I keep returning to the search for Clarity.
In my own practice as well as in what I say and write about the spiritual journey, I circle back to this theme because it always seems like the necessary first step to authentic self-expression, actualization, and transformation.
If I don’t feel clear, when I’m confused or uncertain or ambivalent, this usually feels like something’s wrong. I don’t know how many times a day I say “I don’t know.” My usual response to “I don’t know” is “I’d better figure it out!” Lack of clarity seems like an obstacle to the achievement of whatever I hope to accomplish. I’d better get clear about who I am and what I want, what I stand for and what I value, the nature of my relationships to self and others and the Infinite Everything. That’s where it’s all got to start, right?
The way it goes in our Science of Mind philosophy is: once we’ve clarified our intention, our identity, our heart’s yearning, our purpose, our whatever-you-want-to-call-it — clarified and distilled it into a deep knowing — then we’ve empowered ourselves to actualize these desires, to turn vision into experience. The idea is that if we know it strongly enough, if we hold an abiding faith and certainty, if we disclaim with authority all negativity and doubt, then we can neutralize anything that might get in the way of the power of our positive thinking.
Sounds terrific! Right on! … Sort of.
Sort of, because though I totally get the power of thoughts-in-action, I also realize that there’s an enormous difference between being clear and being certain.
It’s tempting to use clarity and certainty almost interchangeably when talking about the power of our minds to create our lives and our experience. Knowing and conviction and declaration can, indeed, be potent. But I can see how certainty often gets in the way of real clarity.
• Clarity is an opening; certainty shuts things down.
• Clarity is like a breath before the emergence of new possibility; certainty holds its breath until getting its pre-determined, insisted-upon way.
• Clarity is freedom and choice; certainty tends toward dogma and being “right” to the exclusion of other ideas.
To be clear and to be certain can both mean that we possess knowledge or understanding of something. But I wonder if there’s an even greater clarity to be had in not-knowing. Not understanding, not having it figured-out. Maybe that’s more clear than resting comfortably in the inertia of surety could ever be.
Could the idea of being “crystal clear” invite an expansive fluid availability that is quite contrary to the absolute certainty it typically suggests?
Could the idea of being “clear as mud” actually be on to something deeply honest? Usually it’s just an ironic expression meant to describe clarity’s absence. But perhaps a clarity of inclusivity and living experience is more like mud than glass — thick and sloppy, messy and opaque, sometimes utterly inscrutable.
Carl Jung said, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” Well, there you have it. I don’t know about you, but my own heart is a wild and confusing scene. And gazing within invariably feels like entering a world of contradiction; it’s usually pretty muddy in here.
Perhaps admitting this, embracing our own muddy hearts with loving-kindness and acceptance, is the beginning of freedom. Too, it seems to make possible a loving-kindness toward others that certainty and rightness simply can’t touch.
I can’t wait to see you this Sunday, March 17, at Bosque Center for Spiritual Living. Service at 10 am. XO, Drew
© Drew Groves 2019