Active Focus - Backwards Method

The story
As I’ve read through posts and watched videos about the subject, the “normally” described way to find active focus is to bring text into a slight blur, and then try to clear it up.

I don’t know if anyone else has had the same experience as me, but I tried for a about 2 months to find active focus, and then actually learned it by doing it “backwards”.

I hope this story can help someone else who is struggling to find it as well.

I came out of my home-office room (I work from home during the corona pandemic), still wearing my differentials (glasses for close-up work), and looked out the window in my kitchen. Outside there was an unfamiliar car down the street with some decals on and a big text on it’s back which I had never seen before. I could not read the text - it was blurry all over, but I really wanted to know what was written. The good thing about it was that there was no possibility to cheat by recognizing the car, it’s decals, or text from memory, it was a “fresh blank page”. I started looking at it relaxed, wanting to know what the text said, and I moved my head slowly from side to side, slowly blinking, trying to read the text, and all of a sudden, the text cleared up to a readable state, and I could read it. I then looked at the text again, and it was unreadable again. Immediately, i tried to clear it up again, and it worked!
I did not see the text “super clear”, it was still blurry when i “cleared it up” due to the distance, but I could read it.

So the “factors” that unlocked active focus for me was:

  • A “fresh blank page” - not knowing what was written
  • Curiosity - I really wanted to know what was written

To describe what happened with the text on the car with an image:

I tried to set the blur levels in the Image the way I saw the text “clear up”

After this experience, I’m also able to do active focus the “normal” way as well.

Backwards method steps:

  • Find text you’ve never read before - a “fresh blank page”
  • Put it at the blurry distance, just where you can’t read it
  • Be curious, wanting to read the text, to know what it says
  • Look at the text relaxed
  • Patiently try to clear up the blur
  • Blink in between “attempts”

This is kind of how I first figured out active focus. It’s all a matter of experimentation until you get it, then refinement once you do.

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I always thought this was the normal “forward” method. I always saw this type of thing when people describe their experiences. I thought I figured it out backwards by purposely making clear things blurry by pretending they were close up objects and crossing my eyes with one eye closed… :man_shrugging:

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Seems like the straightforward method to me. Everyone finds it differently from what I’ve seen.

Awesome, just to clarify-
Do you know for sure that it was not a contact lens effect? You don’t think you blinked and by accident got a tear film? If not, thanks for this guide, this is great :slight_smile:

@Iceghoulll No tear film as far as I know. I could reproduce the active focus a couple of times in a row looking at the text on the car before I had to start making dinner for the family.

Glad you liked the guide! :smiley:

Why is this “backwards”?
What is the forwards way of doing it?

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I don’t know if “Backwards” is the correct term, it’s just what i came up with to describe my experience.

If you look at Jake’s Active Focus: Beginner Tips video here:
He describes that you should move the text out so it becomes a little bit blurry, then try to clear it up.

The way I discovered active focus was to try and clear up unreadable text - introducing the “fresh blank page” and curiosity factors.

To show you the difference between the two:

Hope this clear things up


No pun intended. Haha

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It’s to a different degree if anything. I thought by backwards you were talking about moving your head backwards. haha.

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I was about to say… That’s pretty funny.

Although when I’m having trouble with ciliary spasm, I do some version of this by starting at a high-contrast thing (like my microwave clock), getting it in focus, and then moving backwards over several feet or yards, sometimes several times in a row. It helps.

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