Clear Mind, Open Heart

How would you define a clear mind?

Our company CEO had a photographic memory and it was pretty intimidating. I made a presentation to him one day and he interrupted me: “Wait a minute Tim, six months ago, on slide 24 you indicated……”. Wait? What? I had no idea what was on slide 24! His comment amazed me!

Logical thought and excellent memory are aspects of mental clarity, but I think there is more to it than that. Awareness is an even higher standard. Awareness is presence to the breadth and depth of life, moment by moment. The busy mind is not aware. Who hasn’t missed a highway exit as a result of being lost in thought? Most of the time we frantically rush around to accomplish one thing or another, oblivious to our surroundings. One who is truly aware notices everything. Such clarity leads to wisdom!

What does it mean to be wise? I define it as awareness to relationships. As awareness expands, we begin to notice that everything is connected. This is evident at springtime when nature awakens to longer days and warmer temperatures. “Up North”, water midges appear where lake ice separates from the shoreline. Minnows swim up to eat the midges. Spring in the north country is like an orchestra tuning up prior to a performance, chaotic and beautiful. Wisdom changes one’s perspective; wisdom is awakening to profound interconnectedness.

Beyond logic, beyond awareness, even beyond wisdom exists an even higher level of clarity. Unfortunately, it’s fairly rare. This is compassion. Compassion moves awareness beyond interconnectedness to concern. The truly compassionate person has forgotten “Self” and sees how their actions affect the earth and others; and most importantly, deeply cares. At the height of compassion, the clear mind fuses with an open heart. This is the gold standard.

Logical thought defines the world with labels, manipulation, and power. Awareness transcends those things, shining a light on the present moment and giving birth to wisdom. Wisdom reveals the profound interconnectivity of “Being”. Finally, if wisdom gives birth to the compassion, caring expands beyond “Self” and the joys and sorrows of “others” become our own. This is the summit.

Few reach that level of clarity, yet it’s a worthy aspiration. I have a long journey ahead of me!

Key Principle: Following the wisdom awareness reveals
Key Question: What one action could you take today to advance clarity?

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