What is the relationship between attention and lack of attention?
Is there a movement other than the movement of thought?
4th Public Discussion, Saanen
August 03, 1974
Krishnamurti: What shall we talk over together this morning?
Questioner: There is a feeling that the speaker is being isolated from other fields of human existence, and therefore his listeners with him.
K: Why is it that though the speaker talks so passionately about responsibility and so on, why is it that most of us haven't got that flame? Is it because he is missing, or doesn't take into account other areas of human existence.
K: (Repeating) Can we go into the question of being hurt from infancy until we die and whether those hurts can ever be wiped away from the mind. Is that it?
K: (Repeating) Can we talk about physical tension.
K: (Repeating) Could we go into communication and attention. All right, sir, let's talk about communication and attention. Any other thing?
Q: Is it possible to bring up a child without conditioning him?
K: Is it possible to bring up a child without conditioning him.
Q: How can I have a balance between psychological quiet and the activity of the mind in my work?
K: How can I have a balance, a harmony between the noise of my activity in the functioning and also inwardly at the same time keep peace and quiet and so on, all that.
Q: Suffering, energy and action.
K: Suffering, energy and action.
K: What do I mean by the heart.
K: The nature of healing. Look! (Laughs). The nature of healing, and all the questions: how can I keep the noise and the activity outwardly and inwardly be quiet and bring about a balance; can we bring up a child without conditioning him and so on. Now amongst all these questions which is the central question, in discussing it perhaps we will perhaps include all the others?
K: I thought so too but I wanted you to say it. Attention. I wonder why we are inattentive. What is the relationship between attention and the lack of attention? Is attention the opposite of no attention? And what do we mean by attention, and can that attention be sustained right through; or there is always a gap between two attentions which we call inattention? What is attention? And what is it to be inattentive? There is somebody knitting in here. Can that lady, or man, pay attention to what is being said? Can we divide attention in knitting, talking, looking, listening? Let me put it round the other way, it is simpler. In attention, being attentive is there in it any kind of division?
What is the difference between attention and concentration? First of all there is awareness, to be aware, then there is concentration and attention. Is awareness different from concentration? What do we mean by the word 'to be aware'? I am aware that you are all sitting there, there is a tent over us, and it is very hot. I am aware of all the colours and the shape of the heads and so on and on. Is the mind aware, cognisant, know, conscious of what is going on within the sphere of the mind? Are you aware of your thoughts, of your feelings? Are you aware that you are fidgeting, scratching, yawning, pushing your hair back? Are you aware of all that - as you are doing it, not after? So what does awareness mean? I am aware of conflict and violence. I am aware of beauty, the loveliness of a tree, the flowing waters. I am also aware of my responses to the river, to the mountain, to the lovely tree. Are we aware of all this? Go on, sirs. This is not a speech by the speaker, we are examining, investigating together. Therefore when we are investigating together there is communication, not only verbally but also intellectually and much deeper. A non-verbal as well as verbal communication.
Now I am just asking you, are we aware of the movement of thought? Are we aware of the starvation, the hunger of millions of people - not what we read in the paper, or in the magazine, or an article, or somebody telling you millions are starving, but the awareness of a mind that is perceptive?
Q: I don’t understand.
K: He doesn't understand. Is awareness a continuous movement? Right? Voluntary, or is it involuntary? When are we conscious of anything? That is, when are we aware of anything? Is it we are aware, conscious when there is pain, or when there is great pleasure, or are we aware non-descriptively, non-verbally of the areas of human existence which the mind has not touched at all?
First of all to be aware one has to be sensitive, hasn't one? No? Both physically and psychologically. How can you be physically sensitive when you have overeaten? Right? - when you are sexually indulgent, when you are concerned with the physical sensational satisfactions? Come on sir, discuss it.
K: If you are a vegetarian and don't get enough vitamin C and B and all the rest of it then the vitality of a poor vegetarian chap goes down. (Laughter).
K: The speaker has been a vegetarian, never eaten meat in his life.
Q: I don’t eat meat either.
K: Good! So physically most of us are not sensitive, alive physically. Psychologically, inwardly, we are hardly sensitive to what is going on inwardly - aware of our hurts, aware of our ambitions, violence, hatreds, personal antagonisms and so on, so on, so on. And mentally, intellectually we are second-hand people. So mentally, intellectually, psychologically, physically there is not total sensitivity. And shouldn't there be that quality of sensitivity, not to your particular desires, to your particular wants, but being sensitive. And that is the beginning of awareness. Right?
The next question is: psychologically, inwardly, are we aware of our responses? Are we aware when we are not telling the truth, when we are indulging in double talk, when we are saying one thing and doing something else, when we are quoting others? You follow? - this whole phenomenon of being second-hand, which is to be traditional, which is to conform - conform to an example. That gentleman yesterday said, 'There is a perfect example'. And why do we need an example? Is that not conformity, in that is there not imitation, fear, and authority and following? All that is traditional. We have had thousands of examples. Right? And we want to be that. And in that there is the acceptance, non-verbally, essentially, of authority. Tradition implies authority, conformity, imitation, following. No? Oh, come on sir.
Now all that is tradition - following, accepting, being second-hand. In that is implied comparison - you are better than I am, and therefore I must be like you. All that is implied in that word 'tradition', to hand over. Now a mind, the psyche, psychologically that follows, how can such a psyche be sensitive? Go on, sir, please.
K: I haven't quite understood the question. The gentleman is saying, life is a form of tradition, is a form of continuity. Is that what you are trying to say, sir?
K: Sir, look, sir, we are discussing, we are trying to find out what tradition is. There is the physical structure, the genes, and all the rest of it, the physical structure. We are not talking about the physical structure. We said, psychologically, inwardly, how can there be sensitivity if that inward structure is essentially based on tradition? That is all we are saying.
K: Are you traditional? Move from the physical of course, that's understood, move from the physical, and are you traditional? Traditional being accepting authority, accepting an example, following, imitating, conforming, and educated to be deeply second-hand human beings. Of course we are. Tradition being the past. And psychologically we live in the past.
I hope you are following all this. Am I talking to myself, or it is too hot? And can a mind that lives in the past, at whatever area - religiously, psychologically, intellectually, even in science, the real scientists cannot possibly accept this idea of being you follow? - all that. Now can the mind become aware of all that area? Please give your attention to this, it is rather interesting if you go into it.
You see there are these things: we are educated to follow; we are educated to accept; we are educated to conform. Let's keep to those, there are a few other things. Now are you aware of it? And if you do become aware of it then you have the problem of choice. Don't you? That is, how can I live without the indications of what is right and wrong established by the past? Are you following? So you have choice - whether you should do this or that. Right? That is, being aware - just look at the map of tradition - being aware of this map of tradition - authority, conformity, acceptance, obedience, taking a vow, resisting, dividing, conflict, sorrow, all that is within the area of tradition. When you become aware of all that you say, 'Which is the right thing to do amongst all this?' Right? I wonder if you Now I am questioning whether awareness has any choice at all.
K: The gentleman says, no, and the lady says, no.
Q: If there is confusion there must be choice.
K: Sir, I am sure you are not theorising, therefore you are saying as a fact, where there is confusion there is choice. Right? That's a great thing to admit. You understand? It is not an intellectual admission, or acquiesce, or agreeing with something because you think it, but if you are aware of it, if you realise the significance of it, that the mind when confused chooses - politically - you follow? - chooses between this guru and that guru, between this religion and that religion, between this symbol and that symbol - you follow? When you are confused this is the inevitable action. So I am asking, has awareness any choice at all? Or you are aware, in which there is no choice? I am aware of (noise of aeroplane) aeroplanes. (Laughter). I am aware of all the colours here, the variety, the extraordinary colours, and I am just aware. Why should I choose? I choose only some material which pleases me. Right? Either pink, or red, or white, or something or other. But when I observe, when I am aware there is no choice.
So can the mind be aware of this whole map or area of tradition? You, not me. Can you be aware of your second-hand thoughts? All thoughts are second-hand anyhow. Can you be aware how you conform? And what does conformity mean? Where do you draw the line of conform and not conform? You follow? Where do you say, obviously it is necessary to adjust oneself to a particular culture - right? - putting on trousers, or whatever you do, and another culture which says, it is so hot, don't put on trousers, put on something else. You are following all this? Now where do you draw the line between conformity and non conformity? Please listen. When you are aware is there a demarcation between the two?
