Did you know that bilateral eye movements (moving your eyes from left to right for 30 seconds) is scientifically proven to temporarily enhance cognitive states of memory, attention and creativity (Berroa et al 2018). These are all characteristics associated with (Harris, Vine and Wilson 2017) and therefore highly conducive to what is referred to as the "flow state". Why not give it a try for fun before your practice, we'd love to hear if you notice any kind of difference !
Story: One day, my ears perked with shock and excitement when I heard the word "flow" within the background babble from a tv show my daughter was watching. She had become very interested in a kids documentary on Netflix called "brainchild" and this particular episode was about creativity (Brainchild 2018). I zoned in to find out what was going on. The episode was doing various simple and fun mind experiments to help the participants become more creative. The particular experiment that had caught my attention was the one that claimed moving your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds enhanced your creative flow. I felt so happy that kids TV was talking about this kind of thing, but I also became interested in the various techniques that can be used to enhance or "trigger" flow states. Through research I discovered the eye movement is called bilateral. In our team chats I have also very recently been introduced to the Huberman Lab podcast around neuroplasticity through a Rich Roll podcast interview with Andrew Huberman that also discusses bilateral eye movement in the relief of stress (Huberman 2020)...so if anyone is interested in my trail of exploration, the links are all referenced below.
My personal experimentation and discussion: I have found the bilateral eye movement activity helps me explore moves from a different perspective more so than without, which has unlocked things that prior would have probably remained an ordinary but still helpful drill. Discipline to continue to use these new tools remains the greatest obstacle...In my opinion, that it can almost feel tiring to try something new might be testimony to the fact that it is exercising an under utilised neural network that could perhaps benefit flow development and performance.
When I find things like this out I always consider how they can be translated into practice to add to my flow journey. I would love to hear other peoples experiences with this approach to learning....what discoveries about the art of learning have you made and how have you applied them to your poi practice? I'd also love to see some others experiment with the bilateral eye movement and report back with your findings/experiences...did you notice any effect on/in your practice?
This is a shared learning journey, all comments with any feelings, thoughts, or feedback welcomed.
Much love to all passing through...
Berroa, J., DePalma, F., Fleck, J. L., Olsen, R., Miller, S., Tumminia, M., and Vrabel, A. (2018), Changes in brain connectivity following exposure to bilateral eye movements. Brain and Cognition. Vol.123: 142-153. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278262617303974
Creativity. (2018), Brainchild. Season 1. Episode 11. Netflix.
Harris, D. J., Vine, S. J., and Wilson, M. R. (2017), Chapter 12 - Neurocognitive mechanisms of flow state. Progress in Brain Research. Vol.234: 221-243. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0079612317300742
Huberman, A. (2020), Change your brain: Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman / Rich Roll Podcast. Interview by Rich Roll. 20th July. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwQhKFMxmDY