Clear Sight – Opening the Windows of Life & Beauty
“Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi
The more clearly we see, the more we touch reality, and the more truthful experience becomes. Cleaning the windows of our perception, through removing the obstacles that obscure our view, we can uncover increasing joy in being alive on this planet, regardless of the conditions. This is Nirvana – it’s not a private space – but the sharing in everything that is appearing here on this earth, perceived with stainless clarity.
No, the clear view doesn’t depend on having top-notch eye sight, yet when there is clarity of mind, there is a penetration of vision outwardly and inwardly beneath the surface gloss of habitual consciousness. The secret is no in knowing how to perceive, but in unknowing how to perceive. It’s not information, but in the disinvestment from data; not in effort, but in deep relaxation into the fear-less depths of ourselves.
As children, we’re conditioned to believe that knowledge makes us smart and that smart makes us safe. We’re groomed to grasp, to obsess with objects and to attempt possession of that which can never be owned or kept. In the endless quest to be OK, and to belong, we can spiral ever more deeply into confusion and obscurity. The ones we love constantly evade us through the unpredictability of their mysterious depths. We are even intimately out of our own reach in the quest to grasp and stabilize “who we are.” Yet we can’t really find out what we are through the feedback of other people. Out of this impossible wilderness, the least confronting option seems to be to give up the view, try to avoid pain where possible, have a beer, go home and turn on the TV.
Yet life doesn’t leave us alone, although we might like it to. It spirals around and through us, no matter how diverted we try to be with plans for the future. If pleasure doesn’t disturb us, then suffering and loss will. We can resist or come quietly, but either way, life is coming for us, and it’s not going to be satisfied with a substitute.
The Incredible Birth-right of Clarity
Let’s go back to that early conditioning – the belief that doing good at school and knowing stuff makes us safe. If the head is full or information, it’s like money in the bank for knowing how to behave, how to survive and how to get the most out of being alive. Yet funnily, enough, it doesn’t really work like that. We don’t get a clear thought by having many, many thoughts. We can’t even see the choices if the chamber is full of a million choices. Trying to think our way into a clear view of where we’re going is like putting mud on the windows of the car in order to get safely home.
Clarity of mind is also clarity of perception
Clarity of mind appears only when thought is surrendered. This includes fear-driven thought, thoughts empowered by ambition, thoughts of what has been, imagined thoughts and images about others, expectations, disappointments and thoughts about tomorrow.
Clarity of mind is also clarity of perception. Recall the difference between looking around in the street when in a state of depression, discomfort or intoxication, and looking around you in the street when you’re sober, relaxed and neutral. Clear sight is a key part of the flow of vitality through us. Yet in our craving towards certain feelings, emotions and states, and our avoidance of less pleasant ones, we start to board up windows of our perception. Clarity exists independently of any feeling, in fact, every feeling is a reflection of degrees of clarity. To hold and whip up a feeling as a means of gaining direction is like putting filters of color on a lamp in order to get it to burn brighter. When this is joined by an agenda to not see certain things that the light could expose, we find ourselves surrounded by greater degrees of obscurity.
Clarity involves a willingness to surrender thought and imagination, and a readiness to let feelings, emotions and sense perceptions flow, as is their nature. When we allow the flow of pleasure – kissing the joy as it flied – then pleasure expands in ever more subtle dimensions of bliss. When we allow the flow of pain – without trying to control or get rid of it – pain expands to include collective fields of pain of all degrees in forms, out of which the wisdom of compassion and interdependence is born.
All this movement of energy around us is allowed in its living genius through a deepening of our capacity to rest in stillness. Stillness is the perpetual backdrop of movement, and of itself brings the clarity of perception – or insight – we need to find our way.
Clarity or clear sight is not an arrival point. It is a sliding scale, where can always choose to seek greater clarity, clearer sight, less obstruction. Even when we believe we are seeing clearly now, we can see clearer still. Awake or asleep, in action or in dreams, the inner door of increasingly clarity can be our compass to truth and in truth we find our greatest strength. The clearer we see, the more we see for real. The emptier the room of the body- mind (and more subtle forms self), the more we can let the light shine through and out, until moments emerge where inner and outer are one, and there is nothing missing anymore.