K: Don't agree, please, do look at it. Because for most of us conformity is almost instantaneous - in the world of fashion, in the world of crazy things, in the world of ideas and so on and on. With great ease we adjust ourselves, we conform. And I am asking, when you are aware of this conformity, intellectually, psychologically and perhaps physically too, because somebody says you must do yoga and you trot out and do yoga, and you must be a vegetarian and you are a vegetarian, you know, all the rest of it - conform. Is there freedom from conformity? You understand? Do enquire with me please. It is very interesting. Not verbally but actually find out if you can be free, if there is such a thing as freedom and what place has conformity in freedom? You understand what I am saying?
K: (Repeating) It is only the man in prison that knows there is freedom and wants to be free. When you are free you are not conscious of it. Look, Madam, look, do you know what conformity is? And the mind is asking, when you become aware of it what takes place?
K: No, madam. If I am aware that I am conforming there is the whole problem of why does the mind conform? Why does the mind conform? Fear? No, don't shrug your shoulders.
Q: We have been brought up like that.
K: That is tradition. You have been brought up like that, and if you don't conform there is fear, there is the sense of lack of security, physically you might lose your job, please...
K: So where is there nonconformity? If our mind is merely conforming all the time, one is living in prison. And being in prison it is no good saying, there is freedom. It is only when we leave the prison there is freedom. So one has to find out where is the end of conformity.
Q: In the awareness of the prison.
K: No, don't - that's a theory. So are we aware that we are conforming? I wish you would discuss this.
K: (Repeating) Is it like playing a role in a theatre. Who is playing the role, playing what role?
Q: My role.
K: Your role. Is your role different from somebody else's role? Sir, this not a role. We are asking, if you don't mind, when one becomes aware - we are talking about awareness, nothing else - when one becomes psychologically aware of what is going on inwardly, then you inevitably come upon this question of tradition - tradition being the acceptance of authority and so on and so on, so on. And as you become aware of it and look at it, what is your reaction?
Q: To be free of it.
K: Now, the reaction is to free yourself from conformity, imitation. Do you?
Q: The background of tradition is necessary for creativity.
K: Tradition and conformity is necessary as a background for creativity. Don't agree or disagree. So we have to look at what we mean by creativity. How can a second-hand mind be creative? How can a traditional mind be creative? I know Oh, I don't have to go into all that, need we?
Q: What is creativity?
K: What is creativity.
Q: To do something new out of nothing.
K: Yes, to do something out of nothing. You see, now we are indulging in description, in opinions. Right? A writer who lives a shoddy little life and writes marvellous poetry, is he creative? For god's sake, think it out. A man who is in conflict with himself, with the world, he may produce a novel of that conflict, describing all the details, the tortures, and psychological tantrums and all the rest of it, is he creative?
K: Here we are! So we have to find out what it means to be creative. You are merely observing somebody else and judging whether he is creative or not. Right? You have never found out for yourself what it means.
K: No, don't theorise, sir. You see that is why unless you go into this very, very deeply in yourself you will never find out, you are just theorising. So come back. We will come to what is creativity. That is, when one becomes aware of a traditional life, and the traditional life of so-called writers, creators, is conformity because they are conforming to a pattern. And they may have a talent and you call them creative. That's not creativity - no, I won't go into all that.
So when one becomes aware - I hope you are being aware - of your conformity, what is your reaction to that conformity? You conform when you put on trousers and all the rest of it; when you have long hair, short hair, you conform to a fashion, you conform to a particular craze, you conform when you accept the authority of a guru which you have rejected that authority in the priest of your own country. Right? You are following all this? And the mind wants to conform, why? What is the movement of conformity and from where does it spring? Go on sir.
Q: Krishnaji, when I was a child if I didn’t conform I was punished. At school if I didn’t conform I was laughed at.
K: I agree, sir.
Q: Now if I don’t conform everybody will come up to me and say why...
