Clarity and release are the 2 key aspects of spiritual growth. The first helps us move forward, the second clears the obstacles to that. Release brings clarity, clarity brings release.
Traditionally, the “way” is divided into several “paths“. Yoga speaks of the means to Union, essentially ways of pacifying the mind. From that perspective, if you settle the mind, you will discover your own nature under the noise.
However, this isn’t something we do just once or twice. We want to come home repeatedly so it becomes familiar. Not just as a place to visit for peace but recognizing it as who we are. We want more than just nice experiences of coming home – that leaves us just memory. This is something we want to live.
We also want to clear out the unresolved dreck or it will continue to kick up noise and re-obscure who we are. Not to mention reduce quality of life.
With enough clarity and release, we have the ground for spiritual awakening, smooth and balanced energy, and a solid connection with the divine. Then we have the platform for real quality of life. As a bonus, any progress we make towards this is carried forward into future lives.
From what I’ve seen, there are 3 key ways to culture clarity and release.
1) The Consciousness approach:
Effortless meditation. This is a practice that cultures turiya, the fourth state of consciousness also known as restful alertness or samadhi. Through a simple practice, the mind settles down and we briefly and regularly touch our own nature (clear or not). An effect of settling the mind is the body settling into a deeply restful state, deeper than sleep. This allows shedding deep resistance and resolving our old baggage and stress. Together, the release and the samadhi cultures clarity.
2) The Healing approach:
Using stage 3 (or better) energetic literacy and techniques to target specific resistance for release. In this approach, we or a trained healer reads the energy and resolves specific issues of various types. This has the advantage of removing more specific issues that simple rest may not get to. We get more specific support for our unique needs.
Note that I don’t mean pouring random energy into an area where we feel some resistance. While that may help ease some constraint, it’s too general for the deeper clarity we’re talking about here.
3) Devotional Surrender:
A deep, open relationship with the divine can culture profound surrender and growing clarity. But early on, this approach is suitable only for those with a Bhakti temperament. Making a mood or going through religious ceremony or prayer is hollow if there isn’t an open heart. It also requires enough clarity to recognize the divine. Even devotees usually need some of the above first. Then they can have an experiential relationship with the divine, not a conceptual one. That’s what will bring results.
Later on the journey, devotion can arise at key points and then more fully. The form of the devotion may not show up in a prescribed sort of way. No boundaries, right?
4) Darshan: [Update]
Resonance – spending time with the awake (the more live the better) is also a potent technique. But like devotion, it’s best to culture the ground first. Transcendence is faster. When we get close to waking, darshan can be a catalyst for the shift. Thereafter, it helps support growth – especially after Unity. Go together, speak together…
As a general recommendation, I suggest the first, supplemented by some targeted healing from the second. Someone like Kristin Kirk emphasizes the second. As I noted up top, release brings clarity, clarity brings release.
Other approaches like inquiry or mindfulness emphasize consciousness and require a certain degree of presence already developed to be effective. Even with presence, they tend to be slower because they’re less direct. And because they don’t culture the feminine, they tend to a more dry unfolding with less of the potential richness. There is also a tendency to stall out due to lack of cultured clarity. Where is the talk of the divine in neo-advaita circles?
Not that these are not useful techniques. You should go with what works for you. Just make sure you’re culturing the deep connection to source and release. Myself, I found that both arise naturally in the process and needn’t be cultured as a technique.
Of course, there are secondary things like culturing gratitude and yoga asanas that can be valuable. But these are support roles. The core needs to culture clarity and release.
By learning a right meditation and some good healing techniques, it’s amazing the skills that develop and the growth that can unfold. A life beyond imagining. As Denise Hagan sings “If you could see what I see, well you’d never lose your smile.”