“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The vision of the domesticated eye is bounded by the vertical structures of walls and screens. Long-distance looking, an action taken for granted by the wild eye, gives rest to the cilia, the tiny muscles that control the shape of the eye lens and allow us to focus our vision up close. Land, water, and sky expand along horizontal orientations and offer us endless opportunities for health in time and space—if only we would look up from the high-definition, reality-replacing screens that captivate us and the irony of our windows operating system. Those of us who might be called “digital deniers” or “meta-hesitant” know that myopia is a disease of domestication.
Both physical and metaphorical in its manifestation, the myopic eye is a blind eye unable to see the wisdom in William Gibson’s words: “We see to move, we move to see.” If and when we will ourselves to look up and out, we are inevitably moved beyond the screen, through the painting, walking out the door, and along a path that surrounds us in the wild, woolly world of smells, sounds, textures, and long-distance looking. We are restored, but it is not just the health of our eye that depends upon the mobility of our vision. We care about that which we experience. The health and flourishing of land, water, and sky depend upon our living, breathing, moving experience of it. We demand a horizon, and the horizon demands us.
From Jaimen McMillan, The Fourfold Path to Healing:
“The Suprapersonal Space is the term for the state of being present in the physical body and in the surrounding space simultaneously. It is a feeling of ‘I am in the body’ and ‘I am one with my surroundings.’ As an example, imagine the feeling you have when you stand on a hillside on a summer evening with the dome of the heavens overhead—you experience a unity and direct connection with every star.
This is a religious experience in the original sense of the word ‘religion,’ namely to relegate or re-connect the individual with the realm of nature. The Superapersonal Space transcends the moment and provides an experience of timelessness: the past, the present, and the future merge into one. These are the moments in which athletes perform at their peak, in which artists receive inspiration, in which pure communication and understanding occur; on the thinking level, these are the moments of breakthrough, of ‘understanding,’ in which you are ‘standing under’ everything you were attempting to grasp.
. . . [M]ovement exercises [can] help you to experience Suprapersonal Space, particularly those in which the arms are led peripherally, from the outside. For example, if you see a hawk, you naturally point to the hawk. As the bird dips and soars, your hand will also have to move in order to follow it. You do not initiate this motion from within; instead, your hand follows the motion peripherally. The hawk in the distant sky determines the movement of your hand.
In a larger sense, we experience or recognize our destiny outside of ourselves and then follow it. We cannot push this process; rather, the opportunities present themselves to us for us to follow. When we follow our destiny in this way, rather than forcing it through an effort of will, we are engaging in the Suprapersonal Space.”