Transformation: A spiritual Earthquake By Mark Walstrom

There is a difference between conceptualizing transformation as an idea or ideal that happens "out there" and having internal transformative experiences by living in the reality of the moment.

The primary reason that true transformation doesn't occur is that the closer we come to actually crossing over a threshold that would lead to a fundamental reorientation of our life away from the unconscious ego drives and toward conscious living, the more fear arises and paralyzes us if we are not aware of its presence...either halting our movement or redirecting us back into the familiar ways of the ego self.

Preparation for the actual movement in one's life is a necessary stage...reading, engaging in various practices or disciplines, and developing emotional strength and stamina...but at some point one has to make a decisive, intentional choice to move beyond the cerebral and into direct experience of the moment...and allow it to change us.

The spiritual earthquake that occurs in transformation is that I am no longer who I thought myself to be...which is simultaneously terrifying and liberating.

Here's a recent reflection by Franciscan priest and author Richard Rohr that speaks to this theme followed by a music selection by Jimmy Cliff:

(Richard Rohr)
For much of my life, I've been trying to facilitate transformation--conversion, change of consciousness, change of mind--with various strategies and formats. The transformed mind lets you see how you process what's coming at you. It allows you to step back from your own personal processor so you can be more honest about what is really happening to you. If you do not detach, you are too attached to yourself.

It's not so much about what comes at you; it's what you do with it. The Achilles heel of organized religion might be that we tend to tell people what to see instead of teaching them how to see. The contemplative way of looking at something is letting it be what it is in itself, as itself, without any meddling from me by needing to describe, fix, consume, sell, understand, or use it in any self-serving way.

Transformation is not merely a change of morals, group affiliation, or belief system--though it might lead to that--but a change at the very heart of the way you receive, hear, and pass on each moment. Do you use the moment to strengthen your own ego position or do you use the moment to enter into a much broader seeing and connecting? Those are two very different ways of seeing.

From a religious perspective, a conversion experience is an experience of an Absolute. And once you've experienced a True Absolute, everything else is relativized, including yourself! Once you've experienced fullness, you don't need to keep seeking "that which does not satisfy" (Isaiah 55:2). Authentic God experience always leads you toward service, toward the depths, the edge, the outsider, the lower, the suffering, and the simple. What you once thought was "the center" has shown itself not to be the center of anything. If there is not such an earthquake in both your heart and mind, I do not think you can rightly speak of spiritual conversion.

Transformation begins with a new experience of a new Absolute, and, as a result, your social positioning gradually changes on almost all levels. Little by little you will allow your politics, economics, classism, sexism, racism, homophobia and all superiority games to lose their one-time rationale. You just "think" and "feel" differently about most things. If this does not happen in very specific ways, I have no reason to believe you have been converted. Your motivation foundationally changes from security, status, and sabotage to generosity, humility, and cooperation. If you do not want to go there, you'd better stay away from the Holy One.