Satisfaction In A Unsatisfactory World
Is ignorance bliss? 🙂
Satisfaction can describe either a state of ignorance or of wakefulness. ‘Ignorance’ is not knowing (a lack of awareness or knowledge): it is confusion about reality (confusion: to mingle together).
In an ignorant state, “ignorance is bliss”. This is because we see things in the same old way, do and say the same old things, and keep life in the same old “I know, I know” pattern. We fear to step outside this pattern because it’s scary: “It’s my life and it’s great, so don’t tell me anything different!” This is loving our servitude – knowing our place.
I was going to write an article about being a Buddhist versus being a practitioner, which is relevant here. There are two aspects to the Dharma; the teaching, and the practice of that teaching. One is the theory and the other the experience, and we truly have to know the difference and not merely assume that we know. Going to teachings and retreats can be blissful; we can experience bliss. This is because it’s nice being there, and we are receiving information, but we don’t actually know it yet because we haven’t practised it. Without having practised, this bliss is ignorance; we feel good but it may not last. When we genuinely practise resting in pure awareness, that is pure bliss.
Traditionally, once we have the instruction and ‘get it’, we then go away in isolation and practise. Isolation is not necessarily a cave; one is merely detached in daily life. Compassionate without expectation. Genuinely facing challenging obstacles, and recognising the spacious dance steps that we didn’t realise we already knew, that allow us to move with the situation rather than imposing upon it, gives a sense of true inner joy and inspiration.
Now we come to how, in the awakened state, ignorance is bliss.
It’s merely the awareness of our ignorance, our lack of clarity, our confusion
– in their totality –
that is knowingness, that is awareness, that is liberation.
The very recognition that these states have no inherent existence
produces a eureka moment,
and confidence, joy and bliss itself arise.
This is a mingling of relative and absolute truths.
“Don’t leave home without wakeful, total confusion today!”