Thinking is scattering the attention

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Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby ashley72 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:19 am

My signature below reveals what I place attention on. :wink:

Scattering attention is one of the ego’s (thinking mind's) preservation strategies. Thinking is scattering the attention.
To bring the attention to a single point and to dwell on that single point for a very long time is the way to awaken insight. :D

If you observe the background of attention for many hours everyday for a number of years, then you will eventually know that your attentive nature is the real Self.

Attention attending to itself... is called meta-attention.
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby karmarider » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:47 am

It's a valuable technique.

It's easier for me to think of it as "looking at you."

Essentially, who am I, awareness of awareness, presence, attention on attention, the sense of I AM, and probably others, are really the same technique.

But for some reason, saying looking at you finally cleared this up for me. It's a simple, self-correcting technique.

I think my experience is different from yours in that I don't think it's important to make this abiding. I don't see it as a long term practice. I did the technique for a about three months, and then the urge went away. And things happened, and are still happening. The technique has the effect of unraveling the delusion of fear, but how and why it works I'm still not clear about.

Nisargadatta held on the sense of I AM for about three years, so you may be right that it's matter of making it abiding. But I'm not sure of that right now.
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby randomguy » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:48 pm

Nisargadatta also described a persistent focus on seeing how his trusted guru's message to him that he is the Supreme Reality was true. Below he advises a questioner on the similar topic.

Questioner: "Well, you told me that I am the Supreme Reality. I believe you. What next is there for me to do?"
Nisargadatta: "I told you already. Discover all that you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not-being, this or that -- nothing concrete or abstract you can point out to is you. A mere verbal statement will not do -- you may repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever. You must watch yourself continuously -- particularly your mind -- moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self."

I guess I'm more partial to the pointers of inquiry such as from Nisargadatta, Ramana, Mooji, Adya and similar styles.

On attention, doesn't attention coincide with the awareness of form? Can thinking scatter anything that you are? What observes the phenomenon of thinking or not thinking, what observes attention itself? I would say in addition to the focus described in the original post, that it may be also worthwhile to see how attention dissipates to a countless points or settles into it's 'home' of sorts of a center-less awareness, or how observing with a surrendered attention where it just goes where it pleases feels or reveals, or see how there is awareness of awareness even with attention to noisy thought.
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at the rapid's roar?
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby ashley72 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:32 am

randomguy wrote:On attention, doesn't attention coincide with the awareness of form?


Attention acts as my pointer. "Looking at you" acts as Karmarider's pointer. It's not something you need to conceptualise at all. It's direct-seeing.

randomguy wrote: Can thinking scatter anything that you are?


Again "thinking is scattering the attention" is a pointer. Not to conceptualise & debate.

randomguy wrote:What observes the phenomenon of thinking or not thinking, what observes attention itself?


It's not about finding a universal pointer, it don't exist. If I spoke Japanese my pointer might be 自己注意

It's pointless debating pointers. :lol:


The pointers will find you.
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby randomguy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:37 pm

I have to emphatically disagree with you here, Ashley. Not about attention acting as your pointer. That's great. Do as you wish with. Where I differ is with your general message (to me and anyone reading this) about not investigating the nature of attention or questioning your pointer but only specifically because you recommend this…

If you observe the background of attention for many hours everyday for a number of years, then you will eventually know that your attentive nature is the real Self.

…a practice over several years. You say not to conceptualize and debate. That's a fine recommendation, but inquiry is different than that. It directly asks who is observing and cuts to the assumptions behind the recommendation. If you investigate your pointer closely you may notice that it directs an assumed subject to observe a phenomenal occurrence over a specific amount of time. In my experience, that's very much worth questioning.
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby ashley72 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:56 am

randomguy wrote:I have to emphatically disagree with you here, Ashley. Not about attention acting as your pointer. That's great. Do as you wish with. Where I differ is with your general message (to me and anyone reading this) about not investigating the nature of attention or questioning your pointer but only specifically because you recommend this…

If you observe the background of attention for many hours everyday for a number of years, then you will eventually know that your attentive nature is the real Self.

…a practice over several years. You say not to conceptualize and debate. That's a fine recommendation, but inquiry is different than that. It directly asks who is observing and cuts to the assumptions behind the recommendation. If you investigate your pointer closely you may notice that it directs an assumed subject to observe a phenomenal occurrence over a specific amount of time. In my experience, that's very much worth questioning.


Random Guy,

RandomGuy wrote:On attention, doesn't attention coincide with the awareness of form? Can thinking scatter anything that you are? What observes the phenomenon of thinking or not thinking, what observes attention itself?


In your first post (see text above) you were clearly questioning the pointer, not the length of practice. Karmarider queried the length of time based on his own direct experience.... I can only speak of my own practice....which is still a work in progress. :wink:

Anyway, in respect to you initial inquiry. I found this nice quote from William James that talks about the "Attention" pointer in relation to one-pointedness & scattering.

In 1890, William James, in his textbook Principles of Psychology, remarked:

“Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction, and Zerstreutheit in German."

Anyway I hope helps clarify the pointer conceptually for you... however, as stated before its an experiential practice that requires you to "withdraw attention" from concepts, objects, things blah, blah.... and to take a moment to simply take a sustained attentive look at what is doing the looking. :wink:

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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby ashley72 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:15 am

Eknath Easwaran on the Training of Attention

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPvadt1CXwE

This is good video based on the importance of "Attention". I have found by placing our attention onto the inner-body... the fear of life starts to dissolve. This seems to be what Eknath Easwaran is pointing to when he states... "he has found a way to turn off attention" & "the ability to turn off attention, is the secret to bringing peace into your life".

Anyone that has tried, knows through direct experience that thoughts cannot be turned off. However, the attention we give to thoughts can be controlled. This ability to control our attention at will comes from practising "the turning of our attention onto formless areas, such as the inner-body which are firmly rooted in the now".
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Re: Thinking is scattering the attention

Postby ashley72 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:46 am

An interactive way to test your your ability to filter out distractions, developed by Stanford researcher Eyal Ophir,

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/06/07/technology/20100607-distraction-filtering-demo.html
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