• Pankaj Istatu Sharma

You are free…...!! 😊or are you??

Part - 2

……“we might be free to choose and do whatever we want but not free of the consequences of those choices or actions. So that’s where we were last time. Moving forward, I would like to make things simpler for you and for myself. But before doing that, I want to re-emphasise few things so that we are on the same page and your perception of what I am saying is not too far from what I actually want to say! So, When I say we are free to make choices but not of their consequences what I mean is we can debate on whether we are free to choose or not but for once keeping it aside (coz it’s not the primary thing I want you to focus about… atleast not right now!) I am saying that you may or may not be free to choose what you do but you will face the consequences regardless because they are the result of your choices. These consequences can come to you directly or indirectly


Now coming back to ignorance and perception, these two can be our friends as well as enemies. I initially thought of avoiding using any references or mentioning any person because I don’t want this writing to be identified in relation to any particular thing/ideology and loose its own true nature. But I am mentioning Thích Nhất Hạnh (a Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition) in the hope that his mention will add meaning to this writing and make it easier to understand and not change your primary perception of this writing. I am mentioning him because I want to introduce you to a concept of which he is a master- “Mindfulness”. Mindfulness is one of the methods I am aware of to avoid hazards of ignorance and also avoid delusions in perceptions. Just be mindful about everything breathing, eating, walking, loving, laughing seeing, hearing etc. every second you live make sure you experience it and actually live it don’t just exist through it. This doesn’t mean to be cold or practical about everything or being mature or anything literal, in particular it is being mentioned to be used as an essence, as a request to be present where you are, love what you have etc. I will request you to do read his work or at least visit his Wikipedia page once to know more about “mindfulness” from him. Because we might not become completely free of perceptions but we can learn to pause and introspect and live a better life in general.

I hope you don’t have to think of some artificial or imaginary examples to understand that how ignorance and perceptions affect our lives and also what it means to face consequences of our actions. I guess if we give some time to ourselves, sit and think, introspect in our lives we will have enough examples, lessons and incidents to make us understand all this. But the thing is what we take out of this introspection should not be ignorance driven or that thing which I mentioned in the 1st part about fooling ourselves or perceiving/ realizing only selective things that suits our ego or definition of logic. I will say “try” to be more rational, more neutral and don’t have bias for your likings or infact disliking for that matter… accept things the way they are….. Avoid categorizing facts as good or bad keep the fact as fact! Plain naked fact! I hope this helps us all to understand and communicate in a better way with ourselves and others.

Moving towards the end I will say the ignorance and perception are more or less inter-related and they complement each other. If you are not ignorant you will perceive things the way they are; similarly if you are ignorant your perception can be delusional. But this might not hold true in all the cases, so someone can have a problem digesting this like me. Thereby, I want to go further and say that even if this is not completely true, let’s say if you are not being ignorant (to the best of your knowledge at that time) still you can end up having delusional perception about things. Means being not-ignorant does not guarantee you fair/real perception but atleast for me it guarantees inner peace that you did your best, you didn’t fool yourself and I believe that’s enough sometimes. Essentially, I believe life is a journey not a destination so just keep doing things to best of your knowledge. Try to be less ignorant and I want to emphasize on the fact that we should “try” because that is all I believe is in our hands. We should just genuinely try to do whatever is to be done and also simultaneously learn what is actually to be done, yeah! This is a paradoxical thing indeed. We should try with “all-and-everything” that is in our expense to learn, improve, conserve things and unlearn things and so on….and most importantly keep all our five senses, the sixth sense as well and the common sense working.

Though I have explained the thing that “we harvest what we sow”, ignorance and perception can be our friend or foe! But I want you to think this for yourself and do some introspection and find out what meaning these things have to you and by saying this I have set you free (to perceive whatever you want from this) or have I set you free….?

- Pankaj Istatu Sharma

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