What You Actually See,
Hearing What You Actually Hear:
A Breathtaking Story
are far easier ways.....
I had to overcome
a lifetime of conditioning, the hard way. That's what this brief
tells. While, today, simply to know and practice Image Streaming
is infinitely easier and more effective than the way I had to come
I was actually seeing;
--Hearing what I was actually hearing;
--Noticing and responding to what I was actually perceiving, instead
of to what I expected to be seeing, hearing, etc.
the hard way, though, taught me something else important, though.
That something else is the "breath-taking" basis of this
brief, as you will see a few paragraphs hence.
after I had overcome, the hard way, a lifetime of conditioning
and begun to become able to notice and respond to what I was actually
seeing and hearing...
I came to fully appreciate fully what was involved:
in Writing This:
here is to encourage you into simple practices which enable you
to make your own immediate actual perceptive observations--
I can at this
point hear most people, and perhaps most of you reading this, saying,
"Well, I'm a pretty good observer now. I don't need you to
tell me to make my own independent observations!"
A Bad Joke
Showed Part of What Is Involved:
(at which point I recorded the observation in a book and afterward
stopped keeping count), I was beginning to travel a lot in connection
with teaching workshops and at conferences. During those years,
I had occasion to be in restaurants for breakfast 70 times, on occasions
where the waiter or waitress spoke reasonable English and the surroundings
were reasonably quiet. It started as a silly joke...
...That when the attendant asked me how I wanted my eggs, I'd say,
"strangled." Although I am reasonably articulate and have
a strong voice, 62 of those 70 times the waiter or waitress never
noticed that I'd said anything other than "scrambled."
This was the
first I'd begun to realize to what extent I previously had not been
alone, and I invite you to devise your own experiments along similar
lines. I predict that you will find that by and large, people see
only what they expect to see and hear only what they expect to hear.
were only waiters and waitresses, you say, not sophisticates like
Else's Bad Joke:
A friend of
mine worked in a high security area of the Pentagon. Name plates,
picture badges, the whole bit. One day he folded up a $5 bill so
that only the picture of Lincoln showed, pasted that portrait of
Lincoln (not a look-alike!) over his own picture on the badge.
Every day he wore this Lincoln badge past the inspection of an ever-changing
set of guards, coming and going. No on ever noticed. After a year,
he discontinued the experiment.
were only security guards, you say, not high-powered people like
you and me.
Must Be a Recent Problem Only--?
the main frustration expressed by Jesus was with people who have
eyes but do not see, and who have ears but do not hear. --And He
didn't find very many people at that time, either, who would see
In 1937 Catharine
Grant reported, in the encyclopedia of studies then coming out of
Stanford University under Lewis M. Terman on the topic Genetic
Studies of Genius, that in any age of history, virtually all
the real contributions to the advance of culture, science, technology
or civilization generally has been made by only the tiniest handful
of people, a vanishingly few "original observers." Everyone
else either just carried out orders or was along for the ride.
not immune to such blindness but, if anything, peculiarly susceptible
to it! This writer has had occasion to work, one way or another,
in more than twenty different academic and scientific fields. Every
such field he's been in is dominated by glaringly apparent oversights
and errors which the prevailing herdvision has failed to notice.
For example, some few thousand historians have had occasion, the
past several centuries, to comment in print on Edward Gibbon's theory
of why Rome fell. For a century at least, Gibbon's Decline And
Fall of the Roman Empire has been constantly available in every
library and in half of the bookstores. --Yet in that most scholarly
of all disciplines, history, it appears that no one ever bothered
to go to source, and simply cribbed off each other's notes and commentaries.
At most one, maybe two out of those tens of thousands of professional
historians, picked up what Gibbon actually said on the matter--
You can check
for yourself what he actually said, near the end of his first volume,
first published in 1789...
reason Rome fell, and the reason why modern Europe of his time was
not about to fall, is that in Rome everything and everyone came
to depend upon more and more centralized structures and arrangements
(he almost spelled out "supply lines" though he didn't
use those two words verbatim). When these fell, as all such structures
and arrangements sooner or later must, everything which depended
upon them fell with them. Whereas, in modern (1789) Europe, "Every
household, hamlet and village has the requisite means and (knowhow)
of survival. If the superstructure of society should be swept away
for any reason for a time, life will go on much as before until
a new one arises...."
