All Day Awareness (ADA)
The All Day Awareness technique is a staple of lucid dream practice, in fact, the name is somewhat of a red-herring, as in reality All Day Awareness is simply a modern name for a very ancient psychological and spiritual practice, namely Mindfulness.
The term All Day Awareness is somewhat misleading and suggests the requirement for an almost superhuman ability to maintain a continuous fixed awareness—something that not only would require needlessly exhausting yourself, but also contradicts the underlying nature of the mind.
Instead the practice is a subtle and ongoing process of regularly catching oneself when your awareness wanders.
ADA or Mindfulness is easy to explain yet much harder to master.
The principle is simple:
As you go about your daily business, strive to increase your powers of observation, reflection and your sense of presence in the moment.
For example, as you're reading this article pay extra attention to your surroundings. Feel the sensations in your body, notice the subtle sounds in your environment, become aware of your sensory experience, the sights, sounds, scents and sensations, and importantly, your thoughts.
Observe and reflect upon the present moment in all its detail.
There is certainly all manner of details your mind had deemed irrelevant and simply shut out. For example, until this point you were probably blissfully ignoring the ever-present sensation of breathing.
Those of you with a sharp mind will have likely already noticed a problem here:
Awareness is like a spotlight, we already maintain a certain form of continued awareness throughout our day, simply shifting our focus from one point of interest to another.
For example, if you focus on the sensation of breathing, you do so at the cost of other points of interest. While you may be aware of breathing, you almost certainly are not paying attention to the sensations in your toes.
So, ADA (mindfulness) is not about increasing the amount of awareness, instead, it is a form of training that attempts to change the nature and focus of your awareness.
For the sake of lucid dream practice, the type of awareness that you are trying to achieve is one of observation and mindful reflection, this is in contrast to our usual passive awareness; where we simply consume experiences, following instinctual urges, almost as if sleepwalking.
The goal is to bring more moments of genuine observation, thoughtfulness and reflection into your daily life, which will then, as you build the habit, transfer into your dreams.
Consider it a form of mental exercise, developing active thinking rather than a lazier, passive mindset.
Throughout the day, try to catch yourself whenever you slip into an excessively focused and unthinking state. This is particularly common when using technology such as a smartphone, where we develop a form of tunnel vision.
When you do, take a moment to observe and consider your surroundings. Of course, also question if you may be dreaming. Use this time to become more aware of the nature of reality, with the understanding that this habit and knowledge will help you to more easily discern the differences between waking and dreaming.
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Hints & Tips:
Mindfulness is not a skill you'll develop overnight, in fact, you must consider it as an ongoing life-long journey, this is a way of being, a lifestyle, not just a technique.
By improving the quality and nature of your awareness throughout the day, you'll naturally experience more Dream Initiated Lucid Dreams (or DILDs), dreams in which you suddenly become aware that you are dreaming.
ADA, or more correctly, mindfulness, is a core principle behind a lucid mind. It is learning to actively and thoughtfully navigate through life, to observe and be more present in the moment.
Importantly, do not exhaust yourself by attempting a superhuman continued awareness—instead, aim to catch yourself whenever you feel out-of-touch or on autopilot, and gently remind yourself to become more present, to observe, reflect and think clearly.