The first step in creating healthy balance in your life is to take an honest, compassionate look at yourself, and ask, “How am I, really? What stresses me and what blesses me?” Ask yourself what and who you want less of in your life. Rather than hanging out with negative people that bring you down, surround yourself with positive friends who lift you up.
“Purify Your Life” is the first of four principles in my book, A Pace of Grace. I received 10 Rules for Health in meditation, the first being, “Purity and Cleanliness”.
On a physical level, I was guided to practice hydration – drinking plenty of water, and immersing the body in water every day; eating primarily water-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables along with grains and a little meat or fish.
The second Rule was: “Breathe (Pranha)” I was told to exercise daily for ten minutes then twenty and to breathe fresh air every day. Breathing deeply several times a day is incredibly energizing. When we are suffering from the FOG Syndrome of fatigue, overwhelm and guilt — stressed and over-worked — we often breathe shallowly, or hold our breath without meaning to. Sufi mystic Rumi said, “Cleanse the rheum from out thine head and breathe the breath of God instead.” Dr. Andrew Weil suggests pausing often to breathe deeply with tongue curled against the roof of the mouth (a yoga position that circulates energy throughout the body). In through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8 counts, making a soft blowing noise, keeping the tongue curled in the yoga position. There was also guidance to learn yoga, which I found very healing.
We need spiritual and mental “house cleaning” too. Ezekiel 36:25-26 says, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit…” We need to mindfully examine the idols we set before ourselves – money, addictions, popularity, power — at the cost of our own spiritual wellbeing. “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”(Mark 8:36)
A Baha’i prayer says: “Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope!” Hope comes alive when we have a clear conscience and are living what we know to be a good life.
The best way to start cleansing our lives of negativity and unhealthy habits is to purify our language and our thoughts. It’s very hard to stop doing something you know is wrong for you. It’s far easier to start doing something new – to flush bad habits out by pouring new ones in. The Language of Virtues is a vehicle for positive change. Abdu’l Baha said,
“When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” Author William James said, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.” One of my scripture class students is painfully shy, finding it nearly impossible to speak in front of others. Now that she is calling on her growth virtue of courage, she shares her thoughts and her talents more freely. Author, Anais Nin said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Purifying your life is a process of detachment, from what no longer fits you emotionally, spiritually, or materially. It is a wholistic approach to decluttering.
When you discover a virtue you need in order to purify your life of something you want to let go of, you will experience new light, new life, and the blessings of amazing Grace. As Jesus says in the Beatitudes (which are all virtues!), “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”