GBD.com without it costing you a dime. Learn
thousands of historians, in that most scholarly of all disciplines,
have bothered to obey the prime stricture of their own discipline
and gone to source in their own commentaries, instead of cribbing
off each other's mistakes, I believe that our own society, which
is now far more vulnerable to what felled Rome than Rome ever was,
would definitely have made some very different choices along the
The same kind
of outrageous error and oversight is there to be found in every
other academic, and scientific, field that I've worked in and at
this point, I've no reason not to believe that such errors and oversights
don't also characterize most or all other such fields as well!
and I are high-powered people, sophisticates or whatever, it seems
that very few of us, too few of us, are numbered among Catharine
Grant's tiny handful of original observers instead of simply going
along with what other people are saying (and not saying!). And we
are paying for that, paying dearly, and might soon pay very dearly
Fine, you say.
Maybe we haven't been quite as observant as we might, so all we
have to do is remind ourselves to pay attention to what we are really
One thing which
suggests the problem may run a bit deeper than that is the problem
with a problem, it seems natural to you or me to attempt to solve
it based upon what we know. Alas: any problems that can normally
be solved that way have already been solved--and we are left with
problems that don't normally solve that way.
Worse, it has
become apparent that the main barrier between us and solving our
problems IS what we know!
now proverbial tale of the truck stuck under an overpass. Trying
to take off some of the load only made it rise and wedge more tightly
against the overhead. Crowbars, wedges, revving the engine, all
the ways people know for dealing with vehicular problems or for
things that are stuck, only were making matters worse. A six-year-old
boy, looking at the height of the truck's axis above the pavement,
tugged at many annoyed sleeves before he was finally allowed to
point out the solution: let some of the air out of the truck's tires.
Most of the
problems you and I have around us now: what we know is only getting
in the way of their solution. When we can shift some attention from
what we know, and to what we are actually perceiving, most
problems solve very quickly!
With THAT, Though, Is--
as a general prescription. Problem with that is that most people,
when I've asked them not to recite what they know about their problem
situation but to tell me what, with their here-&-now senses,
they are actually perceiving about their problem, they pause and
then go on telling me what they know about the problem instead.
third time I make this insistence, they "get it" and tell
me the start of some actual perception of the problem--but in five
seconds or less are back into telling me what they know about the
About the fifth
or sixth time, when by sheer force of whatever I finally get them
telling me what they are actually perceiving: usually within minutes,
often seconds, I hear them saying, "--and...oh, well that's
it! That solves the problem, doesn't it!"
--And the NEXT
time I hear them working on a problem, their attention is wholly
on what they "know" about that problem situation and not
on their perceptions of it!
think we have a problem!
On the subway
and in the streets, you're not supposed to look at other people.
As small children,
we were almost always shushed if something caught our attention.
In the science
"lab," in high school and college almost everywhere, we
all learned to make sure that our "experiments" came out
the way they were supposed to (which is as opposite to actual science
as it's possible to be!).
of us are trained, indeed very heavily conditioned, not to pay attention
to and respond to what we are actually seeing or perceiving. That,
ultimately, is why we get stuck in our problems. Why we let what's
going on around us go wrong and stay wrong.
what we control or act upon, especially what we control which in
turn affects us, we build brain circuits to handle which then are
there for other things. The very building of the conscious mind
itself is, in large part, an accumulation of even those few occasions
where you have acted upon your own perceptions of something
and thus reinforced those perceptions and your handling of them,
and the consequences of your having done so. That you have
some conscious mind tells me that you have had at least some few
occasions of dealing with your own perceptions.
there's the fun of deliberately doing so and building for yourself
more of a conscious mind.....
Is Now The Easiest, Most Effective Way--
you practice noticing and responding to (reporting or describing)
not only your perceptions but your subtlest perceptions. --In which
it is so much more rewarding to report accurately, objectively and
in detail and thus reinforce your perceiving in such directions,
that the process itself shapes you more and more into a keen original
and effective observer.
is not an article about Image Streaming. It is an article about
noticing what you see and hear, and about one hugely significant
observation which resulted from early efforts to do so, an observation
which profoundly affects you, me, everyone.
A Long Time
Ago, in a Galaxy Far Away....
Only not so
far at all, and not very long ago, there was a young college teacher
who had read admiringly about a young Swiss biologist who had been
trained to make observations about shellfish. Indeed, the first
few published papers of that young Swiss biologist were about what
amounted to the sex life of oysters. One day, that biologist married
and started having children. Reportedly, he wondered what he might
learn if he applied his oyster-observing skills to his own infant
children. This he did - and the results became a half-dozen different
scientific disciplines on the development of the human mind. The
most noted such new science was that of cognitive psychology, and
his work became a main reference point for nearly all teachers as
well as many psychologists.
biologist was, of course, Jean Piaget, and his work is still consequential
among us. He it was who showed how basic concepts emerge in young
humans and become the working tools through which other concepts,
and other experiences, are understood, and for lack of which essential
experiences, our grasp of things is enfeebled. If the child hasn't
adequate experience of the reversibility of actions, he cannot in
turn encode the concept of conservation of quantity - leading to
those famous demonstrations in which many children and even some
adults have no idea that the amount of water stays the same in a
container no matter what the shape of that container. He is surprised
- or beyond surprise - no matter what happens when he pours the
one container into another. He also has no way to build the concept
of the irreversibility of some actions. --And his grasp of all the
things around him is weak, his understanding enfeebled, on all the
things around him which in some way reflect these most basic very
universal concepts built from experience....
(One of Piaget's
concerns was that adults and schools are in the business of teaching
the fact of such concepts to our young, instead of letting
them build them from their own raw experiences. To the extent that
this substitution is made, we grow up with enfeebled understanding....)
Can Be Learned From Watching Our Own Young?
of Piaget much intrigued our young college teacher, who knew that
we had been trained to not observe; who knew that even in science
people these days are trained to go down the rows of other people's
instruments taking readings as their observations, which
is why nearly all the real discoveries in every scientific field
come not from the experts but from amateurs from outside the field
and newcomers to the field, who haven't yet learned to restrict
their vision to those rows of instruments.....
What if, argued
our young college teacher, we turned our own observations
onto the children around us? With regard to Piaget: here all of
us have been children and nearly all of us have current experience
with children. Why did it take a Piaget to discover something
so very important just from observing children? More to the point,
of importance might we discover if we turned our attention and observations
onto our own children? What might we learn which, being so universal
we had nothing in our experience to contrast it with, we've been
overlooking like a fish doesn't know he is wet? What new vantage
on the human condition could we gain if we simply paid some observational
attention to our own children?
At the time
first asked, those questions were only rhetorical since that young
college teacher, yours truly, had no way at the time to do
anything about observation-making. Everything but everything had
trained us away from being able to make original observations. Those
questions being rhetorical did not prevent yours truly from making
a hairy nuisance of himself with them, both with his captive audiences--his
students--and with his fellow faculty who didn't know and could
care less what in the world he was talking about.
In the course
of events yours truly married and started having children of his
own. At which he decided to make those questions more than rhetorical
and see if he really could learn anything useful, from observing
his own infants as closely as possible.
Take A Deep
Breath! Here It Comes----
transparently! By that, I mean that if you look closely enough for
awhile, you'll begin to notice that babies have different ways of
breathing in response to different situations and to different
internal states. You can begin to tell when that baby is comfortable
or uncomfortable. When that baby is sick, when that baby is well,
when that baby is in some ecstatic transport. --When that baby is
glad, sad, mad, bad or whatever.
and you'll also find - that the same is true of the adults around
us as well. And that each of us, including you yourself, have identifiably
characteristic ways of breathing in response to such situations
and states of being.
--And if you
make little experiments on yourself from those observations, as
Piaget began making little experiments on his children from his
observations, you will discover that this breathing is a "two
way street!" --Not only because of inhaling and exhaling a
two-way street. Not only do you have characteristic ways of breathing
in response to such different situations and feelings: you can also
change such situations and feelings by breathing deliberately in
the associated breathing pattern!!!
Some Immediate Relief!
have been bothering you or pressing you, you can give yourself relief
from this very minute! All you have to do is set up the proper pattern
of breathing, in the way you breathe when you do experience
profound relief. 5-6 slow deep sighs of relief will bring you the
experience of relief from just about anything! --from the
symptoms of a cold, to stress on the job. How do you set up what,
for you, is the appropriate pattern of Relief Breathing?"
Here is how...
remember carrying a heavy load of groceries, just a bit too heavy,
for just a bit too long and too far. Now experience, as completely
as you can, at last coming to the table and at last being able to
set that load down there. As you're setting down that load,
breathe your first breath of relief at setting down that load!
When you get
around to breathing your next breath, make that your first
breath of relief as you're setting down that load!
When you breathe
your next breath make that your first sigh of relief
as you're setting down that load at last......
the space of several minutes, make each next breath that
first profound sigh of relief as you're at last setting down
how you're feeling, with what you were feeling before starting that
simple relief breathing.
Over the years,
I've identified more than one hundred different breathing patterns,
associated with different conditions or different situations. Half
of them are desirable or reflect situations or conditions which
are desirable; some are healthful. Many of the best breathing patterns
are in a cluster which we call "the Calm Breathing Patterns."
