The statement "ignorance is bliss" is true in the sense that not knowing something can be less stressful and more comfortable than knowing it. If you are lying on a beach on holiday, 'blissfully' unaware that your car has just been stolen from your driveway at home, you are of course, unaffected by the bad news.
But blissful? I would argue that the experience of bliss is much more than simply the absence of discomfort. True bliss is experienced in the absence of identification with our conditioned ways of thinking and seeing the world.
I had a teacher whose favourite expression was: "get stupid quick!"
What did he mean by this?
Small children, unburdened by a conditioned mind filled with beliefs, concepts, assumptions, expectations and future projections, are free to engage innocently with each new moment as it arises. Fully participating in the present moment is the key to accessing the natural state of joy which exists at the heart of our being, as our true nature.
As adults, we tend to experience life second-hand through a complex set of mind filters. Assumptions and expectations are two of the main blocks to experiencing life in an innocent and joyful way.
When we wake up, we assume in advance that the traffic will be awful on the way to work, that the boss will be grumpy and that we will be exhausted by the end of the day. Children (and conscious adults) are largely free of this type of incessant mind chatter, enabling them to be happy here and now.
To 'get stupid quick' means to return to our natural state of innocence - to let go of our assumptions and be open to the possibility that today may be more than simply be a re-run of yesterday - that anything might happen in any moment.
Being innocent is synonymous with resting in the present moment and allowing life to unfold from there. The mind is incapable of experiencing bliss. In the absence of mind activity, bliss exists as our true nature.
Although both words (ignorance and innocence) convey a state of not knowing, ignorance could be seen as a lack of knowledge, whereas innocence is a quality which enables us to experience each moment in a fresh and alive way.
Our lives tend to become more serious and complicated as we get older. Rather than seeing things as they actually are, we view the world through the constructs of our mental programming. We no longer respond to situations innocently but react on autopilot in the same ways over and over.
Bliss is experienced through learning how to stop thinking so much and to cultivate mindfulness and present moment awareness. When we discover who we are beyond our busy monkey minds, experiencing bliss is the natural consequence of this discovery.
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