As we move from a single-pointed focus (e.g. on the breathing) to a more open awareness of whatever is arising, the present moment becomes the primary object of attention.
Breathe, relax and feel;Danna Faulds, Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga.
take time to slow down
the pace of life. Watch the
rise and fall of moods, the
birth and death of dreams.
Feelings and sensation seem
so real, yet they shift like
changing clouds, and flow
with the high tide out to sea
again. Allow it all to be, no
need to grasp or push away.
Present with each moment,
the whole of you, body, mind
and soul, opens to receive.
As shared here:
When we practice in this way, we can become more attuned to the dynamic, ever-changing nature of experience. We may also start to notice how experiences are interrelated too. Habits and tendencies may be illuminated, and we can learn what patterns are useful and which aren’t.
An analogy that is often used is that of sitting by a river, watching whatever goes downstream. A goose, a log, a beaver, a fish jumping, a ripple in sunlight… We sit on the bank of the river and watch all that go by without getting hung up on any of those things. Or we may take in the whole scene.
So too, in our meditation, we watch what arises. We may notice the attention moving from one object to the next – breath, sensations, sound, thoughts, emotions, etc. Or we may have a more general awareness of multiple things happening at the same time – I sometimes feel that as a more full-body sense of life pulsing.
And like any meditation practice, there may be times where the attention wanders and we’re no longer attentive to the unfolding experience. Not a problem. It may be useful to reground in the body and then open again.
It’s useful to try different styles of these practices in meditation – focused or more open – so that we can become familiar with them. Then we can determine what is most suitable for us at any time.
And we can take these skills into life outside of meditation – focusing where focus is needed (working on a specific task requiring attention to detail) – and on other occasions, opening to the broader experience (walking in nature, visiting with friends).
What do you notice when you practice a more open awareness?
With good wishes,