What is Clarity?
Take a moment to think about what that means to you.
Intellectually it could be defined as a clear picture in the mind without impediment or blurring. Something that appears coherent and understandable without room for confusion.
No one really wants to be confused, do they?
Ask most people, and they would say they prefer understanding – rather than misunderstanding.
Someone with a clarity of purpose is usually respected for their focus and vision.
Physical and Mental Clarity
In the physical reality, it helps to achieve an objective by having a clear picture of what that objective is and how to achieve it.
From a sensory perspective, we know when something is clear – edges are defined and distinct.
- A sharp photograph in focus or a perfectly clear day in the mountains without the smog of the city.
- A sound that you hear crisply without muffling.
We all prefer a clear picture at the movies rather than something out of focus even if the soundtrack is usually way too loud. It is better to hear the dialogue than miss the point.
A photographer might use distorted focus in the background to bring the viewer more clearly to the subject by contrasting the sharp edge with a blurred frame.
Both mentally and physically it helps to be able to distinguish an edge – the defining boundary between right and wrong, positive and negative, red and green.
Not always achievable.
- The beauty of life is that not everything is clear-cut. We wouldn’t always want everything to be black and white.
- The chaotic nature of society is what makes life interesting. The diversity and complexity of the natural world is inspiring. Human interactions are almost never clear-cut… if only !!
- For myself, I would always want to make sense of the chaos even if there is a fascination in disorder.
But what about spiritual clarity?
If we consider ourselves as beings to be composed of body, mind, and spirit, wouldn’t spiritual clarity be equally as important and sought after?
From a spiritual view, a clearness of vision or comprehension is harder to define and more so to achieve.
Perhaps we humans don’t want to be clear about our spirituality, not in the same way that we crave mental and sensual clarity.
What is Spiritual Clarity?
Our essence transcends the ‘stories of us’. The connection to the divine, our place in the whole, our very consciousness is what represents our essential existence.
To embrace our existence more clearly wouldn’t we need such clarity, the sort of clarity we expect in physical and intellectual terms.
Spiritual clarity is aligned with awareness. How aware am I of my purpose, of how I fit into the universe?
How aware am I of what makes me… me?
These are tougher questions to bring clarity to perhaps because we aren’t taught even to recognize the distinction, who we are vs. our stories.
… but as modern humans, we seem to have stepped back from trying to comprehend the universe and our place in it deeply.
Do We Need Spiritual Clarity?
Do human beings really want it?
For many, it is enough to have a clear life plan. For some simply having cool stuff. A nice car or the latest smartphone is the dream. Most who have ‘the stuff’ are rarely satisfied with it – but then simply reach for the next consumer item on the conveyor belt of things or the next experience. Those that don’t have the stuff are taught to aspire to it.
Anything not to be aware of our essence?
But I want clarity in spiritual terms. Clarity allows me to deal with myself when physical and emotional elements of life are not clear – as they often are not. With an awareness of my essential self, I can find a graceful path even inside of turmoil, because I can see everything else as just story and not ultimately me.
Awareness helps me to NOT identify with my life stuff. Being clear about my personal place in this world is a tool I can use to help me explore each day with a calm grounded perspective. When anger rises, or fear takes a grip, I can take my awareness and cut through the negative emotions and release them.
If I am completely identified with my stories I am by definition unclear about my essential self.
And this is what I think the challenge is for us all.
It is much easier to get lost in the story than take responsibility for who we really are. Let the world and our interactions with it create us, rather than we create our own world and how we choose to exist in it.
This is clarity of spirit.
Living with Clarity and Without Fear
I suspect that thinking people are scared to embrace this level of clarity.
I know I was scared in the past.
The fear that has us avoid the reality of our mortality. Easier to ignore it. Fill the void with stories, things, experiences and sensual distractions and push the inevitable reality into a dark recess.
Don’t think about the sharp edge of passing on: the end of our story.
I believe that this is why we tend to avoid bringing spiritual clarity into our lives. The clear sense of who we are also brings into focus what we are not: we are not immortal.
Perhaps life and death need to be dealt with in awareness before it is safe to explore a deeper sense of oneself.
But with that clarity comes a real sense of life without fear.
Not worrying about or fearing the future or feeling regret or resentment of past stories keeps us grounded in now, and opens up the essence of life in all it’s chaotic and timeless beauty.
Clarity of thought or vision are wonderful aspects of being alive, but spiritual clarity is the clear awareness of your essence.
Without spiritual clarity, our lives will pass by before we know what happened in a blur of stories, of once sharp pictures now faded, once lucid memories now consigned to half-remembered dreams.
Yet each timeless second recognized with spiritual clarity is life experienced clearly and completely.
Written By Sammy
Welcome to Sammy as a new contributor to Personal Tao. Sammy has been a long time Awakening Dragon student.
This is his first blog post here at Personal Tao. Sammy lives in London and is exploring a practice of helping build clarity in our modern world.
Western society loves to put people into boxes and roles. A Taoist is a person who moves/explores their own terms in life. Sammy is such a person, working towards discovering himself while exploring both the boxes and what is outside society’s boxes.
Over time we will have other students add and contribute more to A Personal Tao.