LOOKOUT EXPERIMENTS AND GAMES
This page develops Going on the Lookout from Chapter One.
Historical PerspectiveOver the course of hundreds of thousands of years, the time spent on, and intensity of focused visual attention has steadily increased. From fashioning stone-axes and aiming arrows, to reading and writing; telescopes and microscopes, television, and now the miniature 6 x 3 inch cell phone.
Even a century ago, we had panoramic countrysides to stimulate our panoramic awareness naturally, while walking to work. The modern city dweller is overwhelmed by either boring walls or colourful focal points: lights, signs, adverts, shops, and other people.
Ideal SituationsThere are many different degrees and qualities of panoramic vision, just as there are with focused vision. And both are best to develop with a number of different methods, in lots of different situations.
In Going on the Lookout, i described how we sometimes spontaneously experience panoramic seeing, looking into the distance with a landscape or seascape – so go somewhere with a view and try it.
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. If you live somewhere where you can see a clear view of the stars at night, watch them all.
The peripheries are of special importance. For a horse with 350° sidewards vision, most movements will start within this area – but with our maximum sidewards vision of 210°, new objects often come in from behind and are seen first at the peripheries.
The Multi-FocusWhen starting to see panoramically first you notice everything, including all the gentle regular movements. But then that becomes background and you 'quasi focus' within the panoramic field – anything quick which is happenening, and you are able to notice several things moving quickly at the same time. A good word to describe it is 'multi-focus'.
With a little practice, you won't need the monotonous wall or area of sky infront of you. People can walk by directly infront and if you resist the habitual urge to focus, it won't interrupt the panoramic view.
Added Starting Exercises1. A good method is to locate 4, 5, or even 6 focal points around the periphery. Look straight ahead and go round the peripheral points one after the other, build them up until you can be conscious of them all at the same time.
Lamps and candles and their reflections in windows are optimal peripheral focal points. To automatically stimulate the panorama find two or three sources of light and then add two or three more pin point objects.
If you want to do a meditation with candles – instead of staring at one candle, experiment with two on both sides, or four on the diagonals.
2. An easy method, which i often use in the city where lots is happening and most of it happens horizontally, is to sit outside by the street or in a pedestrian zone.
Look upwards where nothing's moving, find a rooftop or chimney pot 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. Notice when new objects come into your field of vision – follow them till they are out of sight.
Then focus on the pavement, or your knees, and 'massage' the upper half of your field of vision.
An alternative, is if you have a monotonous boring pillar, half a metre across, 2-4 metres in front of you, blocking the central perpendicular area, focus on it and watch everything else.
3. If you are in the countryside you will find panoraming easier, but here it's more difficult to find unmoving, boring, monotonous focal points as a helpful step into it.
Maybe here it is appropriate to experiment with another excellent method.
Find a blank sheet of A4, fold it in half (for some stability), and hold it sideways in front of your eyes. Focus your eyes on it, but concentrate on and look at the interesting things happening all around it.
Move it farther away, step by step, until it's a relaxed arm's length away. Keep focusing on it, but concentrating on everything happening all around it.
Extra Lookout Games discusses a number of secondary ways to stimulate panoramic seeing.
Please continue with The Various Forms of Mindful Listening