Spiritual Hygiene refers to the in and out of the body. It is a fundamental 4 Ascendant practice.
Part of the definition of spiritual hygiene refers to what we are familiar with when the word hygiene is used in Western thought, namely, the traffic into and out of the body orifices, and the care of the orifices. When we look at the Taoist concept of hygiene, we are primarily concerned with the flow of sense data into the sensory organs, and seeing what comes out the human in the way of thought and action.
The underlying thought of physical hygiene and sensory hygiene is the same: what you put in directly impacts what comes out. In a controlled setting like a temple, food is controlled and you have to deal with your own waste. This can help make you intimately aware of the connection between the in and out. In a modern Western lifestyle, this basic awareness is interrupted by mechanization, because modern technology keeps a person exposed to his or her own effluent only briefly.
The advantage of having to deal with your own waste and food is that most minds easily make the jump that the same relationship applies to the in and out of the senses.
4 Simple Way Taoist Spiritual Hygiene Can Enter Your Life
Spiritual Hygiene is an important part of the 4 Ascendant Tradition 3 Level Method. So let’s take a look at 4 simple ways that hygiene can be directly applied to you own living:
- Your environment can be shaped to fill your senses with reminders of your goals of spiritual development. For example, go to any temple and your going to see a lot of reminders about practice, what the goals are, what you are doing there, etc..
- Exposure to sensory information that runs counter to thought processes that you want to develop should be strictly controlled to favor the thoughts and actions you have as your goal. Put Garbage into your head and you will get Garbage out of your head.
- People are communal beasts and the actions of other humans easily influence what we choose to do. It is important to cultivate interactions with people that do the things that you have as a goal. You want to expose yourself to their ideas, expose them to your ideas, and allow yourself to be challenged and supported by them.
- Study reinforcing material. Oral instruction or reading material (the classics and the Free Taoist newsletter) can be used to fill the senses with information and thoughts that favor your goal.
Hygiene by itself will not override choice. A person in an extremely negative or extremely positive environment can still think and behave in away that runs exactly counter to the influence of the environment if he or she makes an enormous effort.
However, most people will be swept along by spiritual hygiene, and that can be good if the hygiene has been shaped in a way beneficial to them. However, taken out of that environment, people that have not done the underlying spiritual work or have weak karma will be easily changed by whatever influence they are exposed to.