The Other Side of Desperation is to Transform
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation . . . “ Over a hundred fifty years ago Henry David Thoreau wrote that in his philosophical masterpiece On Walden Pond. He lived in a cabin overlooking that beautiful, peaceful place outside Concord, Massachusetts for a year, “dropping out” of the world (and being fortunate enough to be supported in doing so by his mother and his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson) to allow and proceed with his own vision of transformation.
Thoreau and Emerson were Transcendentalists, a nineteenth century literary and political movement that well resurrected itself as part of the “tune in, drop out” directive of the counterculture sixties, when I came of age. For me the word “transcend” always meant how we transform our bodies, minds and spirits to heal and develop.
Uncover the Truth to Courage and Caring
Here is what keeps us transforming (truth is the operative word here):
I believe we have capacity in our core to discover and recover what we really know to be true – about ourselves, our lives, our relationships, our capacities, and the nature of personal reality – the last the title of a book on spiritual development that I still frequently recommend by Jane Roberts. We also have the capacity to be truly courageous and caring; and to admit and acknowledge what is real from a place of awareness that all life is sacred.
Vision and Trust Transcend Fear and Conditioning
The “center” of transformation is surrendering to a vision that can’t be ignored with a willingness to transcend anything to reach toward that vision from a place beyond knowing. This involves trusting what you intuitively sense but have not experienced.
Here are the delusions we “buy” from unresolved fear and unexamined conditioning that stop us from transforming:
1. Seeing ourselves as victims, which always excuses us from being responsible and accountable – and makes us powerless.
2. Seeing ourselves as unequal to others.
3. Telling ourselves that experiencing security can only occur outside of ourselves.
4. Expecting a particular outcome, and driving ourselves above all to “have to make that happen”.
5. Giving up before we’ve really begun, or before we have experienced real completion.
The Simplest Reality Check and Real Challenge
Two final reality checks are to answer who, what, where, when, why and how “this is happening”; and to recast yourself as your own hero/heroine in the amazing “play” of your transforming life, understanding that is your process and adventure of transformation.
To transform to transcend is to become greater and more whole – empowered and healed – than you were . . . than you are. We are meant to transform literally down to our very cells – every 7 years, actually!
How to Alter Belief and Regain The Power to Choose
Thoreau also said, “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. . . What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”. Transformation changes vision, belief, choice, and response.
In this year of transformation – in Chinese astrology called the Year of the Snake, which we associate with transcendence – may you activate your amazing power to rise above what gets you down into a new place of ease, freedom, clarity and personal power. Then your spirit in turn is free to create and join with you in all outcomes of greater good.