A state of mental openness and awareness with minimal prejudice and abstraction.

a.k.a. being observant, sati

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • absent-mindedness
  • closed-mindedness
  • lost in thought
  • obliviousness
  • being unaware

Virtues possibly in tension


How to acquire or strengthen it

  • Mindfulness meditation of various sorts seems to be the go-to technology here.
    • Note that many forms of mindfulness meditation are focus-based; some are more awareness-based
  • Three Steps to Deepen Your Mindfulness Practice Zen Habits
  • The meta-attentive skill of knowing when your mind is wandering / knowing when your attention is faltering seems key. Noticing that you’re losing focus is the first step in holding on to it. This seems at first glance like something that meditation is likely to be especially good for.

Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes

  • “Mindfulness is nonconceptual awareness. Another English term for sati is “bare attention.” It is not thinking. It does not get involved with thought or concepts. It does not get hung up on ideas or opinions or memories. It just looks. Mindfulness registers experiences, but it does not compare them. It does not label them or categorize them. It just observes everything as if it was occurring for the first time. It is not analysis that is based on reflection and memory. It is, rather, the direct and immediate experiencing of whatever is happening, without the medium of thought. It comes before thought in the perceptual process.” -Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English (2011), p. 134