Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Ignorance and Wisdom

I listed a number of things which I thought are the causes of our unhappiness. Things like discontentment, desires, hate, envy, jealousy.... But as I begin to explain why and how they are the cause of our unhappiness, I realized that the actual cause of our happiness can be summed up in one word – Ignorance. 

Ignorance cloud our mind. Due to our ignorance, our Mind, which is the forerunner of all actions, produced negative thoughts and negative emotions causing us to be in a state of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. In our ignorance, we search for happiness in places where it cannot be found, and we ended up more unhappy instead.

Wisdom clears the cloud of ignorance from our mind. With wisdom, our mind will be able to differentiate right from wrong, the positive from the negative. Our mind will be able to see things for what they are, and make the appropriate decision, or choice. With wisdom, our mind will harbour good thoughts which are conducive to our well-being, and discard negative thoughts which cause us unhappiness.

Wisdom will tell us that envying others is an affront to ourselves, to be jealous is childish and immature, to despair is wasting precious time, to hate causes more damage to ourselves than the person we hate. Wisdom will tell us that contentment is a key factor in our pursuit of happiness, that we should be contented with what we have, who we are. With wisdom, we will count our blessings, and be grateful for the things that we have, instead of bemoaning the things that we do not have.

Unfortunately, wisdom is not a vitamin pill, where we can simply go to the pharmacy, buy a bottle of them, pop them into our mouth, and we are wise overnight. Wisdom have to be acquired, like we acquire knowledge and experience, a bit at a time – and sometimes we pay a dear price for it. Acquiring wisdom is an on-going process. It cannot be rushed. 

Until such time when we have acquired the necessary wisdom, let us at least be wise to the simple fact that to be contented with our lot is to be happy, that happiness can be ours as long as we know contentment.

Meanwhile the best way to deal with any unhappiness that arises is to look for the cause of our unhappiness. Get to the root of the problem. And if we cannot solve the problem, we must learn to bear it. At the end of the day, a change of mindset, and a little forbearance work wonders. 

Strive to make one person happy a day, even if that person is you!

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