Author Topic: Scope of attention  (Read 402 times)

curiousperson

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Scope of attention
« on: February 17, 2020, 03:06:46 AM »
I'm working on the Stage 3 instructions from The Mind Illuminated, which says to notice multiple sensations of the breath in the nose. I have finally been able to notice multiple sensations, but I can only pay attention to one sensation at a time. Should I try to pay attention to multiple sensations at once, or just allow my attention to jump between the different sensations so long as it remains in the nose? Is it even possible to expand your scope of attention to more than 1 thing?

Middleway

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Re: Scope of attention
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 01:49:57 AM »
I'm working on the Stage 3 instructions from The Mind Illuminated, which says to notice multiple sensations of the breath in the nose. I have finally been able to notice multiple sensations, but I can only pay attention to one sensation at a time. Should I try to pay attention to multiple sensations at once, or just allow my attention to jump between the different sensations so long as it remains in the nose? Is it even possible to expand your scope of attention to more than 1 thing?

Disclaimer: I did not read The Mind Illuminated and not familiar with Stage 3 instructions.

Yes, you can only pay attention to one sensation at a time. However, which sensation you pay attention depends on how "loud" or "strong" the sensation is in contact with your sense organ. Take for example if you are trying to pay attention to the sports commentator on a television in a busy sports bar. You can hear the voice but it gets drowned by the surrounding sounds. When I say loud or strong I do not necessarily mean decibel level. It could very well be you are totally engrossed in thoughts and do not hear or pay attention to loud sounds around you. Thoughts are the loudest/strongest of all sense stimuli.

The mind is mirror. Its job is to reflect sensory stimuli by "becoming" it.  When a loud thunder contacts the ear drum, the mind "becomes" that sound. Only then it can reflect the sound of thunder. And the mind can "become" one sense stimuli at a time on contact. Actually, when we are "seeing", we don't hear, smell, taste, or touch at the same time. And vice versa for other sensations. But the mind toggles between various sense contacts so fast that we do not notice it.

So, you don't have choice but to jump between the different sensations because these sensations rise and fall away. Just pay attention to what the mind is actually reflecting by "becoming" moment to moment.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Scope of attention
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 11:39:18 AM »
I'm working on the Stage 3 instructions from The Mind Illuminated, which says to notice multiple sensations of the breath in the nose. I have finally been able to notice multiple sensations, but I can only pay attention to one sensation at a time. Should I try to pay attention to multiple sensations at once, or just allow my attention to jump between the different sensations so long as it remains in the nose? Is it even possible to expand your scope of attention to more than 1 thing?
I don't know The Mind Illuminated, but the idea of paying attention to something like the breath is to bring focus to the mind when it really wants to carry on as normal. It doesn't matter a jot what you focus on, it is the process of bringing a measure of control when you notice your mind wandering yet again which is important. A planned, systematic approach can be useful at different stages of development, but shouldn't distract you from what you are doing when you sit in meditation. Which is rarely anything else but sitting in meditation.
“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

Goofaholix

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Re: Scope of attention
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2020, 08:25:50 PM »
You just need to pay attention to one nose, or one breath.  Whatever you experience is what you experience, the point is to not fixate on one sensation or one aspect of the breath. It doesn't really matter whether you perceive it as multiple sensations occurring at the same time or as the mind moving it's attention from one sensation to another, the point is that you are training the mind to be steady and aware.

curiousperson

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Re: Scope of attention
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2020, 02:40:42 AM »
Thanks everyone!

 

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