Trying To Get Rid Of Something Is A Sign Of Ignorance

Trying to get rid of something is a sign of ignorance.

The process begins with the thought or feeling (of which one is unaware): “This is unbearable. I cannot bear it any longer.” Boredom is like that. So is deep hurt.

At the moment of apparent unbearability, fear and desire co-arise: the fear that it won’t go away, the desire for it to be gone–hopefully for good.

Hatred or ill will, arising after fear and desire, is born and is now directed at removing what is here.

On behalf of desire and utilizing the strength of ill will, effort–real muscle–kicks in.

But notice what actually happens. The more one tries to get rid of this something, the more this something momentarily wanes before waxing; or the more something similar arises in its place; or the more its temporary absence is met by false hope or wishful thinking born of temporary relief; or the more the mind is not at ease. Indeed, throughout the mind is not, is never at ease.

An entire life can be devoted to marshaling energies with the intention of getting rid of something–if not this thing, then that one. Can we not see that this entire approach is a mark of ignorance and this from first to last?

Let us instead learn an early lesson from meditation and from philosophy as a way of life. At this level of understanding, meditation just is being with whatever is arising while letting that phenomenon simply be. At which point, philosophy may come on the scene, inviting us to be with whatever is arising with a view to understanding–lovingly, gently, completely–this something on its own terms.

In this approach, we have no desire to get rid of this phenomenon. Instead, we are able to welcome it (meditation) and to understand it (philosophy) with our entire being. The paradox may not surprise you: without trying to get rid of something, with the peace that comes from welcoming and understanding, the phenomenon tends to fade away of its own accord.