With my eyes shut tight I searched for any colours or shapes that would suggest that my mind’s eye has not calcified and prematurely died just because I’ve gotten older. My mind’s eye, the part of me that draws in light, sparks imagination, drives dreaming; it’s this tiny ball of retinal tissue similar to our two seeing eyes that sits in a pocket between them amidst our foreheads, my yoga teacher explained. For whatever reasons, over time it can become calcified, she said – perhaps too much fluoride? – and that’s why we don’t dream as vividly or as brightly or as often as we did as children. But I’m still dreaming vividly, brightly, and often, I wanted to say. I’ve been dreaming this way until recently, that is, and this wave of hot panic came over me from behind; its strength compressing my shoulders and charging me with worry. Has my mind’s eye gone sour? Lost its touch? Grown mouldy with age?
“We’re going to do the entire class blindfolded,” my teacher said. “We’re going to try to light up our mind’s eye, especially for those who have lost it.” She instructed us to take a face cloth and a yoga strap, fastening them tight around out temples to block out all the light. “After 75 minutes, I hope you’ll be able to see colours and shapes again,” she said, encouragingly. The most discouraging sight, however, was what I saw when I shut my eyes tight and fastened the yoga strap around my head. Complete darkness. All I saw was black.
Maybe it doesn’t work right away… I thought.
For the entire class I tried my best to see colour. Is that purple? I thought, as we tried to balance in tree pose in complete darkness. It wasn’t purple. It was black. Maybe it’s deep purple, I thought, trying to appease myself. Focus on yoga, I barked in frustration.
What if these images and stories and sights were gone forever, I feared. It was one way I vowed to never live: without imagination. There have always been people in my life telling me to stop, slow down, quiet down, get down… I despised those words but they also taught me to move on and up and to continue dreaming; to continue climbing and yelling and breathing and seeing all the stories and places others were incapable of seeing. Incapable because their mind’s eye has calcified. And now I’m in this yoga class, blindfolded, rocking side to side in happy baby pose, wondering if I’ll ever see colours and shapes again.
As we practiced and moved through a flow a little too quick for the unbalanced black mud I was wading through, I began to see something. I began to see cracks. As the black behind my eyes cracked, a white light shone through. Is that yellow? I thought. No, it was white. I stretched and breathed to a black cracked wall of white light peeking through. I’m getting somewhere, I gleamed. But I was still searching for colour.
The cracks began to form shapes. The emotion I felt could only be described as being too short to peek over a tall brick wall, and knowing there was something incredible on the other side that I just couldn’t see. As the jagged corners formed curves, I thought that what was beyond them – where the white light was coming from – was what I wanted to see. I wanted to see the source. I wanted to be on the other side. When class ended I felt this insatiable need to solve this mystery; the same charged feeling of picking up a Nancy Drew book or Babysitter’s Little Sister book as a young girl. I didn’t stop reading until I knew how it all ended.
A daughter of art and narrative and not one of science, I’ve grown increasingly interested in this peculiar form of study. It explains a lot and I pinch myself for not harbouring even a bit of interest back in high school. I furiously typed in ‘mind’s eye calcifying’ in my search engine to learn more about this common blockage. Here’s what I found:
The ‘mind’s eye’ is scientifically referred to as the pineal gland, “a small, pine-cone shaped endocrine gland in the brain that produces and secretes the hormone melatonin.” It is this gland that releases DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound found in nearly every living organism and also, strangely, us. (Aside: watch this awesome doc, which I believe is also on Netflix.) Descartes even described this gland as the “principle seat of the soul.”
The gland’s importance and awareness is growing in common place popularity. The idea of ‘awakening’ it so that we, as humans, can function optimally is rapidly gaining momentum. I can definitely see how this pineal gland has made its way into my yoga glass and I, myself, would love to awaken mine. The problem is this calcification causes us to become sluggish. With a strong correlation with Alzheimer’s disease (one I joke about as my fate when I am older), the pineal gland’s rate of calcification is directly affected by our diets, mentality, and lifestyle choices.
The solution? A healthy, chemical-free habit of consuming. In short: eat real food.
As my teacher mentioned, fluoride is a huge impacter of this calcification, being rapidly collected and held in the gland itself. Fluoride also has the ability to inhibit our ability to get a deep, rejuvenating sleep, simply because it decrease melatonin production. So what can we do to prevent calcification of the pineal gland?
- Cut out fluoride, mainly found in toothpaste and improperly filtered water
- Take apple cider vinegar to detoxify and to make your body more alkaline (balanced)
- Eat iodine-rich foods to reduce sodium fluoride in the body — these are foods like seaweed, kelp, cranberries, green beans, kale, darky leafy greens, bananas…
- Subscribe to healthy fats like coconut oil
- Eat raw cocoa to stimulate the brain and pineal gland
- Consume natural herms like gotu kola, alfalfa sprouts, and parsley to heal and de-calcify
- Let the light in by ditching the sunglasses and exposing your eyes to indirect sunlight — vitamin D helps fight depression and improves brain stimulation while stimulating the pineal gland
As an aside, I also did some research on white light. Looking for answers, connections, and possibilities is something I love to believe in. White light is said to be completely absent of colour, yet containing every wavelength of the visible spectrum at equal acuteness. In a spiritual sense it is where positive energies are stored and is often used for transformation or purification. I’ll take that as an internal sense of encouragement; like I had spent the class cleansing my aura and I am, in a sense, recharged and refreshed; a clean slate of sorts.