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Flickering awareness?

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Flickering awareness?
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3/15/19 1:26 PM
I'll admit I did not first search existing forums, as I'd like to write it out to see if I can uncover any more insights about my concern. So, thanks for your patience if this has already been discussed.

In my daily sittings I typically focus on the breath coming in and out of the nose for some time, and then after I feel like my mind has calmed down a bit, I then move into body scanning. Sometimes part by part, sometimes sweeping. (Yes, Goenka.)

I've never been sure that I could hold awareness of sensate experience of different parts of the body at the same time, unless I connected those two parts with my awareness, or moved very quickly between them. When I first started with sensate awareness and I would sweep both left and right halves of the body what felt like simultaneously, it felt like I was doing both sides at the same time, at least that's what I thought. I hope that makes sense.

Recently, I started reading MCTB, and came across a section that says something to the effect of, "you can't hold sensate experience of two different parts of your body at the same time." And the author goes on to describe, as an example, moving awareness between a finger on each hand.

Now, the quality of my meditation has changed, and when I do the simultaneous scanning of both sides my awareness feels like it's jumping back and forth between both halves of my body. I've had this flickering experience in the past with breath-focused meditation, but never with the body.

I realize that there might not be a simple answer to this, aside from "keep practicing," but am hoping to be pointed to an existing discussion, or to hear what other experiences folks may have had similar to this.

There's more I could explain, but I think this gets the gist of it. Thank you for any information!

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/15/19 1:56 PM as a reply to Luke.
I think there’s a difference between attention and awareness. Maybe experiment with it?

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/15/19 1:59 PM as a reply to Luke.
"you can't hold sensate experience of two different parts of your body at the same time." And the author goes on to describe, as an example, moving awareness between a finger on each hand.
Good point. When I started meditating it was feeling the inner sensation of various parts of the body, with a view to eventually unifying it all into one single sensation. This does in fact happen after a while, and I think results in what people here call an A&P experience. So it's interesting to consider what exactly happens during this process, and I'm not sure I have an explanation.

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/19/19 12:57 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Thank you! This was very helpful because I don't think I was considering the difference between awareness and attention when I wrote that post. Weird because I don't always confuse those two, but for whatever reason I was when I had that question. I feel a bit more sorted out now. Thanks again!

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/19/19 1:02 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Hello! I scan up and down the body with my awareness, and when I notice a sensation, I pay attention to it.

I've also had that inkling about unifying everything into one single sensation, or at least how I've understood it, to have awareness of my entire sensate experience at once, and be able to notices changes as they arise and pass.

The process is definitely interesting, and it has helped me to type out some of my thoughts and experiences around this because when they swirl around in my head it can be hard and also take a long time to make sense out of it all. Thank you!

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/19/19 1:08 PM as a reply to Luke.
Interesting thoughts. I'm not sure where I hold my awareness from. When I'm sweeping up and down the body, I feel like everything is actually just my awareness, and there is no point where I'm holding it from. But of course, often I end up back at the space between my eyes. Sometimes I do feel like I am observing my body, but a teacher I spoke with once recommended that I keep everything inside the body, or at least not getting carried away with scanning past the bounds of my body.

I think in my original post I was confusing attention with awareness with sensate experience, and am glad that writing out that post has helped me to be a little less confused.

Thanks!

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/19/19 4:57 PM as a reply to Luke.
Luke:
Thank you! This was very helpful because I don't think I was considering the difference between awareness and attention when I wrote that post. Weird because I don't always confuse those two, but for whatever reason I was when I had that question. I feel a bit more sorted out now. Thanks again!



I’m glad that I could help. You are very welcome.

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/21/19 1:02 PM as a reply to Luke.
You can expand the scope of your attention to encompass multiple bodyparts or the entire body. I recommend giving "The Mind Illuminated" a read. A cornerstone of his technique is making a distinction between and using "attention" and "awareness". There is also a body-scanning section in stage 5 too.

RE: Flickering awareness?
Answer
3/21/19 1:09 PM as a reply to Cameron.
I've been hearing a lot about this book. Thanks!