THE BENEFITS OF PANORAMIC SENSING
From something so fundamental to life, there are sure to be many short term and long term benefits.
Predatory animals combine their focused and panoramic abilities. By combining the two ways of sensing, we could do lots of clever things. This is a fascinating subject, but it's complex and first things come first.
This page describes some of the first noticeable effects of pure panoramic sensing as vulnerable animals use it.
You'll have often heard the clichés – here and now, peace of mind, unity, balance – the difference is that i can give short common sense explanations of how and why they happen.
Being Here and NowPanoramic sensing evolved to notice changes and movements happening here: in the immediate environment – and now: in the present moment. In the simplest and most practical way possible, it IS here and now.
Focusing is always selective, at best it is only a specific part of the here and now. Focusing always limits the full spectrum of what's happening.
Being in the present moment is normal and natural with the panorama senses. It can only be done here and now, because that's the only time movements and changes are actually happening.
If we want to be here and now, and do that here and now, (i.e. immediately and without hesitation or years of practice) go panoramic... it's nothing mystical or paradoxical... it's just practical.
Being here and now is central to panoramic sensing, it is the practical basis of this way of sensing. If you can do it, this will be obvious; if not the secondary page How to be Now will be well worth reading.
The Feeling of OnenessIt's a feeling of integration with the world around us. I describe this in Going On The Lookout.
Panoramic sensing is the direct connection with all that is happening in our surroundings. Evolution selected it, because it is the direct way of sensing.
It's direct because there is no judgement. In it's most pure form, the feeling is purely receptive, perceptive, ready and waiting. The blackbird doesn't have time to think and ask questions, he must focus on instantly flying away.
Panoramic sensing is a feeling of absorption.
Focusing can also be absorbing, but only when concentrating. Focused sensing and thinking involves a relationship between objects, and always, quite naturally, the challenge with focusing is to coordinate mind, senses and body.
Trying to find oneness by focusing, is almost a contradiction. The only easy way to resolve this contradiction is by focusing on an almighty all-powerful higher focal point.
Focusing is always finite, and it always excludes everything else which is happening. Focusing separates, and then combines; panoraming never takes things apart in the first place.
The senses are usually seen as the door between us and the world outside us. In the panoramic reality, our senses connect us with the world. The feeling is : we are the door.
Panoraming belongs with that collection of rare words like love and empathy, as a state of being where the subject is intimately involved with the object.
Peace of MindWe can't think or want when we're fully alert and on the lookout. It's impossible – and impractical, without a pure intensive awareness animals would die.
Throughout evolution, this form of awareness, has been the unquestionable and natural way to switch off, stop doing everything and be acutely receptive for a moment.
Among vulnerable animals, it's motivated by fear. The advantage we have over animals is that we are safe; we don't need to run away at the first sign of a cat or dog we could just carry on panoraming.
This is the easiest way to stop the continuous chatter in our minds. It stops all repetitive thought. It's a moment of being and feeling still inside, a moment of practical, and simple peace of mind.
Often we will notice first thoughts arising, or recognise sparrows, trees swaying, car doors slamming, church bells ringing, but we are unable to develop the thought. If we developed the thought, we would lose our panoramic awareness.
With focused sensing we can focus, think, and do, all at the same time, in a coordinated manner, it's built and trained that way, it's very clever.
Reversing the Normal RulesPanoramic sensing reverses some of the normal rules governing self-perpetuating thoughts, wanting and worldly desire.
People who meditate often say that 'it comes by itself' so 'don't try so hard'. And from a focused perspective, this is true: when focusing we need to learn to accept what's happening, not be controlled by the drive for more, and to "let it be".
But the ideas we take for granted with our focused appreciation of life don't apply here.
Trying to go panoramic, being attached to it, wanting it and then expecting it to work – actually helps to stimulate peace of mind and being here and now.
Why? Because it was built that way. It was built to stop and be still for a moment and and be aware, open, and here and now.
Animals have to be still and peaceful inside, actively and directly receptive, and here and now – it's automatic. It's all been evolving for millions of years. It's reliable.
See Reversing the Normal Rules for more on this.
The Effects on Understanding LifeMaybe panoramic sensing is a way to heaven, i don't know. For me as a beginner, it's a gentle underlying influence which interrupts my habitual way of seeing and understanding life. So, it has changed how i experience the world and therefore many of my basic assumptions – the building blocks of my thoughts.
Wanting is Dependent on FocusingThe deepest idea, comes from the experience that panoramic sensing is impractical for wanting. Wanting is based on focusing.
Grounded in our spiritual traditions, our culture understands that sensuality is dependent on the senses, and previously i would have agreed with this, but it isn't true. Sensuality is dependent on focusing.
