How to Stare into the Darkness

See in the Dark

Our physical eyes habituate us to looking at the world in a certain way. We must recalibrate this to open our inner gaze. The method for doing so resides with some helpful optical illusions. Perceiving one’s inner world can come naturally to some, while others may develop this skill through arduous practice or psychedelics. They may not be aware of the slight change in how they use their eyes that makes it happen. Once we identify this, we can dramatically shorten the time to learn the skill, and can easily train it using specific techniques.

Let’s start with the Coffer Illusion. When most people look at the image below, they usually see straight lines and square shapes as their eyes move across it. This foveal vision is excellent for the external world, but internally we should let our focus relax and let images come forward. This may sound very abstract, but the illusion will make it apparent. Allow the perception of circles with vertical lines to emerge, rather than squares and horizontal ones. You may actually feel a physical shift in perception. Once shifted, you can keep the circles in focus with a slightly different type of attention, but if it gets too brittle, it will slip back into the boxes.

Coffer Illusion

Now close your eyes now and look into the darkness. Through habit, the eyes will keep the muscle pattern of foveal sight. If you recreate the feeling of the shift you used with the illusion, your vision will relax and your perception of darkness will change. This is the beginning of the inward gaze. If you learn to hold this way of looking for a time, interesting things will begin to happen.

Strengthening single-pointed focus with Trataka can also enhance the strength of seeing with the periphery. We use the same “muscle” to lock focus on a dot as to lock in a wider field of vision. A natural practice sequence is to do Trataka, working up to 15 minutes, then palm the eyes and practice the open gaze used to see and hold the 16 circles. Very clear images will emerge which, if focused upon directly, will vanish. We can use this same way of looking with eyes open to learn to see things like auras and devas. Engaging peripheral vision will also switch off the body’s stress response. A handy technique for managing anxiety or fear in daily life.