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Change the Viewing, Change the Doing – Meditation as a Fear Conqueror

man conquering fear with meditation sitting on a dock surrounded by mountains

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Change the Viewing, Change the Doing

On a daily basis our society requires us to operate within a great amount of tunnel vision through activities such as driving, reading, and the ubiquitous use of electronics. Focusing with our eyes directs energy. In tunnel vision everything is focused with visual emphasis, no other senses are in use and there’s very little sensitivity to motion; improved consciousness doesn’t occur. We have a tendency towards operating in similar patterns. Or worse, we become adept at establishing ruts, “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change” (Oxford Dictionary).

Wolf Wisdom

Stalking Wolf, Grandfather with baby Tom Brown Jr.
From left to Right, fire-circle, and Stalking Wolf, “Grandfather,” with baby. Source: https://www.trackerschool.com/

Stalking Wolf, otherwise known as “Grandfather,” was a member of the nomadic Lipan Apache born in the 1870s, prior to Apaches being relocated to reservations. Stalking Wolf’s son was stationed in South Jersey, so he came to live there and became an important mentor for his young grandson, Rick, and his best friend, Tom Brown, Jr. It was through this association Tom was taught tracking, observation of nature, wilderness survival skills, and his grandfather’s wisdom. In 1978 Tom founded the “Tracker School,” building his life’s work around Grandfather’s lessons. Part of the basic philosophy taught in the Standard course are the seven elements of awareness, one of which is wide angle vision – a dynamic state of meditation.

Focused Vision

Wide-angle vision is a method that assists human ability to access alpha states. Benefits offered in alpha states are numerous: heightened awareness, peak physical performance, increased creativity and intuition, greater learning efficiency, and enhanced healing potential. In this state the brain slows down, and how we process information changes. Normally 80% of what you see, our brain doesn’t process; it takes areas of continuous tone and averages it. Our eyes focus 4-6 times per second, focusing on highlights. Wide-angle vision takes out areas of continuous tones.

Wide-angle vision is accessed through the deliberate choice to pay attention to everything in one’s field of view while not paying attention to anything in particular. Peripheral vision is activated. The eyes, using its rods and cones, see in the dark, detecting movement and leads your senses outward so one can discern differences in patterns or disturbances. In wide-angle vision you diffuse energy— or “zoom out” your viewing.

One way to practice WAV (wide angle vision) is as a standing meditation, first slow down and relax your breathing, let it flow gently in and out. Look forward. Raise both arms in front of you; wiggle your fingers. Notice your eyes focusing on your fingers. Continue to do so as you move your arms perpendicularly [to your sides] with fingers wiggling on both sides. Allow your gaze to soften as your focus expands peripherally. You can experiment moving your arms from the front to the sides.

Keys to the Kingdom

For years I suffered from such an extreme fear of heights to the point where simply going up a flight of stairs, in which you could view the floor below, would immobilize me. Through the use of wide-angle vision, utilizing it as a form of self-hypnosis, this fear has been conquered. On a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, a hike into a sacred Paiute box canyon entailed maintaining a three-point contact (two hands and one foot) on a very narrow ledge with a shear drop. WAV enabled me to traverse the narrow ledge which lead to astounding natural beauty. To quote Stalking Wolf, “Awareness is the doorway to the spirit.”

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  • Karliese Greiner-Laurie, LCSW, CASAC is a psychotherapist, Ericksonian hypnotherapist and an alcoholism/substance abuse counselor. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan which integrates the modalities of hypnosis, psychodynamic and schema-focused cognitive behavioral therapies and mindfulness-based techniques. For additional info, check her listing on www.psychologytoday.com.

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