Wise-attention is the fourth element of SOUL Meditation.
Broadly speaking, giving Wise-attention means becoming aware of the impermanent nature of all pheniomena. It means paying attention to the 'changing' nature of everything that we experience: the changing nature of our bodily phenomena (such as breathing, aging), the changing nature of our thoughts, feeling, and emotions, the change of seasons, environement, etc.
It is this wise-attention which eventually leads to the culturing of consciousness with wisdom or understanding of the impersonal (non-self) nature of all phenomena. It is this wise-attention which eventually manifests as egolessness.
With consistent practice of giving wise-attention (witnessing the impermanence or change), sooner or later, you realize that there is really no “you” throughout all the experiences. You begin to understand that the “you” was created every time there was a reaction; the “you” was created every time there was identification with a feeling; the “you” was created every time there was perception of separation from the environment. With further practice, you also realize that the experience of pleasantness and unpleasantness, liking and disliking, pleasure and pain, etc, are all simply the phenomena of body-mind-consciousness that are rooted in impermanence and non-self. You then understand, beyond doubt, that there is no “experiencer,” no “you” in any of it, which eventually leads to non-attachement, which means, you no longer identify yourself with the body, the mind, or the consciosuness. It is this non-attachement which leads to real freedom from all suffering and imperfections, because, as we have discussed earlier, the root cause of our suffering and imperfections is attachement (to our body, our mind, and our consciosuness).
How Wise-Attention Blossoms into Wisdom (Non-Delusion)
(First read above paragraphs)
As you establish yourself in such wise-attention, you begin to understand that body is body (and not your body), mind is mind (and not your mind), consciosuness is consciousness (and not your consciousness). This is how the aspect of wise-attention results in the removal of delusion (Mental blindness) and the blossoming of Non-delusion - the wisdom.
Let us now talk about Non-delusion, because ultimately, wise-attention when thoroughly established, becomes the sublime wisdom element of Non-Delusion.
(The Wisdom Element)
It is that due to which the mind is not deluded, so it is Non-delusion. It is called Non-delusion because it does not allow the consciousness to be deluded by our senses and our mind. It is like the light which does not allow darkness. It is also like an extremely sharp and ultimately powerful laser that can penetrate all the layers of matter and hit the target precisely to expose the target’s intrinsic nature. In this analogy, laser is like the beam of Knowledge and layers of matter are like various layers of delusion.
Because of this laser-like nature, the element of Non-Delusion can penetrate thick layers of delusion such as racial identity, national identity, religious identity, regional identity, social identity, sexual identity, parental identity, physical identity, mental identity, consciousness identity, etc. Ultimately, the penetrative power of Non-delusion exposes the real nature of the self so that nothing remains to be exposed about the self. Thus, Non-delusion is that by means of which we can expose ultimate essence of all things. Therefore, it is known as the destroyer of ignorance and the builder of wisdom.
Non-delusion is the subtlest of all mental elements. It is arrived at only by removing layers after layers of delusion. It is like removing the layers of onion until its core is reached. This core, when arrived at, is found to be thoroughly empty of onion-matter. In this sense, Non-delusion is that faculty of mind which eliminates mental confusion and bewilderment by serving as a guiding light in the vast and layered field of mental darkness (delusion) until the core of nothingness or emptiness is reached!
Non-delusion should not be understood as mere absence of delusion but also as the opposite of delusion, or as that by means of which one can get rid of delusion. Thus, Non-delusion is an active parameter.
For example, mere absence of delusion does not make one wise. It is due to the absence of delusion and the presence of Non-delusion that one becomes wise. Similarly, mere absence of delusion does not result in the end of ignorance. It is due to the absence of delusion and the presence of Non-delusion that one can destroy ignorance and attain freedom from all imperfections. In this way, non-delusion has its own intrinsic nature. Hence, it is considered as a separate mental element and not as a state of mere absence of delusion.
