Directionless attention is devoid of thought, directed attention is ‘looking through’ defining concepts (thoughts). The attention is the same in both cases, as light is the same, no matter what medium it shines through, and no matter what it shines upon.
The issue is if the light has temporarily identified with concepts while passing through them or if it remains unidentified while passing through concepts. If it stays unidentified then there is ‘freedom from identification.’ The other scenario is a seeming imprisonment in the maze of conceptual enclosures.