Owl Vision, Fox Walking

I’ve learned so much, not only about how we read, but about why computers feel so unnatural to people, from spending time out in the woods.

I’d like to share two very simple techniques with you. I guarantee if you practice them for a few minutes a day, they’ll dramatically increase your level of awareness of what’s going on around you.

I was taught these techniques by animal tracker Jon Young, who established the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, Washington.

The first technique is called Owl Vision. It’s very simple. Just use your peripheral vision to gaze at your surroundings without focusing on anything. You can blink, of course, but don’t let your eyes focus on anything. It’s best to begin in the woods, or in a park – but once you’ve got this technique down, you’ll find it just as valuable on the streets of a city, and even when you’re driving…

One of the first things you’ll find is that you notice much more. By not focusing on anything, you become extremely sensitive to movement anywhere in the 207degrees or so of your visual field. You’ll see birds you never noticed before, for example. Your brain will filter out things like leaves blowing in the wind – but you’ll notice if they’re moved by a bird or animal.

The second technique’s called Fox Walking, to be used in conjunction with Owl Vision when you want to move.

The problem with normal walking while doing Owl Vision is that most of us bounce up and down while walking – even if only a little. This adds “noise” to the visual signal which is hard to filter out. So Fox Walking’s a way of walking in which you keep your eyes on the same plane all the time.

Pretend you’re carrying a tray of very full glasses, and you don’t want to spill a drop. Once you’ve got this working, you can lose the tray…

A word of warning. It looks very weird to begin with, until it becomes more natural. Best practised without other people around so you don’t freak them out.

Ten minutes a day will change your life.

If you want to learn more, both the Wilderness Awareness School and the Reikes Center in California (where Jon’s now based), give classes. Find them at:

http://www.wildernessawareness.org/

and

http://www.riekes.org

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