There are different ways of being aware in meditation. Flexible Awareness is a type of awareness in which you follow a single car, but more loosely.
There are different ways of being aware in meditation.
As an analogy, imagine that you are looking out the window at a busy street.
If you can do so right now, you can try each type of awareness as I describe it.
The first type of awareness is called focused attention, in which you focus on a single car from the moment it enters your window frame until the moment it exists. Then you choose the next car and do the same.
The second type of awareness is called flexible awareness, in which you follow a single car, but more loosely. Now, if your attention instead gets caught by a street sign or a yelling pedestrian, you let it go there. You notice wherever your attention is naturally drawn, and then after observing that new object, bring it back to the cars.
In the third type of awareness, called open awareness, you take in the entire view of the window. Instead of focusing on individual cars, you just take in the whole scene. You still let your attention wander to various objects, like the sky or the road, but unlike flexible awareness, you don't go back to watching individual cars. There's no anchor of attention.
And finally, the fourth type of awareness is called natural awareness. As you look out the window, you become aware of the fact that you are aware of some scene in front of you. You become aware of the awareness behind your eyes. You don't have to look too hard, as natural awareness is effortless, resting in a state of meta-awareness and taking in both the scene outside the window and staying aware of the very fact that you are aware of that scene.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]