I would like to seek clarification on the practice of mindfulness and the key of SOL to ensure I understand it thoroughly, since it is a practice that I wish to perform every moment of every day, yet one that I continue to struggle with.
When performing the key of SOL, we divide our attention into three: subject, object, and location.
Let's say I am sitting in the living room of my house in a chair. I should be paying attention to the sensation of sitting, to that physical pressure against my body, to the posture, to pains or other phenomena, just watching. Then, I should expand that to the other two brains, right? I should see the thoughts and emotions as they arise.
Here is one problem I have been having, though. With the body, I have something physical, tangible, with a perceptible location. But this is not the case with the intellectual and emotional centers, right? When I sense a thought, I do not know with certainty its origin. I just perceive the mental chatter in the midst of the silence that preceded it. Should I be trying to perceive a location, as in looking toward my mind and heart as places within my body? I have tried this but without much success.
Then, past the three brains, we hold that awareness and expand it to the environment. What is there? We look at objects all around us, without labels, just looking. At the same time, we have to question where we are, why we are there, in which dimension are we, and so on. Because, obviously, in the example of sitting, everything could "check out" and look as they normally would, yet we could be asleep in our beds.
This questioning is also not something intellectual. It is not a mantra to repeat, but a conscious discrimination enacted through perception and experience. This is also a subtle point that can be very difficult to put into practice. Often times, I lack that penetrating discernment into objects and it just falls into mechanicity.
However, it is when trying to do this all day long that I notice the problems. When I am walking or sitting and not being bothered, I can concentrate quite well, yet around others, I find that I cannot perform this division of attention so easily. I find this is partly because I do not know how to approach the practice around others. It doesn't seem possible to observe our surroundings as easily amidst others, because we are often interacting, performing a job, or some duty in which we cannot freely look around and take the time to do this. Is this okay? Does that mean that we can allocate more attention toward subject and location rather than object and still be awake in regards to our consciousness?
Forgive me for the long-winded post. I am hoping to clear up some of the confusion I have been having for a long time. Thank you so much!!