Chapter 2 :
THE MONKEY LOSES HIS BALANCE
This Chapter was my first attempt at a rational examination of focussing, its advantages and consequences. At present i leave this page as it is. The ideas are further developed in various places in Version 2:
Part One : The Problem
Humans became so very successful at doing things with our five sensitive feelers (feet, hands and head), because we developed memory systems with abstract words and symbols. Over hundreds of thousands of years, (a relatively short time), human cultures ability to collect, communicate and even exchange ideas increased. We processed ideas quickly and learnt to repeat an amazing amount of tricks, not only with our bodies but also with our minds.
Let's get a bit deeper into this very efficient memory system we have.
Human babies don't have sufficient instinctive talents to survive. First we have to learn, and to learn first we have to focus. Without focussing we can do nothing and learn nothing.
From the earliest age we have to focus our mind to think and learn; with the eyes and ears to read, write, draw and listen; and with the body to coordinate and train football.
(Interestingly, taste and smell are largely ignored, except in specialist adult job training like wine connoisseur, perfumer, aroma therapist or master chef.)
When we focus and learn something, it immediately connects with our memory, it brings back associatons, we fit it into our picture of the world. The connections are automatic, that's efficient.
And all our repetitious memories establish a feeling of security in our world, they confirm us. It is a multi-efficient system. Habitual repetitive ruts are essential and basicly they are efficient.
There seems to be only one small problematic querk in the system so far. When we focus on anything, we directly inhibit our general awareness of the many other things which are happening now. Selective attention, is the start of a dissociation from the wholeness of our sense of reality.
Looking at a girl, i walk into a post. But this is not felt as a draw-back to 'focussing' itself, we interpret the problem as a lack of concentration on priorities. Focussed thought has no reason to doubt itself as the most efficient and successful way to sense and understand reality.
There is another problem. This emphasis on focussing and learning is always happening earlier in the modern world, overwhelming our broadband abilities at an increasingly young age. However this doesn't seem to cause any practical problems, because we don't need broadband abilities in the modern world, we need focussed, abstract memorised abilities.
THE PLEASURE FACTOR
In our modern culture, it is when our memory systems are connected with feelings of pleasure and pain that problems occur.
When we think, see, hear, smell, taste or touch something specific, - and it causes pleasure - we want it, we want to repeat the pleasure (or if it causes displeasure, to avoid repeating it). This is basicly efficient and good, but with time and repetition, it leads to problems with fixed often inappropriate behaviour.
It's important to completely understand the connections between pleasure, focussing, wanting, and repetitious behaviour.
Focussing doesn't automatically lead to wanting. Look at a wall, focus on it, you don't want it; focus on the floor, a bus, a tree, you don't want them all. It is only when we focus and it causes pleasure or displeasure that it sometimes - depending on the degree of pleasure or displeasure - leads to wanting, or to fearing a repetition.
Wanting always leads to focussing. If you want a bicycle or a french fry, you will focus on it. Even when you daydream it is about something specific, you are focussing on it. If you want something, you will periodically remember it, focussing on it in an abstract form, until you do it, or buy it, or get it. Then the focussing may stop for a while - except as a 'self-confirming memory' - till the next time you want it.
We repeat what is pleasurable. It gives us a purpose in life. We avoid repeating what is unpleasurable. This is also basicly efficient. Even if the 'memory repetition', is unpleasurable it gives us a sense of direction and a basis to compare, evaluate and guide other experiences. It gives us something to want.
THE FEEDBACK LOOP
So focussing and pleasure lead to wanting, and wanting leads to focussing. This is a self perpetuating system. When pleasure (or displeasure) are experienced, then focussing and wanting form a feedback loop supporting each other.
This self perpetuating focussing wanting system is generally efficient, except in cases where the focussing and wanting repeat under their own momentum, as a result of memories (abstract thinking), rather than actual present things happening.
And at this point my explanation connects up with what we know from modern psychology. Vicious circles, obsessions, fixations, compulsive behaviour, traumas, (often caused by repetitions in the childhood environment): these are the first big practical and critical inefficiencies and problems in the self perpetuating focussing-wanting system.
Our lives are full of smaller everyday examples of emotionally fixed repetitious habits. Some are positive, some negative, but with the increasing complexity, and often the conflicting directions between all the different types of repetition and wanting; it leads to the human condition of confusion and worry.
In 2020 there are thousands of examples of religions and therapies to control or pacify the thoughts and feelings. These exist as a response to our emotional and mental confusion.
Part Two : The Solution
THE MONKEY MIND
The many attempts to train or tame 'the monkey mind' are very creative and verstaile.
There are some religious ways which rely purely on focussing on and wanting a higher goal. All of these directly reject worldly desires and the pleasures of the senses. These ways are very pure. They practice devotion, selflessness and charity and often involve will power and concentration, duty to God, and renunciation.
Broadband sensing could probably be practiced in connection with these ways, and maybe to great effect, but i have no experience with this.
