Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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Inattention


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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #1
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Saanen 4th pub. talk 3 Aug. 1974:

K.: One minute I am very attentive, I see everything very clearly, I have no conflict, there is a sense of a great thing, you know, to be completely attentive, there is no problem, there is nothing. And that attention goes away, and I suddenly find myself that I am inattentive, I have lost the quality of clarity, and then I say, "How am I to recapture that attention?" And I struggle, and I ask questions, and I get miserable because I can't get that attention. So I am saying, what is important is not the understanding of attention for the moment, but the understanding of inattention. Right? That's simple enough, sir. What is inattention, why is the mind inattentive?

Q: It seems that thought causes inattention.

K: So you are saying, the operation of thought may cause inattention, is that it? Are you sure what you are saying, sir, or is it just a guess? Don't let us guess at this, it is not a guessing game. I want to find out the importance of inattention - please listen - the importance of inattention, and the importance of attention. Right? Inattention may be the mind needs rest, not that heightened energetic tremendous attention. And therefore it says, 'Let me have a few minutes'. But in those few minutes - just listen to it - in those few minutes any action becomes corrupting action. You understand what I am saying? I wish you would come with me quickly, I am racing and you are not.

Look: I am attentive for one minute, and there, there is no border, there is no time, there is no me, there is no problem, the whole energy is involved in that attention, it is a heightened attention, energy. That's for the mind a tremendous movement. Then it gets tired and moves to inattention. Now in that state of inattention any action, any action, must be conditioning. Right? You understand? Look: I am attending, in that state of attention I can do things without effort, without thought, you know, do things. That's real creativeness - we won't go into that. And in the state of inattention action has to go on, I have to meet a friend, I am bored with that, there action has to happen. At the moment of action, if I am aware, inattention is not. I wonder if you are following all this. You understand my question, sir? The moment the mind is aware that it is inattentive there is attention - not that we must maintain attention. I wonder if you understand this.

So inattention is part of attention. Got it? Not, from inattention go to attention. You know, sir, meditation is total attention in which concentration, which has a motive, and therefore an end, doesn't exist at all. Are you following all this? And in meditation there can be inattention - you understand? Oh, do follow this. Please, don't agree with me, I don't think you follow what I am saying because it is really quite complex this thing. I mustn't discuss meditation because this is not the moment, perhaps we can do it tomorrow, if you want it.

What I am pointing out is, in the state of attention, state, it is a movement, it is not a dead thing, it is a movement of attention, not the movement of time - the movement of time is concentration - in that quality of attention there is no time, there is no border. You understand border? A fixation. Because there is no centre and therefore no circumference. That is attention. Now in that attention why shouldn't there be inattention? You follow? It is within the whole area, I don't separate inattention from attention. I wonder if you get this. It's only when inattention says, "By Jove, I must leave this and capture that", then you separate inattention from attention.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #2
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

The above K quote was posted by Dan McDermott in post #48 in the thread The Question to Life's Answers. I found it extraordinary. There was some further discussion of it in that thread but I think it really deserves its own thread. I'd really like to go into with you what K talks about above. I hope you have patience if you have to repeat some of what you talked about in the other thread.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #3
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

For most of us, we may be attentive to what is right now but then we will fall into thought and inattention. We may notice that we are bound up in a distracted thought world. That noticing is a kind of attention. And then we may make an effort to return to attention. Therefore we have created a division between attention and inattention and we exert will, which is conflict, to grasp attention and push away inattention.

K describes something quite different. He describes the "tremendous movement of attention" and that there is "no border." Then he says the mind may need a rest and be inattentive. But when something comes up that requires action or response, attention automatically is active. Response is therefore unconditioned, that is without attachment and without conflict. Whereas response from inattention, bound up in thought, is "corrupting," conditioned, attached, conflictual. He seems to say that the former response just happens, that attention just kicks in as needed.

Do you essentially agree with how I am characterizing what he says? Am I getting anything wrong?

To me this is very interesting. It makes inattention not the enemy, which must be arduously fought, but a natural rest which has its place, and naturally yields to attention appropriately.

Elsewhere K talks about real meditation being inclusion, not exclusion. Here we see him saying that attention includes inattention. That they are undivided. Extraordinary.

