"Today I am going to talk to you about attention: what is attention, what is the movement of attention and what are the ways and methods of raising our attention. Keep it in broad ways. All right? But when I am saying also the attention that you have is the only way to know the reality. Your own attention is important, not the attention of others or your attention on others...
So today as I am going to speak to you about attention, you should know that your attention should absorb all that I am saying. It is not meant for anybody else. You better sit in thoughtless awareness, that's the best way, so that it goes into you. Otherwise it's like a lecture, you know. That you listen to me has no effect. Every lecture will transform you because, after all, I am speaking. But because you always think of others and you think of your problems all the time - something nonsensical is going on, about which you are worried - and the attention is so overloaded that whatever is said to you doesn't go into you. So just now utilize it by being attentive and knowing that all these nonsensical things have no value. Is your attention that has to come up and has to grow.
So, attention is the whole of the canvas of your being. Is a complete canvas, is the attention. Complete canvas of your being is the attention. How much you have gone into it, how much you have discovered it, how far you have raised it is a different point.
Attention is chitta and God is attention. How far your attention has been enlightened is a different point. But your attention is God, if you become enlightened to that extent. It is like a canvas. You can say it is like a canvas which is spread out for a film. And whatever aptitudes or, you can say, the drags or movements of your attention has, shows on that canvas. I don't know what is the word for vritti in English language. It's not aptitude, but a person gets prone to, or his attention is dragged to - I don't know there is a word like that in English language - vritti.
So our attention is just a pure, completely pure canvas, and is acted upon by the three gunas we have, to begin with. And the three gunas come to you, as you know, one from your past, one from your future sense and one from the present. Now whatever have been your experiences about a particular thing or a particular occasion, so far is completely recorded in your memory. For example, if you see the black color, all that goes with the black color is recorded in your memory. As soon as you see this black color, quite a lot of it comes up. That means, as soon as you see this with your attention, the attention gets muddled up. Or you can say the attention gets colored with all the memories about this black color. And then your action takes place according to the way your attention is affected. For example, just now something was burned by these flames. Now all of you became aware of it. Next time whenever you will see a flame, first thing will happen will be that you will be cautious about it. It is not going to happen again, but the whole memory will come to you and you will try to be cautious or warn others, because your attention will become aware of that as soon as you will see that. Because that canvas of your attention itself will start throwing out these pictures of itself, through your past experiences, on to the canvas. This is a living canvas. "
Shri Mataji Nitmala Devi May 26, 1980 " Attention " Dollis Hill Ashram London, U.K.