Three Mental Factors

Wisdom arises when one is fully mindful because the distractions of the unwholesome mental factors fall away, it’s in being fully mindful that the mind settles and allows one to truly see.

There are three mental factors in the way the minds view arises in each moment, wholesome, unwholesome, and neutral. The first description is the mental factor of the unwholesome view, this would be anything that leads to suffering. Wholesome mental factors are those that lead to peace and joy. The wholesome ones don’t need a belief to be true, they just needs to be investigated to see the truth of their wholesomeness. The third mental factor is probably the most difficult one because it’s strictly based in perception. It’s often confused with mindfulness. It’s neither wholesome or unwholesome, its neutral. It arises for everyone in the present moment and its function is to recognize a particular object. This mental factor interprets what arise by distinguishing the qualities of it, this is different for everyone. Think of a traffic light, whether it’s red, yellow or green, it doesn’t take a label to view and do what each color represents, there’s nothing inherently attached to any color, it just is. To some yellow means speed up, to others it means slow down, this is determined by one’s perception.

These three mental factors intertwine through mindfulness in some way. Ordinary attention, semi mindful (neutral) is like a cork in the ocean, it constantly wobbles. Focused mindfulness is like a rock, its has a non wobbling effect. Unwholesome mental factors arise and are attached to, although one is mindful of this to a degree because it is happening, it’s labeled and thus attached to basically unconsciously. It’s the focus of these mental factors that determine their effectiveness. Being fully mindful allows one to see, but without needing a label. Being neutral allows one to recognize (perceive) but not necessarily fully mindful. Wisdom arises when one is fully mindful because the distractions of the unwholesome mental factors fall away, it’s in being fully mindful that the mind settles which allows one to truly see. Wisdom isn’t something learned, it’s what arises when one is disciplined enough to remain fully mindful in the present moment more often than not.

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