Thanks Toby C, I found your summary at the beginning very interesting. I will read the three links with interest. Again, thanks for the very useful information.
I don’t really have anything to add but I think for many people it’s hard to stay “conscious” in city environments. I wonder if it is because our “primitive” senses are in overload. To avoid overloading our primitives senses we shut them off. Of course, most of the time this is a good strategy in a city but could be deadly in a unexpected situation.
There is a “lovingkindness” walking meditation that I have used very successfully to keep conscious in cities and large groups of people. While walking through the city, it requires looking at the face (and eyes) of every people I pass. This can be considered a act of aggression (looking at people) so in my mind I say “lovingkindness to you” as I pass the person I see. I do not smile (unless I am returning a smile) or say anything to the person I pass.
By the way, within 20-30 minutes of doing this lovingkindness walking meditation, people start spontaneously smiling at me, which I return. If I do the meditation long enough people I do not know will greet me on the street. I have no logical explanation for this reaction from people from me doing a “mental” exercise. I must be doing something to myself that makes me less threatening, some non-verbal (body language) that is communicating somehow. By the way, this meditation makes me feel really great and happy!
Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself and see if you get the same result. I would be interested to hear either way.