The problem is that we are full of answers already. We have many preconceptions and beliefs about everything. Even if we'd decide to accept nothing less than clarity, it will be difficult. We've picked up ideas from everywhere, and not just ideas, but massive paradigms! And our beliefs are solid convictions.
How can we see life with perceptive eyes when we've already made up our minds? What usually happens, is that we start off with answers, concepts, and preconceptions already in our minds. And we are kind of attached to these ideas, this is how we know ourselves, our identity is tied up with our ideas and beliefs. Do you want to know truth even if it does not correspond to your ideas and beliefs about life and god and yourself? Preconceived ideas about ourselves are so close and dear that not many will challenge them. Only a few people have the courage and sincerity to look at life as it is.
We like to start off with preconceptions instead of ending up with understanding. The challenge with authentic freedom is to be aware enough to question our assumptions, our beliefs and paradigms, the answers that we already have. Clarity needs a non-prejudiced approach. Yet we are prejudiced, we have numerous assumptions, convictions, and presuppositions in our minds.
Beliefs are a mind-game. Their spell lasts until that bubble bursts and reality becomes unavoidable, like a hurricane shattering the illusion of safety as it tears the roof off your house. Do you dare question your most basic beliefs? Do you have the courage to suspend your beliefs and look at life with fresh eyes? Because that's how clarity finds its way into your life. Looking into life without preconceptions, without knowing what you are going to find.
Our capacity to reason, our mind itself, is not the problem. Problems stem from limiting ideas, fake principles, and holding on to them as if they were true! Clarity is possible with an open approach. You need a genuine desire to come to the truth of the matter, instead of simply trying to find confirmation for your beliefs. And preconceptions cannot help you here: they cloud your perception.
You can use a concept, but you don't need to accept it as true unless you have seen the truth of it with your own intelligence. A preconception could be a misconception, and finally life will not be reduced to concepts at all. Coming face to face with life requires that at some point we leave concepts far behind.
Clarity takes us into life. It is penetrative. Truth lies beyond intellectual conceptions of it, or, it exists prior to our conceptions of it. Concepts have a utilitarian value, they are useful and practical for human life. But directly looking into life becomes almost impossible: we are biased from the very start. Clarity takes our life beyond mere conceptions and opinions and borrowed beliefs. We want to move from the conceptual to the existential, or freedom cannot be real. We will have to bypass our preconceptions.
To challenge and question the ideas and beliefs that you already have, becomes essential because these preconceptions don't allow you to see things as if it were for the first time. Question your assumptions, question your paradigms. Doubt your ideas, doubt your beliefs and convictions, and look directly into life. Look into it and find out what it truly is. Clarity requires an approach to life with an unprejudiced mind, no preconceived ideas or beliefs to color your perception. Clarity is being able to see things as they are, with eyes that do not know what they are going to see. No preconceptions carried over from the past into the present, truly seeing the situation as it is. Clarity is unconditioned perception. To not start out with preconceptions and beliefs, that's the way to clarity.
You pay a price for clarity, it is not cheap, it is not easy. You have to put in the effort needed to get clear, to bring clarity into your life. You need to be sincere, you need the willingness to suspend your opinions and beliefs. You need to develop unclouded perception. You will need to ask yourself honest questions: "Is this merely how I think it is, or is this the truth of it?" And clarity has its own rewards. You go beyond thoughts and concepts into life itself. Your life becomes existential.
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