This is a chapter exerpted from
“Primordial Grace: Earth, Original Heart, and the visionary Path of Radiance” by Robert and Rachel Olds
Experienced Dzogchen practitioners
Typically this is referred to as gazing.
Wide-angle vision is a powerful support for opening your heart as you sit or as you walk. Just as openness is the natural mode of your heart, wide-angle vision is the natural mode of your eyes. Original peoples used their eyes in wide-angle vision most of the time, using more tightly focused tunnel vision only for specific tasks. The modern world with its emphasis on the written word demands focused tunnel vision for most activities, and it has become a habit even when not necessary. This use of the eyes in turn reinforces tunnel mind, restricting and closing off access to other modes of perception. Learning to use the eyes in wide-angle vision, aware without focusing on the peripheral field, allows the mind to open to the natural spaciousness of the heart and eyes.
The mind or intellect is closely connected to the eyes; how you choose to use your eyes affects your mind. Wide-angle vision allows everything in a 180-degree range to come in all at once. This saturation of the visual field floods the brain with information and shifts attention to the receptive quality of the eyes, to receptiveness itself rather than content, softening the intensity of the mind and lessening its ability- to control the heart. Wide-angle vision helps cut through the tendency of mind or intellect to take over, and you can settle more easily into your heart. And because it is the natural way to use our eyes, this is a very effective way for spiritual practitioners to reclaim direct experience of the natural indwelling openness of our hearts and reconnect with the fabric of being.
Most people have allowed their minds to be dominant and use their eyes in a channeled, tunnel vision way, not only through habitually focusing on the written word, but also by grabbing blindly out of the negative emotions and limitations of separate identity upheld by the mind. This experience of the mind can be very compelling, making it difficult to access the natural inclusiveness and openness of your heart. Wide-angle vision can help release the hold that the mind has on the eyes and on the heart The eyes go naturally into wide-angle vision when you go to your heart, and the process is reciprocal; intentionally going into wide-angle vision facilitates blending with your heart and the heart of all”
Artists Robert and Rachel Olds spent nine years in spiritual retreat together integrating Earth living and the practices of primordial grace. They came to their retreat after years of spiritual inquiry through their artwork and years of letting go and simplifying their lives to connect more fully with the natural world. Through their books, slide presentations, and their website acircleisdrawn.org they share their perspective from the completion of the visionary path of radiance to encourage recognition that this Earth, this vision we call life, is a sacred offering.
Books like this were helpful to me.