Summer camps are completed for the year and Amara and I have a little time to relax, enjoy the beautiful space we call Central Oregon and reflect on all of the magical experiences we’ve had this dry (so very dry) season. One such reflection has been our focus this summer on the deeper aspects of nature awareness. Each week we spent a fair amount of time examining our own inner nature in the form of our ‘mind’s eye.’ As we’ve gotten several questions from parents about this topic, I thought it’d be wise to touch on the subject with a blog post.
Simply put, your mind’s eye is akin to your imagination. If this isn’t clear enough, follow along in this simple exercise: close your eyes and take a deep breath. Now, with your eyes closed, imagine yourself standing in a forest with a very large tree in front of you. Look up and see the branches of this tree way above your head. See the texture of the bark and examine if there is anything beneath the tree with you. Now take another deep breath and open your eyes. What did you see? Could you see the branches and the bark? If not, it’s okay. With practice you can. Most of you, however, were likely able to see a rather detailed scene, despite having your eyes closed. This muscle that allows you to ‘see’ such things is what we call the ‘mind’s eye.’ It is akin to a superpower because it is outside of the five senses that we normally use to obtain information from the world.
This may seem like fairly elementary stuff, but let me assure you, it is quite profound. For example, if you do the simple exercise above with 50 people in a room, every single one of those 50 people will see a different scene. They may see a different species from one another, a different shape of the same species, a different bark pattern, or something completely unique joining them below the tree. Whatever the case, every single version of the tree in the forest will be different. This is important for a couple reasons. Like a dream while we sleep, the content of the mind’s eye can be externally generated (the prompt in our exercise or daily events in a dream). A great deal of the experience is also arising spontaneously from the depths of our sub-conscious. Thus, by examining and using our mind’s eye we create a pathway to this normally inaccessible region of our nature. There are various avenues to analyzing this content, which isn’t within the scope of this blog, but it is valuable to note. (If you want a quick investigation into what may have been revealed, look up the species of tree you saw and see if its qualities match your character.)
Our mind’s eye is capable of creating unique results with the exact same input. That’s pretty amazing if we contemplate it. Enter a prompt into a computer and you will always get the same result. Even a random number generator will average the exact same outcome as a random generator next to it, despite the order presented. Yet, it would be quite unusual and significant if two humans arrived at the same exact tree within the same exact forest. The ability to think freely and creatively on the same topic is one of the elements that confirms our consciousness.
Beyond conjuring up dream like messages from our inner depths, our minds eye can also be trained to retrieve data that we never consciously took in. Spies, for instance, are trained to be able to access details that they have only seen in passing for a fleeting moment. The subconscious is constantly storing this information, like a hard drive, and can be called upon at our demand. Well trained spies need only look into the event with their mind’s eye and get an accurate picture of what happened.
It is also possible for the mind’s eye to tap into the collective consciousness. There are beyond numerous accounts of people knowing things about a place, time, incident, or person that they have never seen or known about. Have you ever heard a story about a person who woke up in the middle of the night and saw a relative in their head and knew they had just passed? Or a person who dreamed of a place only to go there and discover he/she somehow saw it correctly? There are thousands of these stories, probably a lot more. Amara herself has one such chilling story from when she was only a year and half old recounted by her mother at the very bottom of this blog.
The mind’s eye is a rarely utilized sense in today’s world. What if it was a muscle we developed, as it is a birthright of our nature? How far could we take this sense to perceive greater depths of reality? Ancient cultures and many indigenous cultures highly valued this skill and considered it essential to life. Why have we let it fade to mere imagination, which is often discouraged?
One way you can continue developing the mind’s eye with your kids is to make a game out of testing each other’s skills of observation. For instance, you can be walking down a road and all of the sudden say “Stop and close your eyes!” Then test the other person on the color of the car that you just walked by. Alternately, you can take several objects and arrange them on a napkin or bandanna. The other person only gets a short glimpse and then they must recreate the exact same pattern on another napkin or bandana. You can adapt this concept to many different places such as restaurants, in nature, while shopping, or even at home. Games like this not only develop the mind’s eye but encourage presence and alertness.
Because we have had so much interest in this topic from both kids and parents, we have decided to make it one of our primary focuses in our Sacred Arts 9-Month Program and our Wildheart Girls’ Empowerment Program starting both this September. The reason we are incorporating it into our 9-month programs is because, just like a muscle, the mind’s eye needs to be practiced on a regular basis for a substantial length of time in order to develop.
Our goal at Wildheart is to rekindle this inner flame of awareness in the youth. We want them to value the power of their mind’s eye, so we exercise it regularly with imagination games and activities. Unsurprisingly, they have little trouble getting into this world of internal visioning. I can only look forward to the day when they begin to teach me about the untapped power of this human sense. What a bright future that will be!
Thanks for reading and I hope to connect with you again soon,
Rainbow Eagle Dreamer
Wildheart Nature School
RELATED STORY FROM AMARA’S INFANCY
Recounted by Carolyn Morgan (Amara’s Mother)
Amara was born in March of 1988. About a year and a half later, a man named Buck Helm was traveling across a bridge in San Francisco on October 17, 1989 when a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Northern California area. Buck, or “Bucky,” as he was referred to in news reports, was trapped in the bridge collapse for 4 days, and there was a frantic rescue effort going on to free him from his car before he died of lack of food/water. They were able to rescue Bucky but he was in critical condition.
Sometime the next month after the quake, Amara was taking a nap. I was in the bedroom at the same time when she suddenly awoke, sat bolt upright in her bed, opened her eyes, and said in a sweet and soft, toddler voice, “Bucky.” Her tone was one of recognition, sort of like she knew him, or “there you are, Bucky.”
Later that day, news reports announced that Buck “Bucky” Helms had died of complications from the earthquake. So, she could have overheard the news reports a month earlier mentioning Buck, but there’s no way a 1 1/2 year-old would keep that memory in mind for more than a minute (if that, since she didn’t know what it all meant). And she said, “Bucky” before the news reported his passing.