There was a time in my life when I assumed I had to take drastic measures to initiate a powerful cleansing within my experience - like fasting for days - or installing some rigorous practice in my daily experience, or something like this. I assumed I had to add something to my experience to cleanse something from it.
This was until life put me through experiences in which routines I followed daily were suddenly removed and I was faced with points of emptiness that had otherwise been filled with supposedly necessary 'spiritual activity'. I then went through a period in my life when I examined the routines that made up my day and asked myself: "Are these indeed 'route ins' - or are they carefully placed, disguised escape hatches used to hide any empty space in my day?"
This was when I discovered that even the seemingly most noble activities, like meditation, following 'a correct diet', and reading some inspiring literature each day, could be used as escape routes from the moment. I realized how I can use my most trusted spiritual practices and disciplines as reactivity - as a means to cover up emptiness, stillness, silence, and simply being with what is.
Then I went through a period in my life when I deliberately removed activities that I had assumed essential for my so called 'spiritual wellbeing' - just to see what happened. This was hard initially. I felt guilty. I deliberately stopped practices I had been devoted to for many years. In stopping my daily engagement with these I discovered that some of these activities also had attached emotional signatures, and their associated belief systems, that were fear-driven.
Do I become 'a bad person' if I do not meditate every day? Do I feel guilty if I do not go to my weekly yoga practice? Am I judging my spiritual status by the activities I engage in?
I have discovered that any activity in my life that I have entered that was initially born out of a reaction to inner suffering must be examined in this way. Initially, they enable me to become more aware and find a sense of balance, but if I begin to rely upon them - instead of my inner resources - like a child's security blanket - as the means by which I keep feeling okay - they can also become an anchor holding me fast in an energetic cul-de-sac.
There is a point in our journey when responding as consciously to the felt-resonances of the moment we are in becomes powerful enough. Then we engage in our practices from this point - as opposed to scheduling them religiously throughout our day or week regardless of what is unfolding.
Examining the intent of our daily routines - by sometimes removing them from our experience for a period - and then experiencing 'how we feel about this' when we do - often opens the door to powerful emotional cleansing.