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Awareness

Broadly speaking, awareness is the directing of one’s attention to an internal or external experience. There are at least two ways one can be aware. The first is passive: A stimulus “grabs” one’s attention, and he or she reacts to it without thinking. For example, most people will automatically look up when they hear the sudden wail of a fire engine siren. The second experience of awareness is intentional and agentic: The experience of paying attention on purpose. For example, a person can choose to pay attention to a stimulus that he or she has seen dozens of times and notice what is new about it. In other words, one can find novelty in the familiar. This is called process mindfulness.

Most of the time, however, ...

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