DAY 169: 18 Minutes & 20 Seconds of Gazing

sunset and sailboats
Brian Hogan

It feels good to be gazing steadily again. My gazing has been sporadic over the last few weeks and yet The Great Whatever out there has been guiding me toward books and videos that shout the themes of devotion and practice and determination. I made a resolution with myself at the New Year that I was going to try to read a book a week in 2014, and at the very least I would read 41 books (because that’s how many blanks I was able to fit on the big book board I made and hung on my wall as a way to keep myself motivated). Currently I am on book 25, and yet the year is well past half over. So in an effort to catch up I downloaded a few short books from my account and I also picked up an old Echhart Tolle book that I was already half way done with (shh, this might be cheating) in order to add some quick titles to the board. Well as it happens both the Tolle book and the ones I downloaded to my iPhone are predominantly about mental training and they have been reverberating in my mind even as I let business and busy-ness distract me for the last few weeks. 

I have been dedicated, gazing pretty steadily since April, but I haven’t been devoted or determined, I now realize. I have just been meeting the sun, and expecting the light to do all the work. I now understand that I need to show up in a receptive state, in an expectant state, in a calm and patient state. I must do my part in allowing the sun to enter and work it’s magic. I have been doing the HRM protocol, so named for it’s originator and largest advocate Hira Ratan Manek, who made headlines and piqued my interest when the article came out saying he had been observed by NASA for over 100 days and didn’t eat a thing because he could live off the sunlight. 

In this midst of this revelation about my desire to be more devoted and to treat this journey as more sacred I happened to watch the documentary about sun-gazing called Eat the Sun. This documentary follows around Mason Dwinell, author of The Earth Was Flat: The Ancient Practice of Sun-Gazing as he tries an experiment much like the one I am undertaking now. After completing the entire protocol of 44 minutes in over nine months he decides in the film that sun-gazing is not for him. He also sees an eye doctor and discovers a burn on both his retinas. There is also a subplot in the film where a camera man secretly follows around Hira Ratan Manek in dramatic Michael Moore style and in the end catches him secretly eating food at a local indian restaurant. The waves of disappointment that went through me when I saw that HRM had been secretly eating were palpable. I am not doing this to lose my appetite for food, I love eating, but somehow the revelation that this man perpetrated a deception wounded my faith in this whole experiment. I guess you’re probably thinking “you should have watched that documentary before you spent 5 months burning your retinas you nincompoop.” And if so the first thing I want to say to you is that nobody says nincompoop anymore you big ninny. And secondly, the timing of The Great Whatever couldn’t be more perfect actually. If I had seen this video at the beginning I probably wouldn’t have started, or made it past the first week if I did start. But now, over five months in, I know that something real and deep is happening to me, so one man’s lapse of judgment and integrity and another man’s burned retinas don’t have the same power to turn me from this path that they would have had at the start of my quest for hotness, healing and super powers. 

Juxtaposed against the books I’ve been reading about devotion the documentary only emboldened me even more to have my own experience with the sun and document it as honestly and clearly as I can. I know how visceral and transformative this experience can be, even at only the halfway mark, and if other curious souls only have Eat the Sun and Dwinell’s book to turn to when investigating whether sun-gazing is right for them, then I want to add my two cents to the mix. This shit works, even if you keep eating. Hell, I love eating, I’m in this to get skinny and healthy and maybe read minds, but I’m sure as shit not giving up pizza. And incidentally, despite the burns the eye doctors found on Dwinell’s retinas he reports that he can see better than ever and in the exams he showed no symptoms of eye problems. Th eye doctor was surprised that with a burn that size he was reporting no issue and testing off the charts for accuracy. So the sun may burn my eyes, but if so it will be a sacred branding, not an incapacitating injury. I am ready to be marked. I am ready for anything. 

SIDE EFFECTS: The sun was very hot and bright tonight. I squinted and cried and felt a throbbing in my temple. 

BENEFITS: I am a different person. I’m not sure words can describe just how the sun repairs the unknown broken parts of me. But I emerge after each session now feeling energized, well, and serene. 

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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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