Ignorance and how to be free from ignorance

Most minds/people don’t like to be related to ‘ignorance’ or what they understood as ‘being stupid’ or ‘lack of knowledge’. But ‘ignorance’ in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism is not about ‘being stupid’ or ‘lack of knowledge’. As many of those who are not ‘stupid’ at all, who are very smart and intelligent and knowledgeable are not necessarily free from the veil of ignorance.

People would like to think and believe and be acknowledged by oneself and others as somebody who is nothing to do with ‘ignorance’, or ‘I am not ignorant’, which they think and believe that they are smart and intelligent enough, and are highly educated and knowledgeable enough to not be related to ‘ignorance’. They think and believe that only those whom they think and believe are somehow less smart or less intelligent than them, and are less educated or less knowledgeable than them are most probably related to ignorance, where they understood ‘ignorance’ as something to do with ‘bad/negative’ genetic inheritance, improper brain development, influence from bad surrounding environment, lack of knowledge/skill/talent, uneducated or insufficiency of education, incompetency, being lazy or demotivated to learn and acquire knowledge, being stupid, or lack of social interaction and connection, or lack of stimulation, or inability to comprehend something or solve problem, and so on.

‘Ignorance’ in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism is about the mind being ignorant towards or ‘not knowing’ the truth of names and forms/existence/suffering, or ‘not knowing’ Thyself or the misidentification with the mind and the modification of the mind perceiving a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness as ‘I’, or ‘not knowing’ who/what is the ‘I’ that the minds identifying/acknowledging as who ‘I’ am, as an individual being possessing certain quality of names and forms that distinguishing oneself from all the others that are not ‘I’, or ‘not knowing’ who/what is the ‘God’ or what are the ‘gods’ that many minds have been believing in and praying to, or ‘not knowing’ the truth of all the social/cultural/spiritual beliefs and practice that have been passing down from generation to generation that influencing how the minds think, act, react, feel, judge, expect, behave and live life in certain way.

Many minds believe in certain beliefs just because it’s propagated by their ancestors, parents, teachers, leaders, favorite famous people, idols, friends, philosophers, or particular social/cultural/spiritual/religious background, and there’s great fear of ‘letting go’ those beliefs and practice, being afraid of ‘sin’, or ‘bad happening’/’punishment’ might happen to them or their life or their loved ones, if they cease believing in/respecting/following/propagating those beliefs and practice to think, behave and live life. And it has to come from the mind itself realizing the truth of all those beliefs and practice. It’s not hard to inquire the truth, but most minds reluctant to inquire the truth of the existing beliefs and practice in their minds or lives, and it’s unthinkable for them to question the truth of their beliefs and practice, as it means that they are ‘disrespecting’/’offending’ those ‘sacred’ beliefs and practice for inquiring into the truth of it, which is ‘sinful’ and ‘punishable’ according to those beliefs and practice.

Being talented/skillful/knowledgeable in certain things or many things doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, where the mind is being disturbed/offended/hurt/disappointed/dissatisfied/angry/frustrated/hating/fearful/intimidated/insulted/humiliated/bullied by names and forms that the mind perceives/recognizes as bad, wrong, negative, unpleasant, undesirable, undeserving, disappointing, frustrating, intimidating or hurtful, and out of these impurities, it might generate actions and speech that might cause further consequences to oneself and/or others.

The minds that are not free from ignorance might be unwittingly ‘following’ a set of ‘rules and regulations of certain social/cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice’ to live life and behave in certain way, and might be proud of having a specific type of food consumption of what they eat and don’t eat for certain spiritual/cultural/religious/environmental/ethical/health/personal reason, and they could be expecting the others (as human beings) should also be following the similar rules and regulations to live life and behave, as well as following their specific type of food consumption, or else, it will be mocked/criticized by them as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘sinful’ way of life and behavior and food consumption.

The ignorant impure egoistic mind unwittingly perceiving/experiencing a personal reality of a worldly life existence that consists of ‘I’ and everything that ‘I’ perceive/experience/know/acknowledge that the thinking mind refers as ‘this is me and my life experiences’ with all and everything that directly/indirectly relate to ‘I’ and ‘my life’, and perceives/experiences all kinds of duality derived from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, and generate attachment and desire of craving and aversion towards the perceived reality of duality, not knowing Thyself or the truth of a worldly life existence of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, not knowing impermanence and selflessness of the mind perception of a worldly life existence, constantly being disturbed and determined very much by the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, desirable/undesirable names and forms or life experiences, being restless swaying between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, happiness and unhappiness, pleasurable enjoyment and painful sorrow determined by the gratification and non-gratification of the desire of craving and aversion, ceaselessly.

Transcending this restlessness of ignorance, silencing the mind, annihilating the modification of the mind of restless countless births and deaths nurtured by egoism, desires and impurities, is the ultimate goal of yoga and meditation practice. Any other forms of benefits/effects derived from the regular yoga and meditation practice are just some momentary side-effects of better health/fitness condition and pleasant good feelings that are impermanent.

It’s everyone’s freedom for how/what they think, believe, act, react, feel, behave, live life, consume and desire, or not. There’s nothing wrong if people just want to live a particular lifestyle in accordance to certain belief and practice, and do some yoga exercises to attain better health/fitness condition and pleasant good feelings, even if they are momentary and perishable.

The minds that are ignorant towards ignorance, or thinking and believing that oneself is void of ignorance due to one’s intelligence, talent, skill, education, knowledge, ability or achievement in certain things, would not be interested in yoga practice of dispassion, renunciation, silence, seclusion and solitude for mind purification, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization.

Renunciation is not about abandoning existing worldly duty and responsibility to be in a monastery/forest/cave to be full time monk or nun, but it’s renouncing or letting go worldly social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief, values and practice, to open the mind to allow the mind to see things as they are, regardless of living among the society or away from the society. If the mind is not opened, then even if living away from the society, but the mind is still very much being conditioned by the worldly thinking and belief, values and practice to perceive, think, analyze and judge towards everything, and couldn’t allow the mind to see things as they are, even after many years of performing yoga and meditation practice, and getting all kinds of momentary effect/benefit from that.

For those who want to know Thyself or inquire the truth of names and forms, who are aware of ignorance, who have intense yearning for liberation from restlessness of the impermanent and selfless modification of the mind, they can practice yoga of mind purification, self-discipline, self-inquiry and self-realization. The journey might appear to be long, hard and unpleasant due to the ‘stubborn’ veil of ignorance, but be determined to keep disciplining, purifying and silencing the restless impure egoistic modification of the mind.

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