The moment we observe our mind, we become aware of our thoughts. The immediate mental content becomes clearer, and we can now discern thoughts that have been there all the time yet remained outside the scope of our attention.
Attention is a function of consciousness just as muscle contractions are a function of muscles and thinking is a function of the mind.
Have you ever watched a cat watching a pigeon? Strained to the limit, the cat’s attention is fully focused on the bird. At the same time, the cat lacks any of the attributes of the human mind, as does the pigeon, yet both have consciousness.
Attention is a channel for the energy of consciousness. This energy follows attention wherever it goes. The power of the energy of attention is enormous.
I believe everyone is aware of the power of human attention. Everyone is also familiar with the sensation of being stared at, which is felt like a light physical pressure. This sensation results from the energy of the external attention directed at us, and so we can feel it quite literally. There are well-known cases when a person used the power of his gaze to induce a hypnotic trance in another person. Many legends talk of warriors who brought their enemies to a standstill just by gazing directly at them. These miracles would not be possible without the power of the energy of attention, or more precisely, the energy of consciousness.
Attention directed outwardly is normally tied to our five basic senses. When we attend to what we see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, our attention helps us collect experiences and information, which are processed by the mind. In a normal state, a person perceives all incoming impressions refracted through the prism of their mind. The mind verbalizes the experience instantly which evokes a sequence of associative responses that affect the emotions and physical body alike. For example, at the sight of fresh water, a thirsty person feels relief (because of the chance to satisfy the desire) and joy, and then swallows saliva uncontrollably.
The bottom line is that our consciousness interacts with internal and external objects via directing attention toward them. The moment they enter the field of our attention, these objects become exposed to the full power of the energy of consciousness. It is also through the channel of attention that our consciousness can be identified with any object perceived.