First published by William B. MacCracken, M. D.
as a chapter in "Normal Sight Without Glasses"
We often hear the word Relaxation. With most it is little more than a joke. To the thoughtful, it is something they are trying to learn about. They have realized that it is of vital importance. They know that it must be mental. Tersely it means: Be yourself, at your own best, deliberate but alert, confident and expectant, but without abnormal tension, conscious that you are relying on the marvelous inherent power of the organism which is your endowment.
Such a state of mind some of us have, in some measure, sometimes. Today there are many, in humble stations as well as among the great, demonstrating that what they are giving is born of a magnificent endowment, working well.
Relaxation does not necessarily mean rest. It has been described as change of motion. An artist painted it as a bird, perched on a swaying thin branch, waving over a rushing turbulent stream.
The term relaxation applies to all the parts and functions of the system. The foundation of the method of Dr. Bates is: "The eye which is perfectly relaxed sees perfectly. In order to relax the eye, we must relax the mind."
His method is a simple and a scientific and direct approach to the dominating subconscious mind. In its practices we center the imagination on the specific idea that it is necessary only to stop trying to see. Such trying comprises an abnormal tension, called EYESTRAIN. When we cease such straining, we allow the waves of light, described as radiant energy, to contact the retina unhampered, allowed to convey a normal correct impulse to the fibres of the optic nerve.
We need not know why or how incorrect orders distract the harmony of the functions composing the mechanism of vision; why eyes become crossed, or near sighted, or astigmatic; nor how many eyes have accommodated after the lens of the eye has been removed, just as other minor disturbances, have recovered normal function without any consciousness on the part of the owner. But it cannot honestly be denied that there is ample record of those facts.
The correct practice of a technique which imitates the normal function of the mechanism of vision, relying on the cooperation of the mind, with an earnest attitude of expectancy, actually serves to discipline, in a slight but effective measure, the faculty, the endowment of attention, by the conscious or unconscious exercise of which the visual centers in the brain register a conception of the object being observed.
That such a mental reaction is possible in this field, as in many other fields of mental conduct, is supported amply by the research and the records of accepted psychological findings.
Personally I can report many cures I have watched, re, covering under my care, during the twenty years of experience I have had in the use of this method of Doctor Bates.
Shakespeare wrote that: "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt".
It is my experience that those who come with only a hope, which is next to despair, are often hampered by an unconscious doubt. They wish, yes. But the fable says that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Not a few are like the beggar. They wish they could get on without glasses; but unconsciously they are almost convinced that they have the same chance as the beggar.
Those must stop looking back. Discard the mental impressions planted in their minds, and accept instead the uncovered truth that the visual center has restored multitudes to normal, and will do that for them too, if they will make the correct attempt.
Keywords: Relaxation, William B. MacCracken, M. D., marvelous,