Frequently Asked QuestionsQuestions & Answers
PHOSPHENISM vs. SUNGAZING
Q. : Is Phosphenism a form of Sungazing ?
A. : As you probably know, Phosphenism is anterior to Sungazing and differs from the latter on three points :
• The length of time the sun is fixed.
• The existence and use of phosphene in its two phases which are: co and post-phosphenes.
• With Phosphenism there is no question to deprive yourself of food or to feed yourself with light.
Q. : What is the difference in relation to the sun’s fixation time ?
A. : Dr. Lefebure was a physician and therefore aware of the dangers that sun fixation can cause eye burns and blindness. And he insisted on removing lenses and glasses to avoid a magnifying effect and burns. He also recommended hydration (at least 1 liter of water on an empty stomach for long sessions) and he pointed out contraindications such as glaucoma (see : “The Phosphenic Mix in Education” which is the reference book).
These usual medical precautions are almost not indicated during Sungazing practices. To cite only the July/August 2014 issue of Alternative Santé magazine No. 95, which devotes an article to this subject, it appears that the author of the sungazing.fr website is treating lightly the concern of a practicing Internet user who has damaged his eye, advising him to continue as if it were a normal phase (sic!).
This advice, which is surprising to say the least, when solar retinopathy is likely to occur, denotes a certain irresponsibility and shows ignorance of the elementary medical precautions that should be adopted for this practice. If Sungazing’s author had a minor retinopathy that healed, good for him. The return to normal vision on a solar retinopathy is known but it is by no means a normal phase, on the contrary, you can lose your sight.
The precautions recommended by the advocates of Sungazing to fix the sun only at sunrise and/or sunset, in relation to the UV radiation which is maximum between 9 am and 3 pm, that is to say a sun altitude higher than 60°, are quite insufficient to avoid burning the eye. There are other elements to take into consideration, such as atmospheric clarity, the high sun fixation time, the altitude where you are, or whether you are in the shade or not. The prognosis of solar retinopathy is variable, but this does not rule out the real danger to your eyesight.
A brief exposure of 30 to 60 seconds may be enough to cause a burn when all conditions are met. You can search and consult medical studies on the subject. If you want to play with your eyesight, it is your responsibility to do so. We are in countries where information and education exist to not believe anyone and anything. Therefore you should not believe everything.
Q. : Yet some of these sites mention the dangers of observing the sun, sun or moon eclipses, and also the dangers of observing the sun’s reflection on water, the reverberation on snow, sand.
A. : Yes, they mention this and then say that staring at the sun is not dangerous by following their recommendations and that it is beneficial. They mix up the benefits of natural light in lux intensity (5000 to 6000 lux much more beneficial than our desk lamps) with a practice that involves a much less minor risk than it seems. Once you have burned your eye, it will be too late and the longer you extend the fixation time, the more risks you take.
You can also ask the people who offer you a Sungazing or Sunyoga course to commit in writing to personally assume all ophthalmologic damage that may result from their methods on your eyes according to their prescription. This will give you the possibility of recourse to the court to obtain compensation.
I am joking when I say this but there is a magical form of medical prescription: 10 seconds by 10 seconds up to 44 minutes and then you get miraculous health, metamorphosis, all of a sudden you become a plant (laughs) that absorbs the energy of the sun. But a plant also lives by the roots. Darn, this is rarely specified. The sun doesn’t do everything.
Even more ridiculous: it’s not the fact of having your feet on the sand that will protect your eyes since, on the contrary, the sand will increase UV radiation and the polarization of light. In short, quite the opposite is likely to happen. If you wear contact lenses or glasses, your risk of burning is increased.
That’s why we recommend removing them while we are in the Phosphenism at 2 or 3 seconds of fixation. The fragility, the state of vision of each person requires real warnings, I am still looking for them on these sites. But they will come after this interview: they will quickly see that they have written anything !
We are not equal in front of the sun, if some people have a certain eye resistance to these long exposures, we must anyway consider all the other parameters such as the conditions at the time of the fixations, if there are still thin layers of clouds or humidity, the altitude, if the body and eyes are in the shade at that moment (visor or not).
Here are our main differences :
– With Sungazing you have to start with 10 seconds on the first day, then 10 seconds more on the second day etc. until you reach 44 minutes.
– With Phosphenism the maximum observation time of the sun is 2 to 4 seconds. In addition, we practice mostly with sunrises and sunsets.
The difference in exposure time between Sungazing and Phosphenism is therefore a factor of 660 if we take the maximum duration of 4 seconds that we recommend while preserving you from any risk to your eyesight.
Dr. LEFEBURE’s work on the influence of the sun on the eye and the brain has shown that the eye very quickly blocks the light energy that rushes into the brain. There is therefore absolutely no point in staring at the sun for too long. (See “Phosphenic Mixing applied to Education” : The law of All or Nothing).
Q. : Phosphene is indeed never mentioned in “Sungazing”, so what is this second difference ?
A. : Phosphene is a re-emission of light photons and an emission of biophotons. Dr. Lefebure has studied the different times and modes of observation, the rhythms, to deduce that a minimum observation time is needed for a maximum effect.
Q. : And what does that mean ?
A. : It means that there is no better phosphene by staying longer to observe the sun. There will not be a better effect with longer observation time. It has been noticed that short fixations give the best phosphenes. And therefore the best effects in terms of brain physiology.
Moreover you will note that the founder of Sungazing never mentions the practice of phosphene, which escaped his observation. He simply ignores the use of phosphenes and their laws. You will note that in the testimony of this practitioner published in Alternative Santé No. 95, he clearly identifies phosphenes, he has heard about Phosphenism, and wonder about colors is mentioned.
A phosphenist knows what this phenomenon is and attributes to it nothing other than the explanation in cerebral neurophysiology. He sees nothing transcendental in it. The founder of Sungazing ignores the practice of Phosphenic Mixing, which makes any observation of a light source effective. The ancients prayed while staring at the sun. Just looking at the sun is useless. Only the Phosphenic Mix transforms light energy into mental energy.
The promises of Sungazing such as emotional well-being or improved vision are trivial and simply result from exposure to the sun, which has a recognized effect in Seasonal Depression Syndromes. The benefits of light on sight have been known for a long time; for example Dr. Bates (see the book by L. Sébastien Sauvez vos yeux) has talked about it at length, and these are not the effects of the miracle of Sungazing or Sunyoga, it is the natural light that allows certain benefits.
The lack of natural light causes a decrease in vision; and on top of that we increase the use of sunglasses because from now on even weak light blinds us. Our ancestors who lived outside would think we are crazy living like rats. So it is surprising but if we were often outside we would not be surprised by these benefits.
Sungazing is sold as a spiritual practice : In spiritual practices the goals to be achieved are altered states of consciousness such as lucid dreams or “going out of the body”. However, this aspect is never mentioned in Sungazing. Reference is made to the pineal gland, but this is very insufficient and does not take into account the functioning of the brain.
The authors ignore the basic discoveries of hemispheric and neuronal synchronization, the importance of rhythms. The pineal gland has become a myth in new age spirituality. The link with the light makes one quickly assume anything! The only aspect mentioned in the “Sungazing” is the possibility to feed on sunlight and regain health. In short, this therapy is presented as a panacea.
Phosphene and its use as well as other phosphenic effects are found in Dzogchen practices, among others in their “vision” practices called Togyal. These are fixations of the luminous blue sky or the sun, but in an indirect way. The luminous phenomena that are described correspond to “phosphenes”, as do the practices in the dark.
By the way, you make me think that I should think about creating a movement on the practices of vision in absolute darkness, but it’s less fun than showing oneself outside, less rewarding for the ego. In the article in Alternative Santé, the practice of Sunyoga using indirect forms of fixation is mentioned.
This is nothing new and any yogi or good meditation practitioner who is a bit serious has no trouble finding these different ways of observing the sun. So the fact that it is mentioned that an Umasankar Yogi rediscovered this practice intuitively leaves the serious practitioner very doubtful. An ancient documentary showed two young Belgians traveling to India in search of an initiation who found a yogi staring at the sun.
These miraculous rediscoveries by Hira Ratan Manek and Umasankar therefore lend themselves to a smile.
Only one book by Dr. Lefebure explains much more clearly and safely how to observe a light source. All of these “gurus” ignore the simple basics of eye physiology and minimal precautions.
But excuse, they are great realized yogis ; and we cannot measure ourselves against their great knowledge so superior. The energy released by the luminous photons does not aim to stop feeding, but to do a real work on the mind. The poverty of Sungazing or Sunyoga in the face of Phosphenism practices is manifest.
