Transformation has not been a common occurrence through the ages, and not all who have transformed were or are well known.
Transformation is easy to misunderstand. It is not about becoming kinder, nicer, more peaceful, more creative, or more powerful. Whereas one can train oneself to act kindly and project a calm demeanor, self-control is not transformation. Instead, to transform is to embody a completely new awareness of life – which is actually the very opposite of controlling anything. Self-control can be lost, while transformation is a stable shift. Another way to describe transformation is as ever increasing freedom.
Transformation is identifying less and less with the body, the mind, the emotions, and more with the awareness that lives and expresses these things. As it turns out, there are many layers to awareness – as you shift into a new awareness, another lies deeper and eventually makes itself known.
Dr. Wilder Penfield, while mapping the brain, noticed that his patients referred to an “I” that was watching and commenting on the experiment while it was happening. This “I” could detach from the experience and observe. Dr. Penfield referred to this observer as “The Watcher.” It is fascinating that our body and mind – a collection of parts – has a way of coming together under a single identity. This Watcher is usually the Ego-I, identified with an experience.
Imagine now that what you identify with evolves into a completely unpredicted state of awareness – even the idea of “I” may dissolve completely . You cannot predict what each transformation will bring because it is not based on any prior experience. You cannot choose the next level of your evolution because you have no reference point – you can only choose to let go.
Then, imagine that you break through to realizing that you are being lived by a profound consciouness that also lives everything and everyone, and your awareness shifts to That. What does that feel like? How does that change the way you relate to life? Without trying to act happy, you become the essence of happiness that is unconditional and independent of life experiences.
Imagine further that your awareness shifts into what lives this universe and breaks beyond the “boundaries” of this reality. Who is living you then?
With each shift, the new awareness goes through an adjustment phase to relearn how to relate to the world – not unlike a newborn. Everything is unfamiliar because the one experiencing has changed. Old ways of connecting to life no longer work, expire, and are cast aside. Gradually, the filters are released and life is lived directly, in its raw glory of the divine exploring itself.
The New Age movement often references the Higher Self as something that is separate. However, from the perspective of transformation, there is not one but a multitude of “Higher Selves”, waiting to be integrated and gradually dissolving the “Self.” Perhaps, even “higher” may be misleading and could be replaced by the word “authentic,” as one sheds skins of separation from reality.
So, who cares if transformation is our birthright? If we can’t even imagine what life becomes with each shift, why bother with the whole idea? Of course, most people will not bother because they have plenty to explore already. However, some will feel that something is missing from their lives – something they can’t quite name. This feeling is different from boredom or apathy. Rather, it is more like a hunger – a dynamic state of searching for what one knows not.
Spiritual seekers fall into two general categories: those who want to accumulate fantastic and extraordinary experiences and power, and those who are ready for the possibility that transformation is not an experience at all. To have an experience assumes that “you” are there to experience, but to be transformed leaves one wide open to freedom from experience, interpretation, and “knowing.”
Awareness transformation – a shedding of filters and illusion – can be an extremely raw and uncomfortable experience. Before you can shed the old ways of relating, you must be completely exposed and vulnerable. You must surrender the assumption that you know anything, or that you have become and achieved. Intellectually, this may sound pretty straightforward. However, in practice, there is much resistance to letting go of yourself. The process may even feel like dying.
If you are one who will undergo multiple transformations in one lifetime, then just when you settle into a new rest-stop, you will need to move into the unknown again. Just when you feel there is nothing more to surrender, there is more. Here “surrender” is not about giving in to anything or anyone – it is a letting go of everything you believe you are to make room for something altogether different.
I suppose tramsformation can be viewed as evolution – not of the instrument, but of awareness itself. But as awareness changes, so does the body, and so does the way we relate to life – all of life.
Some people believe that they can become transformed on their own – without a model that has already crossed thresholds. Only a few have done this successfully because it is too easy to become trapped in illusion without someone to snap you out of it. Resistance to transformation is exceedingly strong, complemented by denial, deflecting of feedback from the world, and the need to feel like one has “achieved realization.” Beings get stuck like this and are unlikely to know that they are stuck.
If you believe that you know something or are someone, chances are that you are trapped in a hall of mirrors. Transformation increasingly takes one to a state of innocence, and not of the helpless variety. There is so much strength and inspiration in letting go – like a monk blowing away a painstakingly created mandala of sand without feeling any loss. In transforming, you always seem to need to let go of something deemed very beautiful.