The subtle and gentle art of Transformation
We all know of people who have been very committed to changing some aspect of their lives and have, perhaps, done some kind of therapy, conscientiously, for a year or sometimes more, and, at the end of it all, don't seem to have really changed anything at all.
Sometimes a person has a recognized, acknowledged block or difficulty at some level, which they spend years dragging round various therapists, without managing to shift it, drop it or get rid of it. Indeed, every therapist will have experienced having a client with a clear and observable difficulty that simply proves to be impossible to move, whatever techniques are applied, whatever intentions are brought to bear.
On the other hand, there are cases where a person has undergone an extreme, traumatic, or even a near death experience which has resulted in a rapid, dramatic and permanent change in their outlook, in their perspective, in how they perceive and handle themselves and the world about them.
Why is this?... What ARE the mechanics of change?... what IS changing?... or not, as the case may be?
It seems to me, after looking at this for a very long time, that we're really only talking about one thing - whether we're talking about psychological processes, changing your life, affirmations, prosperity, spiritual healing, how you see things, fulfilling your potential, recovering from illness, regaining your self esteem, becoming empowered, being the 'real you', shifting the blocks, releasing the past, cutting the ties that bind, or anything similar, we're talking about transformation of some kind, at some level, and that means that we're talking about changing consciousness and to me that means that we're also talking about soul.
Of course, there are lots and lots of models with different labels and slightly different ways of looking at things and different ways of dealing with things and changing things. I would suggest that, whenever we focus on some aspect of reality that is too subtle to be perceived directly by our senses, we construct a model that we can comprehend with our minds, with our intellect. Our current model is our latest 'best shot' at interpreting subtle reality. Naturally, the way we approach personal difficulties depends on how we are interpreting our best current model.
If someone comes along and constructs a rather good, new model, it may be rather successful and quite a lot of people may learn that model and how to work with it, and become therapists, trained and qualified by the school that teaches that model.Nothing wrong with that, at all. It's just that every model is limited by the limitations of the perception of it's originator, and therefore cannot work successfully with every different condition it's going to be presented with. If there's any anticipation arising at this point, that I'm now going to present some brand new 'super duper' model that encompasses everything there is... sorry - my perceptions are limited, too, but what I can suggest is the possibility of shifting the level of our gaze... of the direction of our focus. If we allow ourselves to gaze into the crystal ball without the limitation of a perceptual model... if we look at the shifting clouds of consciousness and the moving beams of awareness... what do we see before us?
The models of the client, of course. The models that they have put into place, quite unconsciously, during and as a result of their life experiences. Those models are intact and running the show, even if parts were put into place at the age of ten, or six months, or even minus six months. These are the 'core beliefs' that are shaping the decisions and choices that are being made nearer the surface of consciousness.
Non of this is new, of course. What I am wondering about is "how do we change these models most effectively?". They've been put into place for very good reasons and have probably served their purpose very well. Even if they're now completely redundant and making a complete hash of the present, completely different situation, they're still a valid and significant part of the client's fundamental 'model of life'.
Even if the therapeutic approach is successful and the client sees and recognizes the relevant belief-form, this condensation of consciousness, it may or may not weaken or dissolve of it's own accord. If it does so, fine. But what to do if it does not?... How to proceed then..?
The truth is, a lot of therapy gets that far, and a lot of therapy doesn't get any further unless the individual consciousness, the individual soul, seeking to become whole, takes advantage of the 'gap' or space created by that recognition to move things along towards a more wholesome state. Ideally, the therapist should be able to help the client through the recognition stage, through the transformation state and into the new lands that lie beyond.
Transformation is magic and alchemy; it's where everything changes; it's where the experience you have of you and the experience you have of the outside world becomes something other that it was. It's where your experience of reality alters; your world 'shifts' and will never be the same again. Maybe that's why we tend to make it so hard to do - part of ourselves finds it safer to stay with the demons that we know than to plunge into the cloud of unknowing, where we can't be certain of what lies beyond. We hold back and refuse the opportunity to take part in the greatest adventure we can experience.
The first and most difficult step is getting to the point of recognition... which need only be the point at which we recognize clearly what is missing in our lives, in our selves, or what is hurting, or what we are carrying that isn't really ours... we don't really need to be conscious of why or how we got to this place; it can be useful... or interesting... but it can also be a distraction. In the worst cases it can encourage 'woundology', where we use our knowledge of our past experiences to substantiate and support our decision to stay in the present state instead of letting go and moving on.
Letting go is the aspect of transformation that is ours to control. Having reached the point of recognition, we need some powerful, inner tools and we need to apply them. There's very little difference, and yet an enormous difference, between wishful thinking and dynamic change. To allow transformation to take place, we need to choose, very deeply, to release that which we have identified as being no longer required. And then we have to release it. This sounds so simple and yet we all know how hard it can be. It requires clear intention, it requires the application of will and it requires the power to apply them. This is where the therapist can be of such assistance... not a lot of people can get this together by themselves. The therapist can help the client to get their intention really clear; they can help to get the will focused; they can help the client to raise their emotional power sufficiently to make it all happen. It's emotional power that makes things go. It's the energy that moves things, whether it's forgiving and releasing or cutting the ties or sending away an old thoughtform or deciding to move on. Without that power, that energy, nothing will change and we'll be stuck with good intentions.
How this is done is between the individual client and the individual therapist; there are lots and lots of ways - what IS needed, at the end of that process, is a ritual, no matter how large or small, that symbolises clearly the act of change. Ritual is so important, so powerful; the importance of ritual has been recognized since man hunted wild animals, yet, these days, it is overlooked and neglected. A ritual may take one minute or an hour, but it represents the forces of the unmanifest, which are far more powerful than the forces that are manifest in the physical. Ritual works with symbols. Symbols are our bridge between the subtle worlds and the world we appear to inhabit. Using symbols we can understand and relate to, we can influence and change the subtle worlds we inhabit but do not understand.
What is not ours to control is the magic that then takes place; what we call transformation is, literally, a shift of consciousness (and bear in mind that science can't even decide what consciousness IS, yet... in fact, they prefer to avoid even asking the question), a change in our personal point of identification in the Great Scheme of Things... in our determination of what our personal reality IS, in our experience.
We can attempt, suggest, influence, plan, intend, desire, wish, want, think about such change, but in that simple, immediate change of perspective lies one one the great mysteries... an intensly exciting mystery that we experience with our own being.
A change takes place. For some, the new reality can be left to quietly announce itself; it can be explored, like a familiar yet new country. For others, this third stage is better clarified... anticipated... planned in one's mind's eye... for we must not overlook the hidden power of habit - the familiar ruts and tram lines, the well troden old paths that keep us running along when we're not paying too much conscious attention. However we plan or anticipate things are going to be, however we plan or anticipate we are going to be, we're only setting up a blueprint for how we are going to experience our new lives. Very useful, but changeable, adaptable, and, eventually, forgettable as the experience of our new reality renders it increasingly irrelevant. Our new, inner, reality becomes manifest as our new experience of our lives and of ourselves.
Such is the magic of the subtle act of transformation.