The root cause of suffering is ignorance; ignorance being the lack of a clear understanding of what we are doing, where we are going, and who we are. This ignorance is the single biggest reason for our suffering. On the other hand, knowledge is the light that illuminates everything. The wider and deeper our knowledge and understanding of life is, the less pain and suffering we experience.
Ignorance brings such deep suffering with it that it penetrates every single aspect of our lives. Not understanding our job brings suffering at work; not understanding our friends brings suffering in relationships; not understanding our family brings suffering at home; not knowing our purpose brings suffering in our actions; and not knowing who we are brings suffering to life.
“We are suffering our ignorance”
In that sense, everybody is suffering just one thing—not knowing. An ignorant man has never been able to find joy and happiness, because ignorance is a painful dark shadow of life. Ignorance plunges the soul into deep, unknown dungeons of suffering. Suffering is an absolutely natural state for an ignorant mind. The only respite for an ignorant mind is the momentary joy that comes when one ignorance triumphs over another. The only resting place for an ignorant mind is that single moment when it is suspended in midair, while jumping from one ignorance to another. In that moment, an ignorant mind says, “Ah! I am so happy now.
The way out of misery is acquiring knowledge. A seeker of knowledge discards a little bit of his ignorance every day. He grows in understanding and wisdom, he learns his way out of misery, and he conquers his ignorance using the light of understanding. The seeker of knowledge constantly gains a deeper understanding of himself, his life and the world around him. He moves beyond ignorance to eventually bask in the glow of knowing.
If we acquire enough knowledge about how to do something, we will eventually become good at it. If we acquire enough knowledge about running our business, we will become a successful businessman. If we acquire enough knowledge about our friends and family, we will become successful in handling relationships. If we acquire enough knowledge about the world, we will become successful in the eyes of the people around. And if we acquire enough knowledge about ourselves, we will become happy and peaceful.
The most important thing one has to remember is that, acquiring knowledge is not just about gathering ideas. For most, acquiring knowledge simply means reading books and being more informed. Reading is just one type of knowledge. Reading illuminates only the intellectual dimension of life. There are other streams of knowledge that one has to pursue to understand life fully. That knowledge can be acquired through observing, traveling, failing, dreaming, meditating, playing, laughing, and crying. Let us keep learning and let us one day go beyond all our suffering. Let us give ourselves the gift of knowledge.
Share with friends