In physiological terms, the latter is explained as leukocytes which flow in the retinal capillaries and become visible particularly when gazing at a bright blue surface. In intense physical conditions often implying poor blood circulation – conditions such as shock, dizziness and fainting – these starlets become very luminous and can be seen very clearly for some time.
the seers experience and understand these starlets as a visual accompaniment
of intense states of consciousness and an indication of their increased
presence in the picture. In the seers’ cosmological beliefs which
are based on their seeing, the starlets have a creative function: they
create the tubes of the shining structure by their very motion. In my
own seeing, I can only partially comprehend that. Because the bright
starlets or little spheres usually move freely, not in visible tracks.
However, there are exceptional circumstances where I see a kind of a
channel through which several little spheres flow in a row – which
rather corresponds to the notion of flowing energy which creates the
basic structure. However, these starlets have little practical significance
for the seers who prefer the shining structure floaters for their visual
consciousness work. That’s because the dynamic starlets are hardly
suitable for the concentrative seeing, or the “holding of the
picture in suspension”, respectively.
Alex Grey Artwork: "Birth" (19,5x14,5 in. signed limited edition of 300). (source)
Sure, different women have very different experiences. In your case, you did experience an altered state with your vision enhanced. In states like these, it is no surprise to me that a woman experiences so-called ‘entoptic phenomena’ or floaters. I did a little research and found that confirmed insofar as floaters are often mentioned as visual changes due to pregnancy. However, we have to carefully differentiate: ‘Floaters’ is a term that is used very widely. It may refer to what I call ‘shining structure floaters’ which is, to me, a sign of intensified consciousness and energy. But it may also refer to pathological conditions of the eye, e.g. retinopathy which looks very different from shining structure floaters – have a look at my illustrated diagram . So I think that when your midwife asked about ‘floaters’ in your vision, she was checking on pathological developments of your retina that may be caused by (pre-)eclampsia. There are also other pathological conditions that are associated with pregnancy and known to cause floaters, like gestational diabetes. On the other hand, what you actually describe as seeing different colors and ‘cartoon characters on tiles’ is, to me, a sign of an intensified state of consciousness – as it reminds me on my own visual perceptions during such states.
I learn from your lines, not only is your body and mind sensitive
to extraordinary states of consciousness, you are also open
to alternative and spiritual considerations of states like these.
Therefore, I suggest to include your extraordinary states associated
with the life-giving power (pregnancy, menses) of your body into a holistic
worldview – whatever that may be in your case – in order
to recognize these states as chances to cleanse your psychophysical
system (which may be accompanied by discomfort) and renew your connection
to the cosmic whole. Let your light illuminate the world!
introduces realistic, artistic, and/or spiritual/religious works from
different cultures and times which show – or may be inspired
by – floaters or other entoptic phenomena.
Thanks to the digitization of visual media and their spread via the internet, we now have easy access to numerous pictures and even some videos that represent floaters from the subjective perspective. One of these videos is "Eye-Floaters: painless torture". It shows in less than a minute how floaters look like from the perspective of a floater sufferer who is walking in a park. We see small dots and strings on a distant layer, and large streaks on a very close layer. The strings are slightly blurred, mostly semi-transparent to black and partly contain single spheres. Two such spheres light up when seen before a dark background, the others remain dark. The streaks are very blurry and also semi-transparent. Both the dots and strings, as well as the streaks move according to the eye or head movements of the walker. While the streaks dynamically change their constellations, the more distant points and strings are fairly static and do not change their constellations.
The video was made by Andrej Piatkowski, a freelance artist specializing in three-dimensional medical animations, illustrations and interactive works. Piatkowski said on inquiry that this video was not a job, but was made on his own initiative and based on his observations of eye floaters. The aim was to give floater sufferers something to better explain and illustrate their condition to eye doctors. Piatkowskis spheres and strings could actually be the shining structure floater type. However, in the seers’ seeing and my own, floaters are far more dynamic, outlined and bright. According to my experience, this ‘light side’ of the floaters goes hand in hand with a meditative seeing and a deeper and holistic understanding. Piatkowski, on the other hand, rather depicts the ‘dark side’ of floaters that is – from the seers’ energetic-ecstatic perspective – a result of a low energy flow. To get the suffering of the floater sufferers across, Piatkowski entitles the spheres and strings as ‘painless torture’ and includes morbid sounds. This perfectly expresses the often depressed mood of floater sufferers.
It is the people who decide whether and to what extent this representation of floaters applies to them. If this video confirms the floater sufferers in their self-pity and sorrow and encourages ophthalmologists to more readily perform vitrectomies, it increases the psychological and medical darkening of shining structure floaters. However, if it helps to open up different perspectives on floaters and encourages the viewer to more accurately observe her or his own spheres and strings – and possibly to develop his or her own ways of dealing with them –, then it contributes to the lighting up of these structures and intensification of consciousness.
You will find simillar entoptic pictures in the gallery. Do you have drawings of eye floaters or other entoptic phenomena (flying corpuscles, afterimages etc.)? Do you know of realistic, artistic and religious representations of such appearances? Then send me the picture or give me the tip; I would like to publish it in the newsletter and/or in the gallery.
new in the scientific research on floaters and other entoptic phenomena?
How do these scientific approaches relate to the holistic view of floaters
presented in this project? Find out here.
Official Abstract of the Study
flashes and spots in their perceptive fields often resort to consulting
an ophthalmologist without finding an answer, mainly because these
symptoms are not necessarily associated with pathology of the
eye. The purpose of our research study was to understand
the experience of these patients, differentiate among
them, and propose different ways of treating them. We carried
out an eye examination and echography, individual semi structured
interviews, and dependency grids with 11 patients at the ophthalmology
department of a public hospital in northern Italy. We found that
individuals’ ways of experiencing and reacting to eye floaters
might be different and might depend on the perception of the disease,
the personal explanation, the solutions tried, the trust placed
in medicine, self-construction, and the dispersion of dependency.
Understanding the experiences of patients suffering from eye floaters
might help health care professionals to personalize their approaches
to these patients.”
Summary of the Results
As the authors show in this study, the eye floaters (EF) experience is shaped rather by the patients’ personalities than by the condition of their vitreous bodies. There are those who don’t suffer from EF because they just don’t care or they are self-confident enough to meaningfully integrate their EF in their lives and worldviews – irrespective of whether or not they present posterior vitreous detachment or high vitreous opacity at the medical checkup. And then there are those who suffer from EF, e.g. because they fear serious health issues, or because they are forced to change their way of life. Floater sufferers experience EF as a limitation of their usual lives and activities; therefore, they are looking more or less actively for medical or alternative solutions. Again, some floater sufferers do have vitreous detachment and vitreous opacity while others don’t. These different types of floater patients challenge eye doctors in different ways: While patients who don’t experience floaters as a problem usually are fine with the doctors’ explanations, floater sufferers with high vitreous opacity can be supported by confirming the subjective experience from a medical point of view, and can be helped by offering surgery (vitrectomy). Floater sufferers without corresponding clinical signs in the vitreous body, however, are a “puzzling” problem to ophthalmologists who usually solve that problem by referring these patients to other doctors or to psychologists, therefore increasing public health-care costs. The authors suggest different treatment strategies according to the personalities of floaters patients: encourage the floater non-sufferers with no corresponding vitreous opacity to pursue their own integration of EF; educate the floater ignoring non-sufferers with vitreous opacity about the risks; placebo, alternative therapies and psychotherapy for the “puzzling” floater sufferers; and medical support to the point of surgery to the manageable floater sufferers.
Individual semistructured interviews with 11 patients at the ophthalmology department of a public hospital in northern Italy. (Source)
Psychological approaches are rare among scientific studies on EF. That’s a pity, because they could counterbalance the dominant medical approach by stressing the importance of the subjective experience. In that context, the constructivist approach that the authors take seems to be progressive: Clearly, human beings construct the meaning of EF in line with their worldview and personalities, and this has been neglected for too long in ophthalmology. On the other hand, the study is perfectly in line with today’s ophthalmology. I missed, for example, a critical discussion of the constructive nature of the concept of EF. Because, the patients are not the only ones who construct the meaning of EF; as medicine history shows, physiologists and ophthalmologists also do.
‘EF’ (or mouches volantes, muscae volitantes) is, in fact, a very poorly defined term, encompassing different types of pathological and non-pathological ‘opacities’ in the vitreous body. Referring to that concept, the study also lumps together different kinds of EF. Though the authors indicate that there are the ‘degenerative’ EF and the ‘retinal tears’ EF, they don’t clearly separate those kinds throughout the text. Also, they keep writing about EF as a ‘disorder’ and even ‘disease’ and ‘illness’, even if most EF are not considered as such neither by ophthalmologists, nor by the patients. Here the study perpetuates the pathologizing of all types of EF, the so-called age-related, degenerative EF which are said to be harmless, as well as the EF which can be traced back to pathological conditions like retinal detachment, choroidal melanoma, uveitis etc. These are completely different phenomena corresponding to different subjective perceptions, and they should be called by different terms – in order to develop more appropriate treatments and coping strategies.
To put it in other words: While I think that the authors do a great and important job to stress the diversity of the subjective experiences of EF by focusing on the psychological processes behind that experience, they don’t seem to pay too much attention to the possibility that these perceptual differences may indeed be caused – or at least informed – by different types of EF. Non-pathological EF which I call ‘shining structure floaters’ might not even be a vitreous opacity phenomenon. This is suggested not only by the lack of clear correlation between objective examination and the subjective experiences, but also by the construction of the term EF in Western medical history which located EF in different parts of the eye, as well as by most recent developments in the context of Nd:YAG laser surgery for eye floaters that indicate that one non-pathological type of EF just can’t be seen in the vitreous body and might be located somewhere else (e.g. in the premacular bursa).
To broaden the
scope: The Western ‘degenerative’ and ‘retinal
tears’ explanation may be the dominant one, but they are
not the only one. Also, there are different approaches
to EF in alternative eye health systems, like the one of William
H. Bates, as well as in Eastern medical traditions like TCM and
Ayurveda. And there are even indications that EF, along with other
subjective visual phenomena, have been seen, interpreted and conveyed
in the context of shamanic rituals since the paleolithic; EF as
a spiritually or religiously relevant phenomenon may also play
a role in today's world views, from the shamanic Amazonian natives,
to the Tibetan Dzogchen Buddhists, to modern Western alternative
religions like the one of the Emmental seers.