In general we can say that the constant attention is an instinctive approach to the environment act to identify possible dangers / opportunities.
Let’s see, through definitions and examples, what it is:
- An automatic mechanism that keeps the situation under control (almost) without us noticing (eg. without having to interrupt a speech)
- An autonomous system, a always-on analysis of the environment and the people who inhabit it in term of risks / opportunities
- The almost total absence of prolonged periods of complete distraction from the surrounding environment
- A constant useful data collection (escape routes, possible weapons, critical situations, dangerous persons, suspects, generic inconsistencies, etc.)
- The immediate focusing on the mode of defense / attack against a possible aggressor in relation to our/his location, environment and context
- The generic storage, in our mind, of the environment conformation in which we find ourselves (obstacles, roads preferable, distraction elements, etc.)
- The generic storage, in our mind, of all possible sounds (background, what people says, etc.)
- The observation, passive listening and activation of any useful sense against all the entities around us (people, objects, animals, liquids, gases, temperature, etc.)
- A constant peripheral awareness of the environment through simple patterns stored in the brain that turn on reason only in case of real danger
- A cyclical attention to what happens above, below, in front, behind, to our right and to our left (what we are walking on, etc.)
- The mnemonic collection of paths we’ve followed, of useful reference points and the mental projection of a possible way to go
- The assignment of a generic meaning of consistency / inconsistency to each stimulus passively stored (normal events, unusual, etc.)
- A mental process that, upon the occurrence of a suspicious circumstance, generates the mental projection of an immediate resolutive scenery
- An automatic system carried on with detached and serene spirit designed to the identification of hazards (comparable to the type of mental processing that allows us to avoid obstacles while we are walking)
Although it may seem incredible, this kind of mental process (with all his limitations) is absolutely bearable by most people and has been, in the feral past of human history, at the center of the survival.
Today the constant attention as a whole is no longer part of civilized man, it must be coached and directed through a training that is drawn into daily life. In the next article we will see how.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.