Whole Seeing & The Eyes Free to Go Apart Direction
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Whole Seeing & The Eyes Free to Go Apart Direction
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Seeing As If From Behind the Eyes
Looking Wide - Going Peripheral & Sports Greats
Exploring Headlessness with Douglas Harding
Carlos Castaneda & Soft Eyes
Yoga and Soft Eyes
Soft Eyes and Horseback Riding
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To See As A Child
Out and Around Myself, H.D. Thoreau on Perception
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Seeing Anew: Exploring Perception

Whole Seeing & The Eyes Free to Go apart Direction

Nan Tolbert: It's my pleasure and honor to introduce JohChristianson tonight. My earliest memory is his working as an environmentalist /naturalist with my children many years ago, and more recently it has been quite wonderful receiving Trager(T) body treatments from him for a shoulder/neck injury and for relaxation. It' salso been very nice working with some of the other various machines and equipment that he has to help different conditions.

Something that was really fun to find out about recently is the Whole Seeing process that he's been working with for a long time and has recently uncovered.

This Whole Seeing has been very good for me. Playing with it has been fun, and every time I play with it and work with it, I find that some new aspect comes in, and its very helpful for relaxation., and I work in a number of situations that require ... , and I'm always looking for something to stay fairly relaxed and attentive.

I work as a Registered Nurse in maternity here at the hospital and also as a labor support Dula. We have a group called Ojai Birth Connections and it's interesting the different times of day that we work, or night as the case may be. I also apprentice with the Santa Barbara Midwifes, so I'm traveling a lot, and working with this whole seeing has been very helpful in kind of balancing all that out.

I also don't want to close this introduction without saying that John was once working with me with some biofeedback equipment and it was very acknowledging to see the equipment say that when he started to use this Whole Seeing technique it showed on the equipment, so his physiology basically registered, and even though we knew it was working for him and for me and for some other people, it was particularly interesting to see it actually register on the equipment.

It's a pleasure, and I don't want to say anything more, because John is here to say all the rest, but welcome you here to tonight and I just encourage you to try it and play with it and do the old try something twenty or thirty times before you really consider that you've tried it. Without much further ado John!

The Whole Seeing shift that I want to talk with you about tonight is something that is very accessible. In fact I want to just right off the bat invite you to do it during this talk and to explore what it might mean to use this approach.

Whole Seeing is a name that I've given to a kind of seeing that we are really hardwired to do as a human species. It's an anecdote to a concentrated, tight narrow focused kind of seeing. It's a seeing that is easily permeated by input to our other senses whether they be our posture, awareness of our breathing, awareness of a stick cracking over here, because as human beings we had to be able to have a very permeable attention.

We had to be aware of storm clouds coming up the ridge. We had to be aware of the panther out of the corner of our vision, the dangerous snake up on the ridge.

We couldn't afford to be so narrowly focused that we were ignoring what was going on around us. However, over the last some period of time, we have gotten into the habit of a concentrated, narrow focus.

One thing that seems to be indicative of that is our computer work. We're narrowing in on that computer and we can do that with narrow focus. We can just be paying attention to our computer, what's on that screen, what our task is, and just solely paying attention to that ignoring that our shoulders are climbing up to our ears, that our back is aching, that it's really time to get up and stretch a little, go to the bathroom.

We can ignore all that and just bore in until we feel terrible. Until we have reaped the consequences of ignoring what was going on around us.. We could also work at that computer in more open focus or what I'm calling Whole Seeing where we're aware of our shoulders getting tight, we're aware that our eyes are straining, get up, stretch, look out a window.

I'm not claiming that I always do this, laughs, and I'm as prone to get lost in the newspaper as anyone, maybe even obsessively so, or the computer screen, but that is why I am very excited about whole seeing, because I'm finding that it really is an antidote, it really can help someone who has a habit of overly concentrating – to release that concentration.

You can still stay on task but you just have a bigger, wider field of awareness. Now there's also a connection with mental states with Whole Seeing.

Over twenty years ago I was studying the work of Edmund Jacobson who was the inventor of Progressive Relaxation, and Dr. Jacobson was an Experimental Psychologist at the University of Chicago, and he proved in the laboratory that it's impossible to think in visual images in your mind without also moving and tensing the muscles of the eye, and he proved this before we had more sophisticated biofeedback equipment by inserting needle electrodes and he worked at Bell Laboratories to develop the equipment that allowed him to measure the electrical activity, because when the muscles fire there's electrical activity, and he found that it was impossible for anyone to think visually without getting muscle firing in the muscles of the eyes.

