Ignorance is bliss

 

Ignorance is bliss. That’s another one of those simple, rich and beautiful everyday pointers.

Usually, this statement is used to point to avoiding uncomfortable information and thoughts. I avoid it, so feel better in the short term.

So I can take it as a question and explore what happens around thoughts I tend to avoid.

What happens when I avoid thoughts that makes me uncomfortable? What is the experience? Does the thought surface anyway? Can I prevent a thought from surfacing? What are the practical consequences of avoiding certain information and thoughts?

What happens if I meet these thoughts with interest and curiosity? What happens if I take the time to inquire into them?

What are the specific information and thoughts I tend to avoid? What do I find when I investigate one of these? And another one?

Avoiding certain thoughts is one form of ignorance. But what about the other form of ignorance, the recognition that I really don’t know?

I don’t know, even as I use information and experiene as guides in daily life and it seems to work in a practical sense. And I don’t know, even when it comes to that which I tend to take for granted such as gravity and a sense of self.

In what way is ignorance bliss here? When I recognize that I don’t know, what happens? Am I still free to use certain stories and maps as guides? Is there more receptivity? Less need to protect and defend any particular story or identity? A more open heart? More freedom in chosing among different stories as a practical guide in the current situation? More receptivity to feedback and freedom to chose a different story as guide if that seems more appropriate?

What happens when I take a story as true? When I tell myself I know, in a more absolute sense? Is there tension? Stress? A sense of taking a precarious position? A sense of having to defend and protect the story and the identity that comes with it? A sense of separation? A sense of a separate self, located in a particular place in space, and appearing more solid and real?

Do I ever know? What do I take as most obviously true? That something exists? That there are objects and beings? That I am a human being? A doer? An observer? That there is a self here? What do I find when I investigate each of these? Can I know any of these for sure? What happens when I tell myself I know for sure? What happens when I recognize I don’t know? What happens when I recognize I don’t know, in situations where I tend to tell myself I do?

……………

outline….

  • ignorance is bliss
    • explore when avoid certain thoughts, then inquire into them
    • explore the effects of thinking I know, and not knowing

…………

Ignorance is bliss. That’s another one of those simple, rich and beautiful everyday pointers.

Usually, this statement is used to point to avoiding uncomfortable info and thoughts. I avoid it, so feel better in the short term.

What do I find when I take this as a question and apply it to specific situations in my own life?

What is a thought I tend to avoid? I will die.

What happens when I avoid that thought? I feel tense. Stressed. I try to push it away but it surfaces anyway. I try to avoid situations that reminds me that I will die. If a situation does remind me, I may tell myself it is just about someone else. It feels like a struggle, and I experience discomfort.

What happens if I meet that thought with interest and curiosity? A sense of friendliness. Interest. Curiosity. Interest in exploring it in different ways. More sense of space. Energy. Clarity. (The dread shifts into a sense of alert clarity.)

What happens when I inquiry into that thought? I will die. Is it true? I don’t know. What happens when I take it as true? A sense of dread. A quiet terror. A try to avoid being reminded, and if I am, I make it about someone else or something in the distant future. Who would I be without that thought? Receptive. Interested. Curious. What is the truths in its turnarounds? (i) I won’t die. Well, the matter making up this body continues to cycle and morph for as long as this universe is around. Others will probably remember me, for a while at least. It depends on what I mean by “I” – if it is this human self or other content of experience, or the ground of all that happens. (ii) My thinking will die. Yes, it does all the time. A thought is here, then gone.

What other info or thoughts do I tend to avoid? Politicians misleading the public. The immense suffering in the world, especially that of children and animals. (And recognizing that suffering as no different from that of any of us.) The possibility of not saving enough for retirement. That my parents will die, most likely before me. That I am pretty studid and uninformed in many ways.

..

Ignorance is bliss. Avoiding certain thoughts is one form of ignorance. But what about the other form of ignorance, the recognition that I really don’t know?

I don’t know, even as I use information and experiene as guides in daily life and it seems to work in a practical sense. And I don’t know, even when it comes to that which I tend to take for granted such as gravity and a sense of self.

In what way is ignorance bliss here? When I recognize that I don’t know, what happens? Am I still free to use certain stories and maps as guides? Is there more receptivity? Less need to protect and defend any particular story or identity? A more open heart? More freedom in chosing among different stories as a practical guide in the current situation? More receptivity to feedback and freedom to chose a different story as guide if that seems more appropriate?

What happens when I take a story as true? When I tell myself I know, in a more absolute sense? Is there tension? Stress? A sense of taking a precarious position? A sense of having to defend and protect the story and the identity that comes with it? A sense of separation? A sense of a separate self, located in a particular place in space, and appearing more solid and real?

Do I ever know? What do I take as most obviously true? That something exists? That there are objects and beings? That I am a human being? A doer? An observer? That there is a self here? What do I find when I investigate each of these? Can I know any of these for sure? What happens when I tell myself I know for sure? What happens when I recognize I don’t know? What happens when I recognize I don’t know, in situations where I tend to tell myself I do?

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