This past weekend my friend Hannah visited us. We had a lovely time eating good food, catching up, telling and retelling stories. We also explored the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. It’s the start of an old joke: “An Irish Catholic sister and a gay minister walk into a hippie neighborhood…” On Sunday, we attended Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church and enjoyed a wonderful homily on transfiguration/transformation.
Afterward we discussed how this transformation thing works. Is it something we do? Is it something that is done to us? To what degree can we move it along, if at all? And, what exactly do we mean by transformation anyway?
So here are a few thoughts on transformation:
- Transform = trans (across or beyond) + form (to shape or change). To transform is to move beyond our personas, travel across self-imposed barriers, and morph into a fuller manifestation of our innate truth. In other words, we become a purer essence of who we already are.
- Most self-improvement modestly improves a fixed self without risking any transformation. It is short-lived tinkering.
- On the other hand, if we continue relating to life as we always have, we will continue to reap more of the same.
- Life has a way of transforming us, but it usually takes great pain to pry us free from our smug, spiritually-lazy attachment to our habitual ways of being.
- Can we choose transformation without trauma? Yes. And No. We can choose it, but we cannot will it to happen, at least not the kind of inside/out transfiguration we crave.
- Transformation starts with a choice. We desire to change and commit ourselves to growing up as best we can, though we know not how. That simple decision is the key step that starts the process.
- That desire then stokes a fiery intention: “I live my life by fear no more.” “I choose gratitude here and now.” “I pause to check in with my own wisdom.” “I surrender perfection and welcome what is.” This is our “YES” to life.
- We also say “NO” to all that conflicts with our intention, including our addictions to control, safety and making a good appearance. Usually this requires some sort of regular practice: a hobby in which we lose all sense of time, nature, meditation, art, music…the kind of activity in which you find yourself by losing yourself.
- So far, this only makes us available for transformation, and yet this is as much as we can do. Then something mysterious happens. Our Wise Inner Self (a.k.a. Life/God/The Universe) meets us at the point of our willingness. The fierce intention to become more/better/truer is our part, the rest is done on levels beyond words, deeper than conscious mind, and more inter-connected that we imagine. Transformation is an alchemy in which our surrendered willingness activates sacred Energies and latent Potential on our behalf.
- The process is not predictable, quick nor linear, but it is progressive, genuine and surprising.
- One day we realize that, though still imperfect, we are nonetheless changed. And having arrived, we see that the transformation we sought was within us all along.
These are my reflections. What is your experience?
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