Ignorance is bliss - is it ?
Ignorance is a bliss has been a saving grace for many of us in many situations where we have turned a blind eye to something just to avoid any confrontation but what happens when Ignorance is a bliss become a way of life.
Many of us due to societal conditioning or norms are taught since our childhood to ignore or avoid confrontation and brush things under the carpet for whatever reasons.
However what happens if due to this societal conditioning , Ignorance becomes a part of your personality . It becomes so ingrained in you that you not only ignore toxicity around you but inside you as well.
Ignorance is a bliss was a term coined by Thomas gray in his poem Ode on Distant Prospect of Eton College . There, he nostalgically reminisces about the bliss of youth with its carefree days of playfulness unmarred by the dark realities of adult life. The poem reveals Gray’s double perspective that not only is ignorance bliss but knowledge is misery. The term Ignorance means lack of knowledge and the phrase in itself means in some situations it’s better to not know the truth and be ignorant.
However , keeping aside the origination haven’t we all become ignorant of our own self and the blessings around us . Surely when we are younger we have moments of pure bliss and I think the real reason kids are happy because they are raw and pure energy contrary to the belief that they aren’t aware I feel that they are very perceptive to the environment and are free flowing with life . They don’t wallow in past or worry about future they enjoy the present . Something we adults have completely forgotten to do . We are so busy being trapped in our past and worry of our future , We have forgotten to appreciate the bliss of today.
To quote my favourite lines – the past you cannot change , the future you cannot control , but today you can savour that’s why it’s called Present . We cannot change our past and we cannot control our future but what we can do is live in the present moment, feel that moment , feel the gratitude and love that we have been poured with.
Often times when we are faced with adverse situations we are sucked into it completely and in turn we allow that negativity to take over . Rather than gaining control of that situation , the situation starts operating us . What happens then ?
Our complete focus goes into everything negative around us and we become so blinded by it that we tend to ignore the good things that we have been bestowed with . I am not saying that you just stay super happy, super optimistic all the time which is not possible . All I am trying to say is that when you are in a negative situation try to analyze how did you get there ? And be completely honest with yourself . Often times before getting into a negative situation universe always gives us a sign if we understand those and act upon them in time we can be better equipped in dealing with it.
However if you keep ignoring the signs and not analyze where you are lacking that situation will soon turn worse.
Where does ignorance stem from ?
Ignorance stems from rigid belief systems. When a person is not flexible and thinks that their beliefs , perceptions and perspectives hold a higher value they tend to shut down other possibilities of widening their perspective or gaining new information. So to say it in few words ignorance is lack of processing of communicated information and lack of knowledge.
Ignorance – a perspective
So from above lines you might be wondering if ignorance is lack of knowledge then we all are ignorant because it’s not possible for anyone to have complete knowledge of everything. That’s absolutely true if we see ignorance as a whole then we all are born ignorant, with time we learn new information and facts and then we aren’t ignorant anymore.
But the purpose of me discussing ignorance is not as a whole but as a deliberate human tendency also called Self ignorance ,so we don’t have to deal with our problems or issues. You see it’s not possible to control space and time we have to flow with the universal laws. But what we have control of is our actions and thoughts and based on that making informed and rational choices . So we can make a conscious effort to be more open , to learn new things , to understand things from a different perspective so we can be better equipped with resolving issues and conflicts in our lives.
The price of ignorance is settings us back with all the progress we make in time. But to say that we all can come out of ignorance is not true. What matters is the realistic view you have of yourself and your level of ignorance. It’s about working on the tendency of ignorance/Self ignorance we have embedded within ourselves because it’s easier to do that than to work on yourself.
So what causes ignorance in us?
When our belief systems and set ideas are fixed and rigid we do not allow scope for any new information, idea or perspective because we feel our belief systems acquired over a period of time are of superior value.
When we fear that accepting any new information, idea or perspective would lead to a change and we are unsure about the end results of it as a cause we tend ignore things rather delving into it.
Ignorance most of the times stems from our attitude. Our attitude of taking things for granted and never giving them a second thought leads to development an attitude of ignorance.
Lack of self awareness
Many times we tend to ignore things because we might need to delve deeper to understand them ,they could be the most important things in life yet still we leave them unchecked because we naturally tend to prioritize things that are visible or noticeable rather things that are unseen -the inner spirit of ours which is the most important part of our existence.
Another cause of self ignorance can be apprehension to get out of your comfort levels. Sometimes people prefer being stuck or trapped in their current situation because dissecting the cause and problems would require a lot of mental work and effort. They would rather roll with life and be In suffering than make the effort to work on themselves . A clear sign of laziness is when you keep finding problems , reasons and excuses to not incorporate that change within yourself.
So how can we reduce tendency of ignorance ?
The beginning to working on self ignorance starts from knowing that you are ignorant and identifying where your knowledge is lacking . Once you do this you become open to learning and focus on educating yourself rather than delving into criticism.
Having an open mind
When you are willing to accept new ideas , arguments and information you don’t align with, and you become willing to make modifications to your existing belief systems you become open minded . It’s a positive trait that leads to flexibility in you and In turn improves your adaptability as well.
Self reflection – Step back and reflect
It is very important to pull yourself out of the gravity of a situation and look at it from an outside perspective . When you step back and reflect you create room for understanding by bringing important things to perspective. It’s very vital to understand that we don’t deliberately hurt ourselves we all have a core nature and that’s how we operate . However when you step back and reflect it’s helps you to see the bigger picture and hence allow you make rational choices.
Often times we aren’t thankful for things until we go through a period of pain and suffering. For example we become more thankful for good health after recovering from an illness or we never appreciate being pain free unless we experience pain in form of injury or wound. Practicing gratitude helps us in instilling that feeling of love and thankfulness towards ourselves and smallest joys we have in our life. It also makes us more secure and hence we aren’t scared of looking at not so bright side of things in our life. It gives a foundation to work on ourselves without being negative towards our own self.
Meditation and Spiritual practices
Meditation and Spiritual practices allows us to become more self aware and hence provides us a mirror to see the things we lack in. It’s said that when the water is flowing your reflection will be distorted but when it’s still you can see a clear reflection. That’s what Spirituality does for you it brings in inner stillness and Calmness and you gain more clarity towards things.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that Self Ignorance is not always a choice neither it should be a trait. I do believe that everyone should have their sense of individuality and right to practice what they feel is right. But if you constantly feel that you are just floating through life and not living it to its full potential- Self ignorance is at play.
We all have these set ideas of happiness, pleasures and worldly attainments that we forget that we cannot generalize happiness it’s specific to every individual and in order to truly connect with your inner self and tap into the reserve of inner happiness we need to remove the veil of self ignorance from our lives. Even though sometimes ignoring external things or people can be beneficial ignoring your inner needs, desires and happiness is never a good idea.
Self ignorance is the darkness that can only be removed with light of knowledge and awareness and therefore in this case I believe Ignorance is not a bliss – true bliss lies in knowing your inner self and core nature.
Awareness is the first step to happiness ️