What does it mean to be Alert? When the notion of Alertness is mentioned at a conversation, people often tend to confuse it with being awake. Alertness is, however, not identical with being awake, since being awake is only one dimension of Alertness. It is the outermost dimension of Alertness, its surface only. In total, three dimensions of Alertness may be identified.
The Dimensions of Alertness
The surface, that is, the outermost dimension of Alertness is when the focus of attention is open the widest. Being Alert then means that now, in this very moment, with our eyes closed (or open) you pay attention to the processes of your inner world (bodily sensations, the stream of your thoughts, the shifting of your emotions), and the external world surrounding you (noises, scents etc. from the direct world around you). In such an instant you only focus your attention on what takes place in that very moment.
From the aspect of another, deeper dimension of Alertness it is a quality of your consciousness when you cease to evaluate, qualify and control the experience affecting you at that particular moment (disregard the functions of the mind) and, at the same time, you give up all your desires to control events. You have no expectations in connection with the given moment, you accept what is taking place, without making judgments, what is wrong and what is right for you.
The deepest dimension of Alertness is a state of Consciousness, the most important characteristic feature of which is the presence of the observing Consciousness, the capability of Sight. In this state of the Consciousness we, as an external spectator, view what is happening inside and around us, and we do not allow these events to take us with them, to affect us deeper. There is a virtual space between you as the contemplating Consciousness and the experiences affecting you. This space enables you to avoid identification with your experience and to look at that experience as an external spectator. Alertness is, at the same time, Presence, which means that your are not only aware of your current actions, but you are also aware of yourself. It is only possible to talk about real Alertness when all three dimensions are present at the same time.