The Mind’s Eye

Do you know what it means to look at something through your mind’s eye?

Recently, I came across this term in a book I have been slowly reading on Dyslexia. It was a book I bought out of interest in the subject and kept in my car for reading while I was waiting for soccer practice to be over. It has been an interesting read on a subject I knew little about.  Having been a previous nationally certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, now heavily involved in our public educational systems, surprisingly, dyslexia is not something to which I have had much exposure. Medical doctors usually do not diagnose the condition and it is not uncommon for educational institutions to not consider it a learning disability. The author of “The Gift of Dyslexia”, Ronald Davis, writes in the 2010 edition of his book that Dyslexia is actually a gift. He states a case that dyslexia is actually a gift that involves how a person perceives their world, adjusting and compensating to the objects in it through use of orientation and ability to control one’s mind’s eye. It is through using an interesting approach of training the mind’s eye to move and the ability to fine tune it, as well as keep it in the optimal place of comfortable orientation, that allows the dyslexic to finally learn to read, do math, and function without the struggle these everyday functions can cause (Davis, pg. 131-132).  Davis defines mind’s eyes as that with one uses to view one’s mental images. In other words, (also Davis’s) – “the mind’s eye is what looks at our imagination.” (Davis, pg. 268).

Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary’s Definition of mind’s eye 

  1. :  the mental faculty of conceiving imaginary or recollected scenes used her mind’s eye to create the story’s setting; also:  the mental picture so conceived

It is an interesting concept. We probably all have a mind’s eye that allows us to imagine as well as process the world around us. Learning to use it well is probably less common. Davis offers a number of exercises both for assessment and treatment of dyslexia in children. Those are beyond the scope of this post. I suggest getting a copy of the book if you are interested in that particular topic.

Today, I got to see the mind’s eye at work. My 17-year-old had his senior portrait session with a local photographer.  She was amazed at his adept ability to change his facial expression with a mere prompt of “think of this or that”. She does not really know my son, other than having one other family portrait session, so no names, or hobbies, or subjects were not specifically mentioned.  But, we could both see how adept he was at being able to picture something in “his mind’s eye” that changed his countenance. Obviously, he had some practice moving his mind’s eye and altering the perception it was offering him.  I saw joy, seriousness, contemplation, and relief all produced with ease.  Gone were the grimaces of frustration, anger, tension, and anxiety. At some point in the near future,  before he forgets, I will have to ask him what, who, or where he was using his mind’s eye to place him. I will forever be grateful I was there and able to witness this skill that I did not know he possessed until today.

Credit: Pencil Drawing art work by Ben Labuzzetta, Fall 2016.



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