He also found, and he was looking for this because it worked with his theory that it's impossible to think verbally to oneself without activity in the speech mechanism, as if one was actually saying the words that you were thinking although on a more minuscule level.

Now, sometimes we will have something that we're mulling over that it actually comes out in spoken words. I think that serves to illustrate that we're that close to activating the speech mechanism, but he showed that even a silent thought will activate this speech mechanism.

Now Krishnamurti talked a lot about thought and about quieting thought, and the impact that thought has on our consciousness. I had been struck by this parallel with Jacobson that thinking involves tensing of the eye muscles and the speech mechanism. I went into the Krishnamurti CD-ROM , a wonderful tool. It's a CD-ROM that has all of the writings and teachings of Krishnamurti with computer access. You can type in a word and you can kick up everything that he ever said about that particular topic. I guess about 4 or 5 years ago I did a search on “eye” - “eyes” singular and plural. I came up with about 560 references regarding eye and eyes. Now, many of them were somewhat metaphorical: “Look with new eyes.” “Don't look with old eyes.” but there were also over a dozen references where he talked about the importance of keeping the eyeballs still. He suggested that in meditation, one of the references that a lot of people are familiar with if they're familiar with Krishnamurti, was in The Beginnings of Learning. He suggested to people, that when you are sitting, when you are getting still, it's important not to fidget, to be as still as possible, and especially, “Don't move your eyeballs.” I found other references where he explains why he didn't want you to move your eyeballs, and he said specifically because “when you move the eyeballs thought begins” the whole thought mechanism is engaged when you move the eyes. It's also been said that a truth that you don't act on it becomes a poison. I've had this information about the importance of keeping the eyes still for about five years now, and it hasn't contributed to my eyes being any stiller that I'm aware of. Laughs. It's been very exasperating. It's a little bit like don't think about a pink elephant – trying to keep your eyes still it's been my experience with those directions. Nevertheless, I was convinced that this information had to go out, that is somebody else knew about keeping the eyes still, someone else could do it, and they could reap the benefits from it. It has been somewhat frustrating, very frustrating, because I've really felt that this was important information to go out, this connection. I wasn't just working on this assertion by Krishnamurti, I was also working with this research by Edmund Jacobson, “there is demonstrable electrical activity of the muscles when we're thinking, of the eye muscles when we're thinking visually, and the speech mechanism when we're thinking verbally. But how to turn that into something different than busy eyes, busy muscular activity, and busy mind.

Along this line, I had been aware that something goes on when you start going peripheral, when you start inviting a bigger picture. I noticed that I tended to be more aware of sounds. I tended to be more aware of my breathing, and I just tended to be generally more non-visually aware when I would go peripheral. I was invited to do this by the teachings of a naturalist from New Jersey, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, called Tom Brown Jr. Tom Brown, Jr. apprenticed under an Apache Indian Stalker named Stalking Wolf. Tom Brown's best friend was Stalking Wolf's grandson, and Tom Brown learned many ancient ways by hanging out with Stalking Wolf. Also, Stalking Wolf would often throw Tom Brown, Jr. into situations that he had to figure out for himself. This was one of the teaching tools that he used. He wouldn't just tell Tom Brown, Jr. what he needed to do, but he would get Tom Brown Jr. into trouble, in fact it's been said that the teacher takes you out into the forest and the student has to find their own way back, and that's literally what Stalking Wolf did to Tom Brown, Jr. Tom Brown, Jr. from studying with Stalking Wolf, talked about this quality of seeing that Stalking Wolf had. He said that you could never trick him into just paying attention to just you. He was always aware of the bigger picture. He was always aware of the squirrel over here in the tree, or this bent plant over here,indicating an animal had gone through. You had to just trick him into narrowing down on the one thing – you.

He said it was impossible to sneak up on Stalking Wolf. Absolutely impossible! He would have you spotted long before you would think it was even possible you could be in range with sound, or even in his field of view. Tom Brown, Jr. would use this kind of seeing himself. He would use it to find tracks, because he became a master tracker – a person who, if there was a lost child or an escaped convict, Tom Brown, Jr. would be one of the people who might be called in to try and find the lost person. He called it splatter vision. It was this splattering of vision, this always taking in the bigger picture, and not only the bigger picture, but the bigger sense of everything around him, because you needed to notice the change in the clouds, the weather, the change in the path, the change in the terrain.

