Elephant Journal has just published another article by Matthew Immergut and myself.
“Attention, Awareness and How to Meditate Successfully”
Think about consciousness for a moment. What we consciously experience are sights, sounds, smells and other external objects arising and passing away. So too, thoughts, feelings, moods and memories move through our internal landscape.
Looking a bit closer we notice our conscious experience comes in two different forms: attention and awareness. When we focus our attention on something, it takes center stage in our conscious experience. At the same time, we can remain more peripherally aware of things in the background. For example, right now your attention is focused on what you’re reading. Yet, you’re also most likely aware of other sights, sounds, and maybe a few thoughts, feelings or sensations in the periphery…
In meditation, we need to work with both attention and awareness. We do this by anchoring attention on an object like the breath, while at the same time sustaining awareness. Try it now. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensations of the breath at your nose. At the same time, remain aware of what you’re doing and your surroundings—the sounds in the room, bodily sensations, and thoughts and feelings arising and passing in the background. Discover this gentle balance for yourself.
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