A friend of mine had sent me the following quote from Shri. J. Krishnamurthy (JK):
In the cultivation of the mind, our emphasis should not be on concentration, but on attention. Concentration is a process of forcing the mind to narrow down to a point, whereas attention is without frontiers.” — J Krishnamurthi
I thought he was splitting hairs. I sent out a mail with that remark of mine and asked my friends to respond with their thoughts. Several did so. I am grateful to them. Some of them were very thought-provoking. I will cite two here:
Excuse me” said the ocean fish, You are older than I. So, can you tell where to find this thing they call ocean?”” The ocean” said the older fish, is the thing you are in now”“Oh! This? But this is water. What I am looking for is the ocean” said the disapointed fish and swam away searching for the ocean elsewhere.
In ‘meditation/meditating’ people often allude to a process of single-minded focus which then becomes a desperate/futile attempt to prevent extraneous thoughts from barging in. When one pays attention one is in concentration, but beyond mere concentration, since there is a larger positive aspect to the attention when I perceive/realise/feel. Concentration implies effort- keeping thought out. Attention is inclusive. One can pay attention only when there is no thought, just direct perception. And, JK has always talked about ‘thought’ being the primary culprit in not being able to perceive reality as it is.