Constant attention is not simply a choice
Before starting we must stress that:
- Maintaining instinctive constant attention is not a thing that is enough to decide or understand
- It is not something that can be done in a few days, it is a forcing that becomes instinct only after a long training
- To develop this kind of continuous scenarios processing (typical for example of the animals) we need to be constant
- We must force our mind to do something similar to what we do when we learn to drive a car, to walk, to ride a bike (etc.)
In a few words: we have to learn to do rationally what, later, we will do instinctively.
Acquire the constant attention skill: a few examples
As we said, to reach an high-level constant attention, it is not simple at all but, about the involved mechanics, we can do two examples:
- The muscle
- The computer
Let’s start with the first, our brain works similarly to a muscle and it has to be managed in the same way:
- We have to train it to enhance its possibilities of calculations
- We have to give it the right paths to follow (and adapt during the scenario’s analysis)
- We have to train it in real context to learn to connect what it will be able to perceive to the respective interpretations
Another example that can be done is the computer-related one:
- The most incisive part is the software (the correct mindset); without the correct methods, there cannot be any kind of results
- The second thing (in order of importance) is the storage capability (our memory); if we cannot remember enough details, a big part of our effectiveness is compromised
- The third thing is a fast hardware (mind speed); generally speaking, it is not fundamental to be rapid to get the right solutions (a stupid thought, do not become intelligent if done faster) but it is if we have no time to elaborate on our data (or if we have to do more things at the same time)
The mind capabilities to improve
- We have to make our mind faster and more effective – Both in the recovery information process (through senses), both in their evaluation / correlation of the stimuli (for example we need to speed-up our sight)
- We have to become able to collect big amounts of usable data – We need to instantly collect the biggest possible number of useful information, even from the shortest visual, auditory, tactile (etc.) stimulus
- We have to become able to memorize everything is useful – Even in an empty room there are so many details that can be caught that no human being would be able to remember but for the truly important things, a trained brain is more than enough
- We have to improve human multitasking ability – We must be able to manage our data collection operations not interrupting the normal flow of our life and / or supporting more than one source of information
The correct mindset
The “easier” step is the understanding of the right way to think (the harder one is its application in real contexts). To learn how to collect the right data from the scenario we must:
- Act as a curious person (search for information, causes and ends, do not lose any important detail)
- Without being truly curious (to maintain a distance to do not yield to the totalizing desire to deepen only what attracts / scares us, read Become the absolute zero)
How to train constant attention
To start to “calibrate” our attention on a constant level of acceptable effectiveness we can:
- Learn to watch / listen – To what is happening around us (from people faces’ details to wind direction, from body language to possible escape path in a building, from routines to their interruptions)
- Train one sense at the time – Have experience of single sensory perceptions (eg. distinguish one sound / light / etc. at a time) gradually increasing the difficulty
- Start from silent / desolate places – Giving meaning to every rustle / crunch / movement / smell / etc. (to gradually reach the ability to instinctively analyze even a very crowded area)
- Have experience of overall sensory perception – Transpose everything without focusing on anything (read The overall view: see everything, do not look at anything)
- Distinguish between real and false positives – Learn to recognize individual meaningless events (eg. a rustling in the night) from concatenated and consistent sequences of suspicious events (eg. the sound sequence that identify the steps of a stranger in our house)
- Create general sets of measures for everything (big, middle and small) – Create in our minds terms of comparison to immediately assess things like the intensity of light / sound, distances, altitude / speed changes, the level of nervousness of an interlocutor, etc.
- Transform every positive or negative happening in a teaching to remember – Make the most of every concept / experience negative / positive by adding it to our know-how
The first times it will be very difficult to listen to everything, to separate the stimulations and to process them (without being distracted or changing attitude) but if we make of this method a kind of “lifestyle” we will surely become able not only to master the technique but also to expand surprisingly our general ability to concentrate.
Some important clarifications:
- Not even the constant attention puts us safe from the myriad of possible unforeseen situations (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method)
- There is no need to excel in all the aspects that we have mentioned for the civil self-defense (in this article we wanted to refer to the highest possible level)
- Not even the best senses of the best mind of the world will be able to listen to everything (there’s always something that we are missing)
- It is impossible to have full control over what happens outside of our mind
- Even in the most reckless of the lives, the moments of real danger always represents a tiny percentage than the quiet ones
- As, from one side, it is useful to be cautious, from the other one it is not worth it to pollute the good / neutral times imagining constantly the most negative ones (this means becoming paranoid and having understood nothing of the meaning of this practice)
Later we will see specific exercises to train the constant attention (for each sense and for each of the most important abilities).
- Constant attention: what is and how it works – An introduction to the idea of constant attention
- Avert dangers: the concept of constant attention – The basic principles related to constant attention
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- What importance do you give to constant attention in terms of personal defense?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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