We all know how different we feel when we stand under a clear blue sky compared to how we feel when the sky above us is heavy with dark clouds. It completely changes our energy levels, our emotions and our ability to think clearly.
‘In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power'.
Yuval Noah Harari
Overwhelm and overload is the opposite of clarity. Busy-ness in mind and lifestyle does not cultivate clarity, neither does lethargy and indecision.
"Clarity is stillness in flow."
Moments of clarity arrive like a break in the clouds, like a sudden gust of wind that clears the leaves from the path. A brief moment of clarity that could be missed if we're overwhelmed, distracted or stuck.
So how do we cultivate clarity or at least ensure we don't miss it when it arrives.
Our yoga practice provides opportunities for clarity, particularly in the observance of Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas.
I have been reflecting particularly on Satya (Truthfulness), Tapas (discipline) and Svadhaya (Self study) recently.
Clarity like truthfulness isn’t always comfortable or pleasant. I've found moments of clarity fall into one of two camps. An ‘aha’ moment where everything falls into place nicely or an ‘uh-oh’ moment when everything suddenly makes sense and the illusion drops with a bang!
When we’re busy living, doing and interacting with a variety of different people, with different influences or responsibilities, we can lose sense of who we are, what our purpose is and what we hold to be true.
It may take discipline (tapas) to set aside time for self-study (svadhyaya) in order to filter through all of the 'life-stuff' and gain moments of clarity; deep beneath our sense of obligation, belonging or approval.
This process reminds me of glitter jars which I made with my children when they were small. Jam jars filled with colourful glitter, glycerine and water. They enjoyed shaking them up and watching all the swirling sparkly colours. Their attention was held, quietly watching the swirling dancing glitter softly slow and settle down at the bottom leaving the water clear. I think this is a good metaphor for finding clarity, sometimes we need to shake things up a little to remove the familiar, habitual patterns of thought and behaviour so we can see things more clearly.
Things need to move and flow but also to settle. Being grounded and fluid is a balance of Earth and Water qualities. We can get stuck in the mud if we remain still too long (earth) but equally we can get carried away in the wrong direction if we get caught up in fast moving thoughts and habits (water).
Taking our Yoga practice outside in the form of asana or meditative walking literally keeps us grounded and moving. Making the time to feel the earth beneath our feet and gaze up to the vast expanse of blue sky certainly helps cultivate clarity.
Breath - pause - connect = Clarity.
This month outside classes resume and they will be a beautiful way to ground and flow, leaving us uplifted and hopefully with a sense of clarity after class.
The online content will also help to cultivate this clarity as we’ll be shaking things up by revisiting previous practices and mixing them up with some new content. Grounding ourselves in repetition and bringing a fresh perspective to what may seem familiar.
Sometimes we just need to find our own truth, what matters and holds true for us in each specific moment. Letting go of other’s expectations, perceived judgements and moving from a place of clarity. A place that holds no fear or worry just a deep seated sense of knowing.