One of the first things I had to truly understand on my quest to finding a cure for celiac disease was the true nature of ignorance. This is what opened my mind to the possibility of finding a cure. Thanks to my masters teachings and my daily sadhana, I was able to understand ignorance and its true nature.
He taught me that there are three mind venoms: Ego, attachment and ignorance. Today I’ll talk about ignorance and why understanding it is vital to finding a cure to any type of ailment.
Every experience comes from ignorance.
According to tibetan tradition, there are two types of ignorance: innate and cultural.
Innate ignorance is the one about our true nature and the nature of existence (life, love, universe, god, or however you want to call it). This ignorance becomes manifested through our perception of duality, IE, when we are unable to see unity in the things around us and we keep labeling things as good or bad, this and that, etc., without truly understanding that both are the same, that these are just labels we use and not what reality truly is. Duality only exists in our mind, and if our perception is limited to it, we live in ignorance, no matteer how much knowledge we have been able to gather.
Because of this duality that the mind perceives, ideoligies, beliefs and dogmas are created. Under them we accept and reject ideas. We create affinity and aversion to different things, we identify with those things and then we believe that those things define us.
We want pleasure, richess, fame, comodity, etc. and we reject or run from pain, shame, poverty, etc. We want these things for ourselves and our loved ones, without caring about what others may need or what may happen to them. We want a different experience of what we are currently living, or we attach to the current situation if it is beneficial to us, trying to avoid any kind of change that could jeopardize it.
Cultural ignorance happens when our wishes and rejections become institutionalized in our culture, they become “set in stone” on a specific value system.
Muslims dont eat pork, but they do eat beef. Hindus don’t eat beef, but do eat pork. Other cultures eat both, and others none of them. Who is right?
Each culture believes that is right, and will fight to defend its ideas, however their ideas do not come from some divine source, as they claim, but from an institutionalized prejudice.
Ignorance affects people who live in a specific society or culture in every facet of their lives. It molds opinions, customs, beliefs, and even knowledge. Every person that is part of a specific culture accepts blindly its prefferences and lifes definitions, and the worst comes when it considers them as a “divine law”.
We are educated on certain values, prefferences to certain political parties, religion, sport, medical system, beliefs, and opinions about how things are and should be. We go through school, university, we get certifications that recognize our knowledge about a specific subject. All these are trophys earned in the path of getting more soficticated ignorance.
Education enforces our habit of viewing things from a specific lens. We may become experts at looking at things from the wrong perspective, we may become extremely precise in our way of understanding reality, and then we relate to others who share our point of view, enforcing our limited perception.
The same thing happens with different types of methodologies and intellectual systems. We train the mind to become an extremely analytic tool. However if we do not transcend our innate ignorance, we will only be enforcing an acquired prejudice, and not earning true wisdom.
Nobody is born with the idea that eating pork or beef is bad, or that a specific ideology or religion is correct and others are wrong. Becoming faithful to any of these ideas is the result of cultural ignorance, but being pulled to those ideas is a symptom of our innate ignorance.
Ignorance is not being able to see the whole picture.
I’ll try to explain it better using a lighthouse analogy. We could say that our knowledge is the light coming from that lighthouse. We can only see the path lighted by the lighthouse, but we are unable to see everything else. Everything that is not lighted could be seen as our innate ignorance, and the ray of light created by the lighthouse is actually our cultural ignorance. Why? because even if our knowledge becomes more sophisticated, (the ray of light becoming stronger) we are still looking in one direction, and we are not able to see the rest of existence.
Only when we understand that there are more possibilities than what our dogmatic view allows us to see (like the light from the lighthouse), we open ourselves to the true nature of existence, which is infinite possibilities. This allows us to understand existence, the univrse, ourselves and everything around us. Only when this happens we are then able to transcend our innate ignorance.
Ignorance, innate or cultural, is nothing more than a darkening of our conscience. Becomeing attached to it or rejecting it is one more symptom of duality becoming manifested, and, again, it comes from ignorance. The key relies in recognizing it, not in rejecting it.
Acknowledging ignorace is the first step
Being a celiac I finally understood that in order to finding a cure I must first had to let go certain ideas and at the same time open my self to the possibility of finding a cure elsewhere, even if those new ideas challeneged my way of thinking and the beliefs I was raised with. Accepting blindly the idea that celiac disease is hereditary and has no cure, had to go out the window, because it was exactly like the ray of light coming from the lighthouse. I also understood that even if I opened myself up to infinite possibilities, being gullible was not the way.
Only by opening my mind and my heart I would be able to unlearn and learn whatever I needed to, in order to act accordingly and begin to unravel this conditions puzzle.
Ignorance is not the problem, we all ignore different things. The problem is not recognizing that we ignore things and trying to impose our limited view on others. Accepting that we don’t know is the first step.
Do what you wish, as long as you don’t impose your will on anyone else.