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Repeat it until it sets in
Repeat your new interpretation until it sets in. Keep repeating it until it becomes habitual. How do you know it’s habitual? When it becomes your automatic response. That mental image flashes, for example, your father leaving your family, and then the new interpretation comes in.
When you can see daylight between how you reacted in the past, which is anger, resentment and self blame, to something more positive, then you’re not trying hard enough. Keep repeating it until you see that distinction.
This kind of thing is not going to happen over night. But the good news is that it does assume some form of momentum. Eventually, you start displacing your old mindset. A lot of people struggle in life because they are so obsess about figuring out what to do, when to do it and who to do it with. They obsess about these questions so much and for so long that they’ve lost sight of the most important question.
Believe it or not, there is a question that transcends all of these. The most important question is, was and always will be “Why?”
Think about it. If you don’t know why you’re here, then all the technical knowledge in the world won’t do you any good. You’ll still feel empty, directionless and purposeless. It will all seem, at a certain stand point, empty, shallow and pointless.
It often takes just one bad day for all of this to come crashing down around you. It is no surprise that a lot of people feel lonely in a crowd. It is not all that shocking to discover that a lot of people feel depressed.
They deal with these issues in varying shades of socially acceptable ways. In our society, it’s socially acceptable to cheat on your partner when you feel a deep and profound personal existential loneliness. You fill this hole in your soul with sex and you confuse physical intimacy with spiritual intimacy and fulfillment.
The same goes with drinking and, to a certain degree, drugs. But let’s get real here: they’re all coping mechanisms. Few and far between are the people who see this issue for what it is. All these are a reflection of a spiritual lack. Due to spiritual pollution, we have lost our sense of purpose.
Spiritual detox: Identify your purpose
I know this sounds shocking. But everybody’s got purpose. That’s right. You’ve been put on this planet for a reason. You’re not just a random collection of cells. You’re not just a cluster of tissue. There is something to you that is intrinsically important.
I know you feel small. I know you feel voiceless, powerless, inconsequential. But the truth is you have a purpose. The problem is most people refuse to own up to this. The truth is we all have a sense of purpose.
Maybe sex is your sense of purpose. Maybe drugs gives you purpose. Maybe making more money is your purpose. But the fact that you are acting and setting goals and planning based on something you can not see right now means that you are capable of living in a purposeful way. It may not be the right one. It may not even be optimal. It may even lead to dead ends and further frustration and depression.
Still, there is that power to operate from a sense of purpose. Ask yourself this question. “What is my purpose right here, right now?” Is it sex? Money? Drugs? People’s validation? Living up to your parent’s expectations? Trying to impress other people? What is it?
Now for the key question
Ask yourself this key question, “Now that I have a clear idea of the laundry list of purposes that I’ve given myself, does it make sense to me?”
I want you to wrap your mind around this question and think about this deeply. You know what’s operating. You know what’s animating it. You have to be completely honest about it. But now you have to ask yourself, “Does it serve my purpose?”
How do you know this? What kind of map or compass do you need? Well, it’s very simple. You just have to ask a follow up question, “Do these purposes lead to the life that I want for myself and my family?”
If your purpose is drugs, does it lead to the life that you want for you and the ones you love? If your purpose is sex, does it lead to those things? Be completely honest with yourself. Let me cut straight to the chase. If you’re reading this book with any kind of honesty, the obvious answer is no!
You’re not happy. You’re feeling stuck at some level or other. You feel like a liar, a hypocrite. You feel defective, flawed. Now we’re making progress. Now you realize that something is missing.
Identifying spiritual pollutants
What are the spiritual toxins weighing you down? Do you constantly compare yourself to other people? Do you open Facebook and look at the timelines of your friends and compare your life to theirs? Do you feed your mind with all sorts of junk like celebrity gossip and political drama?
Do you check out your Twitter feed with a sense of envy or dread in mind? Do you feel left behind when you look at other people’s lives in social media? Do they seem so much richer, prettier and more alive than you?
Does it seem like everybody else has a tremendous amount of freedom while you are feeling stuck, frustrated and desperate? Do you constantly compare what’s missing in your life with other people’s brightest and happiest moments?
