Spiritual Clarity

Practical Steps to Experience Spiritual Clarity

Beyond the ability to make good choices, we all have a greater capacity to develop spiritual clarity — a more comprehensive way to approach life. By seeing ourselves and the context of our life clearly, we can live skillfully with equanimity, discernment, and faith.

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MESSAGE FROM YOGACHARYA

Who doesn’t want to know the right answer to their challenges, have the ability to dispel doubts or confusion and discern the best choice in a situation? Beyond the ability to make good choices, we all have a greater capacity to develop spiritual clarity, a more comprehensive way to approach life. Through learning how to calm the mind and become receptive to our intuition and higher discernment, we can cultivate the spiritual clarity that expands our awareness beyond isolated incidents. We discover how to live a soul-guided life.

The Path to Spiritual Clarity

Often when I had the opportunity to attend a seminar or retreat with my spiritual teacher, Roy Eugene Davis, he would lead us right into meditation with an invitation. He would say: Open your heart and your mind to the Infinite. Open your heart, your essence of being, and your mind, to Absolute Reality.

I discovered that I didn’t have to know how to open my heart or my mind. I did not have to know what my essence of being is, nor did I need to understand what Absolute Reality is. With that seemingly simple suggestion and his transmission of that Reality, I shifted my attention and awareness from being identified as this body-mind and allowed it to expand beyond the confines of name and form. I was aware of being aware, a witness to my thoughts and experience.

I could open my heart and mind to the Infinite. Just like that. And it was wonderful. Freeing. It was possible because the soul, our essential Self, already knows how to experience the Infinite. We can experience it because that is what we are. We are spiritual beings, emanations of the Infinite—like a wave on the ocean, an expression of ultimate Reality.

Because that was just a glimpse of Reality, it didn’t take long for my awareness to move from expansive consciousness back into the chat room of my mind filled with all its concerns and confusions. But anytime we have that glimpse is significant. When we open our awareness to our essential Self, the pathway to the freedom of Living our Eternal Life right here and now stretches out before us. It appears as a possibility. Sooner or later, we embark on it in earnest.

We embark on the enlightenment path because it is our destiny to awaken spiritually and realize the higher purpose of our life. Life is divinely arranged to support that.

  1. Life is imbued with divine grace, with support for our journey of awakened living.
  2. And life motivates It turns out that nothing else will fully satisfy our heart’s longing. Everyone wants to be free—free of all forms of addiction, bondage, or ignorance, from not seeing clearly the way things are.

We all want to be happy and free from suffering or sorrow. That is what motivates us each day to make the choices we make. The spiritual path is basically a way we learn to make more skillful choices. It’s how we discover who we are, what we really want, and how to realize true fulfillment.

Two Practical Steps to Experience Spiritual Clarity

We can draw our strength, wisdom, direction, and perspective from the soul (our essential Self) even while we attend to multiple demands of the day. By seeing ourselves and the context of our life clearly, we can live skillfully with equanimity, discernment, and faith.

The First Step to Experience Spiritual Clarity

The first step is to see ourselves and the context of our life more clearly. As we awaken, we discern that things are often not the way we thought or imagined them to be. We realize that how we see largely determines what we see. Our focus is selective. Our prior experiences, beliefs, and desires color our perceptions of people and circumstances. At some point, we get tired of setting ourselves up for failure or yearn for a more authentic, satisfying way to live.

We start by asking for clarity. We open our heart and mind to the Infinite and ask to see clearly the way things are and to know what is true.

This is my daily prayer:

May I see clearly what is true, be guided by it, and speak and act in harmony with it. May the radiant Light of the source of all life purify my mind and inspire my thoughts and actions.

When Arjuna, the great warrior in the Bhagavad Gita, prepares to battle with his inner drives and tendencies, he asks Krishna, the Lord of Love, to drive his chariot between the opposing armies so he can see clearly what he must face and what he must do.

He says, O Imperishable One, draw my chariot between the two armies so I may see those poised for battle.

Help me see clearly what I must face, what I must do.

The Prophet Muhammad is said to have offered this prayer: O Allah! Show me the reality of all things as it really is.”

A Christian hymn inspired by Psalm 119.18, written by Clara Scott, reads: Open my eyes that I may see vision of truth Thou has for me. Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God, Thy will to see. Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine.

Prayer from the Rig Veda: Lead us from the unreal to the Real.

Open my heart and my mind to the Infinite. It’s a mantra, a prayer for so many moments in our day! Show me things as they really are! May I not be fooled by appearances, lead astray by my desires, attachments, emotions, aversions, ignorance, or misunderstanding.

We already know that sometimes what we think is good turns out not to be, and perhaps what we want to avoid may actually be what we need.

The Second Step to Experience Spiritual Clarity

To receive the illumination and guidance we ask for when we pray for clarity requires a quiet mind. The light of Spirit, the presence of the divine Self, will freely shine into a calm and peaceful mental field. Then discernment and intuition are awakened, and skillful action follows.

Higher truth and divine guidance (which emanate from the higher Self)  are always with us, but we are often distracted and cannot access them. A quiet mind, “presence of mind,” requires space where thoughts can settle and where we can observe and reflect on the rising of insight and inspiration.

Follow these two steps:

  1. Ask for clarity.
  2. Make spaces in your day to quiet the mind.
    1. Start the day with prayer and meditation. In addition to that, take frequent Spirit breaks or yoga moments. Consider just three minutes of mindful sitting at different times throughout your day.
    2. Anchor those yoga moments to something you routinely do.

What we want or need to know rarely comes during that time. That is not the purpose of mindful sitting. It is not for figuring things out. It’s for “getting out.” Getting out of being confined to thinking mind. It’s for opening our hearts and minds to the Infinite and expanding our awareness. It is simply sitting and breathing while being a conscious witness.

Quieting the mind with prayer and meditation opens a pathway for insight and intuition to flow into the mind. Spiritual Clarity arises when it’s needed.

Then, we see how things really are. We remember what we are and what the spiritual purpose of life is. We remember that right where we are, the reality of God is, with grace and truth abiding.

I leave the conclusion to the mystic poet Kabir:

So many bodies,
So many opinions,
But my Beloved is in every body,
Though invisible.
Without the Beloved,
There is no life.
Atman is luminous in each and all;
Blessed is the body in which It is known.
The devotee who can stay in the junction
Of the manifest and the hidden,
Knows all that is within and without
Like a lamp at the door. [1]

 


[1] Indian Mystic Verse, Trans. Hari Prasad Shastri (Shanti Sadan: London 1941, Revised Third Edition 1984) 39, 41.

 

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