Neutrality of the Mantra

In your reply about accessing the higher self you wrote: ” If you use a mantra in meditation, the mantra allows the mind to be undirected and neutral. This state permits the inherent attraction of the one’s inner nature of silence, joy and knowledge to draw the mind to the higher Self.”  My question is: Isn’t using a mantra a form of directing the mind, and therefore, how can the mind be neutral – and what does ‘neutral’ mean?  If one becomes aware of the mind ‘being drawn to the higher self” how does one distinguish that from the mind becoming distracted?