phalaris wrote:Thank you both for your helpful responses.
When using an anchor, let's say bringing attention back to the breath, should I try to stay with it or should I let it go and practice "just doing" until I get lost again and repeat the process? I seem to feel better if I stay with it even if it's just 5% of my attention concentrated on it. However at the same time I start questioning myself isn't that avoiding reality? At least a little part of me wants to always stay in a warm place with my breath, so maybe I should look at it as some form of clinging rather than as an aid to my practice?
At this stage I would say to not dwell on your concern of if this is clinging to a practice, as the practice is itself skilful (in the Buddhist sense) and will gently lead to the end of clinging of its own accord (as part of the Eightfold Noble Path and Right Concentration etc). So when you worry, use that too as a reminder to bring your attention back.
You may find attention takes a lot of effort and energy at the start, later you may find as you say, that you can keep attention on the breath or a hand, and still engage in conversation, problem solving or making dinner etc. This too is skilful and will help. This is what I advise regarding the 5% question above.
Keep repeating the process. Keep bringing attention back. Be easy with yourself, try to laugh and smile at it "here I am again, bringing attention back
) If you become irritated, you will then have to deal with attention on irritation and on the breath/hand and on your work etc, so go with the saying "make it simple".
Not all questions need answers. I too practice this. Sometimes, just for the sake of experimentation, try letting a question go without finding an answer by bringing full attention back to breath/hand etc. If it nags you, then write it down on a piece of paper and then forget it for a thing to do a few hours later. See how this frees you up for practice.