I found the distinctions between the terms for attention helpful, as well as techniques to cultivate one’s attention.
For me, I still find the differences between mindfulness and awareness elusive. I’m not sure if I comprehend the difference.
For example, let’s say I go for a hike and at the summit, I gaze upon a vast, lush mountain range. What is someone doing to practice mindfulness at that moment. What about when they are practicing awareness?
My guess would be that if they are practicing mindfulness, they are “tuning” to their senses: seeing the colors, textures, breadth and size of the mountains; feeling the sunlight absorbing into their skin; hearing the wind breeze through their hair.
And if they are practicing awareness, they are evaluating the experience. “Wow, this is beautiful.”
Is that what the difference is between mindfulness and awareness? Did I conflate focus (concentration) on ones’ senses with mindfulness?
It would be helpful to walk through one specific example (like the one I mentioned above) and how the different “levels” of attention apply.
From my understanding, the difference is in how much interpretation work you do. For mindfulness, you are trying to get at the raw sensation. There is no mountain range or forest, there is only the beautiful imagery in front of you. You actively try to inhibit any kind of pattern-recognition that abstracts away what you see and ideally see the trees for the forest.
Whereas awareness is allowing the pattern-recognition to function, in such a way that you notice when something is unusual. An aware person would notice a deer in the forest, and not get distracted by the different trees.