The Spiritual Law of Cleansing
Spiritual work is often referred to as ‘remembering’ or as ‘peeling off the layers of an onion’ to get to the heart of ourselves. We can only do that if we believe that at the heart of ourselves there is something good. If we believe that we are evil to the core, we will be unwilling to go there — no matter how many holistic workshops we attend or spiritual books that we read.
I got there for a brief moment at the very beginning of my spiritual search but, even though I’ve spoken of that moment many times in discussions on grief or despair, it was nearly 20 years before I finally got it.
My first husband, Henry, had died just a few weeks earlier and already friends were saying ‘don’t cry’ when I wanted to howl so I was closing in on myself in the grief. I was miserable one evening so I decided to sit in the bath with a gin and tonic and allow myself the unhappiness instead of tying it up in a little bag and hiding it in my wardrobe.
I had to push it a bit because my ego was trained to control itself but, pretty soon I was weeping like a waterfall and sinking down and down into the darkness of fear, anguish and loss.
It was a long way down and parts of me kept saying, ‘might be a good idea to turn round now, Maggy!’ but I ignored them and went on digging that hole in my heart and my guts.
After about half an hour, just as I thought I might suffocate from lack of breath, everything stopped. The darkness became spangled with little lights and something gentle touched me with a soothing enquiry and — believe it or not — laughter.
I laughed in my rapidly cooling bath with my empty glass of gin and tonic and I knew that I was totally safe and happy to the core.
It was me in there. The Divine Me. Alive and blissful even at the height of my grief. And You are in there, right in the heart of You. It isn’t about going to an Ashram in India or to visit Deepak Chopra in San Diego (nice though that is), it’s about peeling away the coverings to you.
And if it were very, very hard to do, we’d all be doing it. The fact is that it’s slow and simple where we want swift and dramatic revelation.
So, the Spiritual Law of Cleansing is about gently wiping away the dirt to reveal the beauty underneath. But the all-important caveat is are you prepared to find perfection?
If you feel a bit uncomfortable about that, try not to worry; it takes a while to get there on a regular basis and the good news is that, as you get closer, it doesn’t seem quite so mad, bad or arrogant. And other people notice that your eyes get clearer and your life seems to be working out pretty well. They may even ask you the secret of your success. They're sure as heck never going to ask you for the secret of your failure...
Here’s the latest one that I’m using. See how you get on with it.
Imagine your psyche as an village with its own ocean harbour. Place great metal gates at the harbour mouth. Then look closely at the ships within your harbour. If there are any that are pollutants, or any that you don’t like the look of, visually move them outside the harbour gates and close the gates tight behind them tight. Say ‘not in my harbour.’
If the water in your harbour is not clean and clear then these ships have affected your psyche. Imagine a mountain behind the village, green and uninhabited. From its peak flies down an angelic presence with a grail full of holy water. The angel passes the grail to you to bless and pour into the harbour. You say words such as ‘by this holy water my harbour place is cleansed and healed’ and pour the water into the harbour. It is then cleared. This may not happen 100% at once but if you return several times you will find that the water will clear steadily.
You may also find that some of those ships creep back in. Send them away again.
This meditation can be extended throughout the village and the island itself with time (see my workshop The Quest of the Soul) but, for these purposes, stick with the harbour.
Once you are familiar with the visualization, every time you experience a thought that you don’t like or don’t want just say ‘not in my harbour’ and mentally push the thought outside your gates in the open sea.
For those of you who worry about the environment, this is not harming the planet; it is simply setting your boundaries. Negative thoughts, feelings and issues can only thrive if human beings give them attention. Stick that worry outside the harbour too!