And as a side question, what is the point of a seated formal vipassana meditation when we should be focused on continuing awareness throughout the day?
Seated formal vipassana is to daily mindfulness as a shovel (or more accurately, an earth-moving tractor) is to a teaspoon; while being mindful of daily activities is very helpful to keep us oriented and in focus, formal anapanasati or satipatthana allows us to develop far greater amounts of concentration, which in turn allows for the development of insight free from hindrances that cannot be subdued during regular life.
To put it in another way in terms of physical fitness, a mindful daily life is like walking to work or taking the stairs in that it's valuable to get the heart pumping and such but you're not going to do much except prevent more fat from building up. If you really want to burn off the fat, you need to do real, calorie-burning exercise, which in this case would be the formal sitting meditation. They work together, progress in each area reinforcing the other. Just like you can't expect to be super healthy if you exercise once a day but sit around on the couch for the other 23 hours, we can't expect to make progress if we meditate on the cushion and then go into daily life without a strong determination to be mindful. However, just focusing on mindful daily life, while it prevents in large part the addition of new defilements, cannot remove our already-existent delusion, greed, and anger. Much like physical health, where you need to have an active, fit lifestyle punctuated with regular exercise in order to truly slim down and stay healthy, our meditation practice requires deep, penetrating wisdom developed through conscious exploration of the mind, buttressed by compassionate and wise periods of mindful reflection on daily life.
Does that make sense?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti SuttaStuff I write about things.