While he is walking in the street, he will need not only to be continually listening to the particular sound within his head and his ears mentioned earlier, but he must also, while he is looking at anything, try to perceive and to encompass simultaneously out of the corners of his eyes all the various movements that come into his field of vision and to maintain this simultaneous perception for the duration. Wherever he turns his head, when his gaze is attracted by any sort of object or movement, he needs to remain, without interruption, conscious and concentrated on all the other movements that are taking place to his left, to his right, in front of him—and even to try to sense those that are happening behind him.
Somehow the visual organs constantly capture all that enters into their field of perception (and not only the object looked at), but the problem lies in the fact that human beings are never conscious of what is also being transmitted at the edge of their field of vision; moreover, in their customary state of being, they do not really look at the object in front of them. Everything that presents itself to their eyes is, so to speak, vaguely perceived.
At the same time that he is looking at something, the seeker needs to also succeed in being conscious not only of the thing seen, but also of all the other objects or movements that are perceived to the side, even down to their shapes and colors—but which, because of this curious absence to himself, ordinarily escape him.
He will discover that it is very difficult for him, at the beginning, to accept letting go of his futile preoccupations and imaginings (which ceaselessly go around in his head without purpose) to remain simultaneously conscious of and concentrated on all these different movements that are occurring around him; in a very short time, he will notice that his field of vision has narrowed and become fixed on a single movement at a time, whereas all the other movements will withdraw into the background and once again become vague. He will, once again, be immured within himself, in his customary state of diurnal sleep and, so to speak, absent, plunged into his habitual daydreams and futile torments. He will look, but he will no longer see.
If the aspirant finds within himself the strength to “hold” this exercise long enough, without allowing his concentration, on both the sound within his ears and the totality of the movements taking place around him in all directions, to slacken even for a moment, the field of his consciousness will gradually expand; an expansion of his consciousness will take place within him and, with this expansion of his consciousness, he will feel not only an astonishing liberation from what he habitually is, but also that he has been relieved of a heavy burden.
Through this exercise, he will not fail to notice that, every time this expansion of his consciousness takes place within him (as a result of sustained concentration on the various movements around him), it will be accompanied by this strange liberation of himself and that, every time he loses this expansion of his consciousness, his field of vision will also shrink and he will once again become absent and immured internally in a world that is so narrow and illusory.
So as to help him further in this difficult spiritual journey, it is necessary once again to emphasize something already mentioned several times, but that the aspirant must always remember, that is, the more one does, the more one will be able to do, and the less one does, the less one will be able to do. In reality, the problem with human beings does not lie in the fact that they cannot do, but rather that they do not want to do.
The Supreme Quest Chap 19