Lately I was revisiting the idea of clarity which also happened to prop up in separate conversations over the period of a week. It felt like the ‘theme’ or the ‘zeitgeist’ of the week so I took some time to reflect on it. I looked at all those things which became clear in my life throughout the years, especially recent ones, and also pinpointed those which are still going through the process.
Contemplating on these aspects of my life allowed me to see the broader dynamics into play and made me understand a little bit closer which are those enabling factors that are conducive to the so-called moments of clarity.
But what is clarity really? I think it is simpler to explain what lack of clarity in life is since unfortunately it is so familiar with most of us. Lacking clarity is like being stuck somewhere with no motion forward. There isn’t one clear ‘a-ha’ feeling that comes forward and gets you rolling up your sleeve and working excitedly on a goal. Lack of clarity is also synonymous with confusion – when there are too many bits and pieces strewn around and we are at loss how to put them together and form the one big picture of our life. Lack of clarity can be general, as in with regards to our life’s purpose and mission, or can be specific to a particular situation or passage in life. For instance we could be unclear about doing a certain life transition or what to do in a particular relationship. These are all different facets of the same problem.
So leaving behind what lack of clarity is, I want to share with you what has been my recent ‘clarification’ (excuse the pun) on clarity.
Clarity does not come from thinking:
The biggest misunderstanding regarding clarity is that we assign the idea to the mind or thinking. We expect that we get clarity on an issue by getting some magical clear thought that resolves all the confusion and misunderstanding. This is actually not the case in reality. Although we use the expression ‘having a clear head’ or ‘clear thinking’, this actually has nothing to do with what I mean by clarity here.
In reality, clarity comes from the heart or rather when we are in sync with our heart’s calling. We go through the classical battle between mind and heart throughout most of our life. The heart pulls one way and the mind is obstinately tied in a loop or pretending not to be listening and doing its own thing. On one hand there is a general undercurrent of authentic motivations and desires coming deep from our heart and on the other there are all the stuff, fears, beliefs, ideas and rules that the mind is clinging on as a result of us being in a cultural context and social environment. It is the battle between our authentic aspirations and those goals expected from us by others.
A real moment of clarity arises when we definitely cross a boundary and resolve that we must follow our heart to do a particular change even though it will be resented or frowned upon by others. It is when you listen to that call and answer it. You basically pick up the phone. So clarity starts from the heart by identifying and accepting that we need to do something without fearing disapproval or failure. Once that is brought in the light, the mind then can see it and translates it into words and ideas. This is why we think that clarity comes from thinking because when the mind translates what the heart is clear about, we say something like: “I think I know what I have to do about this….”. In reality the thinking is secondary.
So what’s the point to take home? Well, I think it boils down to a simple advice that has been repeated too many times in too many forms but ultimately still slips away : Listen to your heart – Give more attention to its calling – Trust it more
Another important aspect of clarity is space. Clarity is always born from an open space. When we are trying to squeeze and pour our emotions onto something or else thinking an overanalysing a given situation, the less likely it is that clarity arises. When we stand back from our inner conversations and give more space to the problem we are trying to address, it is like opening up a door through which we can hear and see our intuitions and deeper motivations. It is also a space that allows internal conflicts to be resolved and processed.
We create space by detaching our mind from the situation and give our mental operations a pause. We stop the expectations, the possible scenarios, the analysing, the comparisons and all the other stuff that our minds so easily gets us sucked into. It is also releasing our emotional attachment to something. When something troubles us, we tend to focus our emotions and thinking on it, believing that the more intensely we do it the more we will solve the issue. It can’t be farther from the truth. When we disengage from trying to grasp something, we are instantly giving space for our inner wisdom to come through in seemingly moments of clarity. When we pour our fears and concerns onto something we are giving those fears and concerns energy and power thus constricting our freedom and possibilities.
Think about it for a minute. How many times did you resolve something by worrying or over-analysing it? On the other hand how many times did you get clarity by abandoning and accepting the problem? Did you ever wonder how things manage to resolve themselves beautifully without our input?
A Sort of Homecoming:
The clear path is one that drives you home. It is a sort of homecoming. Through most of our life we are bombarded with so many thoughts, fears and ideas that are not authentically ours. We are distracted, alienated and taken off course from our purpose and real life aspirations. The more unconsciously we follow the signs posted by society rather than our own internal heart space, the farther we drive off course….the more distant we get from home.
So for me, a real moment of clarity is one which reminds you which way is home – back to your heart, to your real Self and inner wisdom and power. It is a sign post or a map telling you how to get there. Indeed, clarity is not about something outside of us, like a problem or situation (although it might be), but it is mostly internal – an opening to the path towards your heart.
Once again, it’s good to keep present in mind that what we seek when we yearn for clarity is actually already there in our internal heart space – that space which can be accessed once we resolve to let go of the mind’s objects, our anxieties, projections and fears. Let go of all that and the path towards the Self becomes apparent. It’s not an ‘if’ or a ‘but’ – it’s a certainty that works all the time because this is the way it works.
The more we shed of our daily concerns, the games of the ego and the merry-go-rounds in our mind, the easier it is to become clear about our path, our purpose and our way home.
This article was written by Gilbert Ross and published on The Mind Unleashed Jul 2015.