How Attention through the Lens of Ignorance Distorts and Causes Suffering
(Transcribed from live Satsang talk on a non-dual understanding of suffering.)
Take a moment to imagine, that everything is information.
Everything is consciousness, everything is another word we can say is knowledge.
Everything is information, knowledge, consciousness. And all of this information, is arranged in a continuum from ignorance to truth and basically, that this pure knowledge, a pure knowledge of truth, a pure knowledge the highest knowledge is distorted under ignorance and expresses in our life’s as what we might call darkness.
You know, darkness is a symbol for ignorance. Because it is simply, a lack of light, darkness is not an equal opposing force, it doesn’t try to fight the light when we have dark room and a light room and we open the door in between, the light simply floods, into the empty space that is darkness. And the same is true in their own life’s, in our bodies, in our minds.
Wherever there is ignorance, there is darkness.
There is a lack, there is the perceived emptiness and when we start to tune into truth, when we start to discover truth, when we start to download (laughter) the information of truth and knowledge of truth.
That can be experienced as something leaving us something being taken out, something transformed, something healed, there is different ways to express it but, really, what is happening is that ignorance is leaving and what is actually happening is that we are being filled with truth.
So, things that used to serve us, things that when we were under ignorance, that were very much a part of the play of ignorance, the life expression of living, believing in separateness, believing in false.
That starts to be removed, transformed, and healed as truth takes its place.
Truth is medicinal in that, in that sense it is has a healing power, it has transformation, and simply through our intention to focus on the truth to discover the truth, to see beyond the surface mind and the surface mind very much as a product of ignorance.
I am saying collective ignorance not personal ignorance. It is felt personally but, is very much also an expression of life. That, ignorance is very much in the fabric of physical reality.
So this continuum, of ignorance and truth is expressed as duality. I mean duality, apparent duality, or apparent opposites can only exist because of ignorance. Ignorance has to be in play, in order for duality to even appear.
For there to be dark and light for example, there needs to be duality. For there to be up and down there needs to be duality. So, the knowledge of the information of ignorance, keeps duality in existence.
As we discover the truth, as we start to focus attention on the truth, truth then becomes downloaded into the mind and into the body and into the very being. And then, what happens is that, the body- mind expression starts to embody knowledge of non-duality.
Knowledge of the truth, which is transcendent even isn’t the right word but, it encompasses duality, but it is in itself not dual. It is beyond all opposites and it is the truth that, collapses all duality.
Now, I know this sounds terribly philosophical and terribly abstract, so I’ll attempt to give you examples and help you to understand this in how it expresses in real life.
Ignorance can take something like love. Love in its non-dual form, love in its true form is universal, it is equal, it doesn’t discriminate and like the sunshine, it doesn’t choose where to place itself. It doesn’t hold itself back, it doesn’t it’s totally free and totally all-encompassing, it is not exclusive. It is wholeness itself.
Love is very much an embodiment of being, it is non-duality and it is truth completely and totally.
So, love doesn’t feel differently from one thing to the next, it doesn’t have conditions placed on it. So, let’s take that love in its non-dual true expression is totally unbound and unconditioned. Whereas, love under ignorance, love as it is experienced by person who is very much bound by ignorance.
They experience love, as conditional. This is both within the self and within relationships. So then it is, I will only love myself if I will only love myself if I am a good person. I will only love myself if I do things the right way. I will only love myself if I look a certain way.
You know, humans, it is our nature to condition and to bind love. So love is expressed, but under ignorance love is expressed and experienced, in a distorted way and it leads to suffering. We get tastes of true love under ignorance, love, even becomes a source of suffering under ignorance.
So, conditional love is, I will only love myself if, I will only love others if, I will only love life if, and there are demands, that are placed on love. Now, you can almost tell that these demands are very much beliefs.
They are from the mind, the mind dictates and it says this is belief or it’s says a thought and we believe the thought and because of the thought and the belief in the thought, we hold back love. We hold back the flow of love and that causes the suffering.
But, from a non-dual perspective and from the place of truth, from the seeing from the truth that collapses. That duality collapses and then love expresses itself and it heals.
So, where there was a heart, that was holding back love and not able to experience its wholeness. Now truth, by focusing on the truth, there is a healing that happens in heart and suddenly where there was lack and darkness and emptiness in a painful way, now there is fullness and wholeness and love.
Very, very practical example, let’s say that, somebody has an argument with somebody else, and they look through the lens of the mind, which means that, they’re looking at it through ignorance.
So, if they looking at this argument and this person through the lens of ignorance, what happens is, that the person attempts to not love any more. There is this a holding back of love and there is this belief that love makes us vulnerable.
There is perhaps beliefs that, there should be justice here, there is beliefs that, this person has done us wrong. You know, I am painting all different kinds of scenarios, for different situations and for different personalities, but ultimately underneath something is happening and love wants to express, the truth is there, but now is distorted through ignorance and therefore, the person attempts to shut down love.
The moment they do that, the heart falls under ignorance and that is experienced as deep pain.
Let’s say, the person then sat to contemplate or meditate or coach themselves and they enquired, and they wanted to look deeper, then the surface mind, they wanted to look for truth.
Truth might arise in that moment as feeling and knowing that they still love the person and funny enough, this doesn’t mean that they necessarily, include the person in their lives. It doesn’t mean that, justice must still not be carried out, that laws must be followed, or anything in terms of the physical life and functional life. But underneath, underneath the truth, would be felt and that truth heals.
So, for example, the person might suddenly realise: ‘I actually do feel love for this person,’ the person still belongs in my heart, and they still belong in life.’
There is still acceptance, of the person as equal and not as less and not as trying to push the person out of life and out of belonging. And then that heals and that deep truth, ‘I still love this person, even though I choose not to be with this person. ‘I still love this person, even though justice must still be done here.
I still love this person, even if I say no.
Even if I say yes, I still love this person and this love is equal and inclusive.’ And that, sounds to the mind like a completely crazy thing to do. Because the mind, distorted under ignorance is going to want to punish, it’s going to want to exclude, it’s going to want to create separation but, the truth will heal that person’s heart and love then can flow. And this is because the non-dual perspective or the true perspective has removed the thorn of ignorance. Has removed the wall built by ignorance and therefore, now healing can take place.