One of the perpetual questions to Dr. Bates was, “How much should I practice?” He answered this and similar questions many times in his “Better Eyesight” magazine issues. Here are two of his responses. They originally titled “Practicing” (Oct 1922) and “Time for Practice” (Jan 1928). Although his answer that we should practice “all the time” sounds extreme at first, we soon realize that Bates is talking about leading a relaxed, natural, enthusiastic, and enjoyable life that just happens to support clear eyesight! –gm
Two Articles: “How Much Time Should I Practice?”
and “I Don’t Have Time to Practice!”
How Much Time Should I Practice?
By Dr William H. Bates
A great many people have asked, “How much time should one devote to practicing the methods of central fixation in order to be cured of imperfect sight without glasses?” The answer is – ALL THE TIME.
One should secure relaxation or rest until one is perfectly comfortable and continue feeling comfortable as long as one is awake.
The feeling of relaxation or comfort can be obtained with the memory of perfect sight. Even if one cannot remember perfect sight one can imagine it. All black objects should be imagined perfectly black. All white objects observed should be imagined perfectly white. All letters observed should be imagined perfectly and everything that is seen should be imagined perfectly.
To imagine anything imperfectly requires a strain, an effort, which is difficult. Choose the easy way. Imagine things perfectly.
If you try to imagine an object as stationary you will strain and your sight become impaired. All day long the eyes are moving from one point to another. Imagine that objects are moving opposite to the movement of the eyes. If one does not notice this one is very apt to strain and imagine things stationary.
One can practice properly for ten minutes and be comfortable. That does not mean that all the rest of the day one can strain and tear one’s eyes all to pieces without paying the penalty for breaking the law. If you are under treatment for imperfect sight be sure to keep in mind all day long from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night the feeling of comfort, of rest, of relaxation, incessantly. It is a great deal better to do that than to feel under a strain and be uncomfortable all day long.
I Don’t Have Time to Practice
By Dr. William H Bates
So many people with imperfect sight say that they have not the time to practice relaxation methods, as their time is taken up at business or in the performance of other duties. I always tell such people, however, that they have just as much time to use their eyes correctly as incorrectly.
They can imagine stationary objects to be moving opposite whenever they move their head and eyes. When the head and eyes move to the left, stationary objects should appear to move to the right, and vice versa.
They can remember to blink their eyes in the same way that the normal eye blinks unconsciously, which is frequently, rapidly, continuously, without any effort or strain, until by conscious practice, it will eventually become an unconscious habit, and one that will be of benefit to the patient.
They can remember to shift or look from one point to another continuously. When practicing shifting, it is well to move the head in the same direction as the eyes move. If the head moves to the right, the eyes should move to the right. If the head moves to the left, the eyes should move to the left. By practicing in this way, relaxation is often obtained very quickly, but if the eyes are moved to the right and at the same time the head is moved to the left, a strain on the nerves of the eyes and the nerves of the body in general is produced.