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Author Topic: mindfulness and field of view  (Read 259 times)

alan_smith

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mindfulness and field of view
« on: March 16, 2017, 04:26:25 PM »
I've been "playing with" being more observant to things in my peripheral vision. And wondering if anyone has done the same.

When watching a movie in a theater you can be absorbed in the images on the screen, or you can be aware of the room you're in, see the people in front of you, the exit door, the ceiling and walls. Not moving your gaze direction at all. Still focused on the screen, but just noticing these things in your peripheral vision.

Similarly while driving you can be focused 100% on the car in front of you, but choose to notice the inside of the car. The side mirrors. The dash. Everything is very "low resolution" and out of focus, but you can make out things. Like when looking straight ahead I can see my hands on the wheel pretty well. I can see there are gauges but I can't read them. I can see if there's a passenger in front side seat.

Your vision system is only "high resolution" in an area about the size of a nickle held at arm's length. So everything not there is visually degraded. But you can still pay attention to it, without looking directly at it.

What I've noticed is there is a pretty good two-way relationship between widening ones attention to see the whole field of view and being mindful. If I'm mindful I can definitely see my full field of view. And if I am paying attention to things in my full field of view I'm being mindful.

Anyone experience something similar?

Nicky

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 01:22:46 AM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

Expanding the field or range of consciousness is unrelated to mindfulness.

.....

stillpointdancer

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 12:03:04 PM »
Hi Nicky. There are a number of translations of sati and smrti. One is to recollect the teachings, but another is 'awareness of things in relation to things' or even just 'awareness, which could be a way of expanding consciousness, being mindful of things. Quite often the two are interlinked, so we are remembering how to change our consciousness.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Laurent

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 12:07:42 PM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

Expanding the field or range of consciousness is unrelated to mindfulness.

.....

So, anapanasati would mean "remembering of respiration". What would be the benefit in remembering of respiration?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 12:10:45 PM by Laurent »
Ideologies are either a mistake or a hoax!

stillpointdancer

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 12:39:01 PM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

Expanding the field or range of consciousness is unrelated to mindfulness.

.....

So, anapanasati would mean "remembering of respiration". What would be the benefit in remembering of respiration?
Isn't it to do with mindfulness of breathing, remembering the breath as part of mindfulness meditation? A better translation might be 'remembering the breath as you have been taught' so that you can breath mindfully.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Laurent

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 01:09:49 PM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

Expanding the field or range of consciousness is unrelated to mindfulness.

.....

So, anapanasati would mean "remembering of respiration". What would be the benefit in remembering of respiration?
Isn't it to do with mindfulness of breathing, remembering the breath as part of mindfulness meditation? A better translation might be 'remembering the breath as you have been taught' so that you can breath mindfully.

It seems to me that if someone wanted to teach mindfulness of respiration he would call this "mindfulness of respiration" or why not: "remembering to be mindful of respiration", not "remembering of respiration".
Ideologies are either a mistake or a hoax!

alan_smith

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 04:57:33 AM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

I know this is the Vipassana forum, but my strong personal feeling is that meditation is a neurological mental state achievable by many means. I think that neither Buddhism, nor any other religion, has a monopoly on how to enter that state. For instance Christian religion has a notion of centering prayer which is nearly word for word identical to Vipassana in terms of execution. And it's quite trivial generate 100% secular instructions for what is, essentially, Vipassana. And they work.

That said I respect Buddhism. I believe it is a treasure trove of information related to meditation. And its teachings and its adherents should be respected.

Although... I think I read a hallmark of Buddhism, maybe it was only Zen Buddhism, was rejecting the word of your teachers in favor of direction experience.

To that end, my direct experience is there is a strong correlation between what I would call mindfulness and my conscious awareness of my peripheral field of view. I have meditated for several years and I'm very aware when my mind is chattering and when it is still. And I find if I'm aware of my entire field of view that my mind is still. And if my mind is still (and my eyes are open) then I'm aware of my entire field of view. I've observed this for at least 6 months so it doesn't feel like just a "passing stage".

