Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘transformation’ Category

Remembering who we are, and where we are going, is a function of the soul. We can even say that there is a process guiding the soul. This process can be thought of as soul-making, or what our life here on Earth is really for. It is how we develop and draw out the potential we are innately endowed with. Soul-making is the lifelong process of acquiring the attributes, qualities, and character needed for our eternal journey. It helps us in both this world and the next.

As Marion Woodman puts it, “soul-making is allowing the eternal essence to live and experience the outer world through all the senses – seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching – so that the soul grows during its time on Earth. Soul-making is constantly confronting the paradox that an eternal being is dwelling in a temporal body. That’s why it suffers, and learns by heart. Soul hears with eternal ears, sees with eternal eyes, smells with eternal nose.”

Soul-making is not a solitary quest; it is for the benefit of everyone. It is a process of taking on a transcendent identity that results in nothing less than personal transformation which contributes also to our collective transformation. This is what the world needs most at this auspicious time.

A 50th way to explore your soul’s story – This is important stuff, be sure to give yourself enough time and find a quiet space to reflect on what you feel it is that really guides your life and where you think this is directing you. Think of times in your life when you became aware that you were drawing out a new virtue, quality, or potential that was already within you. What did this feel like? What was it like for you to discover for the first time that there was an eternal part of you along with the temporal part? Finally, after you’ve had enough time to reflect on these questions, write down the story of how your soul-making has expressed your own personal truth, as well as some part of the collective truth of us all.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As winter turns into spring, as nascent flower buds begin to push their way up from sleeping leaves of life, we too can remember that it is our time to emerge afresh with renewed energy for the things we are most deeply committed to. This renewal is as much a part of our perennial process as it is part of nature’s cycle. We also can – and do – arise from the ashes of our own exertion to become even more than we were.

The Phoenix, the mythical bird rising from its own ashes, is but one expression of a universal archetype of renewal and rebirth, one of the most powerful symbols known to us. It pervades many of the world’s myths and sacred texts. The classic journey of the hero is another timeless expression of this archetype of spiritual transformation, which we also witness every time we observe the inner rhythm of nature unfolding all around us. What appears to be decay, even death, is but a moment in an ever-evolving process of evolution. This is our season to arise, to realize our potential for rebirth.

A 46th way to explore your soul’s story – Like the mythic Phoenix, we carry light and hope within us, as well as the keys to renewal. Change, being the perennial constant it is, need not faze us, for it is a womb preparing us for rebirth. Think about a time in your life when you knew you could see all there was to see ahead of you, and there was nothing that gave you any hope beyond that. Then, suddenly something new opened before your eyes and everything became more promising. What was it that buoyed you beyond the despair of that moment, that gave you the hope to push on, and that allowed you to accept and embrace the inevitable change coming into your life? What was the catalyst that guided you out of your dead end, showed you the continuity of your own perennial process, gave you renewed energy, and got you back in the flow of your own natural cycle? After you’ve had enough time to reflect on these questions, write the story of this spiritual renewal in your life.

Read Full Post »

Light and shadow are two halves of a whole, twin forces that direct our lives; they are essential to maintaining the balance of life. Light, an ancient symbol central to many sacred traditions, is represented by the qualities of radiance, sanctity, love, justice, and every spiritual attribute that emanates from divinity; light is even thought to be eternal, boundless, and changeless. It’s opposite, shadow, or darkness, is most characterized by temporality, limitations, and continual change. It is even said that the entire physical world is a shadow of the world of light, a temporary dust heap, or an illusion that can vanish in a moment, ultimately a deception meant to distract our attention from the light it is reflecting.

And so, we are caught in the middle of the dual forces of light and shadow. Yet each can only exist because of the other. Without light there would be no shadow. For each to be understood, shadow needs light, as light needs shadow. Together, their opposition represents a two-fold process designed to bring about the spiritual evolution of humanity, and the transformation of individual lives. Both parts of the whole are needed for progress and transformation. Contrast and opposition create structure. They are necessary to make us who we can become. This is why Baha’u’llah assures us that our share of the Light is already within us: “Thou art my lamp and My light is in thee… within thee I have placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else.”

A 45th way to explore your soul’s story – Would a rose still be a rose without its thorns? Would the story of Christ be the same without Judas? Would poverty be an injustice without wealth? A conscious life finds meaning in these contrasts, meaning that impacts and punctuates, and that can even transform us. How has your life been transformed by the presence and interaction of light and shadow moments? How have they helped to maintain an essential balance in your life, given it a meaningful pattern, and given you a conscious awareness of wholeness? Write down this story of the contrasts in your life, and how you found the light within you to balance them all out.

Read Full Post »

Contrary to popular usage, myth does not mean a falsehood. Myth is a very real representation of reality. For indigenous and ancient peoples, myth is the representation of the way things really are in the world. Just as scripture in the world’s religious traditions, myth operates at the sacred level.

The most common and profound archetype in mythology is that of “the hero’s journey,” a form of the pattern of birth, death, and rebirth, or in Joseph Campbell’s words: departure, initiation, return. This pattern defines the process of transformation. Myth thus expresses a dialectic of opposites, which provoke an interaction culminating in a synthesis of the thesis and antithesis, which further combines and transcends them both. Transformation occurs by following a dialectical process which itself makes up the archetype of transformation.

We get to the sacred, mythic level of our life story by telling our universal story, the story of our lives that connects us not only to those we know directly but also to all those throughout time and across distances who have lived similar experiences or archetypes as we have. This is how and why our universal story carries the sacred and enduring truth – and power – of myth.