K: So why does the mind want to conform? I know when I am a child they tell me to conform and all the rest of it, we all know that. But I am asking a question: why does the mind, the psyche, want to conform? And where is it that the mind says, 'It is absurd to conform'?
Q: Because I want to belong.
K: Yes, sir. I want to belong to the Hitlerian group, I want to belong to the Mao group, I want to belong to the communist group. I have got tribalism in my blood. Just see it sir. How hopeless it is to be Wait sir. Yes?
K: We are going to find out sir. Are you aware that you are conforming? And when you are aware that you are conforming what is your reaction? And are you aware of that reaction? And if you are aware of that reaction and go beyond that reaction you will find out what it means to be intelligent so that there is conformity and total nonconformity. Have I conveyed something? Sir, we can't reject all conformity, can we?
K: Don't please say, no. Think it out.
Q: It is necessary to conform sometimes, it depends on the level.
K: Madam, that is what we are saying. Let's put it round the other way: is intelligence the outcome of conformity?
Q: When you recognise the conformity, then nonconformity or conformity doesn’t matter, you are just aware of it.
K: So is awareness - please listen, sir - with regard to conformity, does it awaken intelligence?
Q: Conformity is...
K: No, no. You haven't I am aware, I become aware of conformity. And I am aware of the reaction to that conformity. There is an awareness of either rejection or acceptance of that reaction. When I reject, is it a rejection which is a reaction, or is it a rejection of intelligence? Wait. Therefore awareness is an act of intelligence. When I am confronted with a fact how can I, without reaction, face that fact, without choosing? When I am confronted with a fact and action is necessary, I have to choose.
Q: It is not, ‘how can I’ but...
K: I understand, sir. I understand. Look, sir. I am confronted with a fact and can I be aware of that fact, without choice, and from that choiceless awareness act with regard to the fact? Are we playing tricks with each other? I am confronted with a fact. Does the fact demand a choice? The fact.
K: Wait. It demands either an action, or non-action. Of course. Come on sir, be quick, avanti.
Q: I am aware of it. But I am on the road...
K: I understand. Wait sir. I am on a road and I come to a fork and either there is an indication which says, go where you want to go, there is no choice. But if there is no indication then I have to choose, therefore I ask somebody, 'Which is the way to Pisa?' That's very simple. There is no choice. What are you
Q: If there is nobody on the road.
K: Therefore I am asking - I know all the tricks! (Laughter). I am asking, does a fact demand a choice? The fact - listen - the fact I suffer, the fact, does it demand choice? The fact never demands choice, it is my reaction to the fact. Of course, sir. I can escape from that suffering, I can rationalise that suffering, run away from that suffering, do everything, the fact never demands choice; it only demands action.
Q: Why does it demand action?
K: Oh, sir, look. There is a snake. That is a fact. And the fact that it may be poisonous, therefore the fact demands action. Either you leave it alone, play with it, and all the rest of it. You are not meeting all this.
I want to come back to the point, sir, I wish you would go with this, because it's your life we are talking about, not my life.
Q: A fact demands action.
K: That's it, the fact demands action - that's the same thing.
Q: If I see ‘what is’ there is no confusion.
K: Yes, sir, that's just it: if I see 'what is' there is no confusion. If I see that I am a liar there is no confusion. If I see I am double talking, or if I hate somebody, there is no problem. The fact demands action.
Q: I don’t see how you can take any action with regard to a rattle snake.
K: Sir, I took that as an example, sir. Forget the example but see. I am asking, when you are aware that you are conforming, and you are aware of your choice, aware of your reaction, and has that reaction another series of reactions? You follow? Right? Then one is living in the past all the time. Now when you become aware of conformity without reaction, just to observe it, then that awareness is the act of intelligence. Right? I hope some of you get it, I can't go on and on and on.
So awareness has no choice. Awareness is an act of intelligence. Now move from there to the next thing, which is: what is the relationship of awareness to inattention, and to attention? That's what we are discussing.
Q: Is attention total or partial?
K: We are going to find out, sir, we are going to enquire now. Is the mind aware totally, or only partially? Aware of its unconscious activities, or is it aware only at the superficial level? Go on, sir, please.
