To develop sati, we should meditate. So, what should I avoid to maintain sati?
It's a good thing to phrase the question in terms of refraining, like you did. Please see previous answers regarding the five hindrances: buddhism.stackexchange.com/search?q=five+hindrances– user11699Apr 17, 2020 at 12:45
the condition for sati is proper attention
I say that mindfulness and situational awareness is fueled by something, it’s not unfueled. And what is the fuel for mindfulness and situational awareness? You should say: ‘Proper attention.’
The Buddha is a bit circular on this point:
SN46.51:18.1: And what starves the arising of the awakening factor of mindfulness, or, when it has arisen, starves its full development? There are things that are grounds for the awakening factor of mindfulness. Not frequently focusing on them starves the arising of the awakening factor of mindfulness, or, when it has arisen, starves its full development.
Simply put, if we are distracted, we are not mindful.
Consider that right mindfulness is preceded by Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood and Right Effort. We need these prerequisites to engage in right mindfulness.
MN119:3.1: “And how, mendicants, is mindfulness of the body developed and cultivated to be very fruitful and beneficial? It’s when a mendicant has gone to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut. They sit down cross-legged, with their body straight, and establish mindfulness right there. Just mindful, they breathe in. Mindful, they breathe out.
Let go of distractions and make an effort. Consider the whole path, not just one step in it. In particular, take care of the following:
MN128:30.1: When I understood that doubt, of focus, dullness and drowsiness, terror, excitement, discomfort, excessive energy, overly lax energy, longing, perception of diversity, and excessive concentration on forms are corruptions of the mind, I gave them up.
1Hi OyaMist! Maybe, the problem of circular definitions happens here because how we used to understand and translate 'sati'. Perhaps if we use another concept to translate it, we may see the nuances and differences between the words attention and 'sati'. Kind regards! Apr 17, 2020 at 15:54
Yes. It gets subtle when we start bringing in foreground/background attention. I looked more and found something more directly useful in MN128. Thanks!– OyaMistApr 17, 2020 at 18:16