When making tea, the first thing you need, before anything else, is a cup. You need a container in which to place the tea leaves and pour the water.

Clarity is that cup.

The experiences we have and the things we do are the tea leaves and water that go into the cup. Together they can make a wonderfully tasty and nourishing tea, but it doesn’t work unless you have a cup.

A potter creates a cup by knowing which parts of the clay to keep and which to discard as she forms her vessel. In much the same way, clarity is what allows us to take from any experience the lessons we can use — those elements that help us learn, grow, and expand our consciousness. Then we discard the rest, continually clearing our cup of all the fear, resentment, judgment, sadness, and other bits and pieces that won’t serve us moving forward. Such things only get in our way, and perhaps even harm us, when we allow them to stick around.

We get stuck in much the same way when we suppress or internalize our thoughts and feelings. As the saying goes, “Feelings buried alive never die.” In other words, if we don’t make a habit of processing our feelings and thoughts, our internal landscape goes through the same kind of devolution as that of a hoarder’s house. Such feelings and thoughts hang around, cluttering up our consciousness.

Over time, unaddressed clutter will continue to build, not only crowding out our authentic being but festering and becoming unsanitary, even downright dangerous. When the buildup reaches this level in our internal landscape, that’s when disease erupts in our bodies or our life circumstances.

Clarity, therefore, isn’t just a cup. Clarity is a clean cup.

In order for our tea to be tasty, healthy, and restorative, we not only need a cup to drink from, we need that cup to be clean. Achieving clarity isn’t only about creating a container but about keeping the container decongested and free from contaminants. The muck stuck in the bottom of our cups consists of our biases and prejudices. It’s our limiting beliefs and our many distractions. It’s repressed emotions and unprocessed experiences that stick with us, drain our energy, and get in our way. We need a way to process and make sense of the things that happen in our lives — all the experiences we have, the thoughts we think, the emotions we feel — so this muck doesn’t stick around and build up until it overwhelms us.

Like cleaning house, this is an ongoing process. The longer we go without taking action, the more work there’s going to be when we finally start, and the more likely it is we’ll unearth something truly nasty that’s been growing unseen in the darkness.