Spiritual Maintenance: Keeping Your Bucket Clean

by Martijn
Spiritual Maintenance: Keeping Your Bucket Clean

What you will find in this article

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One of the most popular articles on the blog is the one in which I explain why people who are going or have gone through a spiritual awakening have no motivation for anything in life. In that article, I use an analogy in which I refer to a bucket full of water. And, lately, many people have commented about that. So, I thought it would be useful to go a little bit deeper.

By the end of this article you will know exactly why the spiritual path seems to get harder and more painful when you’re a few years in and the “honeymoon phase” has faded away. And you will also understand that, in reality, this is only a feeling. And you will have regained the confidence and motivation to keep on going, to not give up, and to do the work for your spiritual maintenance. So you can feel at your best regardless of what life throws at you.

Why Spirituality Seems to Get Harder in Time

It has happened to so many of us. We start our spiritual journey with a lot of positivity and good vibes. But after a while, we start to experience things like loneliness, loss of motivation, emotional pain, doubts and uncertainty, and many times even physical pain and discomfort.

It’s quite simple to explain and let’s use the analogy of the bucket full of water here. You all know when you have a bucket filled with water and dirt, you have filthy water. When you continuously pour pure and clean water into that bucket the dirt will slowly but surely flow out of the bucket together with the water overflow.

Every now and then some encrusted pieces of dirt will brake loose within the bucket and will make it appear the water got dirtier again. And when you stop pouring in that pure and clean water, or you don’t pay attention for a while, pieces of dirt will fall into the bucket again.

The bucket is your mind on a spiritual journey. The water is the thoughts and experiences you feed your mind with. And the dirt is the traumas buried deep within and the thoughts and experiences that are not aligned with the new and clean version of your mind.

Spirituality is Amazing! Honeymoon Phase

At first, when you embark on a spiritual path everything is new and exciting. You learn about new things and practices that make you feel good and without a doubt add quality to your life experience. You often get to know new people because you explore new experiences such as alternative therapies, yoga, and meditation classes, or you might join seminars of spiritual teachers or authors of self-help books and material. This gives you an energy boost and confirms to you this path is right for you, it will bring you health and peace of mind.

This is the phase in which you still have a bucket filled with dirty water but you have opened the stream of pure and clean water. Obviously, very quickly you notice a difference because the water is clearing up fast. All the loose pieces of dirt are quickly flowing out of the bucket and spirituality is the most amazing thing you’ve ever experienced because you feel so good.

What is Happening to Me?!

But after a while, you are now getting used to having a bucket filled with relatively clean water. And you start to notice your life is not the same anymore. And while many people crave change nowadays, not very many people have learned the art of detachment. So, you’re still feeling attached to your old lifestyle. You very well know you cannot go back anymore but you’ve lost friends, your goals in life are not the same anymore, your interests have drastically transformed, and you might’ve even lost the motivation and zest for life.

This all occurs while your bucket is much cleaner than before. This is extremely important for you to understand. You feel worse than before but that’s just a feeling. You are doing much better. You just haven’t learned how to be this better version of yourself yet.

Deep Pain and Traumas are Breaking Free

Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, you get to the phase in which those encrusted pieces of dirt in the bucket start to break loose. You have filled your bucket with so much pure and clean water that the resistance of those old traumas from your childhood and maybe even from past lives starts to give. They have to break free but to do that, they need to float to the surface. And that’s where you will inevitably see and experience them.

At the same time, where before if some dirt would drop into your bucket you would never be able to notice the difference because the water in your bucket was already dirty anyway. Now, every little speck of dirt that drops in disturbs the purity of your water tremendously. And you start to realize spirituality is a very serious and daily occupation. And now you have a clean bucket there’s no way out. You have no options. You either do the work or you destroy yourself by letting your bucket be filled with dirt again.


And then, finally, you arrive to the fourth phase. Peace.

I, myself, am definitely not yet in this phase. But I have seen glimpses of it and I know it’s coming.

This is the time of spiritual maturity. You have explored your bucket in and out. You’re fully aware of the last pieces of dirt that continue to stick to the bottom of your bucket. And you’ve learned how to deal with the ones that break free. You accept every now and then your water will be disturbed by some dirt from the external world and you have the tools and resources to quickly remove it to keep your bucket clean.

This stage of your spiritual journey will be blessed with peace and joy, and a happy life is much more attainable when you have consciously reached this state of inner peace by deliberately keeping your bucket clean every single day.

Spiritual Maintenance: How to Keep Your Bucket Clean

Now you know what’s happening to you, in what phase you are, and why you feel like you feel, it’s time to get to the basics of how to keep your bucket clean. I’ve found that the following four things are key in all phases of your spiritual journey, and the further you are on your path, the more you will notice its impact.

1. Spiritual Practices to Observe Your Mind

Make sure to implement some sort of a so-called spiritual practice that involves observing your mind. Of course, meditation and mindfulness are the most well-known practices but they exist in countless different varieties. Just make sure to dedicate some time every single day to the practice of observing your own thoughts without interfering. Do this for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, and you will notice a tremendous difference.

2. Clean Body, Clean Mind

While your mind and your thought determine the quality of your life. Having a well-functioning body definitely makes it a lot easier to keep your mind clean. Therefore, one of the best things to do is to take care of your body. Exercise, daily if you can, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and give yourself the pleasure of a warm bath or a visit to the Spa every now and then. Your body is the vessel of your mind in this human experience. Make sure to create the best possible environment for your mind to thrive.

3. Stay True to Yourself

When you go through these different stages of the spiritual journey temptations and distractions will be thrown at you by life every single day. Sometimes you will find it easy to stick to your beliefs and the decisions you’ve taken about your lifestyle but often those temptations will be so strong they start to cause confusion. If you keep your daily spiritual practice and take good care of your body, it will be much easier to stay true to yourself, your beliefs, and your unique spiritual path.

4. Accept the Dirt and Do the Work

And lastly, just do your work and keep that bucket clean every single day. It will be so much harder if you make it a monthly or a yearly thing. And the rest of the time you let your bucket be filled with dirt again. Accept that dirt will fall into your bucket every day and that it’s your job to keep it clean. Spirituality is not a belief, it’s a serious daily task that requires time, discipline, and dedication.

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