“Ignorance is bliss.”
Ignorance is not bliss. He knew that. And awareness is not suffering, as the old saying seems to imply. And yet both can be seen as either, through the magick of language. Ignorance can seem to be bliss, and awareness can seem to be suffering…for awhile.
He thought thoughts such as these from time to time–more frequently than most other things, anyway. He was not ignorant, but of course he had been, as most everyone is at one time or another. Though his ignorance had lessened in the light of understanding of himself and The Way The World Works, his awareness of his ignorance had grown, and so his ignorance seemed greater than it had been before.
The tide of ignorance hadn’t crept farther in; the inner lighthouse had simply revealed more of it. There’s always a trade-off, always a balance to be struck by human nature, by the flow of Life in a human being, by the forces of Nature within and without, and by the oft-shifting currents of the Divine Urge that flow just beneath the visible All and are detectable to the sensitive.
Give and take. Give ignorance and take awareness. Give suffering and take bliss. Or vice versa.
There is, of course, a paradox among it all, as there tends to be when life is viewed from more than merely a first-person point of view. Things seem one way from one angle and another way from another angle. One angle is not right and the other wrong, at least not most of the time. When divergences appear, they reveal the existence–somewhere above or beyond or in between–of a convergence, a unity, of which the seemingly opposing points of view both partake.
A truth to be uncovered, in other words, and then understood: a truth severed in half and taken hostage by two opposing human camps.
So there he was, aware of his condition–trapped between awareness and ignorance, far enough from ignorance to be untouched by some of its more common sufferings, and yet still deep enough in suffering himself to be unaware of certain things of whose existence he did not yet know, but which called softly to him in quiet moments.
In other words, he was a member of two worlds: the free and the slave, the wise and the foolish, the light and the dark. To tell the truth, he enjoyed the fruits of both–and at all times was aware of which side of the line he was dancing on.
He was an apparent contradiction, to many on both sides of the fence.
(He did not believe in the fence.)
In his limited awareness, he saw the suffering that his actions even now still caused from time to time. Even so, he was able to shift his perspective to a much broader view and see the eventual bliss that his actions would bring–not to himself, but to the All.
Over and over again came the lesson, spoken at certain times from somewhere deep within:
In some ways, this one word was the key to all understanding. It hinted at the interconnectedness of the All, including his apparently separate personality. It was a clue to the mystery of the importance of individual human experience to the All. It was a word that echoed, although sometimes twisted beyond understanding, in spiritual messages throughout history.
So he trusted. Time and time again he failed, but he sought with straining ear to hear the lesson gained each time he failed. He mistrusted. He un-trusted. He resisted. He battled for days. He fought passionately–to see what he could not see. Eventually, the vision always became clear.
There is much that happens on the surface of things that doesn’t reveal right away the great improvements being made underneath. That’s where trust comes in.
What’s underneath is infinitely more complex, rich, and complicated than what we see from day to day. “There,” moments of time are not measured in days or weeks but in years, centuries, and eons. A moment of pain and suffering can bring years of bliss and freedom. A slight happenstance can reverberate for centuries in humanly unpredictable ways.
In our hubris, we “important” humans desire to control, believing that we know and understand enough to decide the fate of the world around us. We exert ourselves in our effort to make things happen. We calculate the future and decide our actions based on that mental blueprint. All the while, life is happening as life happens, and we are either its pawns, its victims, or its messengers.
What he wanted was simple: greater good for the All and a clear and peaceful mind to understand and enjoy life. He didn’t know why the Universe had spawned him for the purpose he was living, except that he was the best candidate for the job. Maybe the others were sleeping in or dancing around a fire.
After hearing the call, he had responded in his own broken way–and then resisted every step of the way, like a dumb puppy who ends up with shit on his nose over and over again. He had learned. He had learned to listen. To trust. To move with courage and confidence when he heard the call from within. It had not been easy.
And still he fucked it up sometimes.
Not any time had it been easy to look at the face of experience, listen to the voice inside, and believe what he knew instead of what he saw with his eyes. Every succeeding chance to exercise trust brought with it a greater apparent reason to resist and control with his earthy self. Even so, he could not avoid the lessons (and opportunities to learn them) that came.
Once the light is on, it stays on.
He was being used, he was aware, as a surgical tool for the hand of the All. Why? Because he had proved himself to be worthy of the Voice. He had risked, and lost, and learned, and been restored because of his willingness to obey. He was willing to be (that is, to look like) a fool–for “God.” He was willing to give up, to lose, to trade, to give away, to shed, or to appear evil or wrong or misguided or stupid.
And at times he did, or was, any or all of these–but mostly he was not. He knew he was not. And yet sometimes he felt that he was these things after all.
He was not perfect, but at least he could see. At least he could see well enough to know that things are not always–not ever–as they seem to human eyes. In that, he could trust and feel bliss.
And suffer, a little bit.
He knew he wouldn’t cross the bridge while in this life. (He did believe in the bridge.) He would remain forever on it, one foot in each world, bridging some gap that no one else had claimed.
And he knew that this certainty would one day change. Maybe even while in this life. But, for now, it was right, whether he liked it or not.
Written on May 4, 2010 and freshly formatted on May 5, 2020.