From a Buddhist point of view, ignorance is giving in to seduction, hoping that something or someone “other” will fundamentally enrich us and make us live happily ever after.
Ignorance is also avoiding contact, communication or confrontation out of fear.
Fundamentally it is small mind—all-about-me mind—that is ignorant and that is preoccupied with either trying to enhance or protect ego.
Through the practice of meditation our self-centered tendencies can be seen gently, and, as we continue to breathe, we tune into the space in which thoughts, hopes and fears are accommodated.
As we tune into the space, our mind expands a bit. At the same time, there is nothing to hope for or to fear. The practice is boring and non-threatening. We are simply noting whatever arises, but not acting or following after any impulse. Slowly our allegiance begins to shift from self to all-accommodating space.
Interestingly, this shift helps us make friends with ourselves exactly as we are. We see what distracts or limits us, we register our habitual patterns, but we identify with the seeing rather the stuff seen. We are not trying to find another way to give ourselves a hard time! We are simply sitting with good posture, breathing into the space, and letting go.
As we do so, we discover that thoughts are not deep-rooted. They are like cartoon bubbles, mere fleeting fabrications. We also notice that small mind attracts discursive hopes and fears, while relaxed and spacious mind accommodates them without dwelling or clinging.
Gradually, during post-meditation (all the time we’re not meditating) we don’t feel the need to indulge in our confused tendencies as much. Our heart feels a bit more open, not only to ourselves, but also to others.
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Editor: Travis May