This page develops Going On The Lookout and The Simple Sense of Now.

Here are a number of short exercises, try them out, repeat whichever are enjoyable; and in between times try The Pure-School Method again.

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.

Warm-up Exercises

Exercise 1.
Every time you turn on your computer – instead of focusing directly on it, focus away from the screen and wait and watch for the changes peripherally.

This is worth doing even for five seconds, waiting for individual programmes to load.

The repeated impulse shows your brain that there is another way to relate to the world. Re-educate your habitual urge to focus. Learn to trust your panoramic vision.

It is a very valuable exercise.

(This one exercise only involves a limited area of the panorma, so if you wear glasses it's easier to leave them on.)

Exercise 2.
A stretching exercise. My first exercise in Going On The Lookout is very easy and interesting. Looking straight in front, and then directing your attention to two specific and opposite points on the extreme periphery at about 2 and 10 o'clock. Then try 4 and 8 o'clock, etc. Can be done indoors, outdoors, day or night, in a doctor's waiting room, anywhere, anytime. Do it for just a minute to start with.

The nuthatch looks out while feeding.Exercise 3.
An all round stretch. Locate 4, 5, or 6 focal points around the periphery. Look straight ahead and recognise the peripheral points one after the other, build them up until you can be conscious of them all at the same time.

At night time, lights, lamps and candles and their reflections in windows, are optimal peripheral focal points, find two or three sources of light and then add two or three more pin-point objects.

Exercise 4.
There is an almost instant way for people to start seeing panoramically, in the city, with lots of human activity.

Almost all human movement happens horizontally. Sit on a street corner, or in a pedestrian zone. Look upwards where nothing's moving, find the corner of a building, a chimney pot or signpost to focus on, but then notice the people, push-bikes and cars which are passing by in the bottom half of your field of vision. Watch for new things moving into your field of vision and follow them till they pass out of range.

A good game is to pick two cars or people showing bright colours going in opposite directions and follow both. Early evening or night it's entertaining to follow the red and white lights as they come into and pass out of sight.

Then hang your head and focus on a crack in the pavement, or your knees – and 'massage' the upper half of your field of vision. Once you get the feeling for it, you can easily do these exercises for two to five minutes.

If you can find a pillar or something monotonous and boring in front of you, blocking the central area, focus on it and watch everything else.

If it's raining or mid-winter, the same ideas can be applied to sitting in cars.

The Pure School Method

Once you can do it, it's best in summer when you are in the countryside, and an empty sky is best to rest your eyes on. But in the coutryside it's difficult for beginners to find an unmoving, boring, monotonous area to fix your eyes on. Try facing a tree trunk, (but don't get interested in it).

Watch everything in the oval shape of your field of vision, pay special attention to the peripheries. Realise that you notice things when they start moving, and the quicker and more sudden the movements are, the more you notice them.

Seeing and Listening

All these exercises may only bring you to the edge of the experience.

But with seeing alone, unless you've two or three movements to watch simultaneously, you will probably still be thinking and combining elementary ideas.

Listening is the way to stop thinking. You can't think when you are listening-out.

First you need to listen to everything. Then ignore the continuous background sounds, and listen-out, and again, you will notice you hear things when they start, or if they are quick and sudden.

This awareness within the panorama can detect several movements and any sudden sound simultaneously. So listen-out and lookout for first signs of anything which might happen, any warning signals. Be open and receptive.

And with that you get the feeling of being now and 'being with' what you sense.

This is my experience and it just seems so sensible and appropriate that animals would need to sense like this in order to survive.

Ideal Situations

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.

charlie brown and linus stargazingIn Going On The Lookout, i described how we sometimes spontaneously have a panoramic experience, looking into the distance with a landscape or seascape – so go somewhere with a view and do it. (Don't think of your camera, don't focus on anything, just enjoy it.)

If you live somewhere where you can see a clear view of the stars at night, watch them all.

Another ideal situation, is to lie down in the centre of a clearing in the woods, look at a clear sky, and watch the leaves on the trees moving all around the peripheries.

Not ideal, but, if it's winter or raining... the same idea can be applied to lying down and looking at the blank and boring ceiling but being aware of all the interesting, colourful things on the walls.

The peripheries are of special importance. New objects often come in from behind or above and are seen first at the peripheries.

Bright or flashing light sources are helpful at the peripheries or behind you, light and shadows from behind show on the periphery.

Don't look into the sun and if possible, sit with your back to the wind. Sounds and smells are carried by the wind. You are 'senseless' behind you if you sit facing the wind.

Panoramic awareness is best to develop with a number of different methods, in lots of different situations.

Standing up steady, alert, but relaxed, is a skill we may need to learn, so sit down.

But this isn't a relaxation exercise. This is a time to be astutely aware as though it's a matter of life and death. The advantage humans have is that it's not a matter of life and death. We dont need to panic, we don't need to jump and run away every time we see a cat or dog.

We may need a reminder at this point, to take off any glasses, they always create a secondary perimeter inside the panorama. This also applies to sunglasses, they create a division between the central and peripheral areas.

Above all, use your common sense.

All these ideas are further explored in Going Panoramic.

Please continue with Summary of Central Exercises

Back to Chapter One : The Animal Teachings
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