I would practice this splatter vision with my students out on the nature trail, and I would also occasionally, when on long hikes, with a friend or two, I would invite them, if they were open to it, and inevitably everyone always was, to walk with me using splatter vision. We would separate and get 20, 30, 50 yards apart and we would just kind of put our hands out and kind of wake up our vision. Can I invite you all to try this. Kind of put your hands out and wiggling your fingers a little bit and seeing if you can look at me and the fireplace, this room and still see those fingers wiggling? See if you can drop them and still keep this bigger picture. It cannot only go to the sides, but also to the top and to the bottom. It's interesting as I'm doing this I realize that I've slipped out of doing this and I'm inviting myself as much as you to this, this bigger kind of seeing.

I would do this with friends and we would notice things. What I often noticed is that I couldn't do it for very long before I would just get lost in my thought. I would just get absorbed in my thinking and then “Oh! Oh, yeah!” Open up, open up, take in this beautiful.” When I would, it would be very nice. You would have this panorama all around you and you feel the, it might be in Matilija Canyon, and you'd feel this breeze coming up, and feel this wonderful exhilaration of just being out there and just absorbing that beautiful nature, out of the way, and just really taking it in. But it would only be for moments. I could never maintain it for very long.

This last winter, in January, I had a couple of younger friends home from college break. We were walking on Sulfur Mountain Road one of our local beautiful panoramas where you can see Lake Casitas and telling them about opening up the vision, about how I'd found these Krishnamurti references and the importance of stilling the eyes, and so I asked them if they would consider trying this, to keep the eyes still and take in as big a picture as we could. We spread out and I was in the rear, and we walked back to our car a couple of miles away. A good 45 minute walk. When we got back to the car John-Michael and I volunteered that it had been hard, that we found ourselves kind of getting caught in our thoughts. Rowen said that she felt something going on in her breathing, that her breathing had somehow relaxed, and then she said, “I really think you should get a hold of Frank Ottiwell about this, because he's got this direction about, “Eyes free to go apart.”

