There is a common misguided advice from society – “Ignorance is bliss.”
From a spiritual standpoint, ignorance means darkness because darkness always leads us to fear, bondages, diseases, pain and sufferings and the eventual death. In my experience, ignorance is definitely not bliss. Bliss only comes with restful awareness, being in your presence.
So what exactly is ignorance? Do you know why you landed in this body? Do you know what bio-memory you carry in this body? Where do you want to go next? Who are you? What for is life?
Everyone has to discover answers to these fundamental questions about life. However, not everyone is prepared to seek the depth of life. When we don’t understand about our self and our relationship with life, we have loss of life. Loss of life does not mean only death; it also means living in unawareness. Even though we are living, the life is a loss if we are caught in the deep clutches and ruts. This means our life is going in the wrong track or the opposite direction. The tricky thing about ignorance is it will not let us know that we are ignorant unless the suffering of certain major life events jostle us out of our illusion.
When we do not know who we truly are, we identify ourselves with the personalities we try to project in outer world and allow all the past societal conditionings to shape our lives. By and by, we develop certain engraved memories (samskaras) and mental patterns which form our subjective world and we start clinging on to this physical body, wealth, relationships and life – all things ephemeral.
Life is about making conscious choices. If we don’t have clarity before making choices, we are living a very dangerous life. This is as if the person who is acting in you and the decision maker in you are not conscious, so you are not even aware of your very action.
According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, “Ignorance is the cause of unawareness of purusha, the consciousness about its real nature. Ignorance is the cause of identification of consciousness as matter, matter as consciousness and is responsible for all our sufferings we have in our lives.”
That’s why in Vedic Tradition, the first thing we do is to awaken our inner consciousness. By awakening to the knowledge of Atman (consciousness) until no trace of illusion remains is the only way to destroy ignorance.
The first step to destroy ignorance is to beware of ignorance i.e. intellectually wake-up that there are other dimensions in life which are beyond what we experience through our 5 senses. The moment we realize we don’t know, Existence will respond to us by showing us the truth. The next step is to be aware i.e. start infusing more awareness into our life. For that, we should take any idea or thought we create to its logical conclusion and experience a restful awareness or else we should not even believe in it. This requires certain level of discrimination in us which raises the intensity of life in us and brings authenticity to our living.
Whenever you bring light, darkness has to disappear. Awareness is the light which adds intelligence to your strategy planning and simply you will flow with life. Without the union of matter and consciousness, we become pure energy and the experience of oneness becomes a living reality. Patanjali concludes that “When ignorance has been removed, his identification ceases, then bondage is at an end, and the experiencer is independent and free.” In essence, ignorance has to be removed to experience bliss. 🙂