THE SIMPLE SENSE OF NOW

Religious thinkers often talk about being now as a deep and lasting experience. I'm talking about the simple sense of now which every animal has, and we could so easily relearn.

Sensing The Changes

Meditations often practice listening to everything, or listening for silence. This essay is about listening for changes. It's the alertness to change which is vital to animals, and change always happens now.

Listening out and Nowness

Listening has an immediacy which the other senses don't have, and this is because sounds are sometimes very sudden and over in a split second. Smells and sights usually last at least a few seconds.

Listening to everything is a good first step, but then listen out for specific sounds. Especially nowadays above the constant hum of machines, it is necessary for animals to listen out, to listen actively for quick warning signs, such as bangs, cries, or barks; even quiet sounds, like a twig snapping, are relevant.

Imagine how early man might listen out for distant wild boar, or herds of oxen or buffalo, and nearby tigers or snakes. I often listen out for dogs and children; at night, for hedgehogs and owls. I don't often hear them, that's irrelevant, listening out for them is the vital part.

Chapter Three discusses various other listening exercises, and develops the idea that it's the alertness to change which is vital to any animals survival.

How to Neutralise the Self-perpetuating Thoughts

Animals are experts with broadband sensing, we lack the practice and motivation, our survival doesn't depend on it. We have no need of it, except for the immense value of even a split seconds peace of mind.

By empathising with the animals' intensity of broadband awareness, especially by listening out, we can't think. If we start thinking, we stop being aware, and at that moment an animal would be vulnerable.

Without trying it out, you might feel as though there is so much happening, that it would make you crazy to be aware of it all. And it would make you crazy if you had to focus and concentrate on all of it; but to be aware of it all in a broadband way, you can't think at the same time.

Throughout evolution going broadband, has been the unquestionable and natural way to switch off, stop doing everything and be receptive for a moment. And for animals, this is a constant reminder of how it feels to be still, and to be now.

The broadband mode is useless for getting on in life and doing things, but it is very effective against pointless abstract thought. And it's nothing mystical or paradoxical ... it's just practical. Without focusing on anything you can't start thinking about it, and consequently you can't want it, or want to do it. Broadbanding interrupts and devolves the abstract thinking systems.

In the short term, it stops the continuous chatter in our minds, it's a moments simple and direct peace of mind, a moment of feeling still inside.

In the long term, it benefits clear thinking. And the main benefit individually and culturally is this, it's the optimal cure for, and safeguard against, closed mindedness.

The panorama mode and broadband sensing interrupt the automatic repetition and re-confirmation of all abstract thoughts. Self-righteous opinions lose their generating energy, because they lose their automatic re-confirmation. (I discuss our habitual thinking ruts in detail, in The Amazing Development of Focusing.)

Please continue with Mindfulness of Breathing and Smelling

Back to Chapter One : Individual Usage