It's essentially the polar opposite of "tunnel vision" which I experience when my mental state is the opposite of midfulness, when I'm lost in thought thinking deeply about something completely unrelated to my sense data. For example thinking of something in past or the future.

Note that I can never perceive tunnel vision. In that state I'm not aware of my lack of peripheral vision. What I notice is when I exit tunnel vision. It's like right before the movie when they pull back the curtains to reveal the screen is really much wider than it was during the commercials. At that moment my mind goes completely still and I'm fully present in my immediately surroundings, in the present moment.

At any rate, perhaps I'm off on a introspective tangent and my observations are bunk and not useful to others. I could imagine that being the case.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 04:59:15 AM by alan_smith »

stillpointdancer

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 01:07:31 PM »
Mindfulness means remembering to practise Buddhist principles.

I know this is the Vipassana forum, but my strong personal feeling is that meditation is a neurological mental state achievable by many means. I think that neither Buddhism, nor any other religion, has a monopoly on how to enter that state. For instance Christian religion has a notion of centering prayer which is nearly word for word identical to Vipassana in terms of execution. And it's quite trivial generate 100% secular instructions for what is, essentially, Vipassana. And they work.
That said I respect Buddhism. I believe it is a treasure trove of information related to meditation. And its teachings and its adherents should be respected.


For me you are right, but miss the point about Buddhism. Anyone can achieve that state, in any number of ways, but it is so beyond any words and experience that it becomes open to misinterpretation afterwards. The reason to follow Buddhism, for me, is that it gives the best help for you to deal with resulting insights, that it allows you to see the enlightenment experience for what it is, and that it allows you to then move on accordingly; even to the point of moving on from Buddhism.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Middleway

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Re: mindfulness and field of view
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2017, 08:06:31 PM »

To that end, my direct experience is there is a strong correlation between what I would call mindfulness and my conscious awareness of my peripheral field of view. I have meditated for several years and I'm very aware when my mind is chattering and when it is still. And I find if I'm aware of my entire field of view that my mind is still. And if my mind is still (and my eyes are open) then I'm aware of my entire field of view. I've observed this for at least 6 months so it doesn't feel like just a "passing stage".

It's essentially the polar opposite of "tunnel vision" which I experience when my mental state is the opposite of midfulness, when I'm lost in thought thinking deeply about something completely unrelated to my sense data. For example thinking of something in past or the future.

Note that I can never perceive tunnel vision. In that state I'm not aware of my lack of peripheral vision. What I notice is when I exit tunnel vision. It's like right before the movie when they pull back the curtains to reveal the screen is really much wider than it was during the commercials. At that moment my mind goes completely still and I'm fully present in my immediately surroundings, in the present moment.

You are onto something here. Have you observed your mind while toggling between the "tunnel vision" versus "peripheral vision" mode? Did you figure out why your mind becomes still when you are in the "peripheral vision" mode? When you are in a peripheral vision mode, you also notice your own body along with all other objects in the field of view. In that state, your mind looks at your own body without any attachment to it i.e your mind views your body as third party object along with the rest of the objects in view. There is no duality in that state of mind. This is the reason, your mind becomes relatively still or non-judgemental watching or observing. You are simply using the peripheral vision as meditation object and using it as an anchor to stay with the present moment. I do the same using breath and related sensations as an anchor to try and stay with the present moment.

I say that your mind is relatively still because the peripheral vision is still concentration or tunnel vision so to speak. Have you realized that in this peripheral vision mode, your mind is not paying attention to sounds around you? that it did not "hear" a bird sing or a highway car tire hum far away? If you intently take the focus away from this peripheral vision mode, and try to listen to those sounds, what will happen to your state of mind? When you bring ALL your senses to be into a "bare attention" mode i.e without judgement, then your mind will become more still (again relatively to previous still state of mind). Then you take one step further by noticing all these senses (inside and outside stimuli) are actually happening sequentially within your mind in a very rapid speed (because your mind is processing these stimuli one at a time). So, your minds attention still jumps around although you may feel that it is still.

The key point is that you should observe your mind and notice how it morphs into various mental formations/phenomena in rapid sequence. Observe the arising and falling away of these mental formations. Try it. This is fun stuff!
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.