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The Animal Sense of it All


Humans are so unfamiliar with this way of sensing, that our culture has no name for this form of awareness. I call it panorama or broadband sensing. Panoramic sensing is initially a more accessible word. The new concept of broadband – with its wide bandwidth, data transmission – describes perfectly what these senses do.

In English we use the term peripheral vision, for example when driving. But periphery usually only means the boundary or edge. We need clear words to think clearly ... For me, it is clear, my broadband field of vision has a periphery.

Without even a clear name to describe this elementary form of awareness, we can expect a multitude of unrecognised effects which sensing the world like this has. (Extra notes on Terminology)

The Broadband Sense – Part of Life's Balance

Broadband sensing is a vital and integral part of how animals manage to survive. Watch how any blackbird pulling at a worm, continually checks for danger. And hares ears are always scanning for danger while they're eating. Or when dozing, how the hare turns his ears outwards, open for sounds, and sleeping birds have one eye open.

Animals use this mode of sensing in combination with all their focused activities, and also while passively dozing. It doesn't replace any activity, or dozing, it makes it safe. It's part of staying alive. Broadbanding is part of the mix.

It's nothing special, every animal does it. Every animal except humans. The broadband senses are a forgotten part of life's basic balance.

Going Broadband – Seeing

There are many qualities of broadband sensing. Humans all have some subliminal awareness of what's happening all around us, even when we're lost in daydreams.

Occasionally we have an intense experience of pleasure and fulfilment, sensing in a broadband way. This often happens spontaneously when looking into the distance over the ocean, or with a panoramic landscape. At those times, we're not focusing on anything specific, we're just amazed at everything and it opens our senses in a special way. By using our eyes in the broadband way, we can find a degree of this amazement, without having anything awesome or beautiful to sense.

If you put both your hands up infront of your eyes, you will get a feeling of how it is to see without any central focus point.

Then, and this is far easier to do outside where things are moving: Find a blank wall, or a monotonous area of sky, anything which has no focal point, and focus on it – while looking at everything else. (If this is too difficult, then find a boring, unmoving focal point straight ahead, focus on it but concentrate on everything else.)

This is not just vacantly gazing at nothing imparticular, this is actively on the look out for any movement, and it is especially stimulating to pay attention all around the periphery.

A few people can do this straight away, most need a little help. If you take 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 arms length away. Keep focusing on it but concentrating on everything happening all around it.

Chapter Three discusses a variety of methods to help see in the panorama way, but already you might have a feeling for the oval shape of your whole field of vision. If you are outside, you will see lots of things moving, just notice them all but keep looking at the whole picture.

My experience is that instead of looking at the world like a T.V. screen, it feels as though i'm right up inside the screen. The normal feeling of a subject looking at an object is considerably different. Broadbanding is a 'being with' what i'm seeing, instead of looking at it.

Focusing Separates, Broadbanding Integrates

Focused thinking evolved to understand the distinction and relationship between objects. Focused sensing evolved to do things and thus always involves a doer and a done to, a subject and an object.

With the panoramic way of sensing, animals feel more involved and connected with everything they sense. It evolved over billions of years exactly for that reason: because it is the most efficient way of being in touch with all that's going on around you.

Broadbanding 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.

From the way we sense and the way we use our senses, we create the world we feel. 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.

Broadband sensing is a baseline experience for any philosophy or psychology of man. Then without it, we are only experiencing a limited version of what human beings can do and be – and consequently only understanding humans in the context of a relationship between focal points: 'I' and 'God'; or self and the world –, without the broadband feeling of integration.

Please continue with The Simple Sense of Now

Back to Chapter One : Individual Usage