We said meditation is a state of mind in which all the things that thought has invented - the illusions, the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals, the habits, the sexual demands - all that is no longer entering into the mind that is absolutely quiet. Now, is it possible to have such a mind? Do you understand my question? I am going to examine it - we are going to examine it together. We all need a quiet mind, a peaceful mind, an absolutely silent mind without a murmur of thought. Is that possible? Possible means we don't know. If we know already, that knowledge is the remembrance of something of the past, therefore it is not a quiet mind. So we are saying, is it possible to have a mind that is absolutely without a ripple?
We are going to find out. To discover if it is possible, first you must understand the nature of attention. What is the nature of attention, to attend? And what is the nature of inattention, not attending? And what is the nature of concentration? And what is the nature of distraction? You're following all this? What does one mean by concentration? That is what most people try to do - concentrate. You are taught from childhood to concentrate. In school you say, 'Look at your book, don't look out of the window.' What do we mean by concentration, and who is it that is concentrating? Thought has projected an image, or an idea, a concept, or a picture, and on that you concentrate - that means, exclude all other thoughts. But the exclusion becomes impossible because thought itself is divisive. I wonder if you understand this - no, you don't!
So, there is no distraction. Thought says, 'Concentrate on that and any movement away from that is distraction.' But the movement away from it is the movement of thought. Thought says, 'Concentrate', and thought also moves away from it. The moving away from it is distraction. But thought itself is a distraction because it has moved away. You are following all this? Please don't laugh, look at it, this is very, very serious if you want to go into meditation. So there is no distraction because thought itself is a distraction the moment it says, 'I must concentrate'.
And what is attention, and what is not being able to attend? You have been here for over an hour, you are tired at the end of the day, you have listened to a lot of words, and if you have gone into yourself you become rather tired. And you cannot, when you are tired, attend.
I am going purposely slowly, so that you can gradually gather your energy, so we are able to investigate together. So we are saying what is attention and what is inattention. Attention means to attend, to give all your energy to look, to attend, to hear, to absorb, to see. You can only do that for a couple of seconds probably, or a minute, and that attention goes down and there is inattention. You are not completely attentive. Attention demands that you give all your energy, with all your senses, with all your mind and heart, completely attentive. But that intense, active attention cannot be sustained by most people, so inattention comes. But when you are aware of that inattention, that you are not attending, that very perception that you are not attending is attention. Have you got it? What is important is, that there is no conflict in the mind. Never say, 'I was attentive, I know what it means, I want to capture it again' - that whole movement is, if you are aware of it, is attention. You've understood some of this?
4th Public Talk 31st January 1979