Module 1, Lesson 1
In Progress

Bare Attention

One aspect of mindfulness is the cultivation of bare attention. Bare attention is attention that is devoid of judgment or elaboration. Whenever we are faced with a new situation, we are tempted to try and consider what this new situation means to us. Will it be pleasant, scary, long lasting, or of minor importance? More often than not, we do not have enough information yet to make that assessment. When we start attempting to evaluate the situation before it has played out, this takes us into monkey mind style thinking, which often leads to distortion. One component of being mindful is to approach any present moment with our full and neutral attention. 

Another way of thinking of bare attention is in the Zen Buddhist concept of “beginner’s mind.” To a Zen Buddhist, being a beginner is an ideal state because someone with no experience of something will also have developed no prejudice against it or other ways of placing limits on an experience. Since every moment of your life is unique, approaching each moment with innocence, as if you are a beginner and this is your first time experiencing this moment, allows you to keep yourself open to a host of possibilities that a more experienced person would either ignore or never consider.