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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Clay

Awareness or Willful Ignorance

The definition of ignorance is the lack of knowledge or information, and its synonym is unawareness. This allows us to understand ignorance as a distinct opposite of awareness. Willful ignorance is ignorance with the presence of a will, which is a clever way our ego (identity) protects itself. Another way to put this is that we sometimes purposefully withhold knowledge or information from ourselves, preventing us from expanding our awareness. Why would we want to do this, you may ask? Because when our awareness expands, the truth reveals the illusion of our identity, which we unconsciously fear because, in a way, it feels like a part of us is being killed off. Only the part of ourselves we fear to lose is a false self. As the saying goes, "Ignorance is bliss".

We will most likely never rid ourselves of all ignorance; therefore, ignorance by definition will always exist; however, willful ignorance does not have to. As we practice awareness, we must not overlook the area of our ego that remains and closes us off from new information, even if that information seems to go against what we know or understand. Another way to put this is, it is the difference between having an open mind and a closed one. We possess a deep sense of truth, like a compass of sorts; we recognize it and feel it at the deepest of levels. This compass of truth is also known as our intuition. As our growth progresses, we will need to trust our intuition as guidance on our way home to ourselves. It is the light inside of us we must follow to expose more of it.

Observe and listen without judgment or rejection of what is presented. If someone is speaking with the knowledge you think to be inaccurate, do not argue against them; instead, I offer to you to listen to the point you feel they have been mistaken and then ask a question about the point of disagreement. A deep question will provide you with a deep answer that carries much information and insight, just as a shallow question will provide a shallow answer with little info. A deep question can instill temporary awareness as the person is then required to look deeper and closer to the truth for an answer they can agree with if they choose to accept the question. If they deflect, you have revealed an ego attempting to defend its subjective "right" view. 


If we are practicing awareness (an open mind), we would want to be attentive to ensure that we are not the ones being defensive in the dialog. We also want to be aware of our listening by looking at how we are listening. For example, some people listen to respond, and others listen to learn. It can also help to periodically ask ourselves, "Where am I?"

Awareness is not something to know; it's a sight to be understood and felt. The greatest power we will ever discover is that of creation, and awareness grants us access to that power. Conscious awareness is an eye for our light to see reality without judgment or intellectualizing it. Once we intellectualize something, we take away the purity of what that something is. The ego (identity) is another thought, thinking it's something separate from that which created it. Where does our identity come from?

Be not ignorant, listen fully to others, and observe without egoic filters. You will see a new reality unfold right before your eyes. Breaking the barrier of our willful ignorance is like taking the red pill in a courageous journey out of the Matrix. Some would say, "Ignorance is bliss." What would you say?

Awareness or Willful Ignorance
Awareness or Willful Ignorance

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