Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and storing in the brain so that the
acquired knowledge can be retrieved and applied as and when required. We gather
information primarily through our five senses and more often we use only Visual (reading
and seeing pictures), some times only auditory ( hearing ) and many times a combination of
visual and auditory like attending a class in a school or college. At the same time many skills
can be learned only if we employ kinaesthetic methods; ie. we have to practically do and
experience. Only seeing and hearing is not adequate ( examples are cycling, dancing,
painting and so on) . Our brain is a marvellous machine which can do a variety of activities,
but can concentrate only on a few at any instant. A calm and quiet mind without other
disturbances like self talk and distracting thoughts is essential for good learning. That is why
it is suggested to do the studying process in the early morning instead of late night. The
proverb, “ early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise” is still valid.

We all know that vision is very important in learning; however some theories
suggest that we don’t use it to its full potential. When we view something, we usually focus
on the things we look at. The part of our vision that focuses directly on something is called
Foveal vision. In Foveal vision we will be really seeing only the centre of the point where we
are looking at. It is something like a tunnel vision.

Peripheral Vision means, the part of our vision that surrounds what we are looking at
directly. We have all seen something out of ‘the corner of our eye’ and if we drive a car we
will notice that we have awareness beyond the specific point we are focusing on in front of
us (the road or an another vehicle). In peripheral vision we will be seeing in much wider
angle ( almost 180 degrees).

Peripheral vision is very useful to remove tension, anxiety, stress, fear & pain and it
is easy enough to teach the children and help them to improve their grades and study skills.
There are several techniques to use more of your peripheral vision. One of the easiest tools
in NLP is the Active Peripheral Vision also known as “The Learning State” which is also
called Hakalau based on its origin from Hawaiian Islands. The peripheral vision techniques
are regularly taught to sports personnel and they say that this is equivalent to the whole
body becoming the eye.

The Learning State is a resourceful state for bringing you into awareness – you widen
the use of your senses in order to increase your ability to take in, utilize, and store more
information calmly, easily and effortlessly. This is a technique to optimize our own learning
abilities and take in more information from our surroundings. This is also a good tool to use
for :
• getting rid of stress
• neutralizes anxiety
• desensitizes feelings of not being in control
• sensation not feeling safe
• not being accepted or supported

In essence the peripheral vision empowers you and is very useful for controlling your
state. In this state people will not experience negative emotions. As it removes anxiety,
individuals with stage fright, have found this state to be very helpful and it allows them to
extend their focus to the periphery so that they can see the whole audience

Peripheral vision is also an excellent relaxation tool and an easy way to get into a calm
and meditative state. Also, people who perform Martial Arts make use of this technique so
as to stay in a state of ‘relaxed alertness’. It actually helps us to empty our mind of any
‘monkey chatter’, the self talk we have in our mind which pulls back. The more often we do
it the easier it gets.
We can experience it when we follow through the following process right now. It is very

  • Take a deep BREATHE. Repeat a few times.
  • Look straight ahead. Pick a spot on a wall to look at, ideally above eye level (at about 45 degree angle), so that as you look at it, it feels as though your vision is bumping up against your eyebrows.
  • As you stare at the spot on the wall, let your mind go loose and just let your thoughts come and go. Focus all your attention on the spot for 5-10 seconds. Then allow your eyes to relax and allow your centre of attention to expand to the periphery while keeping your eyes still looking at the spot.
  • You will feel the tension in your eyes relax and your vision will continue to expand as you keep breathing.
  • Loosen the back of your jaw (or yawn) this tends to rid you of any self talk that might be trying to get your attention.
  • You begin to see more in your peripheral than you do in the central part of your vision. Pay more attention to the peripheral than to the central part of your vision.
  • While you are looking at the wall, begin to notice that you can see the corners of the room, the ceiling and the floor, all without moving your eyes. You can even begin to pay attention to things that are going on behind you if you notice carefully.
  • Continue to expand your awareness. As you stay in this state, notice how you feel, notice what you can see.
  • Notice any movement that is going on in your peripheral vision. Become aware of the different sounds and sensations around you. Stretch your hands out to each side of you and wiggle your fingers. You can notice them moving. See how far back you can move your hands whilst still being aware of the wiggling of your fingers.

With practice you can even “see” and be aware of everything behind you! This is The
Learning State or The Hakalau or A State of Awareness. The Learning State is absolutely sure
to help you in a learning environment to concentrate on learning. It is sure to help the
knowledge go straight in and to stay there. Teach it to children, and it will definitely help
them improve their grades.

When the above exercise is done most people feel a sense of relaxation and
heightened awareness, they become aware of things that they hadn’t noticed before. The
internal chatter will become silent. It is impossible to keep running those internal thought
patterns when you are in this “Learning State” because the technique switches all of your
attention to what is going on outside of you. When you want to relax, when you want to
learn, when you want to turn off that internal chatter, Do the above procedure and enter
into the HAKALAU or peripheral vision state. Most people live their lives in foveal vision,
whereby they focus their attention solely on what’s happening in the central part of what
their vision. This kind of vision has been found to activate the sympathetic nervous system
and put you in a fight/flight state. Prolonged use of foveal vision by watching TV, working
with computers, prolonged use of Ipads/tablets, mobile phones etc.. can put stress on the
body and prevent us from feeling as relaxed as we would like to.

When we take your attention more to the periphery of what we can see – the
left, right, up and down – and pay attention to more of what our eyes are naturally seeing,
we will find that we instantly feel more relaxed. It stills the mind and makes us alert and
aware, yet relaxed. We may also notice that our mind becomes less busy and much quieter
making it easier for us to put our attention on the present moment we are experiencing.
Peripheral vision places far less stress on our body and when combined with some
deep breathing, our energy levels will rise dramatically and stay up for much longer.

The following exercise is also very fascinating to do as it will make you realise just how wide
your vision potentially is.

Tibetan Peripheral Vision Technique

  • Hold a pencil in each hand, twelve inches in front of the eyes.
  • Gaze straight out past the pencils into the “distance,” without looking directly at the pencils. See the pencils with the “Peripheral Vision.” Do not look directly at the pencils.
  • Move each pencil very slowly to the sides of each eye, as far as it can be seen them peripherally. Repeat this front-to-side movement at least ten times.
  • Next, move the pencils, right hand upward and left hand downward, ten times.
  • Next, move the pencil’s right hand diagonally upward, and left hand diagonally downward, ten times.
  • Next, move the pencil’s left hand diagonally upward, and right hand diagonally downward, ten times.
  • Next, hold pencils twelve inches in front of the eyes and make a circle about two or three feet in diameter, from in front of the eyes, out to the sides.

Keep the eyes looking straight ahead in all Seven Steps? Perform circles clockwise and
counter clockwise.

You can watch a few Youtube videos explaining HAKALAU available on the following links.




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