When I first started NightWalking in 2007, I was surprised to discover several things about vision and life.
First, when you switch in to your peripheral vision and can stay there, the internal activities of anxiety are impossible.
Internal chatter, worry about the past or future, and anything other than being present is impossible when you use your peripheral vision.
I was delighted by this discovery and it’s one of the main reasons I’ve pursued this activity of peripheral vision.
Second, staying peripheral was not something I could do right away.
I had to practice it. Because we westerners are experts in focused vision (tasks like reading, playing on our cell phones, threading a needle, etc are all focused visions tasks) and we haven’t used our peripheral vision much, the connection between the eye and brain is not great when it comes to peripheral vision.
Most people need 12-20 hours of NightWalking to be able to go peripheral and stay there and use it at will. In fact, almost everyone I’ve met who lives in the modern world can’t just “go peripheral” for even a few seconds without a little help. I certainly couldn’t at first. It’s a lost skill and regaining it seems like gaining a Jedi superpower (even though it’s a natural ability of the human eye).
Third, my life was more entangled with anxiety that I realized.
Even with the happy, abundant life I had in safety and security with plenty of resources and friends, I was surprised to notice that low-level anxiety was an itch I was always trying to soothe.
I had attempted, unconsciously, to scratch that anxiety itch with achievements like my college education (which was really fun, by the way!) and distractions like vacations, but nothing had worked to directly address the anxiety.
I didn’t discover the vast landscape of my anxiety until I had some consistent experiences of not being anxious and a guide to help me learn to stay out of anxiety.
After I had that awareness (in NLP we sometimes call it “sensory acuity”) things started to change organically on their own.
I quickly became more resilient.
I had more energy to follow my dreams and desires.
I had more attention to spend on the things I love. At the time, that was improving relationships, being in nature, and learning to share NLP with others.
It was like I had been walking around with a bear trap on my leg not knowing it was there. As soon as I discovered it, it was extremely easy and quite natural to remove it and heal and have what seemed like boundless energy in comparison!
I came to NightWalking before I had much road time as an NLP trainer. As I continue to teach NLP classes (the NLP Starter weekend class comes around again this September and October – kicking off the 10th fourteen-day NLP Practitioner Certification Training I’ve facilitated as the lead trainer), I’ve returned to NightWalking.
NightWalking does not offer therapy or belief changes about anxiety. It is not about “working through* anxiety.
NightWalking gives you a profoundly different, non-anxious experience of the world that you can sustain when you wish to.
Some people call this reliable, enjoyable state that arises while NightWalking:
- no mind
- seeing the big picture while staying engaged
- sacred space
- being part of the night
- and many more things…
I don’t know what you’ll call it and I’m curious to find out!
If anxiety or the calm, relaxed flow states that are anxiety’s opposites are of interest to you, I hope to see you at this one-of-a-kind class in Taos, New Mexico. There’s no other class that I’m aware of that takes you through the beginning states of learning to use your peripheral vision and stay peripheral.
Hopefully you’ll also have fun enjoying the natural beauty of the desert in bloom.