KHTK 3D: ATTENTION: THE MIND

August 25, 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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When one is consistently running into problems in certain areas of life, such as, with relationships, or with finances, then there is definitely something in that area which is making one’s attention non-optimum. Other areas of non-optimum attention could be school subjects, such as, mathematics, that one simply cannot focus on.

It requires all available attention to carefully follow the trail of non-optimum attention inside the mind. Therefore, it is important to have one’s attention optimum with respect to the physical environment before taking a deep look at the mind.

If you find that it is getting uncomfortable to look at the mind, then step back and look at the physical environment until the attention is optimum. Then you may go back to looking at the mind.

Exercise 3-8

LOOK AROUND IN YOUR MIND AND

  1. Notice an area to which your attention repeatedly gets drawn toward.

  2. Notice an area from which your attention repeatedly gets pushed away from.

Just look and notice those areas. DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE.

To resolve non-optimum attention fully one needs to look at the factors stacked up in the mind. These factors are interwoven with other factors in a complex manner. Mind is like a spring, or a bunch of springs, that are coiled up together very tightly. Complexities of the mind cannot be resolved through thinking alone.

However, it is possible to un-stack the mind by letting it do so. Mind is like a coiled spring. It uncoils itself when it is not interfered with. This principle is violated when one makes assumptions and pushes the mind to resolve problems with attention. A much safer approach is to:

Allow the mind to un-stack itself. It is like letting a coiled spring to uncoil itself.

All one has to do is to not force the mind, but simply look at what is there at the points of non-optimum attention. When left to itself, the mind does a wonderful job of un-stacking itself; and as part of this process the mind brings up data that needs to be looked at.

Simply look at the area of non-optimum attention without thinking, and experience whatever is there without resisting.

As one looks, questions may arise in areas where knowledge may be lacking. One may speed up the resolution of confusions in those areas by consulting reference materials. The best way to consult reference materials is again a top down approach.

One starts broadly by looking up the terminology which defines the subject one is interested in. One then proceeds to look up the key terminology as one narrows down to the specifics in that subject. Here one is looking at what others have observed. One cannot experience those observations the same way that the other person experienced them; but one can use those observations to sort out one’s own experience more fully.

Ultimately, what truly matters is one’s own experience. Observations by others are useful only to the degree that they help sort out one’s experiences.

To do the next exercise, find a place where you will be undisturbed for at least thirty minutes to an hour. Make sure you have had enough rest, and that you are not tired or hungry.

Exercise 3-9

1.    Close your eyes. Find an area of non-optimum attention that interests you the most. Start looking at that area without thinking.

2.    Allow the mind to un-stack itself by simply looking at what is there at any moment. Notice non-judgmentally whatever shows up.

3.    The scene may shift and the feelings may deepen. Dive into any feelings that may arise, and experience them fully.

4.    Simply continue without resisting. Do not try to figure out anything.

5.    Sooner or later the scenes may start to fade, and the feelings may start to lighten up.

6.    Sometimes, both the scene and the feeling may suddenly disappear, with realizations and better understanding of the area.

7.    End off the exercise when the attention is freed up on that area.

You may do the above exercise as often as you wish, each time picking up areas of non-optimum attention to observe. You may safely end the exercise when you find your attention is optimum, i.e., relatively free of fixations and dispersals.

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