Optimal living b
rings fulfillment and happiness. To live optimally, make moment-to-moment meditation and the awareness it brings part of daily life to cultivate
Goal: Optimal Living
Optimal living requires optimal performance with a dedication to self-actualization and self-transcendence.
Optimal performance is sustainably and efficiently achieving multiple, often competing, objectives while considering real world constraints, and maximizing the use of your capabilities and resources.
It is striking the right balance between peak performance, high performance and rest. Apply worthy values, skills, knowledge and a realistic view of the world and optimal performance becomes optimal living.
Moment-to-moment meditation is part of the equation. Meditation cultivates the concentration and mindful awareness required for optimal performance. Moment-to-moment meditation is done continuously throughout the day.
Meditation is an artificial activity like a gym exercise. It takes work to be mindful of movement or to hold the mind to a single object like the breath, a sound, image or thought. Meditation takes conscious effort.
Optimal performance requires focus. Meditation requires focus. People ask, "How can I be fully focused on an activity, whether it is reading a book, having a conversation or washing the dishes, while meditating? Meditating takes my focus off the task?" Meditating throughout the day without being distracted by the act of meditating is a challenge.
Practically speaking, you cannot fully focus on two things at once. For example, preoccupation with meditation while you are in a discussion with someone takes you away from the exchange with the other person. There is a subtle pulling away from the conversation.
Happily, the more one cultivates mindfulness meditation, the less intrusive it becomes. At some point mindful awareness becomes the normal state of mind, requiring less and less effort until it becomes non-meditation.
Non-meditation goes beyond artificial activity. Dr. Daniel Brown of The Center for Integrative Psychotherapy interprets some of the highest teachings on meditation as follows:
"The ... practitioner takes the mind's real nature as the object of continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in such a way that no artificial activity whatsoever is necessary to set up or sustain mindfulness of the minds' real nature. ... this kind of mindfulness essentially implies uninterrupted awareness of awareness-itself, free of any artificial activity that might otherwise obscure such awareness." 
is the uninterrupted sense of the mind's nature - the ground behind it all, boundless, unfabricated awareness. It is objective, clear, undistorted, nonreactive experience of thoughts, physical sensations, feelings, sounds, tastes, smells and sights. Wisdom and compassion arise naturally. Decisions and behavior become fluid. Responses suit the needs of the moment. There is contentment in the present moment, whether it is pleasant or not.
The following "song" from the Tibetan Dzogchen tradition points to a paradox - it takes meditation to get to non-meditation.
"Don't wander, don't wander. Keep mindfulness on guard.
On the path of distraction, Mara lies in ambush.
Mara is the mind clinging to like and dislike.
So look into the essence of this magic, free of dualistic fixation.
Realize that your mind is unfabricated alpha purity (awareness)
There is no Buddha elsewhere, look at your own face
There is nothing to search for, rest in your own place.
Non-meditation is spontaneous perfection, so take the royal seat."
A Song of Tsoknyi Rimpoche I
Unless you are undistracted and experiencing the spontaneous perfection of non-meditation, there is the need to keep mindfulness on guard. When you step back, observe mindfully and investigate, you realize that behind it all is the nature of mind - pure awareness. Meditation prepares you to take the "royal seat", awareness aware of itself. You overcome the obstacles to the spontaneous perfection of awareness.
While this may seem mystical and philosophical, it is quite practical. Many have had flow experiences in which they have lost the sense of a doer. There is simultaneous awareness and action as opposed to one being aware of the action. Reflective self-consciousness (looking at what you are doing and commenting on it) stops. There is the spontaneous recognition of awareness.
From Meditation to Non-Meditation
Practice to continuously cultivate mindfulness and concentration in the context of the understanding that your practice is a technique that teaches you to continuously step back from your experience and to let go into the realization of awareness itself, to take the royal seat.
Use awareness as the object of your practice. When you sense that you are becoming distracted or are caught up in dullness, striving, grasping for or pushing away, step back to experience a moment of awareness.
At first, you may have an image of what you think awareness is. Over time you will drop back further and further to experience unfabricated awareness with no artificial mental activity. Thoughts, feelings, sensations, concepts come and go. Everything is unfolding. In any moment you can chose to act. You are in flow.
And then you realize you have been distracted. You wake up to awareness, repeatedly, until many small moments of awareness become one fluid experience.
 Inner Works, 11/15/2018