“No one can be enlightened unless he first be cleansed or purified and stripped. Purgation, which is the remaking of character in conformity with perceived reality, consists in these two essential acts: the cleansing of that which is to remain, the stripping of that which is to be done away. It may best be studies, therefore, in two parts. …
“These than are the branches into which the subject will be split. (1) The negative aspect, the stripping or purging away of those superfluous, unreal, and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self. … (2) The positive aspect: a raising to their highest terms, their purest state, of all that remains.” ~Evelyn Underwood
Purification is a word that scares many people away from spiritual development. It shouldn’t. Real spiritual purification doesn’t involve self-flagellation. Nor does it require hanging weights from our bodies using fish hooks like some in India do. As Ms. Underwood explains, spiritual purification is not a physical thing, but a mental and spiritual one.
There may be some physical aspects to it, but it is nothing as drastic as flagellation. It may mean changes in diet to a healthier one. It may mean changes in behavior so we don’t waste our energy too much.
The purging part of it is to rid ourselves of false beliefs and limitation that prevent spiritual growth. Actually, we should purge ourselves of all false beliefs and limitations, but our primary interest is the spiritual.
The first is our concept of God. Whatever religious or spiritual background we have, almost all of us have a concept of what God is and how he functions which is far from the reality. Proof of this can be seen in the way we like to declare holy men to be God. Only a servant of God would ever descend to the physical realm to help us out. God doesn’t do that. He might put His presence in the spiritual sun, but God Himself isn’t in there.
Our ideas of Heaven are another one. The way many people talk about their dead friends and relatives, it sounds like all we have to do to get to heaven is drop dead. That is about as far from reality as you can get. Even most holy people don’t get to go directly to Heaven after they die physically. They enter lower spiritual dimensions and spend many more years working their way up to heaven.
The Oriental mystical teaches say we must empty out cup before it can be filled again. That is their allegorical way of saying we must first get rid of false beliefs before our cup can be filled with truth. This is not something most of us can do in a day. We have to work for years to purge ourselves of false beliefs. But the more veils re remove, the more clearly we can see beyond them. Purification may not sound like fun, but removing veils of falsehood actually is.
Not everything we believe is false. Not everything about us needs to be purged. But some of it is limited more than necessary. We have love for some people and some beings. We need to develop that love to a higher level. The level of recognizing that we are all one. And we need to expand that love to include all people, all animals, all of life.
Most of all, we need to expand our consciousness. Purification helps with that. But we still can’t expand our consciousness when we limit it to our brain-mind. We have to waken our spiritual faculties. The soul knows more than the brain. Far more. And it can raise us to higher levels of consciousness and being that are beyond the comprehension of the brain-mind.