From the ground up…building clarity…
“An understanding of the true nature or reality of inner phenomenon has the power to cut through unclear and foggy states of mind.” ~Llama Yeshe and Llama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Energy
What, if any, are your objectives for 2018? Putting aside the general list that many of us carry around indefinitely, would one of those goals be for greater clarity? Clarity that creates peace of mind rather than struggle. When events around us escalate in intensity, peace of mind has a positive impact on many levels; on the several levels relating to the individual and on a collective level.
Clarity. When we are clear the clouds part, creativity erupts sending ripples of joy out in every direction. The simplest things are simply delightful and compassion is a torrent that carries us home. Clarity=the absence of chaos=creation. If we have several thoughts that are contradictory we spend a lot of time considering each one and trying to make decisions that are based on these thoughts whose origins exist somewhere in the past—have nothing to do with this moment and sometimes serve to leave us in a state of confusion unable to move. All of this inertia due to thoughts that when we stop to look at them often have their origin in something some one else said decades ago. A caring mother who over and over again reminds you, “Be careful you are going to fall.”
The things that happen to us
Are trying to have a conversation,
to make us stop or turn around…
~Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way
“The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory… In popular usage, mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on “inside our heads.” Thus we “make up our minds,” “change our minds” or are “of two minds” about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access.” ~wikipedia
What distracts us from peace of mind? Thoughts in the form of worry, concern, an emotional state, fear, responsibility etc. Thoughts that relate to more, better or different, a dialogue that affects most of us at some time. If we are having a private conversation with our selves as suggested by the above description of the mind it seems likely that with some awareness and quite a lot of determination one can positively influence how attached or not they are to these thoughts that arise without provocation.
What are thoughts? The scientific community has not arrived at an answer to this question as yet although there has been a great deal of research concerning that question. It is ‘thought’ that it would be improbable to have an original thought. All thoughts are based on the past. If we did not have thoughts, we would have no way of describing or defining what we experience. We would be free to observe without judgment. We would know peace of mind, the clarity that is when thoughts do not distract us from Truth; that what ‘I am’ is not the mind (or the body).
Freeing the self from thoughts is however not the objective. Thoughts have importance, there is a tiger I need to run away, a car is approaching I won’t cross the road. Many thoughts of course, serve us well. It is when we give time and space to thoughts that limit us (from Life) that we want to pay attention.
A human being that feels a lack of freedom will inevitably seek liberation in spite of fears that reside within most of us at the thought of freedom. If I am free, completely free of any notion of separate existence then what? The not knowing can be frightening. One step at a time. We treat our selves gently and do not judge. The ego self follows the Truth at all times with varying degrees of attention. The more ‘baggage’ we dispense with (meaning conditioning that creates beliefs), the clearer we become, the more attentive we are to our deep knowing—I am not this mind/body.
With clarity we get a strong sense of what is beyond our experience in the relative world. Or a strong sense that there is something ‘beyond’ our experience in the relative world produces greater clarity. We get a glimpse. It can be seductive and we ‘agree’ on some level to let go of whatever stands in the way of Being Truth. Clarity is one step on the journey toward Truth. Clarity requires honesty; looking at what appears to be my self with discernment and inquiring. The ‘Work’ designed by Byron Katie asks the question “Is it true”. You have an issue, a thought that stops you? Is that thought true? Most of the time we find that we do not know if a thought is true particularly when it concerns our interaction with another person. We have assumed it is true without really examining, with honesty that thought. It may occur at some point to ask, ‘do I really know that anything is true?’
The less we think we know the clearer we become.
But the hold thoughts and beliefs have upon us is strong and deep. The structure that dominates our existence, defines our existence, is the centuries of thoughts that inform us. Every thought that has ever occurred exists within the collective conscious, the pool from which we all fish. If we could see these patterns they might appear as a network that ties all of us together. It defines our existence and from this we may derive a sense of security.
If we strip away all of the phenomena in our reality and gaze out into space, still, a line of separation will define earth and sky. We have seen this horizon line since our beginning here and beyond. None the less it is a perception of the mind. Truth, knowing that everything is one, no separation, removes the line. We are free to be here without judgment. Without a thought that anything should be this or that. When we judge, we immediately create a ripple in the pond of stillness. It is okay, the ripple. The ripple will eventually come into stillness. If however the boat rocks, it can continue to rock even when the pond is peace.
If no one winds the clock the hands cease to move. The mind at rest listens. It hears the grass grow; feels the trees bending in the breeze and wonders at the perfection of all things without question or comment.
Earth, sky, you and I are not separate or other than ‘that’ from which we arise—the great pool so to speak, though the moment we attempt to define our true nature we have missed the mark. Words cannot do an adequate job as they are an aspect of ‘that’ and therefore cannot comprehend source. Definition gives us a sense of security and yet whatever is established in our minds is temporary. The sense of security is sort lived as are our forms that are dependent upon a physical world that is ever changing. All forms eventually cease to exist while Truth of Being is eternal.
As the structures continue to collapse do we wish to be caught in the drama and imbalance that appears to ensue? Sometimes we do, so be it. We can easily and unknowingly travel that path as it is a well worn avenue. Or we can inhabit the space of calm, tranquility that presides naturally. And from this place create based upon the natural rhythm guiding all of us with grace.
As the old structures and patterns cease to support us what will replace them? Do not be in a hurry to create something based on what we have experienced in the past. Give your self a moment, this moment of stillness to ‘listen’, to hear and feel the underpinnings of what has always supported us in the most perfect way. Without thought or without attachment to thought we see that everything occurs without my interference with perfection.
En route to establishing clarity and peace of mind there will be obstacles. Fear can be a stumbling block. Even some of the deepest fears can be faced upon the pathless path as we are, on a deeper level, so sure of ‘something’. What is that something? Impossible to put into words, that something defies definition.
Though truly, there is no effort required here, every ‘effort’ you make from now on toward clarity is one that arises from the ‘unknowable’ source. Whatever teachings come to you, book, video, conversation with a stranger or moment of silence recognized, ushers you to the place within where awareness is Self-Self awareness.
Flows into me and out of me
washing my past away.
I am pure already waiting for you. Bring me
~Anna Swir, Our Two Silences