Here are the names of some of these desirable or useful patterns:
Deliciousness Breathing; Satisfaction Breathing; Noise-Removal Breathing
or Clarification Breathing (literally removing noise and disturbance
from the body, from an experience or from various situations); Blowtorch
Breathing or Dragonbreath (removing anger or irritation as a prelude
to reconciliation); Mirror Breathing (combining Satisfaction Breathing
with a mirror-examining experience as a way to restore or build
self-esteem); Energy-Building Breathing; the Insight Pause.
Observe and Categorize Your Own Patterns
These are not
yoga, nor are they technical instructions how to breathe, to move
the third rib from the right 45 degrees clockwise or whatever. You
identify - from how you've breathed before in a situation or from
what you observe in an infant's breathing in similar situation,
the patterned way you breathe in those conditions. Breathe
that way again, deliberately, to re-create those conditions. You
don't have to depend upon our identified patterns of breathing;
by observation and test, you can develop your own classification
system and body of breathing techniques appropriate for you. Or,
a bunch of those we've already identified are conveniently published,
in Beyond O.K. (op.cit.). There is no mystery here,
just looking. We will mail, from P.O. Box 332, Gaithersburg, MD
20884-0332, hardcopy of Velvety-Smooth Breathing, Deliciousness
Breathing and Mirror Breathing, for free in return for return postage
and a self-addressed mailing label, but appreciate that these demonstrate
only a very few of the many useful things you can do with your own
releases anxiety energy, stored in the shoulders, to travel up the
eustacians and out of the body. It is one of the more amusing, but
also one of the more profoundly effective, patterns of breathing.
Where NLP "grounds
out" distress experiences and anchors in pleasurable ones for
various purposes, we first strengthen the pleasurable aspects of
the Calm-Breathing Patterns, in the presence of which no distress
can last very long - and often just the general practice of such
breathing is enough to clear away all the specific problems. If
one does have to go target hunting, usually it takes about 10-20
minutes to orient on and hold on a distress exposing as much of
it as possible to each Noise-Removal Breath or Blowtorch Breath
until that episode is thoroughly cleaned out -- then finish it off,
still oriented to that episode, with several minutes of Deliciousness
Breathing and/or Satisfaction Breathing, so thoroughly reconditioning
that stimulus that that episode can never again be a bother or help
to trigger others such.
Burns in the
kitchen, scrapes in construction work, mashed hands from fallen
loads--many times, people equipped with these breathing patterns
have literally breathed away all signs of injury, not merely the
discomfort, within a minute or so. The way we figure it, after a
billion years of arduous evolution in which our precursors were
often tested beyond the limits, our bodies got very good at self-healing.
Quick and complete recovery is the normal response of the body;
other outcomes have been learned under the artificial conditions
of civilization. The breathing helps us intercept the responses
and factors which get in the way of that rapid self-healing. Whatever
the explanation, it's nice to have such quick and complete recovery
working for you.
an Effective Observer:
our word on this or on other things, just check these simple things
out for yourself and go on from there. --Just please pay attention
to what you, yourself, observe, as distinct from what you expect.
"Noise-Removal Breathing" or Clarification Breathing also
made a big difference in the development of this observer, so I
no longer had to force myself to notice what's actually happening.
With perceptions clarified, noise in my information system reduced,
it was easier to notice and pay attention. Today, of course, I have
Image-Streaming and its many related procedures, another technique
called Sidebands of Awareness Capture and another called Portable
Memory Bank, which we've both published widely and taught widely,
which build observational skills far more easily and directly. (I'm
still using Noise Removal Breathing, though, to help me get myself
through impossible schedules and tasks.) By paying attention to
your own perceptions, you may find yet other procedures which
are a better help to you.
or Parting Shot:
In paying attention,
I've determined that easily 90% of everything I've ever been taught
has been contradicted by what I could plainly see for myself. Frankly,
I've come to trust what I can see plainly for myself, first hand,
more than I do what I've been taught and more than the things that
This does lead
me to wonder about what you've been taught. --And about what
I'm teaching currently!!! The best bet?--pay attention to
and respond to your own first-hand perceptions first. If you haven't
made a point of so doing up til now, we strongly recommend that
you learn how to and begin doing so. Every now and then, the herd
of lemmings does things you don't want to do if you but knew. --And
the path of all of us is littered with unnoticed positive opportunities......
©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version
only, other copyrights may apply). While we encourage the free distribution
of this article (complete text only, including this notice and acknowledgement
of source), we do require that expressed permission be granted by
Project Renaissance for any major republication. For minor printing
and sharing, we only request that you notify us.
To reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at
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This version originally published on Anakin's
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