12 states of attention

My most recent post, Refining Awareness, includes some instructions about using your vision to focus down to the pixel level, and then to open your vision and let everything come into your field of vision.

These activities are actually based on a set of exercises called the 12 states of attention that I learned about and practiced and presented on, so that now I seem to have internalized them enough that I don’t consciously think about it.

The three main senses we use are seeing, hearing, and feeling, or visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. NLP 101.

Each of these senses can be experienced externally and internally. For example, I can see the computer in front of me, and I can close my eyes and remember the image or imagine the computer morphing into a piano. That’s Visual External and Visual Internal (remembered and constructed).

You can further expand your sensory acuity by practicing using each sense as broadly and as narrowly as possible. Hence, look at a pixel, then let everything come in. Those states are Visual External Narrow (VEN) and Visual External Broad (VEB).

You can do this with hearing as well. You can focus on one sound in your environment (or in your memory or imagination), and you can focus on all the sounds.

A man I’ve never met but who has been a teacher for me came up with the 12 states of attention. His name is Nelson Zink, and he’s got a pretty amazing website, Navaching. Click here to read about the 12 states of attention. He’s got a lot to say and says it well. (And check out his other pages. It’s pretty fascinating. I also do nightwalking. And read his book, The Structure of Delight.)

The point is that through our conditioning, most of us come to favor some states and neglect others. If you enjoy having more resources, you can practice these states and gain awareness skills. You never have to be bored again, and you will reach more of your potential!

So when I meditate and do a body scan, I may bring to awareness my skin, starting with my head and slowly going down my body to my foot, bringing each area into awareness (Kinesthetic External Narrow).

Or I may attend to how my head, chest, and belly feel (Kinesthetic Internal Somewhere-Between-Narrow-and-Broad).

When I sit and practice whole body awareness, I am using the Kinesthetic Internal/External Broad state of attention.

(The convention is that the skin is the boundary between external and internal for the kinesthetic sense. But because my energy body radiates through my skin, my skin isn’t really a boundary, so I’m sensing internally and externally at the same time.)

The kinesthetic sense may actually be a lot of senses, including balance, knowing where my foot is in space, temperature, tactile, muscular, and so on. Emotions are usually classified as kinesthetic as well, since we feel them in the body.

Anyway.

Wisdom is a broad state, no matter whether we’re seeing the big picture, hearing the cosmic OM, or feeling connected to the Source. Big Mind is a broad state, and that’s a skill gained from meditation.

Check out Zink’s website and practice the exercises given, if you like. It will bring you gifts of knowing yourself and experiencing more of your full potential.

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