Spiritual Spring Cleaning
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
This is the season of spring, and we have finally said goodbye to cold weather. The weather has warmed up, the flowers have bloomed, and the trees are covered with their finest greenery. At this time of year, we tend to want to clean our house and rid ourselves of anything that reminds us of the long, cold winter. We want to open our windows to let in the clean, fresh air. We want to toss out anything that clutters our house. We usually refer to this as spring cleaning. We want to get rid of anything that reminds us of the cold, dark months of winter so we can allow in the beauty of spring.
Just as we have spring cleaning, we can also use this time as one of spiritual spring cleaning. It is a time to clear out our spiritual house, so we become receptive to God’s love and bring joy and happiness into our lives.
Our spiritual house is our body and mind in which our soul resides. So, how can we clean our spiritual house? We must free ourselves of the clutter of mind and matter so that spirit can flow in.
Before we spring clean, we typically take a good, hard look at what is cluttering our house. We do a walk through first to see how much cleaning needs to be done. We evaluate what we want to keep and what we want to throw away. We decide if there is anything too difficult for us to remove ourselves, and we call upon someone to help us.
Similarly, in spiritual spring cleaning, we need to do a walk through of our own interior makeup to decide what we want to keep and what we want to throw away. We need to evaluate what aspects of ourselves we want to cleanse. We need to understand what is cluttering our minds and hearts and keeping us from opening up to God’s love.
For example, some basic impediments that clutter us are anger and ego. Let us examine how we can remove these from our lives.
Anger is usually aimed toward another person. When we are angry, what are we doing? We are thinking about the other person. We are thinking about what that person did or said, reviewing in our mind what has happened, replaying the scenario just like replaying a DVD of a movie. Then, we start inventing scenarios of what we want to do to get back at that person. We start creating new movies of future actions or words we will express to get even. How does this help us?
The way to clean our house of anger is to say, “Do I want to spend my time thinking about this other person or interacting angrily with this other person through my words and deeds, or would I rather experience the joy and happiness that comes from experiencing God’s love?” We have to actively choose to focus our thoughts away from the other person and redirect them toward God.
When we are filled with ego, we are filled with thoughts of our own selves. We compare ourselves to others, and make judgments that we are better than everyone else. We think we are more powerful than others. We may feel we are entitled to whatever we want. We may feel we are intellectually superior to everyone else, or that we are smarter than others.
The remedy for ego is selfless service. If we spend our time engaged in activities that are helpful to others, we are serving others instead of ourselves. If we serve without any desire for gains for ourselves, then we are not thinking of ourselves. We are thus eliminating our ego.
In this video, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji talks about the benefits of meditation and how it helps bring positive qualities into our daily living.
Letting Go of Worry
As we go about our daily lives, we are also filled with thoughts of the past and future. These thoughts revolve around what we have done and what we want to do. Most of the time these thoughts are filled with worry. We worry over what has happened, and we worry about what will happen. Worrying about what has happened is also colored with thoughts of regret, shame, disappointment, and despair. Thoughts of the future are worries that often involve fear, apprehension, and anxiety. When we involve our thoughts with the past and future, we miss the present moment. I always think about the present moment as a present. It is a gift from God.
We need to declutter our thoughts of the past. Whatever has happened has happened. Many things happen in life that we wish would not have happened. Many times others misunderstand us, or misinterpret something, and make us pay for things that they perceived happened, even if nothing happened. Sometimes we have done something wrong, and other times it is only that other people perceive we have done something wrong. We cannot change the past.
Even if we have done nothing wrong, we cannot change how other people act toward us. We need to spring clean and throw out all worries and disappointments of the past. We should make each moment a fresh opportunity to experience God’s love.
We should leave the past behind and welcome new moments. We should have an internal vacuum cleaner that keeps sucking out the dust from the past, so our spiritual house is spotless for God to enter in the new present moment that comes.
Similarly, we need to do spring cleaning of thoughts of the future. We clutter our house with imaginations of the future. We live in fear and apprehension of what will happen. We are so busy thinking of what we want to happen in the future or fear of what may happen. If we would turn off these thoughts of what might happen moments from now, days from now, and weeks from now, and wake up to, then we will stop worrying about the future and live in the current moment.
The True Measure
The true measure of whether we have cleaned our house sufficiently is to see where our attention is. If we have done our job well, our thoughts will be stilled. We will be free of thoughts about the past or future. We will be free of anger and ego. When we sit to meditate, we will be able to focus within easily, and will be like empty cups waiting to be filled with divine love. Our internal being will be filled with love, and it will flow like energy waves through us. This love results in spiritual upliftment. It will cause a stirring within us. We will start feeling love for everyone and everything. This is the true measure of whether our house is clean.
This spring, let us take on the challenge of spiritual spring cleaning, so we can declutter our hearts and minds, and let the fresh air of God’s love in to nourish our soul. As we do so, we will not only be helping ourselves, but also become an example for all around us. It is an activity which will help us all year round and for all times to come.