Q. : Yet I saw in Wikipedia that Dr. Lefebure was mentioned to explain how light energy is transformed into mental energy.
A. : Oh well, I didn’t know. I haven’t published anything about it. OK! So there’s an exploitation of Dr. Lefebure’s work to try to justify that since phosphene makes it possible to transform light energy into mental energy it is possible to no longer feed ourselves… The effect of phosphene in transforming light energy into mental energy is never mentioned in Sungazing.
Well, now you say it’s mentioned on Wikipedia, a site where anyone can write without serious academic scrutiny. But that has nothing to do with it, the effects of light on neurons, brain coherence, the brain are the subject of scientific articles. This is not the case with Sungazing and the allegation about a study by NASA proved to be false.
In any case it is a bit easy to jump to conclusions. I am used to this, in the past a certain self-proclaimed “master” used Dr. Lefebure’s findings to write Surya Yoga. Relationships were soon broken up in the face of such an ego who did not hesitate to retrieve discoveries without mentioning their source. In fact, I’m quite happy that it wasn’t mentioned.
Phosphenism is not meant to coalesce with sectarian movements. So, let’s be very clear on this point, we never claimed that the fixations of the sun could have any effect allowing us to stop feeding. Going from “mental energy” to “nutrients, vitamins, calories” is a big gap in patascience.
Q. : What do you think about the effects on diet and the need to eat less ?
A. : I am very circumspect on this point and it is a personal aspect that has nothing to do with the different phosphenic practices. We have never encouraged not to feed ourselves, nor have we indicated that one should eat from sunlight. Here you are touching on the realm of personal religious convictions.
Q. : But you do have an opinion on the issue ?
A. : Yes, I do have an opinion and it’s my own business. It’s my own and it has nothing to do with Dr. Lefebure’s teachings.
Q. : And what is it on this subject ?
A. : It has happened during famines or wars that the human body sometimes shows exceptional resistance and now some particular states are being researched. The French TV program “The extraordinary powers of the human body” with Michel Cymes and Adriana Karambeu has shown that certain cases are exceptional.
In this TV show, we saw, for exmaple, a man who fed with wolves and practitioner of Toumo, which is the art of resisting the cold with special breathing exercises. Yet another who resists extreme heat conditions without drinking almost anything. The show: “Stan Lee and the Super Humans” also made it possible to discover various wonders.
In the field of martial arts it is also shown sometimes amazing faculties on energy and various martial practices of the body of steel. This does not mean that everyone can do this. Some people are hyperlaxed, others have exceptional natural physical strength. This does not imply that these rare cases are reproducible.
Q. : So you don’t deny that it is possible to feed on sunlight ?
A. : Don’t make me say what I didn’t say. I’m trying to make you understand that we don’t know everything about the human mind and body, the universe, the living species. For example, there are natural healings of serious and deadly diseases, what some people call secular miracles.
The fact that a spontaneous and complete remission occurs by chance does not imply that the person can explain what happened to him or her. They may believe it was their diet or lifestyle and then begin to write, “How I beat my cancer. The problem is that this will not be applicable to everyone and could lead to people dying.
But we are talking about people who are unaware of this scientific fact, who can tell in good faith about their healing and believe that they have found the key to beat cancer. Others do this just for commercial gain or religious interest.
Q. : I understand what you mean. You’re saying that you shouldn’t make generalities out of exceptions and that there can be fraud.
A. : Yes. Fasting seemed to be a panacea at one time and it turns out today that some form of dietary restriction may be favorable. All religions have alternated intense festive practices with periods of fasting. In Phosphenism, fasting is considered to produce an interesting “phoenix”.
Dr. Lefebure indicated in his book “The Pneumophene” how to practice fasts or restrictions. The extreme cases of fasting in the religious field remain the work of a few saints (Marthe Robin, Thérèse Neumann, Catherine of Siena…) and we have never studied these cases closely. These are extreme fasts and we do not have all the details.
In any case there is an obvious vital danger. If a man has survived by feeding like wolves, indeed the human body can possess astonishing capacities of adaptation. But that doesn’t mean that everyone can do it and survive. We see teenagers today becoming anorexic and this can lead to serious delusions that can lead to illness and death. Initiatory practices were always supervised for specific reasons.
