How To Develop Clarity
Some Methods That I Follow
Haven’t you had thoughts like ‘Life is very hard’, ‘There’s so much struggle in life’ etc? If you are human, you must have had these kinds of thoughts. I’m just joking. But we have had similar thoughts. People of all ages feel this way. It’s expected that with age we would become more clear and serene in life. But that is hardly the picture in reality. A man of 80 is as confused as a boy of 20. You know, clarity and maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age. These come with the flowering of intelligence and wisdom. And if you spend your whole life without ever being clear about what all this is about—that’s a tragedy. Be clear. That’s my wish.
Now, how does clarity come? We live our whole lives doing so many things—earning, building relationships, acquiring riches, gathering possessions, creating legacies and all the paraphernalia of it. And all the while we think we know what we’re supposed to do; we think that what we’re doing is the right thing to do. And the majority always think so. This is a ‘herd mentality’, you know. But the dark truth is, under our skin, we are all blind, terribly confused about everything. That’s why the enormous amount of insecurity within us. And that’s why the desperate longing to grasp, to cling, to hold on to anything and everything that gives us that sense of security. We are in this state because we don’t know anything deeply about life. We lack clarity. If we really had clarity, we would have stopped our silly hankerings and graspings. The very fact that we haven’t been able to let go of these things proves that we lack clarity. We may fool others. But you know what, we fool ourselves more than anybody else! And we think we’re being smart!
So, this is the bare reality. Now, from this level, we can enquire—how to develop clarity.
1. Listen: Listening freely is the first step of having clarity. We don’t know how to listen. Listening is an art. I have a separate post on this (here: Part 1 & Part 2). To listen means to be sensitive. To know life, we must be able to feel life. We must be sensitive. There’s two kinds of listening—listening to others and listening to one’s own thoughts. Both are equally important. Listening to others gives us knowledge, listening to one’s own thoughts gives wisdom. Knowledge is essential because it gives us methods of thinking. We learn how to think. And inner listening reveals our nature. Clarity develops through both.
Questioning is the beginning of intelligence. The art of questioning involves asking the right questions at the right time and in the right manner.
This is a very important skill to develop clarity. Because through questioning intellect gets sharp. Development of intellectual capacities is a must. If there are cobwebs in the intellect, we cannot reason properly. Questioning clears the intellect. Having a clear and sharp intellect is absolutely essential to navigate not only this physical world, but also our inner world of thoughts.
We have to question ourselves also—our opinions, beliefs, ideas and everything we think is right. We never question ourselves. That’s why we live in illusions. As long as there are illusions, how can there be clarity? Illusions are the cobwebs. Dust it off with proper questioning.
3. Be Emotionally Intelligent: A sharp intellect is certainly a boon. But if emotions are out of control, intellect gets haywire. Intellect and emotions—these two faculties have to be brought to a place where there is harmony between them. Emotions are our way of being. We cannot wipe away our emotions, nor should we ever try to. Emotions have their own intrinsic intelligence. We just don’t know how to sync with that intelligence. Learn to be emotionally intelligent. Otherwise, emotions will cloud our minds, and it will become difficult to see through the thick of them. It’s not a fight between intellect and emotion, mind it. Only when both our intellect and emotion function coherently in perfect synchronicity, is there perfect understanding.
4. Meditate: By meditation I don’t mean we have to sit down with our eyes closed. That we do for different purposes. I specifically mean here pondering over life. One of the meanings of the word ‘meditate’ is to ‘ponder over’, right? Meditate on life. Meditation gives us insights. Even if you don’t practice spiritual meditations, always meditate on life. How? Don’t ask me. Learn.
Your list of methods may be different from mine. That’s perfectly fine. There’s no fixed way really. See what works for you. I follow these methods, so I mentioned them. Just be and remain conscious. Live as much consciously as possible. Clarity comes through direct perception. It can also come through inference or intuition. But, it depends on the depth of our consciousness. As deep and focused our consciousness will be, that much clarity we’ll have. Therefore, live a conscious life.