A strange sensation of awareness

I experienced a somewhat bizarre sensation tonight on my bike ride home from Nick’s.

I was riding through the empty library parking lot just before my apartment, and I looked left and right before crossing the entrance like I always do. Now, whenever I look left and right before crossing a street, I always try very hard to remember to intentionally look forward as well.

This comes from a Kempo swim clinic I used to go to years ago, where we were taught stealth swimming among other things. You do a sort of slow, exaggerated freestyle stroke and llean left and right as you do so to scan your surroundings. My soke always emphasized to pay attention and look forward while doing this as well, because it was easy to scan to either side and completely block out was directly in front of you. A handy skill for combat swimming to notice the archer directly in front of you, but also for crossing the street so you don’t block out the car coming straight ahead while repeating the childhood mantra of “left, right, left again”

ANYway, as I was doing my safety scan, something about the openness and emptiness of the lot made me lean very far around and scan everything around me. It felt really odd, like looking across a panoramic picture. It was as though I suddenly felt aware of the fact that the world existed 360 degrees around me, that there was so much more outside the cone of my forward vision that I never really thought about before. This sounds ridiculous when you break it down like this, because of course I’m “aware” of the world at large (I was spending a lot of time today playing GeoGuessr, afterall), but that kind of awareness is like a slightly abstract mental construct I carry around in my head. Being suddenly physically aware of the total space around me felt different, slightly alarming, but altogether pleasing.

I’m assuming this sensation is a goal people try to achieve when being “mindful of their surroundings” in a meditative sense, and I just somehow tripped and stumbled into it. I suppose I have an experience target to shoot for now!