Please share your views.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sat, 28 Dec 2019.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #4
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3230 posts in this forum Offline

Look: I am attentive for one minute, and there, there is no border, there is no time, there is no me, there is no problem, the whole energy is involved in that attention, it is a heightened attention, energy. That's for the mind a tremendous movement. Then it gets tired and moves to inattention. Now in that state of inattention any action, any action, must be conditioning. Right? You understand?

Not quite. Why must any action from inattention be conditioning?

Let it Be

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #5
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

So I'm hearing that attention is Something that happens when I'm not there. Like when I'm completely absorbed by some activity. And inattention is when I reappear with some thought or complaint.

During formal meditation there is this idea of periods of concentration, silence, daydreaming, and thought. Which after a while become waves of silence and daydreaming. Some say this can sometimes speed up to become a sort of vibration (but this last bit is just hearsay for me)

Look, see, let go

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #6
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Why must any action from inattention be conditioning?

Because "I" am a product of the past.

Look, see, let go

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #7
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3230 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
conditioning?
Because "I" am a product of the past.

So my action is a continuation of the past then. Is that it?

Let it Be

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #8
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

Could be. Some would say it even reinforces conditioning.

Look, see, let go

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #9
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Why must any action from inattention be conditioning?

You are questioning part of the opening post which is a statement by K. I cannot answer for him. But we can discuss it, of course.

Most of us act from thought, yes? We have a preconceived idea that somewhat matches the situation in which we find ourselves and we act according to that.

For example, I see some dirty dishes in the sink. I think, "God, I dread washing them but I don't want them piling up to the roof. I'll make myself wash them." I'm divided and acting from my attachment to disliking dishwashing and disliking the accumulation of dirty dishes. I'm reacting with conditioning. I might have a different conditioned reaction. Maybe I think it's someone else's turn to do them. Maybe I decide to do them while distracting myself with music, tv, a podcast. There are all kinds of conditioned responses. I may be vaguely aware of all this but probably not. After all, it's just some stupid dishes and who cares?

Or I may become quite aware of what is going on, my reactions, my attachments. When K talks about conditioning he tends to mean how I have formed attachments to things going a certain way, yes? I encounter conflict as a result of my attachments banging up against reality, yes?

It is also possible to encounter the dirty dishes with full awareness, no border, no sense of separation from them. Soon there is the discovery of them being washed with no residue at all, no self that delights in or resents doing them. Action without the slightest conflict, internal or external, if such a distinction is even made.

When K talks about "action without idea," it is a full hearted action with complete attention, no room for borders, separation, conditioning.

Without total attention, there is some level of resistance, some slight friction against reality, and that conflict, however slight, is conditioned attachment.

That, to me, is what K is saying. What do you think?

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #10
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
So I'm hearing that attention is Something that happens when I'm not there. Like when I'm completely absorbed by some activity. And inattention is when I reappear with some thought or complaint.

Yes. However, in this statement, K is saying that attention encompasses inattention. So there may be a rest in attention even without self/thought.

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
During formal meditation...

And this is interesting to bring up. K seems to say that response with attention is just natural and automatic for him and inattention just a rest pause. But for most of us, reaction from thought, from conditioning, is natural and automatic. And the idea of certain forms of Buddhist meditation is to practice returning to present moment awareness until it is automatic. So the Buddhist sits, gets lost in thought, realizes it, returns to present moment awareness, gets lost in thought, realizes it, and the cycle continues. But the idea is that the practice of gently returning to present moment attention cultivates compassionate awareness and action.

Now K opposes such methods and feels that the intent to achieve any kind of state, of full attention or whatever, is misled. It's a self tricking itself to try to go beyond itself, but really only strengthening itself.

So, as usual, we encounter the K catch-22. For him, attentive response is natural and automatic. For us, it likely is not. And there is no method or way to get from where we are to what he describes.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sat, 28 Dec 2019.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #11
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3230 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
Without total attention, there is some level of resistance, some slight friction against reality, and that conflict, however slight, is conditioned attachment.

That, to me, is what K is saying. What do you think?

Any reaction is a reaction from conditioning isn’t it? And a continuation of the past conditioning. So no change. That’s not addressing my question though

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sat, 28 Dec 2019.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #12
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Any reaction is a reaction from conditioning isn’t it?

