Everybody bathes or takes showers to cleanse themselves, it’s a basic part of everyone’s hygiene. It may clean the hair and the skin to some extent but that’s just the outer most surface of our body. The most important parts of our bodies lie on the inside. Obviously, a healthy diet is paramount, and there are enough guidelines available about that. But what else can we do to remove impurities, especially if we are aspirants on the spiritual path?
First let’s discuss why this is important for spiritual seekers. Whether on the direct path, or indirect path, our operating system – or karma – will manifest itself one way or another. For one who is living by their compulsions, they will face familiar patterns that they are used to dealing with, even if unhealthy. But for those who are living consciously, and trying to evolve beyond these compulsions, there can be challenges too. It’s no wonder, because after all in spirituality, we are breaking out of our addictions to our impulses. In her book, When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening, Bonnie Greenwell discusses the many symptoms that can arise in the mind and body from the relentless pursuit of Truth. As she states, “Our journey brings challenges because it is a radical transformation. It is radical because it dissolves the false self.”
This is a generalization but if one approaches spirituality with ease and gradually, embodying and adapting along the way, the energetic shifts are much more manageable. This is where removing impurities comes in because it makes this process a lot more efficient and less fraught with medical and psychological issues. So, let’s look at some ways to maintain purity as much as possible within the system.
The first thing is to consider your mind and body as a temple, and therefore to curate everything that goes in and comes out. This means being mindful of the kinds of media that you consume, and the kind of language that you use. It means taking consideration over the emotional landscape in which you are operating.
The second thing is to cleanse the body through fasting for a period of 24 hours, twice a month. That is actually not as hard as it sounds. Beginning after dinner, not consuming anything but water, with lemon or honey if preferred, to the following day’s dinner can be done with little discomfort or craving. It’s just about building up to it, twice a month – ideally according to the two Ekadashi days of the lunar calendar.
The third thing is the foundational assumption we began with in the first place – we want to grow spiritually so regular sadhana or spiritual practice, whatever that may be. That may involve yoga or meditation or prayer or a whole host of eastern or western approaches. The important thing is regular (daily) practice.
All of these things work together in an integrated fashion to keep us well tuned, so that we may grow efficiently and without friction.
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