Again with the idea: what you don’t know can’t hurt you? This seems to be proving itself wrong time and again for those interested in personal growth. I remember my teacher explaining to us that three important things were preventing us from succeeding in our personal and spiritual growth: our karma, our ignorance, and our fear.
These were some pretty devastating words, especially the ones whose meaning I was familiar with, ignorance and fear. Or at least I thought I knew what those words meant as far as they affected my life. It was only karma that I thought needed some further explanation.
Karma, he explained, was in this instance, the stuff I had done in my life; habits I had established, habits that may not have been very useful for achieving happiness. Happiness? We’ll come to that later. I had the habit of breathing poorly and making bad choices about relationships. I had smoked cigarettes, and basically caroused as a young sailor. Only normal, right?
Well those ingrained habits had to be overcome, as far as I was concerned, especially the carousing if I wanted to be healthier and happier in life, and be a good meditator. Some of the habits were easier to overcome than others, stopped smoking cold turkey, just stopped. Habits for some people are more difficult because of the intense karma they have with them coupled with ignorance and fear. In cases like that people can use a good hypnotist or life coach.
Ignorance was something I thought was simple. You just needed to get an education and think right. I was wrong. My mistake? Ignorance was my not understanding clearly who and what I truly am. I know, this sounds like so much oki-dok! But it’s true, and we all do this. We identify as male, female, Asian, African, European, athlete, intellectual, doctor, teacher, engineer, and on and on. All of us go about setting ourselves apart from each other. It’s the way of the world. Ignorance about our unity keeps chaos going on inside each of us and thus in the world at large as a result. The one thing about this ignorance is that it’s not something you learn about in school, but it can be overcome.
The last thing he mentioned was fear. I had my own share of fears, and I’m sure as you read this you can think of several of your own. I remember something I read someplace:
F E A R equals F–alse E–vidence A–ppearing R–eal.
This fit right in with the way my teacher was explaining fear. One thing for sure, I was afraid of sinking into some amorphous unity, something that he described as an eternal peace. I was surprised to find that many people had this fear. This was somehow related to the fear of death!
To be at peace in the world we need to be at peace with ourselves. To be at peace with ourselves we need freedom from the ignorance that says that an all-encompassing sense of peace that comes from understanding ourselves is somehow wrong, Eastern, irreligious, not American, not manly, frightening, group think. This was quite a revelation for me, and the more I practiced meditation the more I understood that what he said was true. Peace is our essential nature! Happiness is our essential nature!
You can’t grow personally unless you understand the effects of your past karma on your current life. You can’t grow unless you acknowledge that you are unaware, ignorant, of what’s real, permanent, pure and true about yourself and work to remedy that ignorance by doing things like meditation, getting help from tapping (EFT), and maybe even some Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Coupled with these we need to understand that the things we fear, when examined, hold no power over us.
You can begin right now to make the change that makes a difference by understanding the things that are holding you back.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay