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Meditation: Cleaning the Lens of your Mind's Eye

Updated on March 10, 2014

Whether you use prescription eyewear or wear sunglasses, safety glasses or reading glasses, you know what a difference it makes when your lenses are clean. Meditation is like cleaning the lens of your mind’s eye.

Our eyes are our visual window on the universe. We use the information we get through this window to make decisions moment by moment, and also to store data for later use. If our vision is obstructed, for example, by eyewear that is not clean, we may miss information or receive distorted information. As a result of missing or distorted visual data we may make incorrect decisions.

In addition to physical eyesight, we also have a means of visualizing our world internally. We picture things in our mind, processing images of the present, imagining little scenes, remembering people, objects or events, or planning for the future. Visualization is like an eye that views the universe through the lens of our thoughts.

People without eyesight “see” the universe through their other senses. For the purposes of this article, visualization is any three-dimensional mental reconstruction of the physical world.

Being cognizant of the present is essential to survival. The image (or other sensory evidence) of the oncoming vehicle is transmitted to the brain and the brain decides whether or not to step in front of it. Visualizing the past or future is much less important, but is sometimes useful and often entertaining. Reviewing fond memories of the past brings joy to the present. Reviewing past mistakes helps one invent more effective methods. Projecting possible outcomes can be fun – fantasizing about a future pleasurable experience, for example; planning for the future is important, though not as important as it might seem.

Visualization of the past or future becomes a problem when it concentrates on negative themes. Dwelling on the past, it is easy to fall into regret, and worrying about the future is one of the most popular wastes of time ever invented. As we develop the bad habits of regret for the past and anxiety about the future we accumulate ‘dirt’ on the lens of our mind’s eye. Unhelpful negative visualizations of the past and future impede the ability to focus effectively on the present. We are worrying so much about losing our job, for example, that we step in front of the oncoming vehicle. We don’t ‘see’ it because we are to busy looking at a future or past that is not present. Our eyes work fine, but we don’t see.

So as not to be run over by life, it is best to clean the lens we use to visualize it. The best way to clean the lens of the mind’s eye is through meditation.

Medical Benefits

Meditation is the act of quieting the mind by focusing on something non-stressful such as one’s breathing or a quiescent word, phrase, image or visual point of focus. Medically speaking, this action moves blood flow away from the fight-or-flight center of your brain and toward the calming center of your brain – so it physically makes your brain feel better. Mentally, it clears the mind of excessive past imagery or future visualizations, freeing it to concentrate more on now. Now is where it’s at because life only happens now. It happened in the past, it will probably happen in the future, but the only time it is actually happening is now. You don’t want to miss it.

Clinical studies at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center have shown that a daily practice of meditation for as little as ten minutes a day can reduce blood pressure, slow the heart rate and reduce the effects of stress-related symptoms.

How To Meditate

There are several kinds of meditation, but most center around focusing on something simple: your breath, a focal point or a word, phrase or chant. Personally I find chanting to be too much work, but I also find that I cannot usually focus on my breath without some help. I usually meditate by thinking the words,

“I am breathing in and relaxing my body.”

“I am breathing out and relaxing my body.”

Later, if I feel sufficiently relaxed, I might switch to,

“I am breathing in and relaxing my mind.”

“I am breathing out and relaxing my mind.”

This is part of a meditation practice whose origin is attributed to Buddha, but there are many meditations out there. The best thing is to pick one that suits you and try to do it daily. People may call this a Buddhist meditation because it originates in the Buddhist tradition, but there is very little difference in the mechanics of meditation between one teaching and another. All meditation involves focusing the mind on a point of focus like the breath, a word, a phrase or a paragraph or a mental image. Meditation does not have to be a religious or spiritual practice, but it can be that as well.

I have a pretty much daily meditation practice – actually I meditate more often than I clean my glasses. I enjoy the sense of calm and happiness I derive, and the freedom from regret and anxiety that allows me to concentrate on the present. Using a mind in which extraneous thought has been reduced, the world comes sharply into focus. Each detail seems poignant and precious, since I know that in a moment the moment will be gone. These moments make up our lives. We should try not to miss them.



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    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 

      6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      most welcome Tom. see if you like my Terra Firma. let me know your thoughts...

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks very much, Kenja!

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 

      6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I'm visualizing visualization.

      Solid, helpful, well grounded. Nice work Tom. best regards, Ken

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      meditation is great and every on can do it just clear your mind

      great hub and waiting for more

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      Why thank you, Larry. Now, go write something.

    • Larry Okeke profile image

      Larry Okeke 

      7 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

      Boy oh boy! The way you elucidated everything without distortions, and your intricate use of metaphor and other locutions really got me envious. You are a good example of what a writer should be, man. This is simply the best hub i've read today!

    • Derek_Lane profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Fantastic hub. Thanks. It's really refreshing to read someone who looks at meditation in an empirical and authentic way. Understanding a process is really important for some people to engage in something.

      Once again thanks.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      8 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Excellent use of metaphor! Clear examples, and easy-to-understand explanation of the concept. Voted up & useful!

    • avorodisa profile image

      Anna Sidorova 

      8 years ago from Russia

      I completely agree with the benefits of the meditation and recommend everyone to meditate on a daily basis. This is really very useful!

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Great hub. GBY.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      8 years ago from United States

      It's good for me to read this and remind myself: Life is happening right now. Don't miss it!

      Thank you.

    • kafsoa profile image


      8 years ago

      This is really nice, I tried to relax and it was really great. Thanks Tom. I know why you have 850+ followers:)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Very good article on meditation. In this busy world it makes such a difference to how you get through each day. Thanks.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      8 years ago

      What a great analogy -- about cleaning your eyeglasses. I am always so amazed when I take the time to really look, listen, reflect. Thanks!

    • C-Bless profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Good hub, good read, very nice poetic title! Thank you for sharing ...

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I must wash my eyes and my mind.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      Thanks Tom, I must try to practice that.

    • njmanura profile image

      Dr Manura Nanayakkara 

      8 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Nice article on meditating

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thank you, JMPruitt, and thank you, Petra.

      Hi Feline. My teacher says that we all are distracted by our thoughts, but it's when we bring ourselves back to our focus that we begin to establish new neuro-pathways that eventually lead us automatically toward relaxation instead of stress. When we are distracted, we should note the distraction, accept it, and return to our meditation.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      I've been trying to meditate regularly for a while now, but I don't think I'm getting past the 'quieting the body' stage - my mind still manages to chatter!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      I always believed that “blue, green or brown eyes” are for décor only, while the eye that really counts is the magic eye of the soul and mind. Thank you for reminding us Tom about the power of taking control through meditation

    • jmpruitt1975 profile image


      8 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Totally awesome Hub. thanks for sharing. I agree. Too many people focus on things that they cannot control or change such as the past or future. They also focus on things they have no control over rather than what they are doing to improve their lives.

      Meditation has been one of my favorite ways to work out some of these, and clear the mind. it is also a great way to find the solutions to those other worries, if you learn to listen to your inner voice.


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