Q: It is part of our nature...
K: Sir, if you don't mind, what we are discussing has great significance because we are concerned - please, I must go back to it - we are concerned with the responsibility as a human being to bring about a radical change in the human mind. You understand? That is what we are concerned with, through all the talks, through all the discussions. Because when one's consciousness changes you affect the consciousness of the world. You understand this?
Q: Inattention seems to be caused by the background.
K: We are going to find out, sir. But I want to point out that all the talks, the seven talks that we have had, and the dialogue, conversation that we are having now, are involved with the transformation of the human mind, the content of it, because the content, the human consciousness has created this appalling, suffering, confused world, where there is hunger, war, violence, division, the corruption of politics - that's going on. Any man who feels responsible for all this has to act, not just sit down and theorise, theorise.
So one of the corrupting factors is conformity. And how is the mind - not 'how' - does the mind realise the nature of conformity, intelligence and awareness? Right? So we have examined somewhat, conformity, and 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.
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 or for a minute, and I fall back into inattention. The understanding of inattention is much more important than attention. You've got 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: We must be attentive
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 I am inattentive, I have lost that 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 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, needs 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's tired and moves to inattention. Now in that state of inattention any action, any action, must be conditioning. Capito, signora? Right? You understand my question? 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 - right? - 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? Bene? 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. No, you don't. 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 that's 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.
Q: Sir, are you saying that when there is awareness in inattention...
K: No, sir, no sir. Now the problem of energy - what time is it? Sir, look, conformity is a wastage of energy. Right? When I conform to the pattern set by tradition - the whole involvement of tradition, not just one tradition, the whole, that is authority and all that - when there is conformity there is a wastage of energy because then there is conflict - I mustn't conform, and where am I to draw the line of conformity? You follow all this? So that is a wastage of energy. And accepting authority - authority, let's understand this before: that is, there is the authority of law, that I have to conform to otherwise I would be put in prison. That is, if I don't conform on the road, keep to the left or to the right, well I will soon have an accident, so I have to conform. Now we are saying conformity, when we become aware of the whole nature of conformity and I see what is implied in it, and I see that is a wastage of energy, in that awareness of attention and inattention - you follow? - then a totally different intelligence comes into being, which then says, 'Conform', 'Don't conform'. It is not your reactions that dictate. I wonder if you get this. Am I going too fast?
K: Wait. No, no. You are translating it differently. I don't know what I said just now, I can't repeat it. Look, sir: we are rather a mindless people. We are reflexive people, always reacting. Now I have got a problem of conformity, which is part of the structure of tradition. The mind becomes aware of the implications and the structure of conformity. Why the mind conforms, because it is afraid, it wants to protect itself and so on and so on. Now in that awareness when there is a reaction, it is still a reflexive reaction. And I see in that awareness the reflexive reactions are from my background, and the background says, 'Conform'. Right? So can the mind become aware of conformity, its reactions and its successive waves of reactions? And when you are so attentive of conformity, reaction and the waves of reactions, in that attention there is an intelligence which operates and tells you when to conform, when not to conform - which is not based on reaction. Right? It is simple enough.
K: Wait, sir. You will say what you have to say. Have you understood what I have to say? Right.
K: We are going to, sir. We are going into the question of what is inattention. Because, sir, the highest form of intelligence is necessary in a mad world, and intelligence is not yours or mine. Of course not. It is not national, it is not religious - it is not religious in the sense, belonging to a religion. It is the very essence of religion. Wait. I am going to go into it if you will listen.
And that intelligence which operates at all levels, and it is really religious intelligence - not the phoney religious thing - and I see that as the mind, which has conformed for generations, is becoming more and more mechanical, and such a mind, whatever it will do to transform the world or bring about greater this and that, it is still in a world of conformity. Right? Please follow this. And my concern is that the consciousness of a human being must be changed in order to bring about a different structure and nature, function in the world. I am consumed with that responsibility, it is not just words. And I see that human beings are very little aware. They are aware of their own pleasures, and their own fulfilments and their own desires, and their frustrations and their angers, and all the rest of it. But that's a very small area of awareness. And awareness implies the total movement. In that movement there is no choice, which we went into. To be so attentive, to sustain that attention - perhaps very few can do it - and they have been practising to maintain that attention, which is the whole idea of meditation. And I see where there is concentration, which has a motive, restriction, resistance, it is not awareness. And there is also a state of inattention. Is inattention something opposite to attention?
