What does a spiritual house cleaning truly mean?
I was visiting a friend of mine last week. Opening the door, she was holding a mop, simultaneously announcing to me that she was doing spiritual house cleaning. When asking her what that entails, she informed me that she was “getting rid of the old.” As she said that, I assumed there might be some “new” to be added. She quickly dispossessed me of that idea, saying there really was nothing new to be added. She only wished to free herself of the old. In fact, as she spread her arms out wide at that announcement, I interpreted her stance as desiring to be free. Of what, I didn’t ask.
What is emptiness in a spiritual house cleaning?
Currently studying Buddhism, my mind immediately entertained the idea of the concept of “sunyata.” Sunyata is the perfection of wisdom and is also known as emptiness. I wondered if spiritual house cleaning could also therefore mean letting go of some of the contents of her house. I also think of spiritual house cleaning as not only letting go of items in one’s abode, but also freeing oneself of the contents of the mind.
A personal reflection on a dream
On a personal note, when I dream of houses, it often portends letting go of some karma or drama in my life and embarking upon a new adventure. Just as cutting hair or getting a new hairstyle can sometimes represent a new beginning for someone, I can see how a spiritual house cleaning would include all of this.
Tips to Spiritually House Clean
Allowing myself to play with the concept of spiritual house cleaning, this is what I came up with:
- Dusting. Dusting certain items in the house implies that one is willing to allow the item to remain in the house. There are certain bargains we make with ourselves when deciding whether to let go or keep something. When we first embark upon letting go of relationships or desires, because of the decision to be made, it is said that there is some juggling going on. This juggling keeps things up in the air long enough for choices to be made. Therefore, dusting is an intrinsic and important part of spiritual house cleaning.
- Cleaning out closets. I can’t imagine a spiritual house cleaning that does not include cleaning out a closet or two. In fact, some would have put that first on the list. When we clean out our closets, we are truly letting go of old identities which might include those size 8 pants you swore you would be able to get into again. Or likewise, you might want to get rid of those size 16 that are too big. Cleaning out closets are so important that I would say that it is a prerequisite for letting go in your life. It therefore deserves a new paragraph.
- Sweeping. Ah, sweeping. Attempt sweeping vigorously and involve the whole body in its movements. The vigor and strength with which one wields the broom is often consistent with the intent to free oneself of old concepts.
- Mopping. When one decides to let go, mopping is always the final and most important element in spiritual house cleaning. It is washing out any “lingering” elements. There is no turning back after mopping. In fact, a new mop might just be the thing since we don’t want to ignore parts of the floor. I would recommend in that instance one of the large cotton free flowing mops now available in the stores.
- Polishing. Isn’t there a feeling of sacredness as one polishes an item, and attends to it lovingly? I think so. As one polishes a particular item, one is saying, ” I care enough about you to want you to shine in your perfection.” And as you do spiritual house cleaning, note what items you polish and those you leave untended. That will reinforce what you wish to remain and that which you wish to let go of.
- Opening the Doors and Letting the Sun Shine Through. This is the final element of a spiritual house cleaning. It tells you that you have at last let go of any matters in your life long retained. Notice how free you feel, and with the doors open, how you are able to breathe even more fully and expansively. And as the sun shines through, remember it is shining upon your actions and saying, “Well done.”
If you have a question about “Spiritual House Cleaning,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.