A 43rd way to explore your soul’s story – Sometimes in our lives we are not aware of the truth that we are living, especially when we are in the midst of experiencing struggle, conflict, or tension. Yet it is precisely this kind of challenge or “muddle” that is needed to show us the truth and the necessity of the difficulty, which is really the only thing that can lead us on to a “resolution” and the completion of the transformation process. Think of a time in your life when you were able to turn what felt like a falsehood into a truth, when something that you didn’t want or didn’t like the feel of eventually showed its value and importance to you in a way that ultimately led to the completion of the process of transformation in your life. How did a new realization, clarity, or awareness assist the quickening of this process for you by helping to bring about the unity of opposites? Please share this story here if you would like to.

Read Full Post »

Our universal story is made up of archetypal experiences, those that connect us to the source of basic human tendencies and to the timeless elements of the human experience. This is because archetypes are ultimately the Imago Dei, or God-image, within us. When we consciously experience an archetype in our lives, the archaic becomes contemporary, and, most importantly, the universal becomes personally sacred.

Myth and ritual incorporated archetypal experiences in order to bring about the transformation from one state to another that was desired to maintain and strengthen the community. So when these universal archetypal elements emerge into our lives today they carry a transformative power. They keep us in the vital, nourishing riverbed through which the water of life has flowed for centuries, and which is the soul of our existence. They bring us to life, and keep us truly alive.

An archetype integrates into a meaningful whole all the illusory splits of apparent oppositions. It is in this way that archetypes also carry a “healing” function, in unifying the differing facets of the same reality, and their presence is felt as also having a profound spiritual significance.

A 42nd way to explore your soul’s story – It is important to grasp how and why living an archetype can help bring about healing. This will add much more meaning and depth to the life story we have lived. Think of any experience where some aspect of your life was healed, reconciled, or resolved. Then think of whether that experience could possibly be unique to you, or if it is more likely shared by others. Was it the uniqueness of the experience, or was it the universality of the experience, that ultimately enabled the healing to happen? Was it the fact that only you could have experienced it, or the fact that many if not most other people could have also experienced it, that made it healing for you? What is it about either uniqueness or universality that makes it healing? How and why is this awareness important in telling your life story? Incorporate these reflections into the telling of your life story, and share them here if you would like to.

Read Full Post »

In addition to the unique story we live (our story like no one else’s), and the group story we live (our story like some others), we also live a universal story (our story like all others). Our universal story is shared by all human beings, due to the deep-seated patterns and processes we all have in common. This is the form of our life story we will look at for the remaining blogs here.

The place to begin in understanding our universal story is with myth and ritual, since this is where the timeless and sacred patterns are contained that gave meaning to every aspect of the constantly changing lives of indigenous peoples worldwide who created these original wisdom stories in narrative form. Because myths contain deeply held beliefs about the nature of life and the people’s relationship to their Creator, myths around the world describe a common process of change and transformation.

This universal process, also contained within the sacred rituals of the world’s religious traditions, makes up a common, therefore sacred, pattern and consists of timeless elements, repeated over and over throughout life at key transition points, known as archetypes and motifs. These define and facilitate the process of transformation.

Archetypes are latent potentialities, or pattern-forming elements, residing in the human psyche – the actual “energy-charged,” or meaning-making content of the collective unconscious. As Jung might say, archetypes are part of our vast store of ancestral knowledge about the profound relations between God, man, and cosmos, that remain unconscious until our own real life experiences bring them forth into consciousness, making our individual experience part of the universal human experience.

When an archetype passes over into consciousness, it is felt as an illumination, or a revelation. The archetype itself is the original form of a type of experience from which all other forms of that experience follow and are copied; it is a recurring ‘mythological component,’ a type of a common situation, or a type of universal figure, what we would think of as a literary motif, that is part of our inherited humanity. Examples of such archetypal situations would be “the hero’s quest,” “the battle for deliverance from the mother,” or “the night sea journey,” while archetypal figures would include the divine child, the trickster, or the wise old man. The archetype carries a power to impress, influence, awaken, and therefore transform us.

A 41st way to explore your soul’s story –  When in your life have you experienced the archetypal energies that have always existed within you bursting forth into your consciousness? What was going on in your life at the time? How did this illumination from an archetypal level change or transform things for you? Reflect on this, and then tell this part of your universal story here for others to benefit from.

Read Full Post »

There is an essential give and take, push and pull, up and down, to life that is both simple and yet a core mystery of existence. Through this dialectic we develop character, form virtues, and gain integrity. The symmetrical nature of opposing forces helps us remember our wholeness.

This inherent opposition of life is designed to bring about growth, change, transformation, and evolution in life; and, ultimately, to shift our focus from the familiar to the mysterious, from the physical to the spiritual, and from time to eternity.

Here we have a fundamental principle of life that, in presenting us with endless pairs of opposites, creates contradictions, conflicts, and problems, or muddles, to be resolved. Each pair of opposites, as complementarities, adds up to a whole. Problems only arise when the whole is broken down into parts. In some traditions, the central problem of the human condition is precisely how to bring the two contraries into equilibrium, yet maintaining them as complementary forces. Knowing how to balance the creative and destructive energies is a guiding principle of human development.

A 40th way to explore your soul’s story – Identify a time, or an experience, when you were fully aware of a conflict of opposites going on in your life, a push and a pull between two forces that seemed to have equal power over you. What were the forces you were aware of, what kind of shift in focus or contradiction did this create for you? Did these opposing forces help you to understand any better your core values or virtues that you possess? How did you recreate a balance between these opposing forces for yourself? Tell this story of how you overcame, or resolved, the muddle these two opposing forces created for you, and post it here for others to benefit from, if you would like to.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »