DAY 13: 2 Minutes & 10 Seconds of Gazing

a faded sunrise
Brian Hogan

I have been doing this thing where I am trying not to wear my sunglasses anymore. In The Earth Was Flat Dwinell mentions that he no longer had the need for sunglasses after a while of sungazing. I thought about the unyielding brightness of the sun at high noon and about how I could barely keep my eyes open without shades or a hat or my hand on my forehead unless I wanted to stare at a gummy sidewalk all the way home. So I decided that going shadeless at high noon with blond hair and blue eyes sounded like it was almost a super power already, so I would start to build my arsenal of special abilities with that one. Dwinell’s book also mentions that the eye doctor’s who were interviewed for his documentary would more often than not say that wearing sunglasses can do more harm than good by weakening the eye and filtering out nourishing light. So in the spirit of experimentation and curiosity I am giving it a try with varied results. I have been at this for about a week and the first few days I had committed to this I carried my sunglasses around with me anyway just in case it became unbearable. I am blonde with blue eyes so I gotta be extra careful in situations like this. The sun is attracted to me, he’s totally into me, so you know, I’ve got to take precautions. 

Often in those early days I would inadvertently toss on my shades without even thinking about it. A few times hours went by. I would take my sunglasses off to read something and I’d squint and remember I’m trying to go without my sunglasses because the flood of luminous noonday sun reminded me. But even then I would involuntarily toss them back on as years of habit and muscle memory took over. I’d have to groan inwardly, remind myself that this is all in the name of science and blogging and magic and then I would muster my internal forces, call all hands on deck and make a conscious choice to do what I committed to do, to make friends with the sunlight. So the shades would come off, the brow would furrow, and decorum be damned the tears would start to roll. 

I wonder if I look distraught to the people who pass me by on the street. As I fight not to squint and keep my face relaxed I overcompensate in the other direction by holding my eyes intensely wide like a perpetually shocked mannequin. All the while a constant stream of tears falls down my cheeks from the lake building in my now puffy and red eyes. This is not even from a direct look at her, it’s simply from going shadeless in the afternoon. But I persevere because I remember that i couldn’t even gaze at the sun for 20 seconds without squinting and now I can look directly at it for over two minutes in the morning or the evening. So if my eyes can adjust to a sunrise and a sunset, they can adjust to this. Squinting is going to be a thing of my past. And if I can achieve that, then most certainly I can learn how to fly! Right? So I press on. 

Fast forward seven days and true to my expectations my baby blues are actually adjusting to the white bright midday light. I still carry my sunglasses with me, but they live in the bottom of my laptop bag instead of gripped by white knuckles in my hand. I am encouraged. I still look like a sad just-been-dumped gay boy when I walk the streets of West Hollywood, but it’s a small price to pay to be able to see every single thing in my experience more clearly than I could before. And that goes for internal things too, emotional things, non-verbal things. 

I am starting to be able to predict how others are going to react to the stimuli of their environment before they do react. I am seeing more clearly the cause and effect relationship between all things at all times. I am seeing patterns where I saw only the randomness of life. I am seeing methods where I used to see simply moments. And this new perspective, this tiny taste of what it means to see the future makes me calm. I am starting to let go of this deep unspoken fear that life is looking for any opportunity to blindside me with something. Instead I am starting to understand how you reap what you sow, and how our choices and actions and thoughts do truly create our experience. I am the author of my destiny and as I become more aware of that it fills me with peace. As I gaze at the sun, as I adjust to the midday light I find I am able to see more than I could before. There is another dimension to everything, the invisible aspect of each thing that is connected to the invisible aspect of every other thing. Quantum physicists call it the field of energy, Jesus called it The Kingdom of Heaven, Buddha says Oneness. I like to think of it as an energy net that we are all caught up in. And I can’t see the net itself, but I am starting to perceive the results of the net, the effects of the net. And the most outlandish part of all: the net can think and feel, and it feels pretty crazy about me. My vision has expanded. So I no longer think life is trying to pull the rug out from under me. How can life blindside you when you don’t have a blind side anymore?

SIDE EFFECTS: I walk around looking like everyone I know just died because I’m not wearing my sunglasses in the unforgiving afternoon and it still makes me cry. 

BENEFITS: I am able to recognize around me more of the intangible stuff behind life that we have been programmed to believe ins’t even real. 

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About Brian

About Brian

Brian is a Writer, Clarity Coach, Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor who loves teaching and learning, and living in the uncertainty of it all.

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