All the other therapies and religious ways indirectly use, stimulate and generate the self perpetuating system of Focussing + Pleasure → Wanting → Focussing. And there are thousands of creative ways of using the system efficiently.
Then, the essential point is: if knowing, finding and being in touch with yourself, relief from guilt or envy, feeling peace, truth and well-being; - cause pleasure, peace or satisfaction in any way, then, you will want to repeat whatever caused the pleasure.
This applies to all the creative arts, therapy sessions, focussing on the present moment, intellectual disciplines and most religious meetings. And all these forms of therapy, study, dance, painting, meditation or prayer can result in a degree of peace and satisfaction.
The main practical drawback is they all take a lot of time and study and discipline. They often require blind belief in a teacher and usually cost a lot of money. And even after a lifetimes application, there's no guarantee of success. Most dancers and musicians must always practice, prayers and therapies need repeating, and learning never ends.
NIRVANA, HEAVEN and ONENESS
Some religions offer a deeper and permanent answer to our confusion.
But i find there is a very practical problem with religions. Even if the goal is a paradoxical goal-less-ness, achieved by focussing on zen koans. More often the promise of eternity, oneness, heaven or freedom from karma, the start is always wanting this goal, and the method always focusses on something.
Trying to pacify the wanting and thinking system by focussing on something specific or sublime, is still using the abstract thinking system which got us into this mess in the first place. It's still relying on it, affirming it and inevitably stimulating it, and thus, stimulating all of the associated repetitions. So, it's very hard to get 'out of the box'.
I believe this goes hand in hand with a basic misconception about the senses leading to worldly desire. But it's not the senses which lead to desire, it's specifically when we focus - either with our eyes or with our thoughts - that we relate to our environment in a way which can lead to desire. Broadband sensing does not have this effect.
The occasional Ghandi shows us that the religious way can lead to (at least near), absolute freedom and peace. But the intense thirst for the truth, purity and selfless devotion is not something for normal people. And the Grace of God is unfortunately, not apparent as an everyday occurrence.
THE ANCIENT WAY
What i'm suggesting is not a new religious way or form of meditation. Any new way, would merely add to the choices and divisions in our culture. Broadband sensing is the oldest, original form of being awake and staying alive.
There are some systems of meditation which i see as being associated with broadband sensing. Mediations involving 'letting go' and forms of worship which 'wait for God'.
But, the main problem from a broadband perspective is that in almost all of these, we close the windows and the senses, focus on the breathing, a mantra, prayer or image, and look for inner peace in the silence.
Animals don't close their eyes, or concentrate on an abstract image as a balance to focussing. Animals balance their focussing with broadbanding.
We have lost this balance in life. And i say let's ignore the stupid monkey for a while, let's start by noticing the hedgehog and the horse.
Just notice how any blackbird pulling at a worm, continually checks for predators. (watch for at least the first 25 seconds). I'm not suggesting we should nervously bob around with our heads, birds need to alternate quickly between these two modes of sensing to survive. And, they are so familiar with broadband sensing, that the second the head is up, is enough to be aware and awake to any danger.
Even when dozing, the hare turns his ears open for sounds, and sleeping birds have one eye open. Even in their passive state, animals maintain the balance, with a broadband awareness of the shadows, sounds and scents around them.
Apart from sleeping, humans have no everyday balance for all our focussing and thinking activities. Even in our passive state, we are usually focussing on something which entertains us.
We ignore our inborn ability to experience life from a broadband perspective. And so, we have lost evolution's original balance of life.
Most humans have never even thought of using their senses like this. If we did think about it we would consider it useless. We have no need for it in our daily lives. Our ancestors fears and daily insecurity have been overcome. There is no need to be on the watch, or ready to be watchful all the time, as animals need to be, to survive. The original practical use of broadband sensing is obsolete and redundant.
But there are a number of side effects, like the feeling of being part of everything, happy, at peace, and wide awake. These effects can be said of many therapies and meditations. By 'broadbanding', they can be easily experienced.
However, one of the side effects is easy to rationalise: the effect broadband sensing has on destimulating and de-energising abstract thinking; of temporarily slowing down and even stopping the self perpetuating memory systems. And i believe this is more than ever, relevant for human life today. We need to stop the eternal repetitive chatter in our minds. We need to get a bit of simple and direct peace of mind.
Without focussing you can't go anywhere or do anything. Without focussing on anything you can't want to repeat it.
Sensing in the broadband way doesn't lead anywhere else. It doesn't lead anywhere because you need to focus to want, or to do anything. The only thing broadband sensing leads to, if it is pleasurable, is the repetition of broadband sensing.
When i am just sensing, without focussing, without any aim or intention, without doing anything to start, generate or stimulate the continual associations and memories, then logically the continuous turning and returning thoughts become slower and smoother. They devolve and degenerate. The thoughts lose their impetus, there is no momentum or energy causing the repetitions.
If you stop focussing, it defuses the regenerating basis for thinking. It devolves the system.
Broadband sensing reverses the normal rules governing self perpetuating thoughts, wanting and worldly desire.