Learn From Animals
Panoramic sensing is an integral part of how animals manage to survive. Watch how the blackbird, pulling at a worm, continually checks for danger. And hares ears are always scanning for danger while they're eating. Even when dozing, the hare turns his ears outwards, open for sounds, and sleeping birds keep one eye open.

Animals often use their senses in a panoramic way for very short, intense periods. To start with adult humans need to use them for at least 10-30 seconds at a time.

Seeing Everything

There are many different degrees and qualities of panoramic seeing and listening, just as there are with focused seeing and listening. Humans all have some subliminal panoramic awareness of what's happening all around us, even when we're lost in daydreams, even to some extent when focusing on a computer screen.

Occasionally we have an intense experience of pleasure and fulfilment, when looking into the distance over the ocean, at the stars, 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. These are ideal experiences to practice with and to cherish.

By using our eyes in a panoramic way, we can find a degree of this amazement, without having anything awesome or beautiful to sense.

A few people can do this straight away. I've noticed this particularly among artists, who i presume are used to looking at the whole panorama infront of them, in between perfecting specific areas of a painting. Generally, we are so trained to focus, that as soon as something moves we look directly at it, and this dominates and overwhelms our panoramic awareness.

To overcome this habitual focusing – and this is far easier to do outside where things are moving – find a blank wall, or a monotonous area of sky, any area which has no focal point, and look directly at it with your eyes, but then concentrate on everything else.

If there is no monotonous area – then find a boring, neutral, and motionless focal point straight ahead, a post or pillar, anything which isn't interesting and doesn't move, fix your eyes on it but be aware of, on the look out for everything else.

The panoramic feeling is especially stimulated by paying attention all around the periphery.

Look at everything you can see, and see everything you're looking at. Wait until it all merges into the oval shape of your field of vision, then look at the whole picture. If you are outside, you will see lots of things moving, just notice them all but don't look at them. Keep looking at the whole picture without focusing on anything specific.

The Exploration of Panoramic Exercises discusses a variety of methods to help with seeing in a panoramic way, but already you might have a feeling for the oval shape of your whole field of vision.

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. Panoraming is a 'being with' what i'm seeing, instead of looking at it.

A Fundamental Unifying Experience

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.

Panoramic sensing is a direct connection with everything happening in the immediate environment. This way of sensing is inherently non-judgemental. The blackbird doesn't have time to think when she sees danger, she responds without thinking. It is non-judgemental but not impartial or indifferent, It is acutely aware.

With the panoramic way of sensing, animals feel more involved and connected with everything they sense. The senses are usually seen as the door between us and the world outside us. In the panoramic reality, our senses connect us with the world. The feeling is : we are the door.

Focusing Separates, Panoraming Integrates. Panoraming 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.

Sensing The Changes
This direct panoramic connection with everything happening in the local environment, could be described as being 'here'. There is a second level of panoramic seeing, where we develop an awareness of the changes and sudden movements in our environment. This is a sort of multi-focus on all the random movements happening within the 'big picture'. This brings us into an intense feeling of 'now'. And this is easier to experience first by listening.

Please continue with The Simple Sense of Now

Back to Chapter One : The Panoramic Senses