Mind, meditation and pig ignorance

Image: Confusion.

I had a fairly typical but odd meditation this morning, because of my awareness of being the observer and how the play of mind causes me, the observer, to drift off into ‘thinking’ about stuff. It’s almost like going unconscious (or like a sleep state, putting the observer to sleep while I drift off into thinking about ‘stuff’), I lose my conscious self in thinking. And it’s not very pleasant, because the observer is so peaceful and pleasant, and thoughts are disrupters of that peace.

I realised today that I am measuring this wakeful observer against the observer that I became as I physically died in July 2020. Because I was going to a place that is entirely real, there was no thought, no conjecture, no questions to ask, only being – that which knows. I didn’t have to know that I was knowing, because there was no separation of I. I just was and there was no thought, no drifting off anywhere, I was the perfection of what I am trying to achieve through meditation. I was in a state of perfect being. Not perfect as in ‘good’, but perfect as in ‘whole’, ‘entire’, ‘complete’. There was no buffer of ignorance, as there is in my physical mind – and body. My body requires training to work for me. I am currently learning to paint with watercolours and not only does my mind not know how to do it, my body doesn’t either. My body has no muscle memory, or nerve memory, or tactile memory with which it can manipulate the tools of painting to achieve what I am attempting to paint. Damn, it’s frustratingly hard!

Coming out of meditation, which is something I ‘have’ to do, oddly, is a transition from a very deep place to the agitated world of things. Even having what I might call a quite disturbed time of meditation, when my mind seems restless, is far deeper than my waking, active, self.

I was aware, coming out of meditation this morning, that I wanted to write this down. I am trying to see and understand clearly, in a world of occlusion. I don’t know why we’re here. I have no idea what the point of this physical existence is (though it is an astonishing and amazing thing). It is frustrating and difficult. We have to spend an inordinate amount of time taking care of our physical selves, eating, sleeping, clothing, protecting, cleaning, expelling, working, gathering ‘stuff’ and maintaining our stores of ‘stuff’. There’s a lot to it and a lot to ‘do’. And it’s also subject to frustration to an enormous degree. We fumble, bumble, about our lives, dropping, bumping, scraping, wearing things out and having to replace them, making mistakes, errors, slips and mishaps, misunderstandings and dealing with ‘problems’, endlessly.

We are burdened with ignorance, from the micro to the macro, ignorance abounds. We are blighted by the depths of our ignorance, about which we are deeply ignorant. Because there is a whole lot more than just personal ignorance, it is social, cultural, national and global. Ideas evolve as well as physical evolution and we have no idea where we are in terms of evolving. If we have a 100% evolutionary potential, we are nowhere near 100% of achieving it, and nor do we know how deep our ignorance is, because we don’t know what we don’t know until some little glimmer of thought gives us a hint that there’s more than we presently ‘know’. I have spent much of my life pursuing what I don’t know, dissatisfied with my incompleteness and the black hole of my ignorance.

And it crept in today, my bumbling ignorance in learning to meditate, to be present, observe. I am not sure if the idea of being in charge of the process is the right way to think about it , because it is necessarily a journey into the unknown, in which surrender is a crucial aspect of it. But I am in charge of returning my attention to my breathing when I become aware of having drifted off to wander aimlessly in the world of distracting thought.

I am trying not to be niggled or even downright angry at my ignorance. Which would be particularly unhelpful, immeasurably funny, and really stupid. Funny because, without independent self awareness, artificial intelligence will never understand our joyous ability to cock things up (and to live in ignorance), which is such a beautiful, and inescapable, mark of humanity. If nothing else, it helps us not take ourselves too seriously and keeps us humble. Funny also because it is bad enough to be ignorant, anger just adds a whole other layer of pointlessness on top, to hinder and frustrate the process of enlightenment (whatever that is).

KOG. 28 July 2022.

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