A cloud of ignorance hovers over our lives, our affairs, our thinking and being. This cloud is heavier and darker than ever before in the history of mankind. It arises from education, conditioning, and imitation, and is maintained by holding on to the past, to our imaginings and self-deception. Our minds are implanted with ideas, concepts, and information, inseminated with opinions, ideologies, and theories, and impregnated with cravings, desires, and needs by electronic, vocal, subliminal, and other means — a process that is happening faster and more insidiously than ever before.
The “dark night of the soul” is very profound and was seen by the medieval mystics as a descent into hell. The desolation and despondency may be so immensely acute that total inertia overtakes us and we have no strength left to get out of the darkness. We feel separate, alone, and dislocated from our very self. Yet this shattering of the sense of self is seen by some seekers as an act of grace.
The false ego has lost its grip. In our destitute state, we are given a glimpse into the darkness, the shadow side of our psyche and the absence of the light of truth and consciousness. The struggle to reintegrate ourselves into a new and greater harmony is the beginning of wisdom and the beginning of our spiritual work.
The greater the depth of the dark night of the soul, the greater the yearning for change and the desire for truth. Some individuals experience a milder but more persistent crisis. Not content with the prevalent view or with living life on the surface, they are aware of the disharmony in their existence. Their intuition tells them that there is more to know and that there is a more harmonious way of being and enjoying this magnificent creation. Their state of consciousness is already expanded through their personal efforts to transcend a banal existence.
Through their struggle to escape ignorance and by direct experience of their true nature, they have acquired certainty. Such individuals often gain wisdom from the hard knocks of life and the agony of defeat. They have come to the point where they want to assume greater responsibility and find their “rightful place and proper duty,” as Emerson would say. The idea of a personal God no longer serves them. They are seeking to integrate their relative knowledge with their inner knowing.
A cloud of ignorance hovers over our lives, our affairs, our thinking and being. This cloud is heavier and darker than ever before in the history of mankind. It arises from education, conditioning, and imitation, and is maintained by holding on to the past, to our imaginings and self-deception.
We allow the cloud to form by the power of our convictions and beliefs, which arose from this cloud in the first place. Beliefs change over the centuries — we no longer give credence to omens or to the wrath of nature gods — but they are promptly replaced with new superstitions and cults.
Our minds are implanted with ideas, concepts, and information, inseminated with opinions, ideologies, and theories, and impregnated with cravings, desires, and needs by electronic, vocal, subliminal, and other means — a process that is happening faster and more insidiously than every before.
The eminent scientist Lewis Thomas touches on this concern when he says, “The human brain is the most public organ on the face of the earth, open to everything, sending messages to everything…. Virtually all the business is the direct result of thinking that has already occurred in other minds. We pass thoughts around, so compulsively and with such speed that the brains of mankind often appear, functionally, to be undergoing fusion.”
WHEN WE INDISCRIMINATELY SUBJECT OUR MINDS to this bombardment as if they were inert receptacles for information, and we give credence to these messages, we are giving up our authority to the powers that be. We are thereby contributing to the density of the cloud of ignorance. We give authority and power to ignorance every time we choose to ignore what is really going on in our relationships, our families, our schools, our society, in our government, and more tragically within ourselves. Our lives have become so busy and complicated that we choose to delegate our decisions, our responsibilities, and our very psyches to the experts.
The cloud of ignorance casts a darkness over our institutions of higher learning, which cultivate a disbelief in anything that cannot be perceived and verified with the five senses or by the scientific method.
The authority of ignorance clouds our upbringing as well. When we are small, parents and teachers keep us in a narrow line of behavior and an even narrower spectrum of perception, and we in turn pass our mental inhibitions on to our children. We cannot know ourselves or meet the living present until we break down this stale conditioning based on the past and fed by imagination, identification, and self-deception. This is the gloomy side of the picture — the bad news. The good news is that this authority of ignorance deals in surfaces and in procedures. It is ugly and insidious, but in fact has no reality of its own. It is a manmade construct, an illusion, and therefore cannot permanently affect the human spirit or change what is. It can only for a time cover the human condition with a blanket of arrogance, ill will, and violence. When we stop giving collective power to this cloud of ignorance and withdraw the authority we have lent to it, it will dissipate without delay.
As individuals endowed with the powers of self-reflection, intelligence, and reason, we have the ability and responsibility to dispel our self-deception right here and right now. We do not have to succumb to the authority of ignorance, nor do we have to live in this collective twilight one moment longer. We do not have time to await the arrival of a messiah, of mysterious forces from outer space, or of a philosopher-king, nor do we have the luxury to dream of a kinder, gentler nation. We are free to make a choice and to take charge of our lives.
We can come out from under the cloud of ignorance, step into the light of knowledge, and join the many that are on the path of self-recovery and self-determination. The path is getting wider, and the number of seekers is rapidly increasing. These trailblazers have already discovered that ignorance has no real existence and therefore no real power. When we come to know that for a fact and realize it — that is, make it real – in our minds, hearts, and deeds, we will weaken the power of ignorance and let the light of truth shine upon our human affairs.
“Unity consciousness is a state of enlightenment where we pierce the mask of illusion which creates separation and fragmentation. Behind the appearance of separation is one unified field of wholeness. Here the seer and the scenery are one.”
Bliss is a state of consciousness that is literally beyond words.
This world-illusion has arisen because of the movement of thought in the mind; when that ceases the illusion will cease, too, and the mind becomes no-mind. This can also be achieved by the restraint of prana. That is the supreme state. The bliss that is experienced in a state of no-mind, that bliss which is uncaused, is not found even in the highest heaven. In fact, that bliss is inexpressible and indescribable and should not even be called happiness! The mind of the knower of the truth is no-mind: it is pure satva.