There are many different degrees and qualities of panoramic seeing and listening, just as there are with focused seeing and listening.

When dozing, animals can use it in a less intense manner for long periods of time. They panoram with half an eye and ear open and combine it with inner body awareness. Predatory animals panoram for specific prey.

First we need to experience panoraming in its purist and most intensive short form, as all vulnerable animals use it, to stay safe while they are out and about in the world searching for food.

This is a state of being purposefully and actively receptive. It is a state of intensive waiting ... pre-emptive and prescient waiting for everything and anything which could indicate danger.

Switching It On

The ability to switch it on is the first step.

Go outside: Animals developed this sense for using outdoors where things are moving and changing, long before humans invented the safety of indoors. Indoors there is no natural basis or incentive to go panoramic.

Finding somewhere outside with a full open view without any walls, is probably the most difficult guideline.

I have a balcony with about 160° sidewards vision, i can position myself so i have one side open and a window reflection on the other, but up and down is concrete. I have to adapt and like predatory animals use only a limited area of the panorama.

Stay still: When you are moving, there is less awareness of everything else which is moving. It's the awareness of every small change and movement in the environment which is vital for an animal's survival, ... and to do this in the optimal way, as animals do it, be motionless and hold the head still. (see videos of the blackbird and kingfishers and hawks).

As a balance for focused activity, animals often use it for only a few seconds. Humans are out of practice, we may need a little more time, but the basic animal guidelines still apply, and especially to start with humans should do each exercise for only ten seconds to half a minute, at a time.

There are lots of reasons for starting with short periods.
To create a feeling of urgency – it's got to be done now, and in a minutes time it'll be too late.
To realise that you can turn it on any time, without doing anything to prepare for it.
A few seconds is long enough to interrupt any repetitive thought which you feel stuck on.

All human babies do it. It's easy, natural, it's a human birthright. Short regular periods of stimulation act as a catalyst: A minute a day is the best way to tell your subconscious "it's time to remember".

Humans have no natural predators. Humans lack the motivation to go panoramic. A minute a day which leaves you wanting more, is immeasurably better than 20 minutes trying to do it, and getting bored and distracted.

Short periods reduce the concentrated work-load, make it easy, make it fun. To generate motivation we need to enjoy something, and if doing this – or even trying to do this – is enjoyable or interesting, then we will want to repeat it.

If you want to make it a priority, then instead of long meditation sessions, do it several times a day for ten seconds, as animals use it.

It's a clever idea to check your feelings for a few seconds after doing it. By consciously recognising the sort of feelings created by panoramic sensing, we will generate curiosity about it and want to repeat it.

Once you can do it, then i believe you will want to do it for short periods several times a day. If you follow the guidelines for vulnerable animals then it is used frequently for 2 or 3 second periods during any focused activity.

Why not have a cuppa?

Many forms of diversion can help bring life's problems in balance, give new perspectives, even bring peace.

But this isn't just letting go or relaxing. And there's a big difference between diverting our attention by doing something else, like having a cigarette or a cuppa tea – and directly and actively stopping the system which generates all abstract ideas. Panoraming is the active, direct, and natural way to stop all thinking and doing.

It's similar to what writers do when they're looking for a word. As part of the creative process it's easy to just hover in a mental emptiness for a few seconds. With obsessive thoughts it's not possible to just 'hover', but by actively going panoramic, you can temporarily stop all repetitious mental chatter.

The Ideal Panorama

The ideal scenario is to sit outside with your back to the wind.

We can see what's happening in front; smelling and listening are the only ways to find out what's going on behind us.

When we sit with our backs to a wall, we somehow inhibit opening up the feeling of listening through the backs of our heads.

Comparison with Meditation

This is not really a meditation. I'm not wanting us to all space out in a new panoramic world. To use the panoramic senses continuously would probably lead to trance and futility.

Focus points are necessary for any higher goal in life. Focussing with our brains on ideas, is probably the best thing we humans do. Meditation normally uses an inspiring focal point and requires a longer period of time.

And panoraming doesn't replace any focused activity, it makes it safe. It's value, and its primary, natural use is when alternated with focused activity. So it could be advantageous to incorporate panoramic periods in any meditation.

Or maybe you will want to use it for a longer period combined with inner body awareness, while dozing. Inner body awareness opens up new possibilities; we can listen focused on a bone in the spine, or listen internally in a panoramic way.

Group Panoraming

In its most intense form this is a solitary practice. Herds and animal groups have different behaviour patterns to solitary animals, they are more relaxed. The reason is obvious, in a herd or any animal group, only one needs to pick up any warning sign, this is actively communicated, and the others respond without hesitation or question.

I remember once watching a blackbird, a pheasant, a deer and a hare, all grazing within two metres of each other – a wonderful collection of different sensory abilities – and they were all more or less facing each other, talking it in turns to check their surroundings.

But just as a nice extra idea: Humans primary sense is vision, so any sensible two humans would do it back to back. Any group would be in a circle back to back.

Please continue with Lookout Experiments and Games

Back to Chapter Two : Exploring The Panorama