"Great," you say. "But how do I make it work in my favor?"
It all comes down to clarity, I see now. Clarity of vision, clarity of intent is part of it. But there is also the matter of the clarity of the vessel. Who would set out to make a cake in a bowl half full of foreign ingredients? Only a fool would proceed and expect a successful result.
I have set out year after year, embarked upon creation after creation with my "bowl" brimming with irrelevant ingredients, expecting good results. I have read book upon book, studied numerous philosophies, and hungrily so. I have sat zazen, learned yoga, tried The Three Questions, prayed affirmatively--accumulated and employed countless tools. Understanding that I could manifest whatever I wanted didn't make me successful at it. Something was missing.
As a late teen, fresh out of High School and already involved with the man I would eventually marry, I pored over the newspaper classifieds--column after column of Help Wanteds in search of a job for me. There wasn't one. Everything in me knew that there wasn't one, but I kept looking, kept depressing myself with this repeated, concrete reminder that there was no place for me "out there." I did not fit. Something in me knew I was looking for what I would not find because I had yet to create it.
I married. I took a "regular" job--the type you might find in one of those Classified Ad columns, though it came to me by referral from one of my new family relations. When I found myself to be a misfit in those worlds, I left them. And by the time I discovered there was a "Way," I was well along it. But still, no matter what perennial philosophy, what oracle, what discipline, what mantra, what affirmation or formula I threw at my mind, body, or spirit, there were two realms I could not altogether break through. In money and in love, I was never triumphant. In these areas, I was not free--or in other words, the bowl was not empty. Time and again, I would attain this insight, or that new level of consciousness--AhA!!--and be sure: This time, I got it. This time, I have overcome. This time, I have found what was in the way, and I have cleared it; I am free.
But alas, I was not free. My results proved it, and I resented them for that--them, and anyone who would point to them and ask, "But...what about this?"
"Piss on 'this'," I'd feel like saying.
I had had those breakthroughs, those insights; I had dropped those bags. I had unraveled the net with which I had been hauling in all the less-than-ideal results (money struggles, ill-fated romantic encounters). Yet I could not manifest proof of it. I could not for the life of me (an interesting expression, "for the life of me"...) produce different results. Until I could. And did.
It has gotten so I cannot read from the 'Books of Answers' anymore. You know the ones: self-help genre or other, they are the books we turn to in hopes of finding an answer within them. I did the same with workshops, trainings and such. I have found many answers in this way, sure. But nothing was going to make the ultimate difference until I got really clear. Until I 'emptied my bowl' if you will. Until I came to understand and to embody the basic facts of my existence--my existence as a differentiated Life form. My existence as "spirit" embodied, spirit in form--in this case, human form. Nothing would run in that smooth, Swiss-movement sort of fashion until I recognized the pure, fundamental truth about myself.
I am reminded of the longest of the three books I have finished writing in my lifetime thus far: the fiction of the three, as it happens. How many times had I declared that book "Done!"? I don't know. But I do remember the penultimate "Done!" was delivered with great confidence. Then, thanks to a giant-step-of-a computer upgrade, I had to type the whole thing over, start to finish. It was the best thing that every happened to that manuscript.
"It ain't over 'til it's over."
We hear that expression uttered, in hopeful tones, at sporting events--usually when the home team is trailing. It certainly has its parallels in the realm of human transformation. I've crossed paths with many who could produce all the 'merit badges' of enlightenment but who were still not free, who were still trying to produce clean and perfect cakes from a soiled bowl.
And it's like that, too, isn't it? We're sure: "This time it'll work!" And then, yet again, the cake falls. How's this for a secret: "It ain't over 'til it's over!" Add a dash of this: "Don't try to fake it; Life will not be fooled."
Translation: You're not clear until you're clear.
How clear am I? How clear are you? The answer to these is always, readily available: the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Look around. You will see, everywhere, evidence of your deepest, truest beliefs. Don't like the evidence? Get to work on the wiring behind those beliefs. Who wired them? Why? There is a Wizard of Oz-like climax to every such probe if it is followed to its conclusion. We see behind the curtain (with or without the help of a little curly-haired dog) and that which has held such power over us for so long--formidable, fearsome--is revealed for what it is, and it loses its power (a power it never actually had, you notice) for all time.
How will you know it's over? How will you know you've exposed the root of the thing? It will be over, that's how. With nothing to keep creating it, it will cease to manifest. That's what turned for me. That's what made the difference. I stopped creating love and money woes, and they have consequently ceased to manifest. A gas-powered car just does not run if you do not put fuel in the tank, period. Maybe an electrical appliance would serve as a better analogy: I pulled out the plug.
I'll sum it up in one word: clarity. Clarity means seeing: seeing by way of delving, and clearing by way of seeing. I cannot say that all those books and trainings and practices I engaged were for naught. I suspect every one of them is as a brick lain in the path I am now joyfully, freely walking--dancing, cavorting. But I can say this: if I try to read from any of the 'Books of Answers" these days, I cannot get very far. (I acquired The Law of Attraction, one of the Hicks' books channeling Abraham, in a Secret Santa gift swap last Christmas, and have made a few attempts to engage.) Between each line, I keep hearing the same thing: Just know who you are, and toss out whatever contradicts that.
It all has become so simple to me, so automatic, so--forgive me, I can't help it--clear. Who I am is who I was before I accumulated a grand supply of contradictions to same. I assembled them; I created the false construct. I had "good" reasons to do so. But much like training wheels on a bicycle, they served their purpose, and I no longer have use for them, so I have simply and unsentimentally taken leave of them. This is real freedom. This is balance that I strike naturally, by virtue of my own equilibrium. To be clear is to be free. To be free is to be light. Sometimes, I am sure I'll disappear.