|Dolphins and Money|
“”AAAH!! GOD, IT BURNS!!
|—A common complaint|
Sungazing is the practice of purposely staring directly into the Sun — something we very much hope your parents, your science teacher, or at least your common sense told you specifically not to do.[note 1]
Not seeing is believing
Proponents of some New Age movements, ostensibly drawing on Eastern philosophies, claim that humans can absorb the Sun's energy directly and efficiently through their eyes by staring into the Sun for extended periods. This lacks any scientific explanation since the eye does not have any means of photosynthesis and so cannot convert light into usable energy. While photons striking the retina do cause chemical reactions that are then detected by the optic nerves, which are interpreted by the brain as sight, the body does not and cannot harvest that energy. The closest that the Sun has in providing nourishment for our body is that sunlight can cause the production of vitamin D. However, you do not need to bring your eyes anywhere near the sun for this to happen since vitamin D is made in the skin.
Nevertheless, some sungazers claim that they are able to survive without food, since they obtain all their "nourishment" directly from the Sun. This is a form of breatharianism (or inedia), a belief in survival without eating, a concept wholly rejected by the scientific community (and any other community with an ounce of common sense). While Superman does get his powers from Earth's yellow Sun, he's an alien from the planet Krypton, not a human being.[note 2] Even plants, which do photosynthesise, require other nutrients for survival.
Leading sungazers and breatharians have seriously proposed sungazing as a solution to world hunger and other global problems. While it would in fact address certain problems (namely those centred on the continuing existence of breatharians), world hunger is unlikely to respond to this approach.
Out of sight
Currently, none of the sungazers' claims to obtain energy from sunlight or survive without food have been verified or reliably tested. Sungazers often also claim to achieve spiritual enlightenment by sungazing, a concept much less testable.
Due to the potential damage to the human eye, sungazing activities are usually confined to the times after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is at its least bright, although some experienced practitioners have sungazed for long hours at other times of day.
In 2009, several Roman Catholic sungazers, who were hoping to see divine visions of the Virgin Mary rather than adhering to any of the New Age beliefs mentioned above, were treated for severe eye damage.
Warning to amateur welders
Don't look at the bright light with naked eyes. Ever! This is taught in "Welding 101". Welders use eye protection. So should you, if you decide to look at the Sun.
If you really want to see the Sun (say, to view sunspots or watch an eclipse), you can use a telescope to project an image of it onto a white surface. Lacking that, you can use a pair of binoculars (and mount it on a tripod, if you have one) and use those to project onto something light, bright, or white. A sheet of paper works well. If you prefer not to use a projected image, you could also use a purpose-made telescope solar filter in order to view it in the eyepiece. You can view it without magnification with eclipse glasses (made by a reputable manufacturer) or welding glass (shade 12 or darker).
In a nutshell
- Kevin Trudeau, who promotes this practice in both of his "natural cures" books
- Bates eye method
- Light woo
- Sungazing.com — most content pulled offline due to medical and legal concerns "as well as an unready consciousness".
- Especially since there is a proper and safe way to observe the sun's surface by eye — projecting a telescopic image of the Sun onto a large screen.
- And according to the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie, even he eats when he's hungry.
- Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D? Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that promises great health benefits, yet most adults fall short WebMD
- Sungazing: Discover the bright rewards of this ancient practice by Carolanne Wright (Wednesday, June 26, 2013) Natural News.
- (Sungazing:) Do we need food to live? (and to heal?) (Saturday, 02. April 2005 07:37PM) WaterSpirit Forum (archived copy from 7 Jul 2013 14:04:07 UTC).
- Myths About Your Eyes and Vision WebMD
- It's no miracle, I could see but now I am blind by Aideen Sheehan (02/12/2009 | 05:00) The Irish Independent.
- Will Staring at the Sun Make You Go Blind? by Amy R. Balfour (Updated on June 29, 2008) HubPages.