I thanked her for the suggestion. I knew Frank Ottiwell. He's a master Alexander Technique Teacher up in San Francisco, and I had taken Alexander Technique classes from him in Ojai on winter Christmas Alexander Technique workshops. A marvelous teacher and a very nice man. I wrote him and he sent me an e-mail right back, because I'd sent him my e-mail address. He said, “Yeah, I've got something on that, I'll send it to you. A short while letter he sent me a cover letter and then a transcript of an incredible talk and the cover letter explained that several years ago he was visiting Ojai at the Ojai Inn. He was having lunch with a mutual friend of ours Rome Roberts, and he noticed in a tree nearby at the Inn that there was a bird of prey sitting quite close and it was daytime, I'm going to assume it was a hawk, but perhaps it was an owl, and he said that this bird had this incredible quality in its eyes, this intense alertness, and it just captured him. He said he couldn't get it out of his mind, and he found himself experimenting with it, trying to emulate that sense of alertness he had seen in this bird. He said that one day, some while later he was walking on Geary Street in San Francisco where he lived, and he decided to try this kind of seeing right there in the middle of Geary Street. He had this incredible sensation of his eyes spreading in his face. He got this release in his whole body, he felt it in his breathing, and if I recall correctly, his whole face did this kind of melt, with this wonderful feeling of alertness in his eyes. He immediately felt as if his eyes had spread in his head. At that very moment he remembered that he had this transcript of this talk that had been given, he sent me a copy of the transcript. The transcript was quite amazing. As far as I can tell from the dates that were given, it seems like it was in the early eighties that it was given. It was in New York City and the talk was be given by two people one of whom was Countess Katherine Willaposka. She at the time was the most senior Alexander Technique teacher alive, at least in New York. There was no one else in the room apparently who had studied with FM Alexander, the originator of the Alexander Technique. She shared some stories about what it was like to work with him, but the focus of her talk was about this direction: Eyes free to go apart.. As I talk about it, I will just invite you to say to that to yourself gently, “Eyes free to go apart.” Eyes free to go apart, and if you will also allow this bigger picture that will take in the ceiling, and the ground, and the width as well as the speaker. Eyes free to go apart. Eyes free to go apart. She explained that it's not in the standard Alexander Technique lexicon. The standard Alexander lexicon was developed by FM Alexander has to do with releasing the neck, and releasing the back, and releasing the knees. If I remember correctly it basically, “Head forward and up, back lengthen and widen, and knees away. The knees away is to keep the knees from locking, if you're standing. But this direction, eyes free to go apart, was her direction. She made it up one day. She explained that she was looking in the mirror and somewhat chagrined, upset actually, was what she said, because her sister had gotten a diagnosis with dual cataracts. She found herself wishing that Alexander could somehow help her vision, but she had no reason to believe that it could, and she thought to herself that that was rather presumptuous to think that it could be that all inclusive to take in something as fundamental as a cataract situation. But she said to herself, after giving herself the regular directions, and she was looking in the mirror, eyes free to go apart. She had the most wonderful sensation with that. Her face melted, her shoulders dropped, her breathing seemed to relax, and yet her eyes did not move. The eyes with this direction are still. She reiterated this several times in her talk that with this direction “Eyes free to go apart” the eyes are actually still. She explained that she just didn't know what to make of this.. It wasn't an official Alexander release and it was giving her a deeper release than she had gotten from just doing her regular Alexander directions. She said that she was afraid to tell any people in the Alexander world because she thought they would jump down her throat. Those were her exact words, because it wasn't official Alexander. It wasn't what FM had passed onto them. Which she was very devoted to otherwise. She kept hoping she would find someone that would explain it for her, so she didn't have to figure it out herself, why it was working. She spoke of her frustration. She had an Ophthalmologist that looked he was going to be able to explain it, and then he wasn't able to. But then a man who was speaking with her that day in this transcript, Mario Pizzara, showed up. Mario was a clinical psychologist and a writer, and had been studying Alexander Technique for about five years when he was working, the countess was known as Kitty, to all of her friends, and was referred to that way throughout the transcript. Kitty did the direction with Mario. She invited Mario. She said this isn't an FM direction, but try it. You may find that you get some release in the face. Mario said, “Yes, by all means. You get all of that, but also the tongue, the tongue releases as well and then there's the inside of the hips is releasing. He even got around to the seventh vertebrae which is tied in with the trapezius . I think I can tell you why this works, and she was very, very delighted, because he really did have some very interesting explanations, and I am going to share that with you, but I'm going to take a moment again to just invite you, Eyes free to go apart, as I invite myself. Eyes free to go apart. Mario explained that, after he put a disclaimer on it, this is theoretical. This is what I think is happening. With most animals the eyes lead movement. As the eyes go, so goes the organism. That's part of why you can fake out a defender in basketball by pretending to look one way and going the other way. We're just blueprinted to read someone by the direction of their eyes. He said, “If you have something that is releasing the eyes, you have something that has the potential to radiate to the rest of the body. As you release the eyes, they're primary and you have the ability to release the rest of the organism with any release that you get going in the eyes. He also explained that in musculature there's a certain study of muscles but there's a first, second and third level of muscles. If you have something that affects the first level of the muscles then you have something that's going to affect the second level and the third level.

Jacobson would talk about this also. If you could get a complete level of relaxation in some part of the body, you could get relaxation spreading through the rest of the body. Mario was suggesting that if you could get something that would release the eyes fundamentally you have real potential to spread throughout. Another thing was brought out is that the system seems to be hardwired, by the system I mean our bodies and our minds, seem to be hardwired to go for this big, whole kind of seeing. As I mentioned earlier, as hunter gatherers we needed to be aware of much more that our computer screen or our little piece of paper. He said also that as we grow up as human beings, we are affected by our families, the posturing of our families, the emotional charge of our families, and that makes competing bids on our consciousness and our sense of balance, that we have to adjust for our family experience. We're set up to handle gravity and to have a free flowing attention, but there's this kind of tug and contradiction that comes up according to our conditioning and he suggested that this direction, eyes free to go apart is a direction back to that more organic, more balanced way of being. That it's resetting our orientation to more open, released, present kind of being. He also looked at it in Gestalt terms and suggested that this opening that comes with eyes free to go apart could be seen as a ground experience. With the ground experience you have room to be narrow focused with a particular task. If you have the ground with you, you still have all of this available to you, whereas if you just focus on the field, the ground becomes unavailable. He suggested that with this concentration of vision, this narrow focusing that allows us to get depth perception, allows us to focus in, that this eyes free to go apart is a break in this convergence. That convergence can also be broken into to some degree by looking up. If we look down, there's a tendency just as the eyes are set, that looking down almost requires convergence, whereas looking up invites more of an opening. Actually even growth and aging seems to be of this curling in, this conver-gence, this sort of drawing in. He suggested that, Eyes free to go apart, is at a certain level an antidote. It's an opportunity to expand, to release this tendency to be converging, to be coming in tighter and tighter. It allows us to be more expansive and more released.

