Naturally, that awareness cannot be constant. But to be aware that it is not constant, is to be aware of inattention. To be aware of inattention is attention. One cannot reasonably, sanely, say: “I am going to be alert from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep” – one cannot, unless one is neurotic and practises saying: “I am going to be aware, I am going to be aware” – then it becomes words and has no meaning. But if one sees that attention, awareness, cannot be maintained all the time – which is a fact – then inattention, not being attentive, has its value, has its meaning; because in inattention you discover that you are not attentive.
– K, Saanen July 1980 Q/A
Katham ca pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu citte cittanupassi viharati?
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu saragam va cittam ‘saragam cittam’ ti pajanati, vitaragam va cittam ‘vitaragam cittam’ ti pajanati, sadosam va cittam ‘sadosam citam’ ti pajanati, vitadosam va cittam ‘vitadosam cittam’ ti pajanati, samoham va cittam ‘samoham cittam’ ti pajanati, vitamoham va cittam ‘vitamoham cittam’ ti pajanati, sankhittam va cittam ‘sankhittam cittam’ ti pajanati, vikkhittam va cittam ‘vikkhittam cittam’ ti pajanati,…
-Mahasatipatthana Sutta (Cittanupassana)
The Observation of Mind
Again, O monks, how does a monk abide, observing mind within mind? (‘mind’ as ‘mind’ – as it is’ – staying with ‘what is’)
Here, a monk, O monks, knows properly mind with attachment as mind with attachment, he knows properly mind free from attachment as mind free from attachment, he knows properly mind with hatred as mind with hatred, he knows properly mind free from hatred as mind free from hatred, he knows properly mind with delusion as mind with delusion, he knows properly mind free from delusion as mind free from delusion, he knows properly collected mind as collected mind, he knows properly a distracted mind as distracted mind,….