How I’ve tried to purify my body – and do the same for my soul

A healing act where your religion and your body may meet

BY RICK LEED —  Anyone who watches any television, or spends any time on the world-famous Internet researching health and wellness, has run across the phrase: colon cleanse. First of all, what exactly is a colon?

We all apparently have one. Anatomical translation: the section of your digestive system, according to Gray’s Anatomy, that lies below your small intestines.

Some of the better-selling products promise — and seem to deliver (pun unavoidable) — the elimination of built-up colon corrosion, reduction of toxins, an energy-boost  . . . and bonus, weight reduction and even a flatter stomach.

Whether this self-help technology that does an end-run around your doctor, health insurer and hospital is a solution — whether it’s advertised on television, sold online, or say, at Whole Foods — it’s a compelling treatment.

Baby-boomers tried to figure this out back in the day with a regimen called the Master Cleanse Fast: You’re prohibited from eat anything at all, and allowed to drink only distilled water — mixed with the startling culinary combination of cayenne pepper and fresh-squeezed lemons. I lasted a weekend.

The hippie-heal-yourself impulse was to do two things at the same time, when we really should do them one at a time: a cleanse and a fast, all in the space of 10 days.

That notion created a multi-million dollar category in non-alopathic health, and the supplements market.

From Ramadan to Yom Kippur and Lent, the spiritual roots of purification

Fasting, which is another way of saying  — limiting the amount or time of eating — arises from a deep spiritual tradition in major religions.  There is the day-long fast observed by Jews on Yom Kippur, or the month-long Ramadan observed by our brothers and sister in Islam, and the abstinence of Lent that various flavors of Christianity do in the spring.

Whence do you think the whole colon-cleansing industry arose?

In all of the pursuits of a peak experience, there are various flavors of restraint, discipline, or denial for the purpose of reaching an ecstatic state or spiritual place, although fasting seems like one of the most obvious.

But if your intent is to cleanse the colon, to detox, to lose weight, isn’t it great to get the benefit on another level as well? Some people go with the psyllium and similar fiber products that hustle things through the colon.

A colon-cleanse confession

While the last thing I want in my obituary is that I disclosed details of my own colon-cleansing, I will seek to be discrete.  I have lived in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Rome — and I’ve spent some serious time in cities in Africa, South America, Mexico, and Asia.

Call me a new-age Darwin, but in every single place I’ve been intrigued by, and studied, the local products used for body-cleansing.

Here’s the confession: I’ve sampled them.

The common denominator: a mix of fiber, herbs, and other natural substances that anyone can find anywhere to safely and healthfully cleanse thyself.

What are “colonics”?

There are many who favor colonics, which is a kind of invasive but active cleansing of the digestive system. Hint: It involves a hose.

Most of us are  squeamish about something that involves penetration of any kind, starting with a Walgreen’s vaccine shot.  But proponents claim that colonics, in addition to removing pounds of fetid, clogged up, and backlogged waste from the colon, give a person more energy and an elevated mood due to the elimination of toxins.  (And yes, not that anyone really needs to know, but I have experienced colonics too, and I agree that there are benefits that far outweigh whatever perceived awkwardness you might anticipate.)

So how about combining your efforts to diet, to improve the health of your body — including the plumbing that connects your mind (brain organ ) with your digestive system (think Kardashian).

Less toxins in your body, less unnecessary ‘baggage’ in the colon — how can is there not a mind-body spiritual connection?

Don’t we use the words ‘toxic’ and ‘baggage’ as swappable synonyms to refer to both emotional and physiological situations?

Sometimes, the easiest and most obvious choices are right before our eyes, and below (pun unavaoidable, redux).

Declutter, detoxify, both the body and soul.

Rick Leed is a Soul’s Code director and co-founder.  Read Rick’s previous article for Soul’s Code: A meditation on being a foster parent.

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6 Responses to “How I’ve tried to purify my body – and do the same for my soul”

  1. I have found that fasting and other purification methods can produce short term shifts in consciousness,especially when they are used consciously as a spiritual practice.