The words are very carefully chosen or explored, there was an attempt apparently to find other words, and the words are not intended to be followed directly, not intended to be cognicized. Eyes free to go apart, because as I mentioned throughout the transcript they go back and say, the eyes do not move with this direction. That's part of why I got really excited about this, because what it seems to be to me, it seems to be a very effective way to invite this stillness of the eyes that Krishnamurti is advocating. It should not be mistaken for a staring, a narrowing down. I feel this is really true, because when you met with Krishnamurti, I had a few opportunities to walk with him before some of the talks, and there was a sense that people would talk about as if he was looking right through you, as if he saw you and was looking right through you. I think he was in this whole kind of seeing, that he was in this very expansive kind of seeing, that was letting him give full attention to you and yet was not, like Stalking Wolf, was not going to get caught just looking at you. I had a certain example of this one time when the talks were rained out here in Ojai where he usually spoke. He was speaking, in all places, at the Nordhoff High School football stadium. He was out in the middle of the field. The whole stadium on one side was full of people who were there to listen to Krishnamurti. There was some problem with the microphone, so I ended up standing out there with Krishnamurti. I was feeling rather self-conscious, because the whole bleacher was full of people waiting for him to speak. I thought, well, I'll look at the mountains. The mountains. He's always talking about the mountains. We had these wonderful Ojai mountains were all around us. From the stadium we had a panoramic view. I'm looking at the mountains and moving around. There's a scoreboard over here and I'm looking at the mountains. Krishnamurti did that and then all of a sudden he goes to Allen, I think there were a couple of other people standing there. I think Theo Lillifelt was there. Krishnamurti says, “What's going on with the scoreboard there?” They had misspelled a word on the scoreboard. I had must gone, “Scoreboard -banal. Mountains! Yes! He actually looked at the scoreboard. I'm sure he wasn't interested in football, but he noticed. He took in that something was off kilter there and commented with friends about it, and they were speculating about how it had happened.

There was another expression given about this kind of looking that Krishnamurti had, “as is nobody was home, which was I think an attempt to make reference to his selflessness. At any rate he really advocated looking with out moving the eyes. I found a very specific reference to this when I was substituting at Oak Grove School this last Spring. On a break I noticed that the teacher I was substituting for had a transcript of a lecture at Montessori International down in San Diego that Mark Lee had given, the Publications Director for the Krishnamurti Foundation of America. Mark had taught in a Krishnamurti School in India in the late sixties. He explained that one day Krishnamurti was talking with some students at the school where Mark taught, and Krishnamurti said to them, “The next time you go in your classroom, could you go in and not look around, but notice everything in the classroom, notice the colors, the shadows, notice everything, but don't move your eyes. Mark said that a couple of students told him later that they had tried that, and they had been very impressed with how much they had noticed in the rooms. They had noticed things that they felt they wouldn't have been aware of, that they had not previously been aware of when they were looking deliberately and moving with their eyes. There's reportedly a Native American term, “Looking without looking.” I think again it's a reference to this, probably along the lines of what Stalking Wolf did also – always aware, but without turning. I also found a Native American reference to soft eyes. This is a term commonly referred to in the Japanese Martial art of Aikido. A sense of the whole picture again , because sometimes in Aikido, Aikido Masters are able to absorb in demonstrations, and sometimes in real life, attacks from all different sides. They will just gently help people to fall down, as they try to strangle the Aikido masters or wrestle with them or what have you. They just take one person right after another, or even simultaneously using this soft eyes, this sense of whole seeing.

