(extract from recent letter - and recent ideas developing - this page is very messy)
I've recently been considering that animals react as soon as they see or hear something sudden, they don't think what it may be, first they react. So, i'm wondering if the 'safe' feeling broadbanding gives me, is only possible for humans with their walls and traffic lights, i'm wondering if it's only safe because i can do it at the same time as knowing things are safe.
The blackbird flies away at the slightest sound or sight. The deer will stop what it's doing and look from 20 metres away, (perhaps slowly growing to trust us after years of being hunted). The hare will stay still for as long as it can and let a human walk by, but we can be sure at the first sign, a shot of adrenalin goes through it's body and it is then ready to spring and run. Humans don't have these fears and to some extent this is because we have our abstract reasoning, we identify the sounds we hear.
So, what i do - though based on empathy with animals - no animal would actually do intensely for more than a few minutes.
So, the first step, which may be occasionally used in meditations, is listening to everything or seeing everything. The second step is listening out and looking out for quick changes. But then, unlike animals, not reacting, just continuing to be on the look-out. Obviously this is not a hard rule. If a car horn sounds then get out of the way. If a flock of geese come over at night chattering to each other, then focus on it, it's lovely.
Developing these two stages
With listening, some people mistake it for intense focused awareness on something like bird song, rain, or music - or listening to silence. Very beautiful, but useless for animals. Listening-out describes two stages, the first is listening to everything as helpless as a child, the second is listening-out for specific things, which might happen.
Seeing everything (as explained in seeing), is the first step.
Someone told me they see broadband when cycling. When i'm cycling i sometimes have about 60 degrees of the broadband horizontal centre field. It is a first step away from specific focussing. A girl told me she regularly went on a hilltop behind her house and looked over the panorama, and this is very similar - ... and i was told Gurdjieff teaches a "being gaze" - "including everything".
But i think how animals do it, (my teachers), it's 'waiting' for things which aren't there yet. Everyday sounds like the wind rustling leaves in the undergrowth, aren't interesting, its when there's a sudden crunching of leaves, that it's important. Its being on the look out, checking things are safe.
Actually i'm describing a second ability within the broadbanding awareness, an ability to focus (abstractly) on something which has not yet happened, but might. It maybe sounds contradictory.
With listening it's easy to understand. It's easy to imagine how early man might use it, listening out for a distant wild boar or sound of musk oxen herds or nearby tigers ... each has specific sounds ... bees, snakes ... cracks of a twig ..
Its the same with seeing. The astuteness to catch anything quick. With simple broadband seeing and looking at everything, first you notice all the trees swaying and gentle movements, but then that becomes background and you 'quasi focus' within the broadband field .. whenever anything quick happens, the birds flying, the moths and flies, ... quick movements, flashes of light, (cats eyes), ... these are the things which catch your attention, - AND you are able to notice several things moving quickly at the same time. I don't know a good word to describe it at present. Maybe a multi-focus.
Above the smell of wood fire and coffee, your dog is still able to smell an intruder. The fire and coffee are background, the changes are what is noticed.
In it's hunting form it is more limited than when looking for danger but even more obvious.
Buzzards looking for prey, choose a central area to look out for small brown things moving quickly, they're not interested in how the trees are swaying, they broadband an open field where rabbits or mice could move. Kingfishers watch for ripples maybe colours under the water ... theres no point in looking at the trees if youre hunting for fish ... This an amazing short video showing a kingfisher broadbanding at a stretch of water ... periodically focussing on 'things which might be' .. notice how the head must keep still, if the head were moving it wouldn't be able to see movements in the water.
So, it's an attitude of waiting - in inner still - but to do it intensively it's also a form of focussing and trying to hear and see specific things - within the broadband field.
The value for animals is only really in seeing the changes, the moving things, not everything .
And the peripheries of our broadband field of vision are particuarly noticeable, because we often notice things first as they come into our field of vision at the peripheries.
For a horse with 350 degree sidewards vision, very often the movement must happen out of the central area - but with our maximum 210 degrees (that's what the books say?), - new objects often come in from the peripheries, and from above and below.
If a light shines behind you, you notice it at the peripheries of your vision.
This all suggests that animals with a more limited central area of vision, when they are on the look out, they are especially aware of the peripheries.
The goal of combining seeing and listening, is easier than it sounds, - it's easy because it's natural. Listen-out for dogs, pigeons and children. Look-out for flies, birds, squirrels, and litter, leaves and raindrops. And then remember what i said at the beginning about how it's safe for us because we have walls, traffic lights.
This choice of my first exercise was a lucky break, because i found it made me happy. At first i couldn't work out if it was something to do with the different angles around the peripheries which was making me happy, or if it was just because i was doing something which was a crazy thing to do with my eyes ... whichever it was, it was making me happy, so i was curious about it.
Unfortunately now, some people may do this exercise expecting some miraculous change, and just be thinking about focal points on the periphery and waiting for the effect - this won't work. It's only a mild influence, and it's necessary to stop thinking and concentrate with your eyes simultaneously on the opposite peripheral focal points. If you can sit so you have two lights, at e.g. 15° up on both sides, it will help. You can do it by picking out the two opposite objects in your broadband field of vision, or while focussing on a boring focal point in front.