Izzy and I saw this sign on our way out from a swampy trail we had just walked. We thought it was cute. Further down the road we saw another sign we had missed on the way in, this one more official and more ominous...“PLEASE do NOT feed the crocodiles!”
Well, then. Feeling a bit foolish, as well as lucky.
Our new year’s stroll tossed my new year’s intention right to me. I’ll be paying better attention as I move into 2019, eyes wide open, with the hope of cultivating more clarity.
Paying attention to cultivate clarity is a practice. We can get good at it, but we’ll still mess up (check the above photo and ys 1.17). Here is a three part tool for learning to pay attention, with the end result being clear perception, and an ability to discern whether something is true or false.
The first part is easy. If something is, or happens, right in front of our eyes, we see it. Therefore, we know this something (object or event) to be true. Do you see a crocodile? No! Does this sign warn us that there are crocodiles here? Yes! (As with all things, this is not fool proof). Two easy questions with two easy answers, but it requires us to have the discipline to pay attention (to the sign and the wildlife around us), and the remembrance to ask ourselves questions.
Second, do a little detective work to infer if something is true. We have to use not only our eyes, but our brains as well. IS it a swamp you are walking through? Yes. ARE there crocodiles on the islands of Belize? Yes. ARE there as many dogs out here on the southern tip of the island? Uh, no. COULD you infer that there might then be crocodiles exactly where you are treading? UGH! Assuming doesn’t ALWAYS make an ass out of you and me...
Third, a reliable resource has filled us in, given us useful information. Does that sign look like an official posting? Sure does. Too bad we didn’t see it ‘til we were leaving- better practice that first bit a little more! But let’s take it seriously now and move mindfully forward.
Most often we need to use all three of these modes to perceive our world clearly. The first one—right in front of our own eyes!— is the most immediately useful and reliable, but the other two are also very helpful to keep us from imagining or believing false things to be true.
Stepping back and taking a moment, just a moment, to run though one or all of these methods of gaining clear perception allows us to feel anchored in the spinning world, so that we don’t fear being flung off should it spin too quickly. Clear perception tells us when we are safe or in danger more accurately, and, more often then not, feeling safe becomes the norm. With this clarity comes a deeper connection to your Self, that Witness, that Dweller in The City of Yourself that is able to look around without letting the mind get the better of things and start making up stories. Pursue clarity, and all will begin to fall into place. Eyes wide open. 2019, here we come!