An Excerpt from The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse
When you take the time to cleanse your physical body of accumulated stress and toxicity, you are rewarded with increased energy, vitality, and optimal functioning. In the same way, the Consciousness Cleanse is designed to purify your mind and emotions, bringing you enormous amounts of strength, confidence, and deep inner peace. Past hurts and resentments cloud your perception, while present-day distractions and ego-driven desires impede your ability to make good choices. The Consciousness Cleanse takes you on a journey of spiritual revitalization that will move your attention from the outside world back to your sacred interior. Like a physical cleanse, it will liberate you from the toxicity of the past, reconnect you with your soul's purpose, and gift you with the clarity and the inspiration to care for yourself like never before.
If you are ready to claim the gold that lies beneath the surface of the self that you know, you are in the perfect place. The most descriptive tale of this journey that I've ever encountered, one that comes fully to life, is a Buddhist story. In 1957, a monastery in Thailand was being relocated, and a group of monks was put in charge of moving a giant clay Buddha. In the midst of the move, one of the monks noticed a crack in its surface. Concerned about damaging the idol, the monks decided to wait a day before continuing with their task. One of the concerned monks came to further examine the giant statue. He shone his flashlight over the entire Buddha. When he reached the crack, he was astonished to see something reflected back at him. His curiosity aroused, the monk got a hammer and a chisel and began chipping away at the clay Buddha. As he knocked off piece after piece of clay, the Buddha got brighter and brighter. After hours of work, the monk looked up in amazement to see standing before him a huge solid-gold Buddha, a priceless treasure the likes of which had never been viewed before. Historians believe the Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks several hundred years earlier, before an attack by the Burmese army. The monks had covered the Buddha to protect it so it wouldn't get stolen. In the attack all the monks were killed, so it wasn't until this day that the real value of this great treasure was discovered.
Like the Buddha's clay covering, your outer shell serves to protect you from the world, while your real treasure, your soul's expression, is hidden within. Unknowingly, you hide your inner gold under a layer of human clay. And all you need to do to discover your real value—your soul's gold—is to have the courage to chip away at your outer shell, the persona of the human ego, piece by piece. The outer shell is what keeps you from seeing the real light that lies within—your purest essence, your power, and your real worth. Until you are able to see who and what you are at your core, you will settle for the self that you know, and may endure immense and often needless suffering.
If you are seriously considering the 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, it is because, more than likely, you know there is far more for you than you are experiencing right now. Mediocrity in any area of your life is no longer an option, because either your pain is too great or your desire for having it all is too compelling. You want more, and you know you deserve more. You know there is something you're not getting, and you are ready to get it. So today is a perfect day for you to take back your power from the outer world, turn inward, and embark on the journey of reconnecting with the spirit that moves you. It is inside this structured program that you can clean out the container of your own consciousness, enabling you to experience your most soulful self.
Love for the human journey—for all its challenges and joys—will chip away at the hardened shell of our limited self. I'll never forget hearing Waylon Jennings sing, "I was looking for love in all the wrong places." I was haunted for months by these words, because they triggered the recognition of a deeper truth—a truth that altered the very nature of my existence. I saw that he wasn't singing about just romantic love, but rather a universal truth that we all needed to come to terms with. Most of us are looking for love, happiness, and fulfillment in all the wrong places. After teaching for fifteen years and interviewing thousands of people who appear to be living great lives, I can assure you this is true for almost everyone. Anyone with great success will more than likely tell you they needed more than their outside accomplishments in order to be happy, content, and fulfilled. Why? Because what our souls are hungry for is something we can't buy with accomplishment, money, or charm—something we can't even get from another human being. The truth is there is only one source of pure, unconditional, never-ending bliss, and that source resides inside of us. The only cost? Our devotion.
It may seem simplistic, but in this outer-driven world, it is easier to ignore the inner calling of your soul and buy into the extreme rationalizations of your human mind. Living a life of devotion to your highest self is a lifelong, daily pursuit. And it seems difficult only because you've been trained to look to the external world to get your needs met, to get the good feelings you're looking for. You think that if only you get the right body or the right relationship, if only you get that project finished or have all the love and money you want…you're sure there must be something in the external world that will finally deliver to you the satisfaction you crave deep within your soul.
When we are hungry for something to make us feel good about ourselves and we refuse to take care of our inner needs, we do stupid things. We get in repetitive patterns that we know will lead us nowhere. We succumb to our addictions, whether that means compulsively surfing the Internet and checking e-mail, shopping, viewing porn, eating, drinking, gambling, smoking, or spending. But most who suffer with deep feelings of emptiness know that there is nothing—and I mean nothing—that can fill that inner hole. Quick fixes and short-lived motivations just dig us deeper into the hole, leaving us more resigned in the present than we were in the past; hence the birth of the human chase.
Within you there is a hungry ghost that is always craving more, whether it's more love, money, respect, acknowledgment, or material possessions. No matter how much of these things you have, if you are emotionally deprived and spiritually impoverished, the hungry ghost takes over, and you find it impossible to feed its voracious appetite. This disowned part of yourself is never satisfied.
Ironically, though, when you allow yourself to connect to spirit, you want for very little because you're so rich and filled up inside. If all you ever prayed for, meditated on, and asked for was to open up to a deeper connection to this divine resource, everything that matches and vibrates on those higher levels of consciousness—including abundance, satisfaction, and a quiet mind—would come to you. But when you are disconnected from this source, you hunger for anything that gives you the illusion that it will make you feel better. The truth, though, is that there is only one solution to your inner hunger, only one way to satisfy the hungry ghost, and that is to fill it with love, with higher consciousness—to connect to all that you are and all that there is. When you are connected to your true essence, you feel blissfully content inside—one with your own soul and the spirit that sustains you. You're able to sail above the small, lonely feelings of your desperate heart that is searching for its divine counterpart. When you're connected to your soul's deeper purpose, you are able to bring to the world that which you long to give. When you're filled up inside by a power greater than yourself, you naturally feel love, compassion, and kindness for yourself and for others and are infused with the power and the confidence to be, do, and have that which best reflects and expresses your soul's highest potential.
When you are tapped in and connected from inside, you experience what the great twentieth-century novelist Franz Kafka so gorgeously expressed when he wrote, "You don't even need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Don't even listen, simply wait. Don't even wait, just be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." This is because when you have faith and trust in the divinity of every soul on this planet, you can see that God will answer the call of your individual soul—not in ego time but in divine time. And if you are quiet and centered enough to hear the voice of your own soul, you will be delivered a life beyond your wildest dreams.
Debbie Ford is the national best-selling author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, The Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life and Why Good People Do Bad Things. Her new book is The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse (Harper Collins). She conducts workshops across the country. She lives in California with her family.
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