I can see clearly now

Let me tell you a secret - artist unknown

Let me tell you a secret – artist unknown

Sometimes you need to go far away to see clearly, and sometimes you need to come way up close and be overwhelmed by what it is you’re looking at before you can actually see it as it is – without colouring.  

A combination of peering in the distance and blinking at proximity, gives a clear view.   You need the opposites to achieve clarity. This can require travelling – mind travel, body travel – some combination of the two.  To get in touch with your inner intelligence is not always easy.

Where does that confidence arise from, if and when it does arise?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is going through a cycle a few times, and then seeing how you feel.  Being drawn to, pushing away, feeling confused, being caught up in illusion, being disappointed but still in illusion….Stepping outside that cycle, taking a step well back, almost falling over the edge a few times, being enmeshed in the mire of confusion and unsettlement, not knowing what to think and feel. 

And then, one day, you do just know.  You almost don’t trust the feeling of knowing.  But it persists and you feel – free….free for the moment, anyway.  The cycle is deep and persistent, it can always start again.

It doesn’t make you any less feeling, any less compassionate.  Perhaps it even makes you more so.  Measurement is futile. 

You do not need to tell the truth to anyone other than yourself.  In fact, the need to speak, to tell – anything – diminishes – almost to the point of nothingness.  It is at this point that you may begin to wonder about the relationship of insight – at what feels to be this very deep level – and creativity.  It is at this point that you may begin to reflect on the self-indulgence of art.

And yet, it is art which can help us get to this brink.  But it is not art which takes us past this point.  It is practice.

For awhile now, I have been reflecting on how writing (read ‘art’/’creativity’) has come to feel like a pure self-indulgence, and a diversion away from self-knowing or self-realisaion.  This has been a troubling and confusing thought pattern for me, so I have suppressed it at times and gone away from it, other times letting it bubble and resurface.  It has made it hard to write, and I guess it still is – hard-er to write than it was. 

But now I realise that writing enables the process, but is not enough in itself.  Writing this has been easy.


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8 Responses to I can see clearly now

  1. litlove says:

    This speaks so clearly to where I am right now, partly with writing, but mostly with an ongoing problem with my parents that has caused me extreme anxiety this week. I’m still in confusion, not knowing how or what to feel. But I agree with you that one day, insight arrives, and that its truth need never be divulged to anyone else. Thank you for a helping hand through the darkness.

    • Hi, I’m glad this came at a good time and hope it is of some help. Maybe to be a little clearer – I have found that Yoga practice (I mean Yoga to include physical posture work and also breathing, meditation, awareness in life, and study of core texts), has given me a different understanding of both intelligence/intuition and insight, and different experience/recognition of these, possibly different access to them at rare moments. I am very inexperienced but I can still experience the difference. Before this practice I would have just waited, now I practise (not always as much or regularly as I could) and wait. The outcome is different. 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    It is hard to see clearly. Because we are all conditioned by experience and training. The social mores that weigh on us make certain thoughts difficult to hold-they get dismissed not because they are untrue but because thinking them collides with our culture and conditioning. If you want to know what is true ask a child what they can see.

    • Great insights, Michael, I agree. There are ways of unconditioning ourselves such as through practice. This can get beneath the cultural and personal conditioning over time – a life time’s work. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Chris says:

    I wonder whether a child always sees the whole picture – the whole picture with the extra information that may muddy or clarify the vision. I find that time helps, presumably time in which the subconscious works away. After a traumatic upheaval in my life I found myself faced with decisions I could not make because I could not see things clearly. Emotions kept getting in the way and I could not appreciate which threads of the fabric mattered and which didn’t but as time has passed the picture surrounding some of those decisions has became much clearer and what was impenetrable a few months ago now seems straightforward. When you stir up a puddle all the dirt and mud and bits and pieces come up from the bottom and swirl round. The more you stir the more clouded the vision. But leave it for a while and it gradually settles.

    • Yes, I agree with the point about time being an ingredient. What I have observed in myself and others (this is nothing to do with your situation by the way), is that despite the beneficial effects of time, without practice there can be an emotional residue that persists and lingers, even when things become clearer. This ‘film’ is so connected with the way I see things that I almost don’t realise it’s there. The practice helps me see it’s there so even if it still is there, I can at moments be and see separately from it. So there is a greater clarity and also a freedom – not sure if that makes sense, it’s the best I can do right now. Thanks for bringing these further points out. This has become a very interesting exploration!

  4. Chris says:

    You (Karin) will know that I lead my life on a slightly different spiritual level from the way in which you lead yours, if spiritual is the right word. Maybe mystical is better? I prefer to let what is inside me explore my own inner self, listen to friends and maybe be advised by them, but I don’t seek the deeper insights into myself which might come from an organised and defined body of teaching like religion or yoga. Maybe I am too lazy to bother. Maybe I worry that I might not feel comfortable with the stripped essence of myself. But I think the residue you talk about it is called experience and we would be less rounded and more troubled if we were able to root it all out. I think the residues ground us and I feel at my most free when securely grounded. Total freedom is too strong.

  5. Hi Chris, the points you make about potential laziness and anxiety/fear are really good ones and I would think they apply generally to all of us including myself. As you say, language often becomes tricky in these kind of exchanges, but I do want to distinguish between religion and Yoga because they are very different (without going into this here). Freedom is a goal of Yoga but most of us might have flashes of it at best. Also, as you say, there is a connection between being free and being grounded. I would suggest the residue of accumulated life ‘experience’ can block/prevent freedom and it can make us heavy, weigh us down, not the same thing as grounded which for me also has a lightness to it. I don’t think we would be less rounded and more troubled if we were able to ‘root it all out’ because I’m not talking about rooting out experience but instead being able to step back and observe without the colourings of experience, rather than being caught up in it all the time. We always carry our experience with us, we have some choice/control over how we let it affect us. Just one more point is that this state of being able to see clearly is not ‘functional’ – ie most of us living in the world with everyday life challenges could and would not live in this way most of the time. It’s the ability to have moments or glimpses which then can transform the rest. Thanks for your views, I like the discussion and the differences.

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