Isn't action from inattention reaction? To me, it is clear that it is. But you are still questioning this, yes?

Tom Paine wrote:
That’s not addressing my question though.

Okay. Then how do we address your question? K says, "Now in that state of inattention any action, any action, must be conditioning. Right?" And you are asking why? Why must inattentive action be conditioning? So how do we go into your question?

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sat, 28 Dec 2019.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #13
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
the intent to achieve any kind of state, of full attention or whatever, is misled. It's a self tricking itself to try to go beyond itself, but really only strengthening itself.

Any method with intent to escape from my confusion to some imaginary refuge, is of course just further confusion at play. Just the conditioning at work and probably reinforcing itself as usual.

Look, see, let go

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #14
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote #5:
So I'm hearing that attention is Something that happens when I'm not there. Like when I'm completely absorbed by some activity.

If you are completely absorbed, is this not the state that K calls "concentration", rather than attention? Like being absorbed by some work, by reading a book, watching a movie?

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #15
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
So the Buddhist sits, gets lost in thought, realizes it, returns to present moment awareness, gets lost in thought, realizes it, and the cycle continues

I don't want to take the discussion off at a tangent, but I think this may be relevant. Seems to me there are two possibilities here:

1) The Buddhist, or you or me, simply realises that there was inattention. And that realisation is itself (as someone pointed out above) is the (natural) return to attention.

2) One 'realises' that one is being (was?) inattentive, and then makes some sort of effort (perhaps very subtle) to return to the state of attention.

2) would be the movement of conditioning, 1) would not.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #16
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
And there is no method or way to get from where we are to what he describes.

This in itself is a tremendous realisation - if we do actually realise it. This is akin to "Truth is a pathless land", is it not?

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 #17
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
And you are asking why? Why must inattentive action be conditioning? So how do we go into your question?

Is it - just enquiring - that the inattentive mind is registering, and the attentive mind is not? Registering implies conditioning, does it not?

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #18
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
2) would be the movement of conditioning, 1) would not.

Yes. Realizing inattention is attention, and is free of conditioning. However, the Buddhist sits down and goes at this as a task. He has a plan, or has received meditation instruction, which is when he discovers that he has been lost in thought, he gently returns his attention to the present moment. This plan or instruction is itself a kind of conditioning. And that seems to be a method of the kind K objects to.

So realizing inattention is happening and therefore returning to attention is unconditioned. But sitting down with a plan of doing this, possibly with the intention of gaining some state, is conditioning, yes?

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 29 Dec 2019.

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #19
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Is it - just enquiring - that the inattentive mind is registering, and the attentive mind is not?

I don't understand what you mean by "registering." Do you mean that the inattentive mind is making a recognition, which means a link up to a previous thought pattern, and is further recording into memory the goings on, for future recall? Is that what you mean by registering? If so, then, yes, of course, all that is conditioning. By contrast, attention implies no residue at all.

Tom Paine, is that applicable to your inquiry as to why inattentive action must be conditioned?

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 29 Dec 2019.

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #20
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
there is no method or way to get from where we are to what he [K] describes.

-

Clive Elwell wrote:
This in itself is a tremendous realisation - if we do actually realise it. This is akin to "Truth is a pathless land", is it not?

Yes, "truth is a pathless land" and "there is no method" both point to actuality now without a time process of becoming. But there's a big difference between reading the menu and eating the food. If what K talks about remains a description, we're only reading the menu. We're not realizing what he says in our own lives. Perhaps we notice a bit more, but in a fundamental way we remain unchanged, for the most part acting with considerable inattention. We really have to do it: that is, end thought, dissolve self, be aware. At the same time we must be clear that there is no way to do it, no process or means. The impossible is absolutely essential, demanded by the present crisis: awareness of what is.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 29 Dec 2019.

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #21
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3230 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
By contrast, attention implies no residue at all.

Tom Paine, is that applicable to your inquiry as to why inattentive action must be conditioned?

Yes makes perfect sense. Registrating because of recognition...because of the past experiences. This is inattention and reaction . Good points idiot?

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Sun, 29 Dec 2019.