I bought a yoga book for my sister that emphasizes breathing. It's called the Breathing Book by Donna Farhi. I looked up “soft eyes” in her book, because I'm always looking for connections with this kind of seeing. Ms. Farhi had this fascinating section in her book where she suggested this experiment, and I'd like to invite everyone to try it, if you wold with me. Run your hands just below your solar plexus, just below your rib cage, where it's a little soft, just below your ribs, and just gently palpitate your stomach, your abdomen there. Then take your finger and just stare hard at your finger – see if you you can just see your fingerprint, and at the same time notice anything that happens with your abdomen as you do that. Concentrate – try to ignore my words. Your job is just to narrow down and see that finger and that's all that you can see. What Ms. Fahi mentioned is that you will often feel tension there. Now I will invite you to put your hand back on your abdomen, and now I invite you to go peripheral. To play with that phrase that we mentioned earlier: Eyes free to go apart. Take in the ceiling, the floor, the fireplace behind me, that slight little hum that we have in the air here, the chair underneath you, how your clothing is draping on your shoulders, and I'll suggest that generally we're going to feel more relaxed in that area. This is what Ms. Fahi advocates with here yoga students -that they go peripheral. She wasn't aware of this Alexander Technique direction, but that they go peripheral with soft eyes. She uses it when she's walking down a busy street in New York City, and there's a lot going on and she wants to stay attuned with it without be tense and yet fully present with it. She says when things starting hitting the fan in the office, she'll go to going peripheral. When her advanced yoga students are dealing with a particularly demanding postured, she invite them to go peripheral. It will help them to invite relaxation in their breathing and their whole organism and will help them to go into that posture with less effort..

Ms. Fahi also mentions that she had gotten some of this original work from a woman who had a book on horseback riding. That woman was Sally Swift and her book was entitle Centered Riding. The book was written back in 1982. Ms. Swift taught this to her horseback riding students. One of the things that Ms. Swift would do was she would have a riding student mounted on a horse, and Ms. Swift would get off to the side, and she would invite the riding student to look straight ahead, but go peripheral with soft eyes. Ms. Swift would get completely behind the riding student and then she would come into their peripheral view. Her riding students were inevitably astonished at how soon they would pick her up and how far back she had to move before they could no longer see her with their peripheral vision. Even though they were still ahead. It's an expansiveness that we often don't exercise. Ms. Swift had an Alexander Technique background, but she wasn't apparently aware of the “Eyes free to go apart.” direction, but just by inviting this peripheralness/soft eyes Ms. Swift said that it helped her students breathing, because going to the soft eyes, it broke up the thinking that went with our regular way of looking, and she said, “You have to realize that this is a whole new philosophy. This is a whole new way of being, because when you go peripheral and break out of this concentrated way of seeing, and its concentrated kind of thinking, it invites the other senses, it invites more awareness of the breath, it invites more awareness of your horse under you if you happen to be riding, it invites more awareness of where the other horses are in the corral. Ms. Swift wrote about how she taught this to her riding students and they would work in a corral, and they would be on task, and they wold be paying attention to their riding, and they wouldn't run into each other, because they had this sense of where the other one was and what was going on and how to slacken the pace and maneuver, so that they weren't going to run into each other. Ms. Swift pointed out that, if you're riding a horse and you tense your breath, that sends a message to your horse. You're riding up and you see something and you haven't quite figured out what it is yet and you tense your breath, the horse will turn that into a goblin. The horse will know that that is danger from your tensing of your breath. She invited her horseback riding students to go to this soft eyes, go to this peripheral, more relaxed and present way of being, because they would be more in touch with themselves, more in touch with their horse under them and more aware of all their surroundings. I found this fascinating to find these references. I also found in Henry David Thoreau's writings a passage where he says, from his journal. It was a winter day and he was talking about he loved these winter walks. That they brought something to him that he couldn't find anywhere else, and he had to do them alone, to get the most out of them. He said, ...I enter a glade in the woods perchance where a few weeds and dried leaves lift themselves above the surface of the snow. It as if I had come to an open window, I see out and around myself. This stillness, solitude, wildness of nature is like a bone thoroughwort or boneset to my intellect . This is what I go out to seek.... and he goes on. I think he was very much in touch with this kind of whole seeing that I'm talking about.

