Just as toxins build up in our bodies, they can accumulate in our minds as well. Occasionally, a period of emotional detox is precisely what we need to find balance.
There can be aspects of certain conversations, books and movies, television programs, and other forms of entertainment that can be toxic to our spirits. Watching a particularly violent movie might not even faze us consciously (as inured are we to depictions of violence), but it will lodge in our subconscious minds. Later, we may surprise those around us (and ourselves) with an angry outburst, and wonder where it came from. Chances are that the violence we witnessed, although fictional, took root in our subconscious selves, waiting for an opportunity to manifest.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to be drawn into conversations that are filled with anger and hatred. Someone may say something so provocative that we feel we simply must reply. Thus we are pulled in and “hooked;” before we know it, we are making angry declarations of our own. This makes equanimity impossible; the other three “immeasurables” are soon out of reach as well. (It’s hard to maintain lovingkindness, for instance, when you are angrily declaiming some doctrinaire point.)
How can we effectively carry on our own emotional detox retreat? I’d recommend devoting a day or, if that is impossible, part of a day to it. Begin the day with an hour of asana practice, pranayama, and sitting or walking meditation. In your meditation, use the “Nourish/Dispel” gatha I referenced in my last post (https://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/everyday-spirit/gatha-for-spiritual-renewal.html). With each exhalation, you can thus mindfully expel poisonous things such as anger, hatred, jealousy, and bigotry. This is also an excellent time to rearrange and dust your altar or sacred space. New flowers, artfully arranged, will help support the sense of poisons leaving your mind. While you are dusting the altar, you can say, “Breathing in, I clean the surface of this altar. Breathing out, I release the toxins from my mind.”
Follow this with a candlelit bath with music that is particularly soothing to you. You will emerge from your emotional detox retreat a happier, more balanced person, one others will enjoy spending time with.