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #22
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
However, the Buddhist sits down and goes at this as a task. He has a plan, or has received meditation instruction, which is when he discovers that he has been lost in thought, he gently returns his attention to the present moment. This plan or instruction is itself a kind of conditioning. And that seems to be a method of the kind K objects to.

The mistake we make is of course to come to conclusions about the problems we inevitably see as being "out there".

From the question regarding intent and method, we come to the conclusion that buddhist meditation is bad; or that analysing and interpreting the words of the great K is at best useless (usually they make matters worse)

Whereas the invitation to see the problem of the self and its relation to what it sees as non self is not an invitation to name and judge.

Look, see, let go

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #23
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 194 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
If you are completely absorbed, is this not the state that K calls "concentration", rather than attention? Like being absorbed by some work, by reading a book, watching a movie?

If there is "effort", then I am present, this would be concentration. (my definition)

Look, see, let go

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #24
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
The mistake we make is of course to come to conclusions about the problems we inevitably see as being "out there".

The issues of sitting meditation are not "out there" for me. I personally do it. I advocate sitting meditation for actualizing what K talks about, otherwise it can remain theoretical and intellectual. Naturally this gets me in trouble with people here in the forum who stress "no method." And their point is well taken. As long as there is seeking in meditation, it isn't the kind K discussed. But the question of meditation is very important in what K taught and there is a reason he talked about it again and again, and made it the culmination of his multi-day talks.

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #25
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
I don't understand what you mean by "registering." Do you mean that the inattentive mind is making a recognition, which means a link up to a previous thought pattern, and is further recording into memory the goings on, for future recall? Is that what you mean by registering?

Yes. Basically by registration I mean experience is laid down in the brain cells, becomes part of memory, and so in the future it acts when meeting the present (or one could say NOT meeting the present). This is the action of conditioning, is it not?

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Sun, 29 Dec 2019 #26
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5664 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
But there's a big difference between reading the menu and eating the food. If what K talks about remains a description, we're only reading the menu. We're not realizing what he says in our own lives. Perhaps we notice a bit more, but in a fundamental way we remain unchanged, for the most part acting with considerable inattention. We really have to do it: that is, end thought, dissolve self, be aware. At the same time we must be clear that there is no way to do it, no process or means. The impossible is absolutely essential, demanded by the present crisis: awareness of what is.

Yes, I think you have described the basic human problem. So what gets in the way? It is obvious that something DOES get in the way of this awareness of what is.

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Mon, 30 Dec 2019 #27
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
So what gets in the way? It is obvious that something DOES get in the way of this awareness of what is.

The thinking, separate self is deeply, deeply convinced that it can touch, it can encompass everything. It cannot. But it is relentless, devious, like roots and tentacles that spread and regrow when cut. Most of us aren't interested in complete surrender, to awareness, to love, to the actual. Therefore we live in our minds, with some level of fear and separation. Isn't it so?

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Mon, 30 Dec 2019 #28
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3230 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
Most of us aren't interested in complete surrender, to awareness, to love, to the actual.

Is this something one can be 'interested in'? The 'actual' may in fact NOT be love...the actual may be hate or fear or greed. I know words can sometimes get in the way of what one is trying to say...point to...but I'm not clear about this being 'interested in'. Can one be interested in the unknown?

Let it Be

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Mon, 30 Dec 2019 #29
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1703 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Can one be interested in the unknown?

I'd say that is a good question. Thought is interested in that which it feels can enhance it, give it more security. Love, Compassion, Intelligence, thought thinks would be better than what it has now, the 'what is', yes?. Desire is thought's way to move away from 'what is'?

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Mon, 30 Dec 2019 #30
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

The thinking mind can be interested in the unknown. Interested in encompassing it, grabbing it, adding it to its cache of experience. But that, obviously, is not the unknown. The thinking mind cannot touch the unknown. At all. Period.

Which really, really bothers the thinking mind. And it doesn't believe it.

But the unknown is right here, available to everyone. Just look now, just listen, just feel. This! This! Totally ordinary. Totally extraordinary. Here now. Too detailed for the brain to begin to hold it. You have only to look around right now. Look out the window. Look around the room. Open the senses wide.

But can that be it? No, the brain says. I have much better things to think about. Can I please have my misery and suffering that I delight in dwelling on back?

This post was last updated by idiot ? Mon, 30 Dec 2019.

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