Quote of the Day

Nov 27, 2022
K: ...we are asking now, what is the relationship of attention to inattention, and to awareness? Right? They are all related. Why is the mind inattentive - not, can the mind be continuously attentive? You see the difference? Is a continuous attention, attention? Do go into it.

Q: No.

K: Has attention the movement of time? So I have to enquire into the factor of inattention, not, what is attention. Please see the importance of it. That is, I am attentive one minute - that's quite a long time. Attentive, I give my mind, my nerves, everything I have to attend, to listen, to see, and in that attention I have all the energy captured, all the energy is there. In that energy there is tremendous clarity. Now it is over, the next minute I am inattentive. Right? Then I say to myself, "Goodness, I wish I could keep that attention all the time". So I begin to train - listen to it - train myself. I begin to train myself and say, "I must be attentive", "I must watch myself", "I must drill myself", "I must eat the right food", "I must concentrate on attention" - you follow? But I never ask, what is inattention. Because attention I have had for a second, for a minute, and I fall back into inattention. The understanding of inattention is much more important than attention. Get it? Right? Is that clear, may we go on? Now what is inattention? Why is the mind inattentive? And why shouldn't the mind be inattentive?

Q: (Inaudible)

K: No, sir, no sir. Sir, look. No, sir, I explained. 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.
Saanen, Switzerland | 4th Public Dialogue 3rd August 1974 Read full text