Do you find it hard to listen to people sharing pain in their lives without constantly butting in and sharing how you have suffered too?
If any of these questions resonate with you, please understand that they are symptoms of spiritual pollution. You are suffering from them precisely because you feed yourself spiritual poison.
Identify your personal list of spiritual toxins
Any kind of detoxification must begin with the toxins you’re trying to get out of your system. The same applies to spiritual detox. Here’s the problem. I can’t help you all that much in this area. Why? Everybody’s list of spiritual toxins is different.
Some people are driven by sex, power and prestige. Others are driven by social approval and living up to certain standards set by others around them. Others are driven by fear, pride, stubbornness. There’s really no one size fits all solution here. So I’m not even going to try.
We’re all different people from all different backgrounds with all sorts of different experiences. I can go on and on about the things that separate us. Unfortunately, these areas of separation and distinction play a big role in how out spiritual toxins are shaked and positioned in our lives.
What I can suggest to you
I can, however, suggest to you that you reach deep down inside and ask yourself what your spiritual toxins are. Sometimes, you have to ask a question in many different ways to get to the truth. If you’ve ever gone to a police interrogation or you watched detective movies, you would notice that they would ask basically the same question intended to get the same answer in many different ways.
They do that for 2 reasons. First, they know that people are often confused. They mean to say something, but they really can’t quite say it in the right way. So they have to chip away at the different ways of phrasing something until they’re clear that you actually mean certain things.
The other reason is more obvious. They’re looking for inconsistencies. In other words, they’re looking for lies and deception. You should do the same with yourself. Ask yourself the same essential question but in many different ways. Here are some suggested questions.
Ultimately, they’re all about identifying your spiritual toxins. Ask the following, “What makes me stubborn? What makes me cling to an idea because of personal pride? What makes me afraid? What makes me feel small and limited? What makes me feel unloved? What do I have a tough time forgiving?”
Believe it or not, we hang on to a lot of these things. I know it sounds counter-intuitive. I mean, after all, who wants to hang on to a brutal memory of a father that used to beat you all the time? Who wants to hang on to that image of your father slapping your mother around? Who wants that?
But the problem is it’s like a train wreck. You know you shouldn’t look at it. But you can’t turn away. You can’t look away even if you tried. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to figure out that none of this is doing us any favors.
They suck our spiritual life and instead of living life with a tremendous amount of adventure, possibility, purpose and curiosity, we retreat to the tried and proven. We shrink back to the familiar.
It’s very lonely in the shadows. So come up with your list. Deep down inside, you already know the answer.
Step #3: Let go of your spiritual pollutants
If your Facebook feed is causing you to continue thinking in a certain way that makes you feel small, spiteful or vindictive, you might want to sit up and pay attention. Please understand that what you’re feeling has nothing to do with your friend in New Zealand, Great Britain or in the tropics.
Instead, it has everything to do with you. Whatever negativity you are feeling comes from you. You are just reading into that stimuli. It could be somebody else. It could be somebody living in Iceland or Green Land and you will find something to be envious about because it reflects what you feel is missing in your life.
Similarly, if the people you hang out with tend to bring out the gossip in you or tend to bring out the critique or hater, you might want to open your eyes to this reality. If the kind of books and music you consume always makes you wish that you were somebody else, living a better life, doing better things with your time, you might want to think twice.
I want you to come up with a long laundry list of the things that you normally do that trigger negative mindsets or things that don’t spiritually sit well with you.
Step #4: Turn your back on spiritual junk food
I’ve got some great news, spiritual detox does not involve cold turkey. If you’ve ever struggled with trying to quit smoking, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s get real here. It would be impossible for most people to quit the first time they tried. I’m not saying that cold turkey doesn’t work. It does. It worked for me. But you have to try again and again. When it comes to spiritual junk food or toxins, the better approach is to incrementally, or in a step by step way, pull back from the things that normally trigger you and make you feel small, petty and resentful.
Do you spend a lot of time checking other people’s photos on Instagram and imagining yourself living their lives? You might want to cut back on that. Do you spend a lot of time comparing yourself to your friend’s travel photos on Facebook or Flickr, you might want to give that a break.Other Details
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