"Spiritual transformation". What is it, how does it work, and why would we want to know about it?
Many people nowadays are seeking transformation in one way or another. The whole self-help and self-improvement industry, with the likes of Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, etc, is built on that innate human desire which propels us all to GROW.
Everything alive possesses this quality. The seed itself -- that tiny little kernel that contains the entire blueprint for life -- MUST have this quality in order to become anything at all.
As humans, we are no different than the rest of life. We have this sort of... urgency.... to become more than what we are.
And the interesting thing is that in order to become something, we have to let go of what we were.
There is no becoming without an un-doing process.
Spiritual transformation is no different.
My experience shows me that spiritual transformation is not the result of learning anything new.... rather, it is the result of un-learning what we’ve picked up and labeled as “true”. Emptying ourselves.
It’s unfortunate today that there is even a phrase such as “being woke” which is associated with understanding astrology, knowing about crystals, or studying Advaita Vedanta (non-duality, or “it’s All One, bro”)
Spiritual transformation more than likely has very real, very physical and physiological processes that the aspirant undergoes in order for lasting change to take place.
The various saints, sages & masters from whom we receive the Great Teachings all went through their own forms of tapas, or difficulty, to come to the realizations that we now take for granted and put on bumper stickers.
This tapas -- a Sanskrit word that translates to "discipline; heat; purification" -- is the super-heated forge into which we must place our ideas, beliefs, and behaviors to discover what remains after the fire has had its way. The intellect does not last long here. You can think of tapas as doing something really hard for a period of time. In those moments of endurance, how much help does all the information you "know" provide to you? However, once we get through challenge, there is often some form of wisdom on the other side, no? Not in the form of more intellectual "knowing", but in a sort of deeper embodiment, a presence, a increase in one's own will, faith, or resolve.
The reality of Spiritual Transformation is rooted in the sincere effort of an individual to overcome themselves, again and again and again.
Overcoming oneself is the the process of pruning.
It's the process of stripping back the layers of identity that make us believe we are who we think we are.
It's the process of emptying oneself, completely.
It's the process of letting go.
I must always remind myself ask the question -- do I believe, or do I KNOW?
And if it’s merely a belief... is it serving me?
... there’s a lot to unlearn.
With love and prana,
Grant T. Ifflander