I don’t relax as deeply as usual if my home is untidy” admits writer Ann Lynch from west Wales “It’s as if something inside won’t rest until everything is in its place.” Many spiritual teachings, including Christianity and shamanism, say ‘as within, so without.’
But what if the reverse was also true? What if our physical environment has a direct impact on our spiritual growth? A spiritual spring clean means decluttering both physically and psychically – inside and out. We live in a physical world. Or it may be more true to say we are spiritual beings bound in flesh to learn the lessons this plane has to teach us about balance.
One of the best ways of achieving peace, meaning and clarity is to purify –in all areas of our lives. Learning to ‘spring clean’ our environments and our minds makes room for new experiences and insights, and can be of great benefit.
Take a look at your surroundings – are they tidy and well cared for? Does it feel like home? If not, what do feel you could change? Try to look with a feeling of gratitude for the roof over your head, then sincerely ask yourself: how am I caring for my things?
It’s very beneficial to have our surroundings feel good and filled with only the things that uplift and nourish us. The more consciously we care for the beauty of our surroundings, the more attuned we may become to the peace and guidance of our inner ‘home.’ As ancient Egyptian mystic Hermes Trismegistus put it: ‘As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.’
Many of us spend most of our time at home in our lounge, relaxing, organizing our lives and socialising. It goes without saying that is a very important space to ‘get right.’
Spread the love
It’s great to make your lounge as comfortable as possible, so you can all relax and enjoy each other’s company time and again. Where there’s room, consider a L- or U-shape sofa so that there’s space for everyone to really stretch out and have their space.
Light up your world
As weather-obsessed Britons, we’re keenly aware what strong an effect light has on our mood. If you can, put your lights on a dimmer switch for an instantly relaxing atmosphere for a movie night or romantic dinner. Candles, too, are a simple way of creating a peaceful atmosphere that relaxes the eyes and calms the mind.
The kitchen represents your physical body – after all you are what you eat. Most of us already understand the benefits of an organic diet, and many more are coming to realise that a meat-based diet is unhealthy, inhumane and unsustainable from a planetary perspective.
Harness plant power
Whatever your current standpoint on vegetarianism, everyone can do their best to become more compassionate. Harmlessness, it is said, is the acme of spirituality. Participating in the popular Meat-Free Monday movement started by the McCartney family (meatfreemondays.com) could be a fun way to try new recipes and kick-start a healthier, kinder way of life.
Whether you live with your family or just like to entertain, it’s lovely to have a solid dining table for everyone to sit at and talk. Mealtimes are an important chance to ‘feed’ our relationships. Eating and relating harmoniously will strengthen the bonds between you, and raise your levels of health and happiness.
Do you have a spare wall? Put up a pin board and a calendar. Being organised means you’re less likely to worry about forgetting things, leaving your mind calmer.
Think of your bedroom as a sacred space – a sanctuary in which to rest, rejuvenate and enjoy cuddles with loves ones and pets.
Keep things sweet
If you like to watch TV or DVDs here, pick only the ones that you find funny, romantic or uplifting. What we absorb – psychically even more than physically – affects the way we think and feel, and in turn determines the kind of energy we ‘give out’. To enjoy restful sleep, it’s helpful to not pollute our mind and close our hearts with things that make us negative.
Put friendship in the frame
The bedroom is a very good place to have framed pictures of loved ones and/or peaceful scenes. We often carry images from our day-to-day life into the dream state.
This state is significant on several levels – it both helps to regenerate us and widen our consciousness to attune with higher guiding forces. So who and what we carry with us into this state significantly effects both what we dream about and our state of mind in waking life.
Neutral colours such as white, cream and sand are ideal in this room. They have a calming influence and will help you rest and relax.
Unlikely as it may seem, the bathroom is one of the most powerful rooms in the house. In a way it reflects our outer appearance and how we feel about ourselves. After all, it’s where we wash, clean our teeth and usually take care of our physical appearance. What does your bathroom say about how you feel about yourself?
Keep it clean
Invest in organic and eco-friendly products that are kind to your skin and the environment. The more respect and care we show to all Life, the more spiritual we’re being.
Make things all white
If your toilet has been there for a while, you may want to replace the seat, ideally with a new white one (white is symbolic of purity and divinity – think of doves and angels).
Sit back and meditate
The bathroom is an excellent place to meditate. Water is one of the most spiritual and transformative elements in nature. It both cleanses and heals.
Lie upright and comfy in a warm bath. Start to rhythmically deepen your breathing as you close your eyes and relax deeper into the soft warmth of the water enveloping you all around.
Focus on your heart space and keep your attention here, breathing slowly. Allow an image of yourself meditating inside a beautiful ‘ball’ of pure white light to appear.
Keep your focus on this peaceful, blissful scene for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to end, deepen your breathing, bring your attention back to the bath and – feeling cleansed, loving and restored – open your eyes.
CHECKLIST: YEAR-ROUND ESSENTIALS FOR A HAPPY HOME
Offer this prayer to boost the positive energy surrounding you and make your home a true haven. Close your eyes, breathe slowly, send your focus high up like a beam through the sky and repeat internally to yourself:
May Divine light shine on this space
And bring the joy of love to my face.
