universal nonduality

passive and active attention


    There are many details regarding the actual and efficient method of contemplative science realizing universal nonduality.   One of the details of contemplative science is the eradication of unwholesome and hindering impressions retained in the consciousness of the individual.   These impressions are made in past experience and past thinking.    Most of past thinking has been stained by wrong views, errant opinion, and the dynamics of tradition, culture, education, and belief. These impressions, when becoming deeply rooted, are the base of subverting and hindering tendencies and proclivities.  The Advaitayana practitioner will start looking inward at these tendencies and proclivities and at how they develop into subtle mental functions.   He will find that his fundamental perceptual awareness is incessantly in motion, involved in the activities of conceptual structuring and attention toward momentary objective events, more or less in perceptive distraction.  This is called mind.   When attention is automated and distracted, mechanical in its movements, then reactive habituation according to developed tendencies takes over and this is what distraction is.   Being in a mode of distracted attention is much different than a willful placement of attention.   Distraction is a reactive activity of an undisciplined mind, an ingrained mechanistic automatism.  This is lax or passive attention to whatever object or event happens to arise – either in the external world or in the internal mind or feelings; it is habitual and conditioned distractiveness, a perceptual format of semi-conscious reactivity.   Beyond this, active attention is a willful attentiveness focused on a deliberately and specifically selected object or event, idea, or topic, a purposefully placed focused attentiveness. Active attention is the determined directing of concentration, whereas passive attention is the unconscious or semi-conscious reactive mode of perceptual awareness, perceptivity gone astray and lost in the automated distractions of daydreaming, distraction, and semi-sleep.  The preliminary practice required for the progressing practitioner is to develop the capacity for stable and actively directed attention.

    This capacity happens simultaneously and spontaneously with the absence of conceptual thought structuring.  Looking into the space where the continuous flow of thoughts seem to be emanating from – then the flow stops and thoughts no longer arise. The functioning of mind is then curtailed, brought to a halt, and pure consciousness takes note of itself as purely stainless, with no mental overlay.  The Advaitayana method is to repeat this noticing many times throughout each day, as many times as it is possible and convenient to do so.  This awareness posture of no mental interference starts to eradicate the habitual conditioning, the very structures of delusion, allowing for more and more natural clarity.   Clarity is our real and natural essential nature anyway, so the “goal” of such practice is just the subtraction of delusive conditioning, and overturning discriminative error in order to get more and more stability in ego-less apperception. Just being vigilant toward the potential for more thoughts to arise, and they will arise unbidden, our potent contemplative posture is able to produce deep absorption and samadhi.   Looking out at the world through this conceptless but knowing awareness is also samadhi.  Now when attentiveness wanes in passivity again (and it will), thoughts will begin again to flow. Just note that and dismiss the thoughts, reverting attention once again to its root, pure consciousness.  Attention is once again activated. Just note that, too.  This is the monitoring of attention. Getting lost again in thought images, memory, and imagination, is again to fall away from presence.  Concept-making runs on automatically by itself, but stops when distractions are noticed, when passivity of attention is noticed.   Come back to presence by dismissing thoughts and external distraction; this develops remembrance and clarity of apperception, vigilant presence, and nondual holistic understanding.


passive and active attention



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