Time to empty the trash

Originally appeared on spirituality.com

Computer users understand that in order to keep space open on their hard drive and have their e-mail service working optimally, a crowded e-mail inbox needs to be cleaned out on a regular basis. They have to make sure they not only delete unwanted e-mail, but also “empty the trash.” After doing this basic maintenance on my computer the other day, I realized that this concept is actually a profound spiritual point which can be translated to the health and upkeep of our thoughts and lives.

It is easy to just shift negative thoughts and emotions to some “back file” somewhere out of mind with a swift mental “delete.” Yet I’ve learned that without really dealing with the root issue behind whatever is bothering me, negative feelings can fester under the surface, leading to mental, even physical, turmoil.

Just like computer users have software tools to help them keep things running smoothly, there are proven principles—universal spiritual principles—that one can turn to and apply, through prayer. With a quiet God-centered consciousness, present health and harmony are easier to recognize. I like how the Bible gives this firm, yet loving, instruction, “Dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God” (II Cor. 7:1, New Living Translation). “Cleanse” is defined as becoming thoroughly free from any unwanted element, where there is no trace of it left. And to me, “fearing God” simply means honoring our divine Parent with appropriate respect, trust, and praise.

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