Science now allows us to better understand these practices and their biological repercussions. We know that long fasting can lead to serious consequences for the individual. Therefore, I personally consider it harmful to make promises that are very dangerous and of no use on the spiritual level. I would never advise people studying Phosphenism to engage in such practices which are ultimately of no spiritual use, at least in my personal view.
Q. : Yes, indeed, one must be careful not to raise false hopes. If you search you will see that some of these practices in their extremes have produced deaths. And here I am not talking about the danger of solar retinopathy, we are in the danger of endangering the lives of others which is a criminal offense.
A. : These practices, which some people want to spread and which may be based on exceptional cases of rare people or people whose organism has allowed this experience, are dangerous and useless. You can mutilate yourself like a fakir, it will bring nothing more. You will have shown a resistance to pain as a fairground object that some Indian saddhus become who take advantage of your ignorance of trance phenomena and trickery.
On the other hand, it turned out that during more severe controls the experiments were not reproduced and that there was fraud. The founder of Sungazing was caught in fraud, the other cases showed obvious links with the aims of religious movements such as the Jain movement, and the fasting experience observed according to a precise protocol was not reproduced at the request of the Indian Rationalist Association.
The case of Prahlad Jani, the yogi I speak of here, is not conclusive. I told you that a body can get used to extreme conditions, think of the concentration camp survivors. Mrs. Jasmuheen, founder of Respiratory Fasting, was not able to demonstrate that she could hold her Respiratory Fasting and the experiment was terminated so as not to endanger her life. All this to tell you that I do not adhere to these extreme and useless practices, but they generate much more money for their authors than the wise Phosphenism.
Michael Warner, claiming to be a scientist, did not take too many risks with a 10-day fast. We are thus very far from extreme fasts, moreover its financing remains contentious. But if you wish, there is a young woman who filmed herself on YouTube during her fast : Olivia Cohen. 3 fasts of 40 days alternating with 7 days of food. Alas for her we cannot say that she is healthy. In short, I’m not interested and I find it sad that spirituality is now justified in this way by dangerous practices.
The Buddha himself renounced asceticism and chose the Middle Way.
Moreover, the founder of vegetarianism, hygienism, crudivorism and fasting, Herbert Macgolfin Shelton himself recognized the danger of fasting for more than 3 weeks. It should be stopped at this limit to avoid irreversible damage to the body.
Q. : Well, once again, you’re working hard on your answers.
A. : Yes, but that’s my personal opinion. Phosphenism is not concerned with the goals of nourishing oneself with light as in Sungazing, which joins movements such as Respirianism and the Breatharian Movement. We are in favor of safe and effective techniques that are of interest and results. If science evolves we will evolve with it. Experiencing particular altered states of consciousness does not make us forget that superstition is a danger and that we should not play with people’s lives.
But this is about belief and I do not interfere with people’s beliefs. Individuals are free with their lives, some do extreme sports that are very dangerous, what more can I tell you? Everything is debatable. It is not because we are also in spirituality that we should do as others do. There are exceptional beings but that does not imply that all of us are capable of doing what they do.
I will also remind you that experienced freedivers die for lack of air… and that not everyone can accomplish their feats. We would have died from depriving ourselves of air as they do, yet aren’t they experts in breathing and long retentions at levels that no breather enthusiast will ever reach ? The effects mentioned in the article as well-being and decreased food intake because you look at the sun are in no way proven to be directly related.
Most of the time it is only a self-fulfilling autosuggestion. The disciple of Sungazing or Sunyoga will reduce food intake, he will feel a well-being that is simply related to the fact that we often eat too much and too badly. A little bit of restriction in food can be beneficial, autosuggestion will do the rest.
You will self-restrict in your food portions and believe that it is the sunlight that caused you to do this. You will simply have voluntarily and by suggestion reduced your daily food intake.
I have just shown you that general speeches about the benefits of Sungazing or Sunyoga are a bit too quick. In their presentations, they ignore the obvious dangers of solar retinopathies and could one day be sued.
This is a real lack of seriousness under the pretext of a miraculous method within everyone’s reach. Science has evolved and a yogi is not necessarily up to date in science and medicine. He plays on his miraculous “aura” and on people’s ignorance. Phosphenism has existed for years but strangely enough, you can see that it is not really mentioned. In the article we realize that the practitioner is unaware of it even if he quotes it by comparing our very short fixation times.