By Contributing Author Michaela Wider
By Contributing Author Michaela Wider
Recently two words dropped into my mind: Conscious Innocence.
And without understanding what that meant I immediately “knew”: this is what I want to create.
When I started to explore what that could possibly be or look like, I found the following states of consciousness that we all seem to go through, and there are probably more which I haven't discovered yet:
Unconscious Innocence: the state in which we just are, "in the moment" if you like, without any "agenda". I think we all know what that means, or have memories of it, even though we have lost it. It is the state we are in as babies and when we are still small children. I also believe it is the state of animals and nature in general. It can be blissful or painful depending on the circumstances.
Unconscious Ignorance: the state in which we think we know. As we grow up and go through the process of socialization we start to form beliefs and opinions, and thus we enter a stage of consciousness in which we think we know, at least to some degree, how things are, how the world works and what is important. This state can be blissful or painful depending on the circumstances.
Conscious Ignorance: the state in which we know that we don't know. At some point in our lives we may or may not enter this state, in which we begin to realize that what we thought we knew is not certain at all. We become aware that we know absolutely nothing for sure.
As I seem to be in this state most of the time now I will elaborate a bit more on what this feels like to me.
The state of conscious ignorance feels like falling into a bottomless pit.
You grasp and cling to the remaining fragments of your beliefs and opinions as though they were a ground on which you can stand, or a handrail that gives you support, when in fact they no longer have (and probably never had) any foundation but are in free fall with you.
Around you everyone seems to be falling as well; some aware, some not. They are also clinging to beliefs and opinions which are falling with them.
I actually thought this could never happen to me, as I considered myself to be pretty aware and awake to what is going on in the world. But then the phenomenon of the so-called "Mandela Effect"* showed up on my horizon and I began to think about its implications. The "big crumbling" of everything I thought I knew, which had probably started some time earlier, at that point became undeniable. This was, and still is, disconcerting, terrifying and totally confusing.
But I feel that we have to traverse and master this state, there is no way of getting around it.
In the process of exploring conscious ignorance I have (surprisingly to me) found some real jewels:
It can open up your heart to a feeling of compassion and patience for yourself and everyone else, and especially patience for encounters with unconscious ignorance. Other people's ignorance used to drive me nuts. Now, all I can do is admit that I don't know anything myself.
It can make you laugh. There is truly something comical, in a sort of "gallows humour" kind of way, about watching oneself and everyone else fighting for their opinions and beliefs, fighting about what is right and what is wrong while falling, falling, falling with no grounds…….. it can make you giggle.
What it can also do is lead you to surrender to the fact that you are not in control, and that that's just the way it is. The outside world is crumbling away like quicksand, there is no place left to hide, or seek comfort. All you can do is turn inward and, as it says in the Dao de Ching, "hold fast to the centre".
And suddenly your mind may open and you may feel like a tiny white feather floating above or into the bottomless pit of ignorance, fearlessly - yes, delightedly even - free of the notion that you have to have control, or in other words, accepting the fact that you do not have control, with a sigh of relief.
Yes, sometimes that happens too.
Conscious Innocence: I have not yet experienced this .... maybe have had glimpses of it. But inside me there is a yearning for it, an imagination, an intuition, that such a state must indeed exist and that we will all get there. I imagine it to be a state where you have gone from fearful fragmentation to joyful wholeness.
There is not much else I can say about it, and maybe this state is without words.
We shall see.
* The "Mandela Effect": a situation where a number of people claim to share memories of events which differ from the available evidence of those events. The term was coined by paranormal enthusiast Fiona Broome, who said she and other people remembered Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s in prison, well before his actual death in 2013 from an illness.
About the Author:
For the last five years I have been living a little bit like a hermit in an old railroad house, with no warm water but a warm wood stove and a garden. No car, but good animal friends and a handful of good human friends and family nearby. My life has turned more and more inward during this time. I measure distance by how long it will take me to walk somewhere. That has really changed my perception. My past seems far away. I can vaguely remember that I had a job in my profession as an occupational therapist. I love to contemplate and meditate with closed and open eyes.
Embracing the mystery
Hold that one desire
And on the wings of sound silence
Fly to the heart of the Lord of Love