We have all heard the saying, "Ignorance is bliss." And... chances are, most of us have learned that this is not necessarily true.
Ignorance is not bliss. In fact, ignorance is painful, though we often do not make the connection that it is our ignorance that is causing the pain. We think it is something else that is the problem, something "out there." We think "God is punishing me." "That person is hurting me." "My boss is out to get me." "If I just had ______ I would be happy." Things like that.
It is important to remember that we create most if not all of what is happening in our lives, even the pain. However, we look outside ourselves for reasons, excuses, and validation for why it is happening because we don't know our true selves and our true power. We also look outside ourselves in order to remain in our comfort zone.
Do you believe that the world is flat? No. We no longer believe that the world is flat. But sometimes we act as if it were. Not the earth-world, but our world, the world we experience. A lot of people don't venture outside of their known boundaries, aka their comfort zones. I call them "Flat Worlders" because they behave as though they don't know there is more to life than what they can (or want to) see. They don't investigate options, they don't find out how to move themselves beyond their current situation.
When we don't explore new worlds, new dimensions of ourselves, we stay stuck, and that stuckness is a form of ignorance that causes pain. Yes, even comfort zones can be uncomfortable.
Is there any place in your life where you are feeling stuck or trapped? Avoiding, or unable to, change? Pretending that the world is flat? Consider that wherever you are experiencing pain in your life - whatever it is that causes complaints, resentment, discomfort, powerlessness, the desire for something to be different - is evidence of the need for growth, or the need to open your eyes to see something you have been ignoring.
Are you learning from your experiences, or do you keep repeating them and then complaining about them? For example, how many single people do you know who keep getting into the same kind of dead-end or dysfunctional relationships, but don't do anything to change? How many couples do you know who keep getting into the same kind of argument or hurtful behavior pattern? It is easier to blame the relationship or the partner instead of looking at what it is about ourselves that is causing the pattern. Easier, though more painful, to stay stuck. And these are but two examples. You can apply this to friendships, family dynamics, job situations, anything.
The subjects that you learned in school - math, science, reading, writing, etc. - do you keep repeating those classes to re-learn them? No. You go out into the world and use them. Right? Well, then, why don't we learn from our issues, our mistakes, our pain, our experiences, so that we can go out and practice something different and create a whole new world for ourselves?
Because most people don't know who they really are. That's the main ignorance so many are afflicted with. We think we are our job, our body, our personality, our feelings, our wants, our needs, our beliefs. But that's not it. Our consciousness, our spirit, our soul is who we really are. When we are connected with that, there is no need to grow through painful experiences. When we are connected with our spirit-self - instead of our physical-self or our personality-self - then that part of us, which is extremely powerful, will bring forward automatically what is in accord with our pattern, our destiny. That's right. We don't even have to work at it. It comes naturally as part of the divine flow of life.
But in order to step into that flow, we have to stop trying to make things happen according to what our brain and intellect and desire think we need to have to make us happy. We have to stop looking for other people and things outside ourselves to make us feel good, or to explain why we feel bad. We have to start looking for our connection with Spirit.
Until we do that, pain is the only way for the universe to get our attention to let us know that something is off.
Some things to think about:
- We often gain our greatest understanding and develop our greatest strength through painful life experiences
- Adopting an attitude of learning and seeking is the path to power and freedom
- In order to hold faith in the midst of pain, it helps to remember that it exists for a reason: there is a lesson in it
- We cause our own pain when we don't know who we really are, when we fail to listen to our inner wisdom, when we allow ourselves to become attached or addicted, when we are unaware, and when we are living from our distortions
- We create even more pain by trying to avoid it
- We ease our pain by learning, growing, and applying, in order to gain wisdom and a connection with our true self
The Buddhists have a saying, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." We cause our suffering by resisting the change that our pain is trying to guide us into. We are meant to be powerful, aware, and joyous human beings. If that's not what's happening in your life, then there's just something more to learn.
"And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom"