In mindfulness practice ignorance is seen as the inability to see into the nature of things, especially the patterns that govern happiness and suffering. The goal of mindfulness practice is to increasingly detect those patterns as early as possible, thus reducing suffering and increasing happiness, or contentment, in life. Our practice consists in patiently and gently observing the causes of happiness and suffering.
The nature of happiness is an age-old question. Aristotle said happiness was the only goal “we choose for its own sake and never as a means to something else”.
That being said, as Irish I admire the ancient Celts and Saxons who measured life in terms of celebration:
“I read in Brand’s “Popular Antiquities” that “Bishop Stillingfleet observes, that among the peoples of the northern nations, the Feast of the New Year was observed with more than ordinary jollity: thence, as Olaus Wormius and Scheffer observe, they reckoned their age by so many Iolas.” (Iola: to make merry)
So may we measure our lives by our joys.
We have lived, not in proportion to the number of years that we have spent on the earth, but in proportion as we have enjoyed”
Henry David Thoreau, Journals (1860)