MINDFULNESS IS SYNONYMOUS WITH BARE ATTENTION. THIS TERMINOLOGY IS SPECIFICALLY EMPLOYED BY ARMOR DOWN TO SITUATE AND CONTEXTUALIZE MINDFULNESS INTO THE WARRIOR MINDSET.
WE DEFINE BARE ATTENTION AS:
“The Clear And Single-Minded Awareness Of What Actually Happens To Us, And In Us, At Successive Moments Of Perception.”
Mindfulness and The Mind
As we stated above:
Bare Attention is the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us, at the successive moments of perception.
It is called “Bare,” because it attends just to the bare facts of a perception as presented either through the five physical senses or through the mind, which for Armor Down, constitutes a sixth sense. So, when attending to that six-fold sense impression, attention or mindfulness is kept to a bare registering of the facts observed, without reacting to them by deed, speech, or by mental comment, which may be one of self reference (like, dislike, etc.), judgment, or reflection. If during the time, short or long, given to the practice of Bare Attention, any such comments arise in one’s mind, they themselves are made objects of Bare Attention, and are neither repudiated nor pursued, but are dismissed, after a brief mental note has been made of them.
The Here And Now
Bare Attention is concerned only with the present. It teaches what so many have forgotten: to live with full awareness in the Here and Now. It teaches us to face the present without trying to escape into thoughts about the past or the future. Past and future are, for average consciousness, not objects of observation, but of reflection. And, in ordinary life, the past and the future are taken but rarely as objects of truly wise reflection, but are mostly just objects of daydreaming and vain imaginings, which are the main foes of true Mindfulness. Bare Attention, keeping faithfully to its post of observation, watches calmly and without attachment the unceasing march of time; it waits quietly for the things of the future to appear before its' eyes, thus to turn into present objects and to vanish again into the past.
Bridging The Gap
Through Bare Attention we begin to perceive the mind as just another addition to the five physical senses we are already aware of; a literal sixth sense. With this new data, we are then able to bridge the gap between negative thoughts, the source of those thoughts, and the mind that uncontrollably thinks them. Once this is understood, taming the mind and training the mind to observe its' internal qualities and processes become our vital new Mission First.
We first bring critical attention to the senses, i.e. sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, and regard them as temporary phenomena in the "here and now." Then we apply the same practice to thoughts in the mind. The hyper-vigilant mindset that we have identified as our crucial point of entry for wellbeing, with practice and training, begins to have no more negative affects on our emotional state than passing clouds in the sky. Over time, training our Bare Attention to focus this way builds and strengthens those "mind muscles" just as we train our physical muscles to balance and lift heavy weights. Armoring Down as we teach it, is to simply retrain the mind to observe hyper-vigilant thought processes, and watch them float across the mind without judgement or identification. The freedom gained from dis-identifying with these mere clouds in the sky bridges the gap because it heals the mind, reconnects it to the body, and the warrior is whole once again.