The senses and thoughts can only lead to wanting, when they are focusing. And when we want something, we will always focus on it. Using the senses in a panoramic way neutralises focusing, or wanting anything specific, and so it neutralises sensuality.
Pure panoraming is without thought or wanting, without any opinion or judgement. The only thing panoramic sensing makes us want, if it's pleasurable, is to want to do more panoramic sensing.
Vulnerable animals use their panorama senses to stay safe, and to want nothing more than just that.
Predatory animals have a way of combining their focused and panoramic abilities. They hunt for and have an intention of finding specific prey. Under the influence of focusing, we witness again the connection with wanting.
Changes are often RandomIn the panoramic world, lots of things happen randomly. Even if they can be explained afterwards by analytical thought, the experienced reality is of spontaneous movements and changes happening randomly.
One day i hear a dog barking three times, then two days nothing, then another bark. A small fly does a wiggling dance, probably unique, a one-off. In the panoramic reality, we witness vividly, all the time, that unexplainable things happen randomly.
My experience and the blackbirds experience is purely surface, life at face value without any interpretation or abstract thought. On this level, there is no cause and effect.
Our human analytical abilities have superimposed abstract forms onto life to try and make sense of it. This has obscured the spontaneity, the randomness; even, i would say, the element of surprise and being alive. This theme is developed in Sensing the Changes.
The BalanceIf humans only ever used their panoramic senses, we would still be living up in the trees. The development of modern civilisation depended on focusing to get things done.
The value of panoramic sensing lies in coordinating or alternating it with focused sensing. This creates a balance in life.
It's irrelevant to theorise about if focusing or panoraming is better. Both are real, both are valid. Panoraming is a different perspective on life. All other animals need to use both perspectives in order to survive. This is a basic balance in life which all other animals have.
This is further explored in Human vs. Animal Balance.
A Missing Part of Our PsychologyHow we sense the world determines how we experience and understand it. This has often been said, but we think it means a psychological change of perspective – it is only rarely directly applied to our physical senses.
Panoraming is a baseline experience for any philosophy or psychology of man. Then, without it, we are only experiencing and understanding a limited version of what human beings can do and be.
The entire 'blinkered' way we see the world is based in focusing. We're not considering the whole picture because we're only using part of our sensory abilities to feel it with.
Panoraming directly stimulates peace of mind, and eliminates worry. Humans are missing out on an easily available, non-mystical, practical way of stilling the mind and being awake and aware, finding a form of balance, and i suggest also, to feel safe and stop worrying. And consequently, human culture is missing out on it as well.
It's not surprising that after thousands of years developing a one-sided way of sensing life, humans are now running into difficulties. Chapter 3, Civilisations Habitual Ruts, develops these ideas.
Parasympathetic Nervous SystemThere are several Links and Videos on Peripheral Vision which suggest that panoramic seeing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and even prevents Alzheimer's disease. It seems even intellectual, and egoistical aims in life can be empowered and supported with 'peripheral seeing'. These are areas i am not competent to discuss.
James Conlon "Simply switching from foveal to peripheral vision when we feel anxious or stressed, activates the parasympathetic nervous system. As the two nervous systems can't be active at the same time the body will naturally calm."
This is the sort of scientific simplicity which is very impressive. I too was impressed. But what about predators? They use both sensory systems together. And what does parasympathetic actually mean in common sense terms?
So i googled it and found : The parasympathetic nervous system predominates in quiet “rest and digest” conditions while the sympathetic nervous system drives the “fight or flight” response in stressful situations.
Your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems have opposite roles. While your sympathetic nervous system carries signals that put your body's systems on alert, your parasympathetic carries signals that relax those systems. The two systems work together to keep your body in balance.
Comparison with other Meditations and BeliefsThis is the most natural, easiest and direct way to feel at peace and wholesome. It's free, a human birthright. And can usually be re-learned within days or weeks, rather than years.
Panoramic sensing fulfils the criteria of the Buddha's Middle Way perfectly. It is a practical expression of The Middle Way – without sensory indulgence or sensory withdrawal. Chapter 4, Buddhism and Wheels, explores this idea.
Also, it can be used in combination with any other form of focused worship or meditation etc. without endangering or subverting any cherished belief.
It is not as powerful as love or devotional belief can be; and i doubt if by itself it is strong enough to overcome the routine mechanics of the ego.
But it's easily accessible, and we can trust it to work without even having to believe in it. Therefore, it would be an excellent practical first step for most religious systems. Chapter 5, explores the connections between Panoramic Sensing and The Great Spirit.
Please continue with the Additional Benefits of Panoramic Sensing