The greatest social experiment in history is taking place right now, and you're part of it. The fact that you're reading this article means you're likely connected to the internet. Chances are, you're seeing ads on the side of your screen that have been targeted at you specifically, via "cookies" strategically placed on your device by savvy marketers and technologists. With multiple windows open on your browser, you're likely connected to one or more social media platforms, and the information keeps coming. And the price you pay for all of this? Attention. Your attention is quite possibly the most precious commodity in the world, and everybody's after it. The result of all these calls on our attention is often a busy, over-revved mind, resulting in time poverty, strained relationships and fumbled goals. But in this article, you're going to discover that the key to de-cluttering your mind and finding real clarity is closer than you think.
You see, your mind is a self-correcting system. Just as muddy water clears when you allow the mud to settle, your mind clears when you allow your mud to settle. And what's the mind-mud that keeps us from clarity? Contaminated thinking. When people first hear this, they often ask "How do I clear out the contaminated thinking?", but that's the wrong question. Contaminated thinking arises from a misunderstanding about where our feelings come from. Clear up the misunderstanding, and our heads clear. Here's an excerpt from my new book, The Little Book of Clarity (©2015 Jamie Smart, Wiley / Capstone)
Clarity and peace of mind are the "default position" for people - the factory settings. While these are context-sensitive - they can show up differently depending on the situation - they're the baseline for a person when there's nothing else in the way. And what gets in the way? Contaminated thinking.
Like a football being held underwater, as soon as you let
go, it rises to the surface. And like the grass pressing up
through the cracks in a city pavement, your resilience and
clarity is always doing its best to find its way through the
paving slabs of your contaminated thinking...
Clarity is the small child's standard setting. Up to the age of around four years old, children return easily to the default setting of their clarity and well-being. While they often get upset, they don't stay with it. The pull of their clarity is too strong, and their contaminated thinking is not powerful enough to keep them from it.
The average three-year-old:
- Tends to be deeply engaged, easily amused and satisfied with the simple joys of life; is present and in the moment, finding lots of things fun and funny.
- Is loving and open-hearted, connecting easily with others.
- Knows they don't really understand how life works; is curious, often puzzled, and constantly learning, coming up with new ideas and creative insights.
- Gets over upsets quickly and easily; doesn't tend to dwell on past mistakes or worry about the future.
- Is in touch with their deeper wisdom, often aware of "the elusive obvious" that the adults around them aren't seeing.
The average three-year-old spends a lot of their time in clarity, because they're allowing their psychology to do what it's designed to do. The psychology of little children is an example of the mind's self-correcting system given the freedom to do what it does best; return to a set point of clarity and well-being.
Your mind is a self-correcting system. Its set point is
clarity, resilience and well-being... The benefits of
allowing the mind to find its own way back to clarity
vastly outweigh the benefits of external intervention.
Why? Because external intervention stops the self-correcting system doing its job.
Clarity is what a person's psychology is always endeavouring to return to. Innate clarity and resilience are always shining a beacon, even when a person seems hopelessly lost. You see...
Clarity isn't an achievement; it's a pre-existing condition...
It's not something you need to practice or "work on". It's an expression of who you really are.
Contaminated thinking is the result of a simple misunderstanding; the mistaken belief that we're feeling something other than thought in the moment. While it often seems as though we're feeling something other than our moment to moment thinking (Eg. Past events, future scenarios, current circumstances etc), this is never actually the case. You're always living in the feeling of thought in the moment, even when it seems like you're not.
The greatest social experiment in history continues, and until now, we've been using a medieval misunderstanding of how the mind works to navigate the challenges of the modern world. The great news is this: we all have a capacity for mental clarity, and all the benefits it brings. As you deepen your understanding of the principles behind clarity, your mind will clear more easily and often. And as it does, the "deep drivers" of connection, creativity, purpose, resilience, intuition, authenticity, presence and clarity all emerge effortlessly. Just like they did when you were three.
The Little Book of Clarity by Jamie Smart is published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, February 2015