by Marcel Hernandez, N.D.
For most of us, I’m guessing that the words “Spring cleaning” probably evoked two separate kinds of feelings.
On one hand, we love the prospect of a sparkling home that’s been cleansed of the long winter’s debris.
We envision windows thrown open, and light streaming through curtains that flutter in a pleasant spring breeze.
The flip-side, of course, is spring scrubbing and brushing, sweeping and hammering, and taking out dismaying amounts of trash.
Personally, I’d rather be outdoors digging in our garden or walking around the neighborhood admiring the newly emerging spring buds.
Nevertheless, I welcome the wonderful feelings of rebirth that this particular spring is awakening in me after – what is it now? – fourteen months of COVID. And I’m not just rejoicing in a rebirth that is marked by buzzing bees, chirping birds, and bright flowers, but another kind of spiritual rebirth inside me.
In the spiritual path that I follow, “taking seclusion” means deliberately setting aside a special time for meditation, reflection, and feeling closer to God.
And that leads me to the point of these ramblings.
If there’s been a positive side to the pandemic, it’s that it has forced us to go deep in our hearts and confront the litter we find there, and spring-clean the dark corners.
Just like our homes, our hearts and minds tend to become cluttered over time with worn-out ideas and attitudes and perceptions that are no longer helping us lead happy, purposeful lives.
We rejoice in a beautiful, sparkly clean external environment where our minds can soar and where we can experiment with methods for creating an outwardly efficient life.
But the same is true for our internal world. I’m sure we all yearn for a certain inner lightness, happiness, and joy, and that we all seek a connection with an inner wellspring of spreading peace, love, and calmness.
Here’s the relevant question. How can we go about cleansing and renewing our inner world?
I’ll share some thoughts that have helped me.
Stay positive and avoid the dangerous viruses of negative thoughts and feelings. Science has long demonstrated that negative ideas and emotions can shorten our lives and sap our happiness.
In our mental images of spring, there’s no place for dark thoughts of resentment and blame.
Be real and be comforted. Find security and truth in the sure knowledge that you DO know what’s useful and helpful, and what you can safely let go because you’ve outgrown it.
As the old song says:
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene.
(“Accentuate the Positive.” Lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen.)
Start latching onto positive affirmations and prayers. Affirmations that have a deep personal meaning for you can gain great power to effect welcome changes when you repeat them until they become an integral part of the fabric of your being.
I find tremendous inspiration in Whispers from Eternity, an inspired book of prayer demands by Paramhansa Yogananda, edited by his direct disciple Swami Kriyananda.
When I bring these positive affirmations alive in my consciousness, repeating them again and again, my world begins to conform to the transcendent power that a great master infused into the affirmation.
Conversely, be VERY selective about what you allow to enter your mental, emotional, and spiritual environment. Movies, music, books and newscasts can either help or harm us.
Seek the positive and joy-affirming. Surround yourself with people who are focused on leading happy, purposeful lives.
Finally, support your inner spring cleaning with activities that nourish your body. Get enough rest, eat delicious, healthy foods, exercise, meditate, and manage your stress.
You’ll be surprised to discover how much spring cleaning you can accomplish by mucking-out your inner dwelling space.
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