Taking This Work Forward
Aileen Whiteford
Sunday 26th October 2008
'This natural vision thing' (thanks Peter Mansfield), who is it for and how do we take it forward into the 21st century?

At the outset of this conference Peter Mansfield posed some challenging ideas and questions. Other presenters shared insights into the 'how' of Natural Vision, Kevin Wooding particularly drew our attention to the notion that seeing well is in fact a holistic process, a process that develops and enhances overall health and well-being. I too see Natural Vision from this 'whole being' perspective, the 'self'. Does or should, this notion then inform the above question?

Really there are two questions to be considered: Natural Vision Education, who is it for and how do we take it forward? I will take the easy one first! Who is it for? In a word, 'everyone'. No exceptions.

Seeing is a whole being, integrated process and as such it is learned and developed, more or less, as are all the other human skills and, like many of those skills, sometimes effective learning is impeded for a multitude of reasons. However, take heart, Dr. Bates suggested that if we can learn to see badly we can equally relearn to see well. Also, a person's age and condition of eyesight is no barrier.

Sounds simple enough, Natural Vision Improvement is informed by a few basic principles: relaxation, light, movement, present centredness, balance and integration. That's the science. However here's the hard bit, how do you translate the science into the art? The art of seeing well.

So to the second question, how do we take Natural Vision Education forward? As Peter Mansfield points out, it's been around for long enough why doesn't everyone know, use and benefit from it?

What was highlighted this week-end is that 'vision', 'seeing', 'eyesight' is about the 'self' and 'being'. My sense is that this is more or less how we need to advertise and sell this product. We are living in "health conscious" times where many people are taking on the idea that health and well-being is a holistic (self) state of being, not simply the absence of illness or disease and more and more accepting that wellness is a personal responsibility. In this context eyesight is no exception. So, if it is about marketing natural vision, how best can it be delivered?

Many of you at this conference are either teachers or students of the Bates Method, so you know a bit about these questions. What brought you to 'Bates', what keeps you involved, what are your thoughts about how the 'Method' is marketed and delivered?

I often wonder, if Dr. Bates revisited us at this time in history how he would market and deliver this groundbreaking work. My sense is the essence would be the same, his thinking would have continued to develop and his approach would be congruent with the present day climate. I contend that this remarkable man would not have been daunted and I believe that we can take up the challenge to take this work forward in the determined and convinced spirit of the founder.

Aileen Whiteford is a qualified and experienced vision teacher who brings to her work the benefits of her long and varied experience as a professional educator, counsellor and psychotherapist. Aileen is the co-founder of College of Vision Education and has a successful practice with clients in Scotland and London. She is available for workshops and training internationally. Aileen can be contacted by email at vision dot education at btopenworld dot com.