The character of ignorance, and how it can be overcome

Rodney worked at the Scarlett Advertising Company for six years.  His job was to sort and deliver the mail, run errands and deliveries, and serve as general “handy man” for any needed building maintenance and repairs. 

Back in high school he discovered that he had a talent for drawing.  Sketching people and landscapes were his favorite, just using paper and pencil.  As a teenager he worked at the local Marks discount store on weekends drawing and creating posters for sale specials.  That was loads of fun.  But when he finished school and needed to make some money, he temporarily put his artistic dreams on hold and took the job at Scarlett. 

But that was all in the past now.  Rodney was able to take advantage of the work study program at Scarlett and had just finished his two year associates degree at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  He was moving into the advertising department, his own cube on the sixth floor.  For Rodney getting that new position was a matter of extra training and knowledge.  Before the training he was ignorant (lack of knowledge) of how to do the job.  He was certainly bright, intelligent, and capable, but just did not have the necessary background.

With regard to our spiritual development, we may all be in that same situation.  We are bright and have the desire to learn, have faith in humanity, but we just don’t know (lack of knowledge) that our world is not the ultimate reality.

People often say to me, “How can you speak of bondage when I am having such a good time?  I have a good job and wonderful family, and go on vacation every year.  We just bought a new car, and the house is in tip-top shape.  When I see a flower, I enjoy it.  When I go to the movie, I enjoy it.  When I eat a burger, I enjoy it.  And once in a while I do have some sadness and pain, but that’s just the way it is.  Two sides of life.  Don’t talk to me about bondage, because there is no such thing.”

I respond by saying, “From your perspective and reality, you are absolutely correct.  But there are other realities and other states of consciousness.  Just as we don’t know that we are dreaming until we wake up, so too we don’t know that we are in ignorance and bondage until we wake up to the higher reality of enlightenment.”  

Today we are living life day to day, ignorant (unaware) of our true nature.  That’s because the mind is bound by the objects of perception.

Ignorance …

Its grip seems to be all powerful.  The unbounded gets squeezed by the boundaries.  The influence and strength of the bounded seems to be greater than that of the absolute.   After all, the timeless eternal value of life appears to be overshadowed and lost in the boundary of time and space.  So much so that we don’t even know that an absolute exists.  

How could that possible be?

The reality …

The unbounded appears (the key word here) to be bound, but in reality that has never happened.  Knowledge is reality, but our life in ignorance is …  

a deception
a trick
a ruse
a sham
a fraud
a superimposition
a fake
and a make believe dream.  It’s all due to inaccurate (ignorance) and unclear perception of the world.  The world is a mental projection (illusion) that we eventually awaken from.

Is this a rope or a snake?

There is a famous story that highlights this situation rather clearly.  A man once entered his house late at night.  All of the lights were out.  In the darkness behind the table he saw a snake. He let out a bloodcurdling yell and promptly ran out of the house.   

Soon his neighbors came by to see what all the commotion was about.  One person called the snake catcher and police, while another person gripped by fear, fainted.  The doctor was called.  People were exited and upset.  The mayor came by to calm the situation but everyone was running around in a panic.  Their world was turned upside down.   

As it turns out, the man’s wife suddenly appeared in the house doorway with a lamp.  She didn’t understand what was going on.  She had arrived home slightly after her husband, who had left in a panic by then.  With her lamp she could clearly see that there was no snake, but only a rope.  The man’s unclear perception caused him to see a snake when there was only a rope.    

Just as this illusion gets destroyed when true knowledge of the rope is perceived, similarly, Maya (illusion) is destroyed for a person when they perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge.

Was it the darkness of the room, or the man’s own susceptibility to anxiety, that caused him to mistake the rope for a snake?  Deep seated fears often coax the mind into believing what may not be actually true.

To alleviate all fear and remove the veil of ignorance that shrouds us we need to employ some skill that reverses the fortunes of action.  That skill is meditation.

Meditation is skill in action.

                                                               The influence of action
When there is NO meditation in life, action … When there is DAILY meditation in life, action …
.
is binding
localizes the unbounded
perpetuates and upholds ignorance
is the enemy of today
.
.
is liberating
expands our awareness of the absolute
fosters knowledge
is the servant of tomorrow
.

Meditation changes the influence of action, such that where it formerly served to arrest the unbounded now it serves to break the shackles and chains of ignorance.  The influence of action has been reversed.

There is no weakness in life; only a perceived weakness due to incorrect perception.  A false deception has taken place, due to our inability to perceive properly.

There is no real basis for fear and suffering.  But yet it is experienced.  Suffering cannot be appeased on its own level, so we need to transcend the basis of suffering, identification (ignorance) with the objects of perception.  Then we will be truly free.

Meditate every day to clear our windows of perception, thereby releasing us from ignorance.  The experience of Turiya (pure consciousness) awaits us all.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 at 8:41 pm and is filed under Right action. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

 

Comments are closed.