There is a middle way of noticing that is not trying too hard, nor overly loose and unconscious. A noticing that is simultaneously vigilant AND relaxed. A noticing with no agenda nor need to control the moment. A noticing where what is noticed and who is noticing are not separate.
As you learn to soften your awareness you will experience more ease naturally following your inner guidance.
When you relax into awareness, awareness goes where it goes perfectly without your effort.
There is no need to effort in awareness
If you are trying very hard to notice, then invite a softening, a relaxing. Or even better, invite the most natural awareness. In your most natural state, awareness goes where it goes perfectly. You merely notice. You don't have to effort at it. You are letting everything be as it is.
Awareness is not located in any one place
Awareness itself is much bigger than in your mind or eyes or senses. Awareness is not located in any one place. You come to discover this when you start investigating. It is not inside your body or outside your body. It is everywhere. So when we talk about relaxing awareness, what we are actually doing is releasing the ego from its incessant need to know and control, and finding ourselves back in our truest self which is not separate.
Awareness is both neutral and kind
One thing you come to notice, when you begin to let everything be as it is, is awareness doesn't want anything. It has no agenda. It has no expectation on the moment. It has nothing to fix. It is kind and without judgment. It is open to what is happening.
Awareness moves spontaneously, with grace
Your most natural awareness isn't really yours. It is as if your eyes are God's eyes. As Meister Eckhart puts it, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." And awareness expresses itself into being in a flower, a tree, a mountain and in you...and in you it moves spontaneously, with grace, when we allow its movement without resistance. Our work is to dissolve the resistance.
Awareness is calm and steady
When the mind is trying to notice, it will do what mind's do best, it will try to solve, fix, figure it out, change things. Mind will judge, compare, label. Awareness isn't the mind. Turn your intention to be All of You, to be aware of the mind's thoughts, emotions, physical sensations in the body, and embrace what is here, then a natural quality of steadiness arises. It's a steadiness that was already here, not a new state you create. It's simple, calm. It isn't so much a transformation as a letting go of every story and holding in the way. Awareness is given its freedom.
Allow awareness to move naturally without directing it
We can cultivate a noticing that is not too tight, not too loose either. When awareness needs to focus in, it does. When awareness needs to be extra alert, it is. When awareness wants you to notice something it shows you, or moves you. All in perfect timing. Awareness naturally expands by a beautiful ocean. And it might contract on a busy street corner. It doesn't need to be directed. Though when we first learn, our tendency is to try to control it. ("Now I will be open and expansive, here we go." That fades with time.)
Try this experiment to check your awareness
If you are observing something closely, say, getting up out of chair, try noticing any tension in your body, and notice what happens. If you are like most people, when you try to notice, your movement will become choppy and awkward. You might even freeze a bit to notice it. That's when we are noticing too hard, too rigidly. Or notice your breath...do you suddenly feel like you are breathing weird? Notice anything in too hyper-vigilant a way and you become less fluid. There's a balance that is both alert and relaxed.
Many times we think we are being aware of an emotion, or thought, but we are just fixating on and fueling it. We are only looking at it firmly, from a distance, rather than softening, relaxing, welcoming it, even digesting it...noticing with all our being.
What happens if you notice, then simply embrace what you notice as okay rather than try to figure it out, or label it, or judge it. As you relax noticing and really notice with all of you, you simply show up, are naturally present and your movement in your life becomes more free.