If there's a novelty to these words I have come upon, “Eyes free to go apart.” that I got from the countess, I don't in anyway mean to suggest this is the only way you can access this. I think it is something that we often go to naturally when we're off walking, when we're feeling relaxed, when we don't have an agenda, but what I would suggest is that we could profit from going to that kind of place much more often, and that we could invite that kind of whole seeing, that kind of opening to the peripheral that kind of soft eyes, that we can invite that more by valuing going peripheral, valuing soft eyes and also experimenting with “Eyes free to go apart.” Eyes free to go apart. It has the ability to get to our hardwiring, and as I've said before, the words, as Mario and the Countess said in the transcript, they are not intended to be sensical, because they reiterated again and again, the eyes do not move, the eyes are still with this direction, but just inviting them to be free opens up and allows you to be more aware and they'll tick off the list. I've found that it varies to the degree of effectiveness. When you're sitting on the sand looking out at the ocean and there's nothing to worry about, certainly going peripheral, inviting the sounds of the ocean, the seabirds, and the wind and feeling the breeze coming off the ocean, and light dancing on the waves and the waves themselves, and ebbing up on the sand, that invites a kind of spiraling, and certainly it's easier to do it there then it is say fighting traffic at LAX airport. I did have an experience with that recently, just within a week, I was picking up a friend at LAX and I was making a loop in our car while another friend was connecting with him and I got in some really nasty traffic with some limousine drivers that were just being ruthless. Almost as ruthless as I was trying to be. It was just inch by inch, and I was trying to get around before my friend would be showing up. I suddenly realized that going peripheral with soft eyes was about the farthest thing from my mind. I invited myself “Eyes free to go apart.” I felt a little bit of softening. Then I remembered also that there is another direction that Stephen and Ondrea Levine have brought through. They come out of the Vipassana Meditation School and they talk a lot about relationship and being gentle with yourself. They have a phrase, “Soft Belly.” They'll say, “Can you think about that with soft belly?”

Can you tell the person you love that with soft belly? Ah, soft belly. It invites peripheral seeing and peripheral seeing invites soft belly. I ran that. I said soft belly, eyes free to go apart, soft belly. Together they sort of just kept feeding each other. It let me be more present and let me let go of some of my sense of being victimized by these vicious drivers that wouldn't let me in. It worked out. I won't pretend that I got as relaxed as I was an hour later sitting on the beach at Malibu, but I was significantly more relaxed than I was before I remembered that I could invite peripheral opening of seeing. Whatever you go to peripheral, soft eyes, all of these are really just invitations to go to a place that is a natural resonance. It's going to be much easier on our nervous systems to be able to go here, and you can still function. You can drive on this. You can do your computer work. You can do anything with this. But certainly it's easier learning when you're on a nice nature walk and you're at the beach and you don't have a difficult task at hand. I've been looking back into the Carlos Castaneda writings, because I knew he had talked about vision and I found one reference where he said that seeing is a bodily sense, that we think it's just a visual sense, but it's actually a bodily sense as well. By that I think he's referring to the fact that if we're really seeing, and Krishnamurti suggested this also, we're seeing with all the senses. Krishnamurti said, “Don't look with just your eyes. Look with your ears, with your nose, with all your senses together. Mario Pizaro the psychologist who was talking with the Countess who developed the “Eyes free to go apat” direction, pointed out that when the eyes look down they naturally

converge and when the eyes look up they naturally expand. That I would think when we look at the horizon would just invite that kind of expansiveness. I would like to say a little bit more about the tongue in relation to this work. I mentioned earlier that Jacobson said that when we're busy thinking verbally that we will get tongue activity and mouth activity that can be measured. I took a workshiop from a woman named Anna Wise at Esalen Institute. She is a biofeedback researcher and meditation researcher. She feels that you can stop thinking, that you can stop talking to yourself if you completely relax the tongue. I know that Carlos Castaneda was very interested in stilling our inner dialog. He said that inner dialog keeps us in our conditioning, keeps us in our past, keeps us judging ourselves. He feels that the warrior, in this sense the spiritual warrior, is about learning to quiet the inner dialog. Anna was adamant that it's all about quieting the tongue. What I find interesting is that Mario was suggesting that if you quiet the eyes you will also quiet the tongue. That the eyes are more primary then the tongue. Krishnamurti hardly ever talked about quieting the tongue. I'm speculating that it may be that he was so good at quieting his eyes, that he was getting it top down, that it wasn't really an issue for him, although he often spoke about the Word and how the word gets in the way. That when we're running our words we're not really directly perceiving. I did want to mention about the tongue, because Anna working with a Zen teacher who she felt from the brainwaves that he was manifesting, she had him on her brainwave equipment and also she had an emg monitor, I believe, on his tongue as well, or the tongue area. She wasn't quite seeing the brainwaves that she expected to see from a Zen master, because she's had all kinds of people: Chi Gong masters, Zen masters, Yogis, high level CEOs, a whole spectrem of high performing people. So she said to the Zen Master, “It may be that you're holding some tension in your tongue. He went to his tongue and released his tongue and then got this dramatic shift in his brainwaves and reportedly he was so excited about it that he said, “You know I'm going to tell all my students about this now and I'm definitely going to bring it into my meditation practice.

