The Purgatory – a Stage of Purification

Kremlin Church © Erik Back 2005

In my last post [I Was Stuck in the Purgatory for 10 Years] I used the Purgatory to explain my path to a new stage of life. But what is the Purgatory?

Is the Purgatory an idea strictly reserved Catholics?

I decided to look up the Purgatory concept. I found that most beliefs have a concept much like the Purgatory. It is a process of purification.

In the old Egypt the pyramids had a chamber of purification and in Buddhism your whole life is a purification process.

In today’s society it is more and more common to search yourself and find peace. We write books and articles about how to become better individuals and how to be healthy and happy to spread the happiness we achieve.

I’m not to judge the Purgatory concept. I believe that it is up to you to decide what it means to you.

What do I make of the Purgatory?

Basically I see the Purgatory as a process of purification of both body and mind. It is a constant process we have to do to develop ourselves and to reach our life goals.

To get to another stage of my life I have to let go of the previous stage. I have to clean up my clutter and take my good experiences into the future.

There is a lesson to be learned at every stage of life and if we don’t learn that lesson we won’t be able to move on to the next stage.

What is the Purgatory to you? Is it a purification process that most people have?

Should we try to cleanse body and mind to become better individuals? What do you do?

Is self-development a process of purification?

I Was Stuck in the Purgatory for 10 Years

Norwegian Mountain Top © Erik Back 2000

It’s funny how we move through different stages in life.

At one stage we like to do certain things that we don’t like at another stage.

For some years I have been stuck between two stages of life where it has been difficult for me to find peace. It was a living Purgatory where I had to do something to qualify to move on.

When my social circle moved on to the next stage in their late twenties I had to stay at that stage for another decade. It was fun at the beginning, but as I got older it felt more like suffering than good.

Why couldn’t I enjoy being 28 for the rest of my life?

People used to say that I should be happy and enjoy my freedom. Travel they said. But where would I go? I have travelled in USA, South America, Russia and Europe. It is starting to become tedious.

What was I supposed to do to be allowed to move to the next stage of my life? I settled with the idea of being single and 28 for the rest of my life, but it wasn’t satisfying. I wasn’t happy.

Clean up the Mess

As I turned 40 I met a sweet girl and I found myself moving fast to the next stage. I don’t know what I did to qualify but I think it all started after a long and focused cleansing of my body and mind. I cleaned up the mess.

My new girlfriend thought I was in the beginning of my thirties moving to the next stage and was a bit surprised to find that I just turned forty. She was only 29 and on her way to the same stage that I had been trying to get to for the past decade.

Yesterday I realised that I had finally found my way to the next stage in life. I live next to the university. Every year there is a tradition that all students take part in. Most universities have these traditions.

The festivity culminated at midnight and drunken students filled the streets. I was awake half the night cursing the loud music and drunken students. I realised that I didn’t miss that anymore.

A couple of years ago I would take part in wild parties and social gathering with games, alcohol and flirting. Just like anyone would do at 25 years old.

But tonight that did not feel appealing. I just wanted to sleep and get up the next day to go to work and earn a living to support my family.

My new girlfriend is pregnant and tomorrow we are getting married. I am happy to be at the next stage.

Life is fantastic!

I Want to Master the Basics

mess of typewriter ribbon | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk © by Shorts and Longs | The Both And

The more I learn about habits the more I realise how important the basic physiological habits are. I wanted to cover the whole process from physiological habits to transcendental habits but the topic turns out to be too broad. Even the four groups of the physiological habit seem like too much for one blog. So, what to do about it?

I am in the process of narrowing the topic of this blog down and I think that you will be reading mostly about physiological habits in the future. My interest is to convey methods to implement good and healthy habits; I want to give you an understanding about how those habits work and I want to make the strong foundation that you need to have a healthy life both physically and mentally.

So, what does this mean?

Do you remember the habit hierarchy that I made based on the hierarchy of needs? Well, although there are a lot of interesting topics out there I will focus on the topics that concern the basic habits. I want to master the basics myself and I want to help you master the basics. I will start by changing the categories of the blog to a few central topics that concern the basics.

The basic physiological habits

There are four areas of habits I want to master and those are: Sleep, exercise, diet and cleansing (I still haven’t found a good word for cleansing but I am open to suggestions). I am not going to tell you how to do the disciplines you choose. I.e. if you choose running for exercise I will not be writing about running, but I will show how you can implement the habit of running.

