There are many different degrees and qualities of panoramic seeing and listening, just as there are with focused seeing and listening.
When focusing, humans know all the varieties: from the fixed stare when under stress and Christmas shopping; to the concentrated threading of a needle, or calculating maths.
Humans are familiar with the passive use of a limited ca. 60° panoramic area, when we gaze vacantly into space. This is a completely different experience to panoraming in its purist and most intensive form, as all vulnerable animals use it, to stay safe.
This is a state of being purposefully and actively receptive. It is a state of intensive waiting – pre-emptive waiting for anything and everything which could indicate danger.
Switching It OnThe 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 safety indoors. Indoors there is no natural basis or incentive to go panoramic.
Find somewhere outside with a full open view and without any walls. This is probably the most difficult guideline for city dwellers; but street corners are good – do the best you can.
These days, 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. Tiny flies sometimes fly by, but generally i have to adapt, and like predatory animals i 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. Empathise with the kingfisher and hawk.
Alternated with focused activity, animals often use it for only a few seconds. Watch the blackbird. 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.
It's a knack rather than something to be found by concentrated effort.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
If you want to make it a priority, then instead of long meditation sessions, do it several times a day for ten seconds.
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.
Comparison with MeditationThis is not really a meditation. I'm not wanting us to all space out in a new panoramic world. To use the panorama senses continuously would probably lead to trance and futility.
Meditation normally uses inspiring focal points. But it isn't done by stopping focusing, focusing on not focusing, or anything else which leads us down the path of paradoxes and non-duality. It's done by panoraming.
Panoraming doesn't replace focused activity, it makes it safe. It's value is when alternated with focused activity. So it would be advantageous to incorporate panoramic periods in any meditation.
When dozing it can be used for hours at a time, but then animals use it in a less intense manner. Longer period can be combined with inner-body awareness. Inner-body awareness opens up new dimensions; we can listen focused on a bone in the spine, or listen internally in a panoramic way.
Group PanoramingIn 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 meters of each other – a wonderful collection of different sensory abilities – and they were all more or less facing each other, randomly taking 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.
Why not have a cuppa? (cup of tea)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 easily, temporarily stop all repetitious mental chatter.
Please continue with Lookout Experiments and Games
Back to Chapter One : Welcome To The Panorama
Back to THE PANORAMA SENSES Priority Pages