Different Kinds of Attention

As I try out varying methods of meditation, I realized that there are various kinds of attention. I read about this too in the book “Search Inside Yourself”. There is the focused attention that one uses during meditation where the concentration is on the breath and on the various sensations that the body is feeling. There is also the open attention that is similar to close observation of everything around you. It is about taking things in through the senses without passing judgement. There is also the meta-attention or the attention on attention. It is the focus on where the attention goes. 

We can combine these types throughout our day and it may manifest via various applications. The focused one I typically use to start the day. I try to experiment between a guided one and a quiet one and use either depending on how I am feeling when I wake up. The open attention I try to practice throughout the day as I actively listen, pay deliberate attention to what I am doing, savor what I eat or sense how certain things make me feel.  

But it is not an easy thing to do with the many external and internal murmurs. There are way too many distractions to deal with and it is important to be mindful of what we take in. Setting filters for ourselves is necessary but we also have to make sure we revisit these filters for their relevance and context. This is where meta attention works as we try to pull the focus back to the present, observing its movement as the the day flows along. Allowing this attention to just gently hum in the background does wonders to presence. 

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