Seeing the Whole Fabric of Inattention Is Total Attention

It was a lovely evening, the sky was clear and in spite of city light, the stars were brilliant; though the tower was flooded with light from all sides, one could see the distant horizon and down below patches of light were on the river; though there was the everlasting roar of traffic, it was a peaceful evening. Meditation crept on one like a wave covering the sands. It was not a meditation which the brain could capture in its net of memory; it was something to which the total brain yielded without any resistance. It was a meditation that went far beyond any formula, method; method and formula and repetition destroy meditation. In its movement it took everything in, the stars, the noise, the quiet and the stretch of water. But there was no meditator; the meditator, the observer must cease for meditation to be. The breaking up of the meditator is also meditation; but when the meditator ceases then there’s an altogether different meditation.

It was very early in the morning; Orion was coming up over the horizon and the Pleiades were nearly overhead. The roar of the city had quietened and at that hour there were no lights in any of the windows and there was a pleasant, cool breeze. In complete attention there is no experiencing. In inattention there is; it is this inattention that gathers experience, multiplying memory, building walls of resistance; it is this inattention that builds up the self-centred activities. Inattention is concentration, which is exclusion, a cutting off; concentration knows distraction and the endless conflict of control and discipline. In the state of inattention, every response to any challenge is inadequate; this inadequacy is experience. Experience makes for insensitivity; dulls the mechanism of thought; thickens the walls of memory, and habit, routine, become the norm. Experience, inattention, is not liberating. Inattention is slow decay.

In complete attention there is no experiencing; there’s no centre which experiences, nor a periphery within which experience can take place. Attention is not concentration which is narrowing, limiting. Total attention includes, never excludes. Superficiality of attention is inattention; total attention includes the superficial and the hidden, the past and its influence on the present, moving into the future. All consciousness is partial, confined, and total attention includes consciousness, with its limitations and so is able to break down the borders, the limitations. All thought is conditioned and thought cannot uncondition itself. Thought is time and experience; it is essentially the result of non-attention.

What brings about total attention? Not any method nor any system; they bring about a result, promised by them. But total attention is not a result, any more than love is; it cannot be induced, it cannot be brought about by any action. Total attention is the negation of the results of inattention but this negation is not the act of knowing attention. What is false must be denied not because you already know what is true; if you knew what is true the false would not exist. The true is not the opposite of the false; love is not the opposite of hate. Because you know hate, you do not know love. Denial of the false, denial of the things of non-attention is not the outcome of the desire to achieve total attention. Seeing the false as the false and the true as the true and the true in the false is not the result of comparison. To see the false as the false is attention. The false as the false cannot be seen when there is opinion, judgment, evaluation, attachment and so on, which are the result of non-attention. Seeing the whole fabric of non-attention is total attention. An attentive mind is an empty mind.

The purity of the otherness is its immense and impenetrable strength. And it was there with extraordinary stillness this morning.