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(extracts from recent letters – and other notes – probably difficult to read and still developing)


i dont know if sensing everything is more or less important than sensing the changes. They seem to have different efects, and both are intetresting.

Things which don't change or move aren't dangerous. The value for animals lies in noticing the changes, and outside our solid walls life is always changing. And some things repeat often, but without clocks, they repeat randomly.

In the real world, things happen every now and again: one day i hear a dog barking three times, then four days nothing, then another bark. Things repeat randomly.

For blackbirds this random reality is cause for insecurity. Humans have no reason to feel threatened by such things. We need abstract abilities to be secure in our modern world. And when we feel unsafe it's because of psychological or abstract reasons.

These days, we are missing the opportunity to just be amazed at the life in this random reality.

PART 1 :

Seeing and listening to everything, is an essential step.

But, above the background smell of wood fire and coffee, your dog is still able to smell an intruder.

I think how animals do it, (my teachers), the value of it lies in seeing the changes, the moving things, particularly the quick sudden things, not everything.

Everyday background sounds like the wind rustling leaves in the undergrowth aren't interesting, it's when there's a sudden crunching of leaves that it's important. Its being on the lookout, checking things are safe.

And it's 'waiting' for things which aren't there yet. I'm describing a second ability within the broadband awareness, an ability to focus (abstractly!) on something which has not yet happened, but might. Things which we're familiar with, things which repeat from time to time quite randomly –, the blackbird knows roughly how a cat, dog, or careless human looks, and he's particularly conscious in a pre-emptive way, of these stimuli.

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. 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. A good word to describe it may be a multi-focus.

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 and birds. Anything quick.

PART 2 - repeats the above a bit differently

The first step, which is often used in meditations, is listening to everything or seeing everything. The second step is listening out and looking out for changes, especially quick changes. But then, unlike animals, not reacting, just continuing to be on the lookout.

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. If you see a sparrow, be friendly.

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, and it's easy to do with listening. By listening you can even force the thoughts to grind to a halt.

Seeing is difficult at first, because there is an almost irresistable, habitual urge to focus on anything moving, or halfway interesting, and then you start thinking.

Sensitivity to Change when Hunting

In its hunting form, broadband seeing looks out over a limited field of vision, but animals are still looking for changes within this area.

Buzzards looking for prey, choose an area to look out for small brown things moving quickly, they're not interested in how the trees are swaying, they watch 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 ... There is an amazing short video showing a kingfisher broadbanding at a stretch of water ... periodically focusing 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.

This is an attitude of waiting – and to do it intensively it's also a form of focusing and stretching the senses, trying to hear and see specific things, within the broadband field.

PART 3 : How Important are The Peripheries?

Especially with seeing, we often notice things first, at the peripheries of our broadband field of vision.

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 –, new objects often come in from the peripheries.

Outside, without any walls, animals (or cars) behind you, always move into your field of vision first at the right and left sides of the periphery. If a light shines behind you, you notice it at the peripheries of your vision.

This all seems to indicate that animals with a more limited central area of vision, when they are on the lookout, they would be especially aware of the peripheries.

See the first exercise in Seeing and The Benefits.

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 experimenting with something which i actually felt was a bit crazy ... whichever it was, it was making me happy, so i was curious about it.

Concentrate with your eyes simultaneously on opposite peripheral focal points as described in Seeing. You can do this by picking out the two opposite objects in your broadband field of vision, or while focusing on a boring focal point in front. If you can sit so you have two lights, at e.g. 15° up on both sides, it will help.

It may not solve problems permanently, but it is remarkably effective and needs to be mentioned. I don't know how it fits in the 'big picture'. I will write more about this in time, but leave it as a side note at the moment.

In this context Paul McCartney's Yoga Exercises for Your Eyes (2.36 mins) is also intetresting.

PART 4 : Religions?

In some religious beliefs, some forms of Buddhism and Hinduism, change is synonymous with impermanence and suffering ... maybe sometimes even seen as an obstacle to the eternal ... whereas i'm suggesting it's the door to the eternal.

PART 5 : Questioning myself on Feeling 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 very first sound, a shot of adrenalin goes through it's body and it is 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; we have built warning lights and walls for extra security.

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, i'm wondering if it makes me feel safe, purely because i can do it at the same time as knowing things are safe.

Back to Chapter Three : Seeing and Listening