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Stupidity and Ignorance

Stupidity and Spiritual Practice
Episode No. 119

Shambhavi riffs on the real nature of stupidity as two styles of “ignore-ance.” A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi 

First Words from Podcast

I promised to talk about stupidity, but I’d like to start with the word ignorance because it’s much more to the point of what stupidity is. Ignorance has the word ignore in it. That’s really the key thing. When we’re being stupid—or let’s just say it is being stupid—we’re ignoring something.

Stupidity or ignorance has to do with two kinds of ignorings. One is our perceptions. This includes the perceptual apparatus of our body because we sense things with our body. And our senses, or the perceptual capacity of our energy because we can also sense things with our subtle energy. And the perceptual capacity of our mind because we also sense things with our mind. In this tradition, in Ayurveda, and in traditions that are related, the mind is a sense organ. When our perceptions—our sense organs of body, energy, and mind—are not functioning well, then it’s not that we’re willfully ignoring anything, we’re just not experiencing certain things.

For instance, let’s say I was an ordinary person who lived in a materialistic, rationalistic culture. I was taught to rely only on my mind and my gross senses to try to figure things out. I may have never been trained to sense things in any more subtle way. Of course I could have come in already sensing things, but for the sake of this example, let’s say someone didn’t come in already sensing things. They were never trained to do that. They were trained to rely heavily on their rationalistic mind.

So when someone walks into a room, that person may not be able to sense how someone else is feeling. Something very simple like that. That requires perceptual openness of varying kinds. It’s a complex act when you encounter somebody to get a direct sense or a direct knowing about how they’re feeling. It involves a lot of different senses. If we’re being very, very open it involves sensing them on an energetic level, not just looking at facial cues or something like that.