Meditation for Life
Inner Revolution: The Process of Transformation, Part 2
"I'd be in the supermarket and I'd pick up a magazine and right on the cover would be the question I was asking," a friend said. "Or I'd start a conversation with my cousin whom I hadn't seen since we were ten, and find out that he was going through the same thing. I started meeting people who were interested in spiritual growth, something that had never happened before. It seemed that each meeting led to another one."
This part of the transformation cycle can be incredibly exciting, often because it feels as though you're learning how to open to the wisdom that comes from Being itself. Wisdom teacher Marc Gafni, who has himself experienced many cycles of transformation, says that true personal transformation requires rewriting our source code, the deep internal programming that determines the way we experience the situations in our lives. Since we don't know how to get to the source code on our own, that deep shifting has to come from insight, the intuitive awareness that comes from Being itself. One of the signs that we're truly experiencing that level of insight is the feeling that truths you've been reading and hearing about for years suddenly become actual realizations, not just useful teachings. You go, "Omigod, I'm really not my thoughts!" "Love is real!" "Wow, I can change my experience by changing my perception!" "If I press my head isometrically into my hands during Bridge Pose it will get rid of the pain in my spine!" Now everything is different, and you feel that the world will never be the same again.
The phase that begins with the descent of grace, with its synchronicities and 'miraculous' realizations, is like falling in love and discovering that your beloved loves you too. It's often called the honeymoon phase of the inner life, and it can last for years. When you're in that honeymoon phase, it can feel as if all your struggles were at an end. Spiritual power runs through you—sometimes so strongly that others catch it. There can be a euphoria that comes from your sense of the presence of grace. For many people this may bring with it a subtle or not-so-subtle feeling of spiritual superiority, a feeling that you're being guided or shown the way, and a slight disdain for people (your girlfriend for instance, or your mother) who haven't yet gotten it. For yogis, this is often the moment when we decide to leave your old life behind and go off to India, or quit your day job and open a yoga studio. Sometimes this is the right decision. Sometimes, it isn't.
The danger of the honeymoon period is over-confidence. In the euphoria of your love affair with transformation, you can overstep boundaries, make the kind of professional mistakes that come from the belief that you can do no wrong, or from blindly following intuitive guidance without practicing discernment.
For this reason, almost inevitably, the Honeymoon of Grace will be followed by some kind of fall. Sometimes this takes the form of dryness, a feeling of being cut off from the flow that you'd experienced. Or it might happen as a result of your own missteps. For instance, in the euphoria or confidence of the honeymoon period, you might make a big professional 'mistake', fall in love with someone inappropriate, quarrel with your best friend or your family or your teacher, ditch your marriage, or simply lose contact with grace.
In truth, however, the Fall is simply a sign that integration is needed. Often, our psychological vessel is not quite strong enough to hold the power of our spiritual insight. The energy running through us will then bring into awareness the blocks or psychological weaknesses that we may have not known were there, or may simply have been afraid to look at.
Next week, we'll examine that stage of the transformation process.
An internationally known teacher of meditation and spiritual wisdom, Kempton is the author of Meditation for the Love of It and writes a monthly column for Yoga Journal. Follow her on Facebook and visit her website at www.sallykempton.com.