attentioN & awarenesS

 

The key to meditation, mindfulness, and joy is learning to balance two distinct modes of mind: laser-like attention and all-encompassing awareness.

First, we need to appreciate that these are two distinct modes of knowing and interacting with the world. Each feels subjectively different. And in fact, each employs two different neural networks.

Let’s take a look!

 

ATTENTION

IS LIKE A FOCUSED HAWK
SEES A SINGLE OBJECT
MORE PROCESSED, MORE CONCEPTUAL
SLOWER
EXPLICIT, HAS LANGUAGE
MORE SELF-CENTERED, SUBJECT-OBJECT
TOP-DOWN PROCESSING
RESPONDS TO CONSCIOUS DIRECTION

awareness

IS LIKE A WIDE-OPEN FIELD
SEES THE WHOLE
MORE RAW, LESS CONCEPTUAL
FASTER
IMPLICIT, IN-YOUR-BONES KNOWING
MORE OBJECTIVE, NON-DUAL
BOTTOM-UP PROCESSING
NO CONTROLLING WHAT ARISES

Starting to get the feel for attention and awareness?

 

FACT: Most of us have Awareness Deficit Disorder. As apex predators (especially those of us fortunate enough to live in relative safety), we tend to over-use attention and under-use awareness. And when we loose awareness, we loose mindfulness. Meaning most of the time, we are on autopilot. This is especially true when we’re tired, stressed, in an argument, in an emergency, in love, or in lust. When awareness collapses and we lose mindfulness, we are prone to unproductive, regrettable or risky behavior.

MINDFULNESS is always being aware of the context. Knowing what we’re paying attention to — and why. Knowing what we’re thinking, saying and doing — and if it aligns with our values and aspirations.

When we’re mindful, we feel free and connected all at once. We can choose how we respond and shape who we become.

We feel alive.