The Yogis have always given importance to methods of purification. One of the very important limbs in the eight limb path has “saucha” which means cleanliness as methods of attaining purity. This cleanliness is both internal and external cleanliness, which leads to “santosha” which means contentment. The process of Yoga involves continuous cleaning of the mind, dropping things, lightening the load. Giving up desires is very difficult but simplification of wants is relatively easier. When through the power of reasoning and reflection a person cleans the mind, the body starts becoming lighter. The “psychosomatic shock” is sensed lightly. The lightness thus derived is grounded into firm wisdom by the practice of meditation.
One of the most important qualities needed to start and stay on the practice of purification and meditation is “patience”. Please understand, through a conscious effort of purification and meditation we are working on cleaning something that has been accumulating in us for many life times. This deep cleaning does need a lot of time. Just like cleaning your patio in autumn when the leaves fall is a continuous process the same way keeping on purifying the mind is an essential and continuous process. The thoughts that come in mind are conscious or unconsciously raised out of past impressions in the memory stores of subconscious mind. The mind will keep raising thoughts, that’s its job and we should keep cleaning the mind which is our job. We can’t be angry on the leaves that fall in autumn, we can only keep sweeping and wait for the autumn to pass. This is why “Patience” is a virtue on the spiritual path, patience along with faith increases surrender and with surrender the spiritual growth moves on “auto-pilot”, effortlessly.
Sometimes when we think of starting to meditate, some kind of nervous energy makes us restless and stops our body and mind from slipping into the peace of meditation. In such times a better approach would be to recognize and accept this nervous energy and do some kind of “moving” meditation rather than sitting meditation.
The type of meditation given below is a “cleaning meditation” which can help in many ways.
When you need to clean the house, when you need to clean your mind, when the nervous energy in the body and mind makes you restless or just without a cause.
Consciously think of some past memory or past resentment you would like to clean. Broom (though a vacuum cleaner is also fine, I think it just gets too easy and mechanical but you can try and experience it on your own). If you are allergic to dust you can also engage in wet cleaning, like cleaning the floor or tiles in the bathroom. You might need a brush and some soap water for wet cleaning.
Pick up your broom or brush and stand in front of the area you intend to clean. Become aware of the dirt or grime on the surface, and think of this dirt as the negativity and resentment residing in your mind and heart. Start sweeping/cleaning with total awareness. Focus only on the broom, the floor and the dirt. As you sweep mindfully feel the negativity leave your mind and heart. Each conscious sweep should make you feel lighter and lighter. If the mind wanders bring it back to the act of cleaning. Watch the dirt moving away as the surface gets cleaner, feel and visualize this act and interpret this as your mind and heart being cleaned. Carry on till you feel satisfied. In case any emotions come out during this act, do not hold them back, allow them to express, this will make you feel lighter too. End the meditation by sweeping the dirt into the bin and throwing it away. Feel the negativity going away with it and relish this sensation in silence.