Cultivating "wide attention" with Marion Milner, Colin Wilson, and Alan Watts
"I’ve also struggled to find explicit discussions of narrow and wide attention in traditional texts, like the Buddhist Sutras or Hindu scripture—if you know of any, please pass them along!"
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna freaks out about killing his family and friends (as one would) in a war situation. Krishna turns up and starts explaining things from a universal perspective- meaning right brain 'wide attention'.
Anyway, when one kicks off any perceived religious garment it boils down to Arjuna being narrow egoic attention, and Krishna being universal.
(Krishna and Christ are names for the exact same type of wide consciousness, the later founded on the former.)
It's a really good book. Lots of wisdom in it. I remember shutting the door on a couple trying to give me a copy back in my twenties when I was staying at my mothers (rather Christian) house. Timing is everything I guess.
Alexander Technique teacher Michael Ashcroft talks about techniques for making this switch (https://expandingawareness.org/) - he refers to wide attention as 'expanded awareness'. Obviously lots of spiritual practices have this idea, but it seems that a key part of the Alexander Technique is teaching you to access that state. I'm still exploring (just done Michael's course and only had one real life lesson so far!) but I'm finding just practicing accessing that state and recognising when my awareness has collapsed is useful.
I'm still trying to figure out how this fits in with ideas of attention in tai chi - in yang stances you focus your attention and in yin ones you widen it. The eyes seem to be important - you can have focused vision or diffuse vision. I guess it all relates to us being both predator and prey!
Alison Gopnik has also written about spotlight versus lantern consciousness, and the how the explore-exploit tradeoff changes from childhood to adulthood.