If someone comes to the door of my home, I choose whether or not to welcome them: if they are a friend, I may invite them in; if a stranger, especially if dirty, crazy or aggressive, I refuse them entry.

Yet most of us leave our mental and emotional doors wide open, allowing free access to whatever thoughts, desires, feelings, concepts and prejudices appear, be they positive or negative, friendly or hostile, regardless of the consequences.

This mental open door policy is akin to having an open sewer flowing through our living room. We allow, and even welcome negative thoughts, feelings and emotions to flow freely through the living room of our mind, from where their poisonous vapours spread through the whole house of our being. These mental and emotional pollutants are absolutely as lethal to our consciousness as the germs and viruses we strive so hard to avoid.

Mental and emotional hygiene must be sought and practised routinely with the discipline and rigour we apply to physical hygiene. Just as it is far better to protect ourselves against the invasion of malicious viruses, rather than have to cure a disease once it’s taken hold of us; so is it far better to guard against the intrusion of harmful thoughts and feelings than to have to wrestle with the monsters of mental turmoil and emotional upheaval which feed, incite and inflate the grievous error of ignorance running rampant through the wreckage of our happiness.

Wanting to clean up and discipline our minds by keeping out unwanted thoughts, distractions and desires is one thing: being able to do so is another.

Fortunately there is a way to gain control and release the transformative power of purity in our mind and emotions: practise concentration and meditation, daily.