KHTK 3B: ATTENTION: THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

August 24, 2014
This issue is now obsolete. For latest references please see: KHTK Mindfulness. The specific reference that updates this issue is Inconsistency in KHTK.
This was part of a basic series of essays, which started this blog. These essays were later revised and the original versions were deleted. However, these essays were then added back to maintain a complete record.
The basic idea introduced in this essay was that of INCONSISTENCY in the form of dispersal or fixation of attention.

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The attention gets immediately drawn to commotion in an area that is generally quiet. Similarly, attention gets drawn to a moment of sudden lull in an area that generally full of hustle bustle. As soon as we become aware of the unusual factor that got introduced, our attention returns to normal. It is the same thing when the attention is fixed on a location, on a person, on some event or phenomenon in one’s environment

To free up attention that is fixed, one should look closely at the area of fixation to discover what has been added that should not be there.

Sometimes an area looks strange. The attention gets dispersed and becomes hard to focus until it dawns on you that something is missing. This happens to a degree when a friend has shaved his beard or moustache. It is difficult to notice when something is missing unless one has some idea of what should have been there in the first place. It is the same thing when one cannot bring oneself around to study a subject or to execute a project.

To free up attention that is dispersed and hard to focus, one should look closely at the area of dispersal to discover what is missing that should be part of the scene.

In each of the exercises below, look closely at the areas of non-optimum attention and experience whatever comes up. Do this until your attention is no longer fixed or dispersed when looking at that area.

If thoughts enter your mind, simply notice them for what they are. Do not push them away or suppress them. Do not add any expectations, inferences, or justifications. Treat these thoughts as part of the environment.

If you feel wistful, anxious or tired, or encounter any feeling while looking at the environment, don’t push it away or add to it. Just feel whatever comes up without avoiding or resisting it, and continue to observe the environment.

Exercise 3-2

Go for a walk in the neighborhood. Look and experience things, accepting their presence. End off when the attention is optimum (free).

Exercise 3-3

Go to a coffee shop. Observe and experience the surroundings, and the people there. End off when the attention is optimum (free).

Exercise 3-4

Go for a walk in a park. Look and experience things as far as your eye can see.  End off when the attention is optimum (free).

Exercise 3-5

Go to crowded places like a market, bus station, or airport. Quietly observe the people and the surroundings. Freely experience any feelings. End off when the attention is optimum (free).

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