Bates Method International

Dreamtime and Visualisation

Age: -- Condition: --

by Frances Ham

Spider Dream

In my dream I feel something trying to cover my left eye. I put my hand over my eye and pull away a large hairy spider and throw it down on the ground. Then I touch my left eye more gently and feel that there is another spider fixed to the eyelid. I carefully prise it off - the feet are stuck to the skin of my eyelid and the surrounding skin. It is a thin and a much less hairy kind of spider with very clinging legs and feet and it is quite difficult to pull gently away from my eye.

When covering my right eye and looking through the left eye alone, the world seems new-born, shimmering and quivering, fluid and luminous - almost magical. Accepting pictures through my left eye is seeing without trying to analyse or make sense of what I am seeing.

When I look in the mirror I now make a conscious effort to make eye contact with my left eye because I noticed that, habitually, I find myself making contact with the right eye.

I have also noticed that I close my left eye in bright sunshine and when I first wake up. Now make a point of opening and allowing the light to be received by my left eye.

From my childhood I have two distinct memories connected to eyesight. The first was when I was about ten years of age. We were living in Devon, in a small village several miles from Plymouth and it was important that my mother should learn to drive and take her test. It was only then that my mother, after fourteen years of marriage, admitted to my father that she was short-sighted and would need glasses to pass her driving test. My father saw all physical imperfections as signs of weakness and my mother had hidden her short-sight for as long as she could to try to gain his approval (or avoid his disapproval). This scene is etched on my mind as it must have brought into focus the relationship between my parents - my father expecting the impossible and my mother always fearful of disappointing him. I knew, at some level, that I could never live up to my father’s expectations and chose therefore to be like my mother.

The second memory was a few years later when I was away from home at a hated boarding school and I can remember blotting out all the people around me by deliberately staring into space until everything became blurred. It felt like a minor act of aggression and of self-defence and I must admit there was a hint of self-pity about it too.

Visualisation and eyesight

Visualisation is the inner world; eyesight shows the mind the outer world. The mind controls visualisation and the mind alters the eyesight to fit in with preconceived ways of understanding the world.

Visualisation gives me control of what I see and how I see it. It allows me to prepare a sequence of events and produce the desired outcome. Visualisation allows me to rehearse situations and practise emotions and behaviours in advance. Seeing is out of my control, Seeing is finding myself in a situation I cannot change at will and from which I cannot escape. Visualisation is creativity and imagination. Seeing is being faced with objective reality and having to make sense of it.

Within my inner world I can protect my self-image, I can interpret external facts to fit my idea of who I am and how I project myself. With vision I enter the external world and may or may not feel part of it depending upon the way in which my external reality and my internal reality are able to match one another.

There are many states of internal vision - - relaxation and day-dreaming. Hypnosis and dreaming. In visualisation the sub-conscious communicates directly with the inner world, the Inner eye presenting forgotten or mislaid memories and insights. The mind is less in control when it is connected to the subconscious but the inner world is strengthened further by these visual messages which have no direct relation to eyesight.

To visualise is to use your mind. By visualising an ideal version of reality you are able to strive towards something better, Utopian dream maybe, or a new way of helping others or of creating or of innovating.

Inner vision can transcend reality and can help to formulate dreams of a better world. An individual may find a vision, something to follow and aspire to ... Visionaries are capable of making the jump from what is possible and familiar to what may seem to be unrealistic and unrealisable.

Using visualisation as a technique for personal growth can help people to make positive changes in their lives and give them the motivation to reach new goals. Athletes are taught to visualise themselves winning the events during the weeks before they compete.

Eyesight, on the other hand, is more rational and less emotional. To see clearly means to deal with the facts and the information necessary to take correct actions and to make correct decisions. The clear sighted person is in touch with reality and is less likely to be taken in or exploited by others. The clear sighted person is part of the world around him or her and is involved in the present moment as opposed to being lost in memories of the past or dreams of the future. Seeing clearly means less ambiguity, less confusion and muddle, less misunderstanding.


The early morning, after staying up late typing about my spider dream, my thoughts about visualisation and eyesight and my ideas about my childhood and the connection with vision, I woke up from a dream which incorporated all the strands mentioned above.

I dreamed that I was back at boarding school, taking part in a play which did not seem to have a set script or proper stage directions. I had a small part, but I was uncertain when I was supposed to be on stage and was very fearful about forgetting my lines. I then realised that the director was my father and that he had changed the sequence of the scenes and I felt confused. I decided to go on stage and say my lines and then felt very ashamed when he told me very coldly that I wasn’t in that scene. He ignored me studiously and I felt very unhappy.

I longed to get away from this school. I thought to myself that I am still not quite 14 and I shall have to stay at least until I’m 15 or maybe even 16. If I left the school I’d have to go to another school. I felt trapped and very miserable indeed - helpless and angry.

Case History copyright © by Frances Ham