Psychologically, non-delusion means the absence of ego. Non-delusion is the egoless quality of mind, because, it manifests as knowing oneself in terms of the phenomena of body-mind-consciousness ,or, in terms of the phenomenon of materiality-mentality. Non-Delusion is like knowing yourself “as you are” and not “as you appear to be.” This knowing, however, is principally different from the manners of perceiving and cognizing. This knowing is “simply knowing (Pradnya)”, an extremely subtle state which is beyond mind-consciousness and at the same time not separate from it. This knowing is not always present in mind-consciousness, but when it is present, mind-consciousness is not separate from it. Let us try to understand this a bit further.
Perception vs. Cognition vs. Wisdom (Non-Delusion)
When we perceive human body, we know it as a male or female or short or small or beautiful or ugly body, etc. Thus, mere perception cannot know the deeper aspects of the body.
When we go beyond perception and try to cognize human body, we penetrate the perceptual layer and experientially understand the body as an “impermanent and impersonal phenomenon of matter.” For cognition to occur, body has to be experienced as a changing phenomenon of matter that is happening on its own accord without the control of any fixed entity. This is possible only through practices such as SOUL contemplation or meditation because of the need for "experiencing the impermanence and impersonality of bodily phenomena." Thus, cognition is deeper and subtler knowledge than perception because it brings about the “experience of changing and non-self nature” of the body.
When we go beyond perception as well as cognition, we reach the level of wisdom or Non-delusion. Just as mere perception cannot bring about the “experience of change and non-self,” the mere cognition of change and non-self cannot arouse Non-delusion (or wisdom).
Non-delusion or wisdom is said to have arisen when and only when the cognition of “change and non-self” manifests as pure understanding, which means, understanding or knowing without the sense of being a perceiver, knower, or cognizer. The arousal of this pure understanding is what the element of Non-delusion is all about.
Thus, Non-delusion or real wisdom is none other than the act of egoless-knowing, which is very unique and separate from the act of perceiving and cognizing. It is so because it actually releases us from the bondages of all ego-driven concepts, theories, isms, dogmas, doctrines, logies, perceptions, etc, and culminates into mental perfection. In this sense, Non-delusion is the most prominent element responsible for the attainment of mental perfection.
Let us look at another example to further understand the difference between perception, cognition, and Non-delusion. Let us say there are three people, a perceiver, cognizer, and a Wise one looking at a piece of gold coin. A perceiver will know the coin simply as a yellow and circular piece of metal. A cognizer will know the coin as a coin of precious metal, because, he has experienced its value in the market. A wise or non-deluded one, on the other hand, will not only recognize the coin as precious mental but also as a “24-carat gold weighing so many ounces, made by such and such coin-maker who has such and such reputation.” A wise person thus knows the coin in this way by perceiving it, by cognizing it, and by extending the penetration so deeply and thoroughly that nothing else remains to be known about the coin.
This example is given only for illustrating the mundane scope of Non-delusion. The element of Non-delusion should not be confused with worldly-thoroughness or material perfection, because, Non-delusion is ultimately related to egolessness.
Philosophically, non-delusion can be understood as "pure knowledge" or as wisdom or pure understanding (as stated earlier). It can be understood as the purest state of awareness, meaning, that state of consciousness which is purified of all the traces of ignorance (or sense of self, I-ness).
Spiritually, Non-delusion can be understood as perfect-insight or the state of enlightenment. Spiritually speaking, being Non-deluded means simply being the “spirit.”
Since Non-delusion is the subtlest of all elements, it is the most powerful one. The ultimate mental power arises out of the element of Non-delusion just like the nuclear power arising out of the ultimate core of matter. The only difference is that the ultimate power of Non-delusion does not have any side effects. It is foolproof. It cannot be used for unwholesome purposes. It is thoroughly wholesome under all circumstances and in all situations. In fact, it is the prime-root-element which is present in all states of wholesome consciousness.