I will try to give you resources from the net that can help you on your quest for a life full of healthy habits.

My Sleep Habits So Far

However you see © by baileyraeweaver

I get up at 6.30 every morning with only two exceptions where I get up at 5.30 because I work early two days a week. It feels good to get up early and I do feel a bit more rested than before; I feel more energised and I get more things done.

The best change I have made in the waking process is sitting quietly drinking a glass of water. It is a cleansing habit that I am starting to feel the effect of. It was a habit I picked up from one of Leo Babauta’s articles on his blog Zenhabits; he highly recommends sitting and drinking a glass of water. I have tried it for a few days now and I will continue doing it to see the long-term effect.

When I sit it feels like the mind gets to clean up the clutter inside my head. Thoughts that I usually would not have or memories that I forgot about just pops up to entertain me for a while. The interesting thing is that I have noticed that I need those thoughts to better understand my situation and the tasks that wait during the day. Somehow my mind gets the peace it needs to dig out the resources I need today and I start planning my goals for today and how I will manage to get to those goals.

I can start my day with peace of mind.

At first it seemed ridiculous to just sit there with a glass of water; I didn’t see the point. I was already awake (I’m not the groggy kind of person) and ready to start working. But now I understand what benefits I get from just sitting and letting my mind clean up some of the cluttered areas. I will recommend this waking up habit.

6 Levels of Habits You Want

Good Habits © by Horia Varlan

Level #1: Physiological habits

The physiological habits are the basic habits that form the foundation of your life. You have to master these habits to be able to achieve on the next levels of the hierarchy of habits. Every day you should consider what you could do better. Ask yourself: What can I do today to improve my sleep? The next day you ask: What can I do today to improve my exercise? The day after you ask: What can I do today to improve my diet? The fourth day you ask: What can I do today to improve cleansing?

These are the four basic groups of this level and on the fifth day you start over asking yourself what you can do to improve your sleep. It is a never-ending cycle that will help you master the basics.

Level #2: Safety habits

You need a place to live and you need a job to earn an income and to give you an identity and a purpose of life. First of all you have to master the basics, the physiological habits, then you can work on your safety habits. You do not have to do this every day but you should at least once a week work on these habits.

Write down you dreams and goals for each of the groups on this level and review them once a week. Safety habits encompass home, work, economy and order. See what you can do next week to get closer to your dreams and make a to-do list.

Level #3: Social Habits (Habits of love and belonging)

I’m still working on this model and I have based The Hierarchy of Habits on Maslow’s hierarchy of need and Frankl’s additions. Thus, the terms will change a bit and in the future I will call this level Social Habits.

On this level you will take care of your social network. Like level two you should write down your dreams and goals and practice your social skills and do some networking. Make sure that you have positive people around you, and that they support you and your worldview; and get rid of toxic people. Toxic people are people that are negative and do not contribute to your well being.

Level #4: Esteem habits

This is the level of habits most people begin with and very often they fail because they will not succeed unless they master the basics! If you do not master especially the physiological habits then there is not a chance that you will succeed at this level. So, back to basics!

However, if you have made yourself a solid foundation of good habits then it is time for you to work on this level. The groups of these habits are: Self-confidence, self-esteem and achievement. Most people with psychological problems have symptoms on this level and I have written three series about these problems. I will give you a link to these series that comprise 36 articles!

13 Ways to Improve Your Self-Confidence

12 Ways to Build Your Self-Esteem

11 Traits of Successful People

I have had serious problems with my self-esteem; I worked on the basic physiological habits AND the two levels following those habits. Do I have self-esteem problems anymore? Yes, but only if I do not get my sleep, exercise or proper food!

Level #5: Self-actualisation habits

This is where you set your life goals and start thinking about how you can realise your dreams. Everything is possible as long as you set your mind to it. This level is extremely difficult if you do not master the basics, but if you do master the basics then this level will be fun and easy.

Level #6: Transcendence habits

I don’t know if you can make transcendence habits, because this level is more like a consequence of success on all the other levels. You will start seeing how everything is connected and the meaning of life will be clear to you. You will feel oneness and connected to the universe. This level is almost spiritual.