A large portion of our brain power is used to create the visual experience. ~30% of the cortex is dedicated to vision. Fortunately, it is the sense over which we have the most control.
It is possible to increase your brain power in other areas just by shutting down your vision, which is easy: close your eyes.
Perhaps the 30% can’t be completely redirected to other senses, but if you just try it, you will discover that the difference is significant and noticeable.
Your mind is like a computer. The more CPU one application uses, the less there is for the others, and they become sluggish. Vision uses a lot of brain CPU, and rightly so – it’s the primary means by which you navigate the world.
Just by closing your eyes you can free up that CPU and redirect a significant portion of it either to another of the four senses or to your inner world, the non-physical reality of infinite creativity from which all physical manifestations originate.
The Other Four Senses
When you close your eyes, not only will your brain automatically compensate for your lack of vision by heightening the other senses, but if you focus on a specific sense, you can really enhance it.
Close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you. They become amplified. You can hear things you couldn’t have heard while your mind was preoccupied organizing visual stimuli and creating the visual experience.
Listen to the music, the birds, the breeze through the trees. Listen to the ever-so-subtle whizzing behind all of the physical sounds. It is the energetic sound of the Universe.
Close your eyes and redirect that portion of your focus to the physical sensations of your body. They are intensified and better able to be separated and appreciated.
The sensual touch of a lover, the wind and sun on your skin, the ground beneath your feet, your inexorable heart beating in your chest. The overall experience of what it physically feels like to be you. No one else feels quite the same.
Close your eyes and pay attention to all of the scents. They’re always there but most pass without conscious acknowledgement.
The wet earth, the grass, the wind. These are rich experiences often ignored. When we’re lucky, a smell can remind us of a memory long lost in a way no other sense is able.
Close your eyes and notice the varied tastes of food and drink upon your tongue.
A bite of a ribeye, an omelette, or a strawberry. The sharpness of a hoppy IPA or the smooth dullness of a cool glass of milk. Notice the multitude of different individual flavors that comprise the overall taste experience, and bask in them.
Your Inner World
Instead of focusing the extra brain power on one of the other four senses, you can focus it inward to whichever ability you wish to enhance. You are shutting off a large portion of your focus on the physical world, leaving more energy to be devoted to your inner world.
If you wish to call upon your innate creativity in order to best complete a task, just close your eyes and focus on being creative.
Every physical possibility already exists in the non-physical world where your creativity resides. You need only choose one of those infinite possibilities, then bring it into physical existence. Closing your eyes will allow you to go further down the list of possibilities to ones that may otherwise have been beyond your reach.
If you can’t remember someone’s name, where you left your keys, or if you just want to reminisce, close your eyes and call upon your memory. The answer is always there. You just need to focus on finding it.
If there’s a problem that needs to be solved whether it’s a life situation or a work-related issue, just close your eyes and call upon your logic and problem solving ability. The solution is there, begging to be acknowledged and implemented.
Whether you need to visualize your next golf shot or your future, just close your eyes and see the result in your mind’s eye. When your mind is bogged down with physical vision, your inner vision takes a back seat. Invite it to the front.
Whether you’re writing or speaking, if you’re at a loss to express the idea in your mind, close your eyes and the best words at your disposal will come to you. Several times while writing this post I closed my eyes in order quickly to retrieve the words that most appropriately expressed my ideas.
Any result for which you strive can be achieved more quickly and effectively just by closing your eyes.
Other Practical Applications
You can apply this practice to anything that doesn’t require vision, and to things that only seem to require it, of which there are many.
When I’m struggling with my putting, I’ll putt with my eyes closed. Vijay Singh won the 1995 Phoenix Open putting in this manner.
Go through your normal putting routine, but right before you take the putter back, close your eyes and leave them closed until a few seconds after you’ve struck the putt. You may be surprised how much your touch is improved when you do this. It certainly helps iron out any kinks in your stroke, although at first it may be a bit difficult to hit every putt solidly.
Often when I’m fishing for bass, I’ll close my eyes after the cast while I’m working the lure. This vastly improves my touch. I can see the lure better in my mind’s eye and how it looks to bass as it moves through the water. Subtle strikes are easier to detect.
When I’m out walking in a field or on a path without many obstructions, I’ll often close my eyes for up to twenty or so seconds at a time. The sounds of nature come alive and I can much better feel the ground under my feet and the other walking sensations I usually take for granted.
On exercises where balance is not required for safety (basically on any machine, but not with free weights), I’ll often close my eyes and focus on the targeted muscle’s contraction. It significantly improves the mind-muscle connection and makes it easier to exhaust the muscles fully.
Just kidding 😉
Those are just a few of my passions. If you experiment with this practice while performing various activities in your own life, where possible, I’m confident you will gain not only enjoyment, but also effectiveness as a result of the increased brain power freed up to be redirected wherever you intend.
A welcome consequence of regularly closing your eyes and focusing on the other senses or the inner environment is that you increase your awareness in general. With increased awareness comes a greater ability to be present in all aspects of life, and after all, no moment exists other than the present one.