Keeping peripheral awareness active during the day

Front Page Forums Dharma Practice in Daily Life Keeping peripheral awareness active during the day

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Ivan Ganza 2 months ago.

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  • #2699

    Sanjeev
    Member

    I have found it helpful to keep my peripheral awareness active throughout the day. The idea is to be mindful even in difficult situations where one loose mindfulness due to lack of conscious power. I sometimes notice that although the strategy works, but it dims the attention on what is most important in that situation. So, maintaining awareness, I miss out attention. I can reach only up to stage 3 and 4 by now in meditation. So, I do not have enough power. Do, I have only one way – to progress to higher stages to increase the overall conscious power. Or, are there some methods apart from the meditation that can help me in the short term and long run as well. How can I maintain more awareness without losing attention in the day to day life?

    #2703

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Sanjeev,

    Myself (and others I hope) will add more details as this thread matures.

    I think we need to first clarify what is your definition of mindfulness? Of being mindful?

    In the context of TMI, we define Mindfulness as the “optimal interaction of attention and awareness in a given situation.”

    Another way to state that is to think of having “the proper balance of attention and awareness in any given situation”. And the optimal balance will of course be shifting and changing based on what the current situation is.

    Based on your description above, about “attention dimming”, it seems that the balance may have shifted a bit too much into awareness.

    Knowing the appropriate balance and being able to maintain that is one of the key points.

    —-
    In terms of how to practice that in daily life, the quick answer is that practice off the cushion if basically very similar to practice on the cushion.

    During daily life, we set intentions all day long. Are those intentions followed? Or do we quickly degrade into mind wandering?

    Each time we set an intention to do something off the cushion, and we notice we’ve wandered into day dreaming or something else, one returns gently to what the intention was. Essentially the same process as returning to the breath.

    This is however a really deep topic….; one can really go deep.

    Does this help as a starting point?

    Cheers,
    -Ivan/

    (DT Teacher in Training)

    #2707

    Sanjeev
    Member

    I understand mindfulness as the “optimal interaction of attention and awareness in a given situation.”

    “During daily life, we set intentions all day long. Are those intentions followed? Or do we quickly degrade into mind wandering?”

    – Great point and I am adopting it into my practice. Thanks! I was maintaining peripheral awareness without setting clear intentions to anchor my attention on the tasks at hand.

    “The balance may have shifted a bit too much into awareness”

    – Yes, that is the problem. Sometimes, the task at hand simply disappears from the attention and I am aware of my body sensations, sounds, and other perceptions. Then, I miss something, make a mistake, or something bad happens where I was attending. I react and the peripheral awareness is lost as well. A great mess.

    I was doing the similar mistake in the meditation practice before reading Culadasa. I would start by paying attention to the meditation object, keeping awareness of sense perceptions and body sensations, etc. Soon, my meditation object would slip to the peripheral awareness to join with other sense perceptions while my attention used to wander from one thought to another.

    I corrected this and many other mistakes in my meditation practice after reading the book. Yet, I am still understanding how all this applies to the daily life. Your answer helped to identify one such mistake I was making. The lesson – when maintaining the peripheral awareness, remember to hold attention fixed on something: either the task at hand, or the breath, or whatever you intended to consciously.

    Yes, it is a very broad topic and perhaps someone will write an epic book on this – The Life Illuminated!

    #2710

    Becky
    Member

    Hi Sanjeev and Ivan,

    I am also very interested in this topic.

    First, Sanjeev, congratulations on maintaining peripheral awareness off the cushion! Please acknowledge and enjoy this accomplishment as you continue to tweak your practice!

    So I find, for myself, that it’s generally the same themes that distract me during the day, and even the same distractions during particular activities, so I set specific intentions (when I remember 🙂 ) during those times and label the possible distractions like we do at the start of our meditation sessions.

    I’ve also done a lot of walking meditation and am very tuned into what my feet are doing when I move, so that helps me during transitions, but not when I’m sitting or standing stationary.

    For those of us living in active crowded cities, walking through crowds during busy times is a great way to practice balancing attention and awareness.

    ‘Would love to hear more on the topic of mindfulness off the cushion.

    Take care,
    Becky

    #2711

    Sanjeev
    Member

    Thanks Becky for the compliment. But I cannot maintain continuous peripheral awareness during the day. It’s like stage one of the meditation. Even worse than that. It’s like having a peripheral awareness of breath for few moments following by long periods of mind wandering and attention moving constantly from one distraction to another. When a task need my full attention, even this little peripheral awareness is gone. Yet, good thing is that it is a very still and peaceful often and I want to engage with it more. But, then it leads to the loss of attention to the main task. Another good thing is that it arises spontaneously. This happened before I started consistent sitting practice. I was following a teaching of Eckhart Tolle for many years before that where he advises to remain aware of your body sensations or at least a hand and return to breath many times a day even just for few seconds. That was my only meditation practice.

    And, yes. I also should do more of walking meditation as this is more closer to life than sitting.

    #2723

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Sanjeev,

    It may be difficult at first, as we face old habits.

    By training the mind and developing more conscious power, you will certainly learn how to find the balance of attention and peripheral awareness — mind wandering will come under control — many more benefits — I hope you continue with the stages…;

    Cheers,
    -Ivan/

    #2733

    Ivan Ganza
    Member

    Hi Sanjeev,

    I created a thread where people can add links to good posts related to the above topics.

    (Rather than try and write something myself, I figured there must already be some great resources related to topics we talked about.)

    I hope it may be of help to you:

    http://dharmatreasurecommunity.org/forums/topic/good-posts-on-tmi-and-mindfulness

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