All Day Awareness – A Spiritual Pratice to Enjoy Life

I first heared about All Day Awareness (ADA) as a technique to increase the chance of having a lucid dream. It is used to develop a particular mindset where you are constantly aware of your sensory input in the present moment. This should help with recognizing the dream-state because this mindset is supposed to carry over into the dream. But for ADA to work for lucid dreaming, one has to combine it also with the awareness of the nature of the state one is in. It is not enough to be only present in the moment, but one has also to be aware of the quality of the state: namely is it the waking state or the dream state. This will over time develop the ability to distinguish the two and become aware in ones dreams that it is in fact the dream state.

The second use of ADA can be seen as a spiritual practice. It is the extension of the meditative practice into ones daily life. Integrated into every aspect of life, it serves as the perfect basis from which to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness of the present moment develops over time a deep understanding of ones own inner psychological workings. Observing the present moment means observing the mind. You will recognize the reactions of the mind as they arise. And not, as with most peoples perception, much later in the train of thought. It is normal to perceive reality not directly as it is, but as it appears to be after it is filtered through the mind. And this leads to most of the unhappiness.

And the practice of ADA is really a long term practice. It takes a lot of time to develop the mental ability to stay aware of the present moment. And here is how I recommend to go about this practice:

  • Choose one sense you want to start with and focus only on this. For example, chose the feelings of the body. For several weeks you will try to always feel your body. Besides everything you do try to be simultaneously aware of the sensations throughout your body. This is a vast field. You will have many different sensations. Focus on the most prominent ones first. After some time this presence will become automatic. At least partly. You will come back to this more often and easier over time.
  • After you feel comfortable with one sensory input, choose a second one that you try to be aware of at the same time. I would recommend sound, as sight is to complex in the beginning. For sound the procedure is the same as for the body sensations. Constantly remind yourself to focus on all the sounds around you.
You can stay at this stage for a long time. Practice two senses at ones for several month until you have mastered them. Simultaneously you will develop the ability to recognize every thought that arises because you are forced to be present by this practice. And thoughts usually distract you from this goal. Thinking unconscious thoughts (monkey mind) will be a distraction while thinking consciously can be done simultaneously with this practice. After some time you mind will quiet down the unimportant mind chatter. Your quality of thought will increase because you have more room for conscious decisions and your reasoning will be grounded in reality.

Try this practice and let me know how it worked out for you after you gave it a serious try.