    The body’s energy is rarified but the consciousness may feel it is for a while, but in my experience all the dross from within our psyche comes up and we are also sensitized to this. So I think these can be valuable experiences but not necessarily necessary or always useful.

    I made the mistake of being a new age puritan for a while…never did all the colonics but diet and fasting. But it DID help, I saw auras clearly and felt energy to an amazing degree.

    Thing is, I was also floatey and had a lot of unprocessed feelings come up…after I balanced out I found I could still see and feel energy better than before but not as clearly as while on the diet. I think its another aspect of the mind/body complex that can be worked with but needn’t be done to extremes. The Chinese say that all energy is on a spectrum from physical to spirit.

  2. From another viewpoint, we are here in physical to bring as much light into the world as possible, and our bodies are our instruments to accomplish this…so, your body needs to be able to receive/host more and more light as you move toward opening to the fullness of who you are. The physical body (as well as our mental, emotions, etc. bodies) and the choices we make regarding our physical bodies has a GREAT DEAL to do with that journey.

    Colon cleansing? Well, if that was needed, and health was facilitated, then why wouldn’t a spiritual result be possible? Exercising (dancing, running, etc.)? Yep. Bathing? Yep.

    We’re all so different, with different bodily needs and different ways of
    opening spiritually. The question becomes, what feels right for you?

  3. Having done two very long fasts, 40 days and 42 days, I would say that they definitely have profound spiritual benefits, and heighten one’s senses and connections to source.

    I also work with plant medicines that cleanse your body, such as: uno de gato, flower baths, and ayahuasca in the Amazon Jungle (where I run retreats). Camomile tea and manuka honey are used for the colonics. On my first fast, after 21 days I decided 40 days was necessary for a complete cleanse, get the antiques out of the digestive system. I’m sure that without doing these kriyas, they must eventually cause toxicity in the body, even with a very healthy diet.

  4. I do not believe purifying your body through any means is necessary to achieve spiritual growth. It may be used as a tool if a person believes it is necessary, or it may remove an aspect which is creating disharmony in the body and therefore interfering with the person’s concentration.

    But people grow spiritually through experience, not through body purification, prayer, meditation or any other human process. If it is necessary to have an experience and your spirit takes advantage of it, then that is good.

    However, there are thousands of people who experience spiritual growth through disease, death, disruptive bowels, and other aspects which prevent them from being purified.

    It is simply choice and it is based upon your belief structure.

    As an added thought, related to purification of the soul. In my belief, the soul is pure, it can not be purified by a human act. It is the spark each spirit carries which is the pure universal consciousness. Human acts only relate to the human consciousness, not the upper or lower spiritual consciousness or the soul.

  5. Try this experiment as far as fasting goes. Mix raw vegetables in a blender and drink it for about three days. You can do the same with fruit like maybe oranges, but mix them in a blender also.

    Do not eat anything else. After three day come back here and tell us how you feel. It’s magic.

    As for as an experiment in the spiritual effects of fasting. Don’t eat anything at all except you may drink water for about two days. Then the spiritual effects become very strong. For me anyway the results become too powerful and I usually have to stop.

    I am not a fan of colon cleansing because it can be unsafe and it’s more of a fad than anything. I would see your doctor first for sure. This may sound weird but the body needs germs and bacteria. If you become to clean you will get sick because the body will lose its natural defenses.

  6. I believe it’s not as drastic as fasting and colonics which are useful for our spiritual evolution but an all-round healthy body and mind. When the body is healthy and not dragged by toxins and fast food it makes it easier to focus on the rest. When one is pre-occupied with pain here, disease there, then it’s not as easy to focus on evolving spiritually.

    I think it’s more about the ongoing cleansing of our body as it gets harder to avoid toxins even though we might have a healthy diet etc. A ‘healthy’ lifestyle is much easier to keep up than regular fasting and colonics and such. Yes there are pros in regards to fasting but I believe for the every day person they are way too intense!