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Awareness vs. Attention – Nerdful Mind #13

April 12, 2020 by Simon Mannes

In each meditation, we practice awareness. What is awareness, and why is awareness important?

Awareness is not the same as attention. When you focus on something, you give it your undivided attention. It fully absorbs you. Awareness means being aware of the context.

In meditation, we place our attention on an object of focus, often our breath. Awareness means recognizing your thoughts and letting them go.

Awareness allows us to step back and see our thoughts as what they are: words and images in our minds. Our thoughts are not the truth. They may or may not be important. This is up to you to decide.

The psychological term for this is “cognitive defusion.” Stepping back from the content of our thoughts, instead of getting caught up in them. Letting thoughts go instead of holding on to them.

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” James Thurber

The essence of meditation is compassion and awareness. Both work together to improve contentment in you and everyone around you. Be kind to yourself and others. Be aware of your thoughts.

Reading Recommendations

A Basic Meditation to Train Awareness - Mindful

We can train our brains to notice our mental habits. Try this five-minute mindfulness meditation for building awareness of thoughts, nonjudgmentally.

What Are Thoughts & Emotions?

Thoughts are mental cognitions—our ideas, opinions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They include the perspectives we bring to any situation or experience, which color our point of view [...] Emotions are the flow and experience of feelings, for example, joy, sadness, anger, or fear.

The hardest problem in computer science

…is, of course, naming. Not just naming variables or new technologies. Oh no. We can’t even agree on names for basic concepts.

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

This evening, take a piece of paper and note 3 things that made you happy today. Then write 3 things you are grateful for in your life. Enjoy this warm feeling you have now. If you like it, you can try tomorrow, too!

Research has shown that such a gratitude log boosts our long-term happiness.

End note

When this was interesting to you, there might be someone you know who will also like this. Please consider forwarding this mail to that person.

Have a great week

Simon

PS: If you found an article you think others might like and that fits this newsletter, I’d love it if you write me an email.

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