The challenge of clarity is not what to have for breakfast, it's to have the audacity to find out what is truly essential, to grab the bull by the horns. Clarity is penetrative, it penetrates the essence of things. True clarity is not superficial, it's a deep understanding. Clarity wants to get to the bottom of it, or it won't be complete. And it's not really clarity if it's not complete. Clarity is like a clear blue sky, not the slightest hint of a cloud. Questions aren't answered without going to the essence of the issue. Clarity means being clear on what is truly essential.
Then what is the question of questions? Is it not enquiring about who or what we really are? Is it not asking for truth, what truth is? Is it not our longing to be free? The challenge of clarity is to penetrate the truth of your existence, to find out the truth of you.
In First Things First Stephen Covey tells a beautiful story about a big jar in which some huge rocks are placed until the jar is apparently full. However, smaller stones are introduced that fill up the many empty spaces left in between the big rocks, until again, the jar can take no more. Then some sand is poured into the jar filling up the empty space left in between the stones. The moral of the story is that if the jar is your life, you will first have to put in the bigger stones, the priorities of your life. If you were to first fill it up with sand, the lesser issues, then it would be impossible later on to fit in the stones, let alone the bigger ones. In other words, we need to put first things first, or they will never find a place in our lives.
The question arises, what about that one giant rock? This story is not yet complete, it lacks the main issue, that one big rock it should have started with. To put the very first thing the very first is truly hard doctrine, and difficult to swallow because we thought we were doing pretty well taking care of first things. These first things are important and essential, but they are not the very essential, not the essential. They are not that one elusive difference that makes all the difference. And though there are many essentials, there is only one true essential. Clarity is being absolutely clear about that one essential. That one essential, that very first thing, is finding out who or what we truly are, to come to the truth of our very existence.
There are many things that are essential to us, and universally essential, essential to all human beings. But what is more essential than anything else, what is the essential of all essentials? Is this one essential different for all individuals? Does it change whenever we think that it could be something different? Is it dependent on our opinions of it? How can it be truly essential if it is dependent on our thoughts and opinions about it? The essential is non-negotiable, the essential is naturally essential, whether we have the right notion of it or not.
Our values, or what we think is important, may not be what is essential. What we believe to be important in life is not necessarily the essential. Your highest value, what you believe to be most important, might be health or happiness or money, success, an intimate relationship, children. Is not freedom the highest value in life?! Is it not of a higher value than even love? Don't we intuit that anything worthwhile begins with freedom, that freedom is most essential?
Like all planets of our solar system, the earth circles the sun. This is the principle of one essential and many non-essentials. That of a single center and a multitude of peripherals. Of one sun and many planets that circle around it. The hub and the wheel.
Only the naturally essential is essential. We can make it nonessential in our minds, but that's not the truth of it. Until you find that essential - and it may not be what you think is essential - your heart won't truly be satisfied, you will not be at peace. There's only one naturally essential, it's not that there are a couple of things we can choose from, and then the one we prefer will be the true essential.
We have goals and dreams that we hope to achieve, and sometimes we are successful and sometimes we don't succeed in realizing our goals. When we succeed we are happy for a little while, but soon we feel that there is more to achieve, and we desire many things more. Even people who have achieved everything other people merely dream of, describe that they continue to be hungry, they still feel a need to have more. Whatever you achieve, you will still feel something is not yet complete, something is still missing. Why? Existence doesn't want us to be completely happy with our successes; it wants us to move on to the core of things. We will have this 'divine discomfort' until we do resolve the essential issue and find out the truth of our existence. Then this discomfort disappears like dewdrops in the morning sun.
Unless we find the essential, our thirst cannot be quenched. Existence cannot allow it; it wants us to find out the very truth of life. It needs to be so, it is like a rose bush that needs to grow rose flowers. Without growing rose flowers, it should not be completely happy and satisfied. It would be a disaster if rose bushes would feel satisfied with just growing leaves. We'd never see those beautiful rose flowers, or pick up their sweet fragrance... The flowering of the human being is in discovering his absolute nature. Without realizing his absolute nature, he should not be at peace. Like it or not, this is how it is, this is how nature has organized it: unless we come to the essential, we will not feel that our lives are meaningful. Finding the naturally essential, the whole existence becomes meaningful.
About the author
About the book
Principles and Paradigms
» 1. Clarity
Answers are not the answer
Preconceptions and beliefs
Individuality, Authenticity, Sincerity
- The Naturally Essential
5. Alive Silence