Alternative medicine has long recognized the need to cleanse. You can’t swing a mat in a yoga studio without smacking someone who’s “doing a cleanse.” We have a collective assumption, I think well-rooted in western thought, that if there’s something wrong it’s because something’s there that shouldn’t be, something icky, and we bring out the scrub brush and the scouring powder. We are collectively a little freaked at “dirt.”
Perhaps it’s true. We live in a messy world. Biological processes are inherently messy. But sometimes an imbalance comes from a not-quite-fully grown function, an impoverished area of our body or soul that needs attention. So we supplement, assuming our body will be able to grow that function if we simply provide the raw materials. I wonder if that’s like dumping schoolbooks on a bewildered primary student who’s struggling to read.
Figuring out what is really happening inside us takes time and patience and usually involves an alternating balance of cleanse and nourish as we work through layers of compensations that aren’t swept away in a momentary rush of “fix-it.” Meditation, fasting, and forays into our emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual selves can provide needed answers. If we view our souls as more a plant to be grown than a sink to be polished we have a better chance at being whole.
Cleansing correction, a bit of pruning here and there, balances all the parts of us best when combined with loving attention to needs and goals and both are measured in small doses applied consistently.