Q: The other side of the coin.
K: The other side of the coin. Sir, I want to find out, not verbally, I want to find out what is the relationship between attention and inattention. The moment you say, 'It is the other side of the coin', I create an image and say, 'Yes', but I haven't found out. It isn't a reality, it is just a descriptive image which I have accepted. So I have to find out what is inattention? And why shouldn't the mind be inattentive? It is only in that state of inattention either there is an increase of pleasure or increase of fear, to that I respond. You follow? In that state of inattention, I am asking: what is wrong with it, why shouldn't I be inattentive?
Q: Inattention brings sorrow.
K: I don't know. Why shouldn't I be inattentive. I have been attentive. Look, sir, I have been attentive for an hour and a half here and why shouldn't I be inattentive for a few minutes, what is wrong? Is that inattention an unawareness? See it sir.
Q: No, it is not.
K: See it, sir.
Q: I am aware of my inattention...
K: Yes, sir, we have said that earlier. You are not meeting my point.
Q: There is a quietness.
K: No, sir, I am not talking of quietness or anything. Just I am attentive, I have been attentive the whole hour and why shouldn't I now be inattentive? Just remain there for a minute. Is inattention then something opposite to attention? No. Or, is the mind taking a rest?
Q: That is inattention.
K: That's not inattention. Sir, look, sir, for an hour and a half the speaker has been attentive. And he says, 'I will rest'. The rest period is not inattention.
K: Wait, wait, wait.
Q: If you are sensitive you are attentive, and in inattention you lose sensitivity.
K: Not at all, not at all. He is saying, sensitivity implies attention and when there is inattention you lose sensitivity. Sir, just look. When you have been attending for a long time, as we have in this tent, if you have this morning, the mind says, 'I am resting'. In that rest the mind can respond instantly to attention - instantly. But it is taking it quietly, it is resting. What is wrong with that?
Q: Nothing is wrong.
K: Then what are we objecting to? Wait, wait. Go slow. I will show you what you are... In that state of inattention, which is you are never inattentive.
K: Sir, give me two minutes, will you? Just follow. Attention, you know what that means, more or less. The mind can't sustain that attention unless you have gone very, very, very deeply into it. And the mind gets tired and says, rest. In that period of rest it can respond to attention instantly. And there is another kind of inattention, another kind of rest, which is, I have captured, for a second, attention, and I am struggling to maintain that attention. The struggle to maintain that attention is inattention, and out of that inattention I can't respond instantly; I will respond according to my tradition.
K: Of course, sir. It doesn't matter. I know I'm using Sir, be quick enough, move.
Are you ever inattentive? When you are driving - no, I mustn't use a simile. I won't use similes because that is dangerous. You know what it is to be inattentive, don't you? We all know it. In that state of inattention we do things which bring conflict, we do things which are not nice, we do things which maybe, hurt others and so on. We know that inattention. Right?
Q: We don’t know it at the moment, we only know it afterwards.
K: Yes but that is the state of inattention. Right? When I say nasty things about you, or criticise you, or say, 'You are a nice man, be friends with me' and so on. Those are all - we know that. And in that state of inattention actions go on. Right? Don't we act? Of course. When I say something nasty, I am acting. So most of us know what it is to be inattentive. That inattention has no relation to attention. I can't move, the mind can't move from that inattention to attention, that movement will still be inattention. Right? Are you getting tired?
So I see that. So I see this: awareness, sensitivity, awareness, attention. In that state of attention - that state of attention is complete, the summation of energy, unless your body, your mind and everything is in complete harmony, you can't maintain that attention for a whole hour, impossible, or an hour and a half. There is that attention for a while, in that attention there is also inattention - right? - you say, 'Well, I am resting, I will be quiet'. That inattention is totally different from the ordinary inattention. Got it? That's all. Good morning.