Thank you, Universe, for guiding me
To make this home a peaceful place to be.
BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CLEANSING THE MIND
Light a candle and stare gently, patiently, into the flame. Imagine immersing your whole being in a feeling of gentle loving peacefulness and breath deeply and evenly. Now close your eyes.
Every time your monkey mind begins to chatter, gently open your eyes look back at the flame and let go of that thought. Do your best try to sit in this state for five minutes.
Go the extra mile by keeping your home free of psychic ‘dirt’ such as complaining, criticising and shouting. It takes great inner strength to overcome our habit of being negative. Do your best. All efforts made to ‘clean up’ your life and be more loving will be rewarded.
Next time you find yourself belly laughing, notice how you don’t have any thoughts… Nature is very precise; be tickled pink. Or think. You can’t do both.
In knee-slapping, tear-wiping laughter, the thinking mind disappears. Howling is neither part of mind or the heart but comes from somewhere beautiful beyond the two; your core, your being. Only man can laugh; no other species.
So laugh! Laugh like a loon as often as you can and you may, by and by, move into meditation. Seriousness will loosen its grip on you. Its fatal disease will start retreating from your core. Seriousness kills creativity, innocence, passion, potential, wisdom, joy…
If you can find something funny, if you can let in the light of humour in even the darkest place, then you’re free.
Laughter is music to God’s ears
Osho spoke more about laughter than probably any other mystic. He’d frequently drop in jokes into his discourses, many of which offer brilliant insights into the transformative power of a good old giggle.
“If you are possessed by laughter, thinking stops. And if you know a few moments of no-mind, those glimpses will promise you many more rewards that are going to come.
You just have to become more and more of the sort, of the quality, of no-mind. More and more, thinking has to be dropped. Laughter can be a beautiful introduction to a non-thinking state.”
OSHO RISK AUTUMN FESTIVAL 2014
MEDITATION + TRANSFORMATION + CELEBRATION
October 10th -14th
Denmark (nearest airport: Billund)
with Maggie, Ashika, Jivan & Sahido
This is a mini festival for those of us who’d like some days of healing, fun and meditation with friends in a peaceful setting. It’s an opportunity to sink into deep relaxation and find out more about yourself in an accepting atmosphere.
Click here to download the full programme (no workshop or meditation class is compulsory. Only going with your own pace is).
Is generally in small dorms. Or you can pay more for your own nest. All rooms are comfortable and well cared for. And plenty of hot water in the showers.
DELICIOUS! Risk’s cooks are pros and masterminding organic vegetarian feasts (really; they are feasts. Especially breakfast). In summer, much of the veg is picked fresh from the kitchen garden.
There are three daily active meditation sessions. Joining all is encouraged; none are compulsory.
Osho Risk is a small commune and meditation centre about an hour by car from Billund airport and there are daily flight from Stansted with Ryanair. Ask reception and someone can be there to collect you and ferry you to the low-rolling hills and big skies of Jutland. Everyone there speaks amazingly good English.
€316 – including accommodation and three organic meals a day. Excluding travel.
If I’ve not answered your question, ask me now.
A lot’s been written about forgiveness, its power to heal, put the past in its rightful place, and shine love in through even the most painful of closed doors.
I can’t forgive
To forgive takes strength. Real strength of mind and heart to put peace and compassion above our upset and anger.
It doesn’t mean condoning what they did. It means accepting that they, just like you, are human and make mistakes.
You can forgive. It is our divine nature to forgive because, when truly humble, we realise we are united in ‘not knowing what we do.’ None of us are blameless, just as none of us cannot be redeemed by love.
When we forgive another, we not only set the other but ourselves free. It is a win:win situation; an ennobling act of selflessness.
But they don’t deserve it!
The sun shines on everyone; it doesn’t decide who deserves its light and who doesn’t. True love is unconditional. And until we ourselves have attained perfection, who are we to judge others?
They’re not sorry
Some people believe that if the person’s not remorseful they can’t be forgiven. Ouch.
This is not true. The (transformative, powerful) point is to forgive anyway. Love anyway. Be kind anyway. Choose forgiveness over being ‘right’ and inner peace will curl up in your lap.
I’ve already forgiven them
Forgiveness is many-layered. To say a prayer once, for example, is unlikely to release the negative tie between you and the other. It usually takes several attempts – perhaps over years, especially if the bitterness/anger/resentment is long-held.
Like Rodin creating The Kiss, keep chiselling away at your hardness of heart until the heavenly beauty of pure love reveals itself from inside your inner block (there all along, waiting for you to find it).
How will I know when I’ve really forgiven them/myself?
When you can think of the person – or meet/talk to them – and not react but remain neutral. Or perhaps the initial reaction is to contract and start feeling negative but that soon dissipates either of its own accord or through you willing yourself to be calm.
In larger view…
When you view life as eternal, forgiveness is the only thing that makes sense. To bear grudges is a kind of childishness, for to hurt one another is a natural part of human life.
Our wounds help us grow wiser and stronger. To truly forgive is to press ‘fast forward’ on the evolutionary path. Forgiveness is freedom.