“The dark side clouds everything”. – Yoda
What I have been lacking over the last couple of years is clarity. In many ways I have been fumbling about in the dark without direction and without purpose. This has made it very hard to focus on much, let alone training, to become a better version of myself. Life has felt like an uphill slog through fog, mud, and low hanging branches. I’m not even sure of where I am going or what I mean to do when I get there. Life has become a meaningless existence, a day-to-day grind, void of any real purpose. To clear the fog and find a clear path I need to find clarity. Clarity of purpose, intent, meaning, anything.
“If one does not know which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca
It seems to me that lack of clarity is a universal problem. When the pandemic started everyone seemed to be clear on the need to quickly get through it and resume normal lives. More than two years passed, and the issue never really resolved but it faded from media attention, government priority and public interest. The world then stumbled into more problems, economic and political. War in Europe and the Middle East added to the confusion and sense that the world is spinning out of control. There is no longer a clear path only noise, division and derision.
The current situation reminds me of the Republic towards the end of the Clone Wars. The Galactic Senate had become hawk like and irrational. Decisions lacked clarity and the senate was ruled by personalities and vested interests instead of a common purpose or goal. The Jedi Order had long lost its path and become a political beast leveraging its influence and interests in the senate and the military. The Clone Army also became a weapon used for personal and political gain rather than its intended purpose, to defend the Republic and its democratic institutions. There was a lot of noise and arguing in the Senate, Jedi Temple and in military briefings but no common purpose, no clarity.
“Insight enables you to know your own heart. Clarity enables you to accept without illusion.” – Deepak Chopra
Yoda was referring to the inner world when he reminded his fellow council members “the dark side clouds everything”. The Dark Side was gathering its forces against the Republic, but Yoda was concerned more about the rot that was taking place within the Senate and the Jedi Council. The real threat did not reside with separatist forces but was there among them growing like cancer and shrouding everything in a dark cloud of doubt, deceit, confusion, and uncertainty.
Palpatine undermined and defeated the Jedi not through combat but by seeding doubt and uncertainty through lies, manipulation, and subterfuge. The Jedi lost clarity and in that fog of doubt the very sense of who they were. Darth Sidious, clear in his vision for the galaxy, only needed to enact Order 66 to finish off the Jedi and usurp the senate.
Lack of clarity, the insidious cloud of doubt and despair will derail progress and threaten recovery. Besides falling to resentment and despair, lack of clarity is one of the main things that will betray you.
“I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life.” – Carl Jung
Clarity can be had by doing a few different things. Getting the right amount and right type of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and taking supplements especially vitamin B and choline. Physical exercise, meditation, and mindfulness practice, reading and doing mental exercises also improve cognitive function. Listing what needs to be done, prioritizing, and having a clear plan of action provides direction and focus. Striving for meaning and purpose in everything you do will lead to clarity in your mind and heart. Being grateful for what you have instead of constantly wanting what you don’t have provides clarity to the soul.
The world may be falling apart but you don’t need to. Being Jedi means being able to accept what is without judgement and keeping a clear mind. A clear mind leads to clarity and with clarity we have purpose and intent and find meaning in our lives. We know where we are going, and we know why and what we will do when we get there. Finding clarity amidst the noise, confusion and uncertainty in our external lives is impossible. You won’t find it anywhere but within yourself. Look there.
I hope that’s clear.