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Long version of "Looking with Two Eyes"

Over the course of thousands of years, the need for focussed visual attention has always increased. From craftsmen to reading and writing, television and now miniature phones.

So, around 12 years ago, i asked myself : How else can i use my eyes, what else can i do with them apart from focussing? And i thought maybe i could use my peripheral sight like some birds (ducks, blackbirds, blue tits and pidgeons), or horses and deer.

At first i wondered how animals used their peripheral sight, because as soon as i tried to look at something on the periphery, my focus always went to that point, (or to anything else moving or bright). So i focussed on something straight infront, and then directed my attention to a point on the periphery, at about 30° up on one side. I quickly realised i could see points at 30° on both sides simultaneously, still physically focussing on a boring focal point infront.

Slowly, over a period of time, driven by curiosity, i chose different angles, checking out all the points of the compass. Then one day i realised: i didn't need the central focal point straight ahead and if i looked at a blank space, i could see the whole oval shape of my field of vision with multiple things moving inside it. (I was outside, obviously things indoors don't move that much.) And so, broadband seeing was born.

I don't think it's necessary for a beginner to follow my long preparation method, but i still check points on the peripheries sometimes to intensify the sensation. This seems valid because animals would often be especially aware around the peripheries, where new movements enter their field of vision.

We sometimes spontaneously experience a short moment of broadband seeing, looking into the distance with a landscape or seascape - and a panorama is best for this exercise.

An ideal alternative, is to lie down in the centre of a clearing in the woods, look at a clear sky, and watch the leaves on the trees moving all around the peripheries.

'Looking with two eyes', is an idea which may help you get into the feeling quickly. Put your hands up between your eyes, so you block the central area. You will get an impression of how it is to see with eyes on both sides of your face. Then take your hands away and just imagine you have two separate eyes on the sides of your face, and just look.

We can build on this by taking a blank sheet of A4, fold it in half and hold it infront of your eyes, focus on it but look at the interesting things happening all around it. Then move it a few inches away, check the surroundings again - move it another few inches away then just look again. Once you can do this, find a blank wall, or a monotonous area of sky, anything which has no focal point, and focus on it while looking at everything else.

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 anything moves you will notice it, but don't look at it, keep looking at the whole picture.

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 T.V. screen. The normal feeling of subject looking at object is considerably different, it's a 'being with' what i'm seeing, instead of looking at it.

It helps if there is a monotonous wall or a ceiling straight in front, anything which doesn't move and has no focal point. If your eyes wander, then look at a neutral and motionless focal point. (It can be done it with glasses on, but it's difficult to do, and no animal would have this experience! So it may be better to start with to take them off and do it half-blind. - I have only recently found it just as effective for short periods, to look outside the rim of the glasses, i'll maybe cover the glass sometime and try it. - And i haven't yet been able to experiment with anyone who wears contact lenses).

Extra Exercises
Once you've started, and if you enjoy it, then you can develop it. It is good to develop seeing in as many different ways as possible.

A good idea is to look a little above the horizon while walking, this almost forces the downward peripheral vision to activate.

Another good idea, is it go somewhere where lots is happening, sit outside where cars and people are moving - by the street or in a pedestrian zone, ...

Look upwards where nothing's moving, find a roof top chimney pot to focus on, but then don't concentrate on it – concentrate on the people, push-bikes and cars which are passing by in the bottom half of your field of vision. Notice when new objects come into your field of vision - follow them till they are out of sight.

Then look down at the pavement, or your knees, and 'massage' the upper half of your field of vision.

"Extra Seeing Exercises" has extra seeing exercises.

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