Also, I was studying Zen for a few months down in San Diego at the San Diego Zen Center studying with Charlotte Joko Beck who is an American Zen master. She made a comment about how we lie to ourselves, how we kid ourselves a lot. I asked her, “What is your litmus test? How can you tell when you're kidding yourself?” She said, “I can always go to jaw tension.” “I can always go to my jaw and find tension there in the jaw.” She explained that when she finds that somehow that's allowing her to run what she thinks she needs to run. Joko also says in a passage on one of her books that in meditation that it's very important not to move the eyeballs, because when you want to think you will want to move your eyeballs. She may have other references to the importance of keeping the eyes still, but that's one reference I'm aware of and I believe that was from her book Nothing Special.

At the Esalen workshop I was taking from Anna, I met a woman who had been to Krishnamurti talks.

She said that a meditation teacher had told her that the eyes are the hardest place to bring full awareness and full stillness to. That they are the most difficult area to release.

I think of the football quarterback reference with this whole kind of seeing. Often a quarterback has a favorite receiver and he always knows where that guy is, but he's also got to know where these huge linebackers are and what's going on on the whole field. He's got to stay away from the linebackers as long as possible, and he's got to know who's got coverage and who doesn't, and if he's narrow focused he's done for. I had a friend who's an Alexander Technique teacher and he was teaching us Tai Chi, and he said that his Tai Chi teacher was once asked, “What percentage of your attention is outer and what percent is inner. Ah, he reportedly replied, “One hundred percent inner, one hundred percent inner.

That's how it needs to be, very plastic, very facile, the inner and the outer – the dance. I've had some confirmation with alpha brainwaves that coincided. I went to a biofeedback conference in San Francisco and I got to be on the best equipment that they had available at the time. They hooked me up and immediately I was aware of my breathing, I was aware of the chair under me, I was aware of the chairs in the audience creaking, I was aware of the audience, I was aware of the beeping of the biofeedback equipment. There was just this very fluid sort of thing, nothing was capturing my attention, nothing was hooking me, it was just this very fluid sort of thing. Since I've been really playing with this “Eyes free to go apart”, I've had several moments of that, several instances, where before it's been like years apart, I'm finding them days apart, where, clothing, I'm noticing my clothing on my body, just how it's sitting. I tend to just take that for granted, but all of a sudden I'm just aware of how my clothes are draping on me, and my toes are kinking up. (laughs) I just released them just now.

I really think that this more expansive way of seeing is about increased Alpha brainwave production. The Alpha brainwaves Anna Wise talks about a lot, the increased sensory awareness with alpha waves, just really coincide. That's one of the things that I think is happening with this as well. It's inviting this relaxed, yet present awareness that's not concentrated, that's not limiting, that's not restrictive, but it's all inclusive. I have a friend from Mexico who was telling me that he made an observation along this line. He said that at this school that I use to teach at you would sometimes see teachers standing in the path between buildings or in the buildings, and they would just be locked into each other. They'd be talking back and forth and you would really hesitate to interfere in any way. Even to say hello, or what have you. We are locked in and we are talking to each other and please don't interrupt us and we're just having this conversation. He said that was very foreign to how it was for him where he lived in Mexico. He said that in the culture he was use to, you could be talking to a friend and very into it, but if a mutual friend would come up you would both say Hello, and How's it going and then continue your conversation once the other person had moved on and there would be no sense that anything had been lost, that nothing had been taken away from your conversation. I think it is the difference between this whole kind of seeing and this concentrated, sort of locked in sort of thing, and there is even a cultural orientation perhaps to how we are with this.

I would just like to close with a short poem from a book by Mary Oliver entitled the White Pine and the poem is entitled:

September.


I walk through a grove of pines and startle the nighthawk

from the limb where it has been lying, resting or sleeping.

The bird is similar in color to the gray limb, and lies along

not across it, so is almost invisible. On its hawk-like wings

it rises into the sky, and vanishes.


The nighthawk doesn't nest here but only stops a few days

on its long travels. I know this one must be tired of flight,

and I am sorry to have disturbed it.


The next day, walking the same woods, I approach with care.

The bird is again resting on the limb, its eyes shut. I back

away and do not disturb it.


The following year, almost to the day, I enter the pinewoods

and remember the nighthawk just in time – in time to be

cautious and silent. And the bird is there, in the same tree,

on the same limb, in the pinewoods that is so pretty and so

restful, apparently, to both of us.

Thank you very much,

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