Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. It is also the anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped as an act of war, in the early morning hours of this date in 1945 in Hiroshima. Three weeks earlier, in the middle of July 1945, the first testing of an atomic bomb occurred — under the code name “Trinity.”

The Greek word for “transfiguration” is metamorphoo. It reminds me of metanoia, a word often rather anemically translated as “repentance,” but which carries a far richer meaning of a “new” or “subsequent” mind. Metanoia means the repentance from our small, self-absorbed mind, into the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). It is not merely a turning around, but also the entry into something greater, higher, more evolved. The Mind of Christ, I believe, is the mind of holiness: the mind of non-oppositional, non-dual consciousness. It is a transfigured mind.

Perhaps the change that Jesus underwent on the Mount of Transfiguration was, to the body, what metanoia is the mind. Perhaps the light that shone in him and through him is the very light that is “trapped” within each of us, our bodies and souls. Jesus released a flash of light as he changed ever more fully into his divinity. And he invites us to do the same.

It sure beats the flash of light that brought horror to rain down upon the people of Hiroshima.

I’m not suggesting that if we all meditate long enough and hard enough, that suddenly we will glow in the dark. I think the light that is unleashed within us through our participation in the transfiguration of Christ will be a spiritual light: the light of love, the light of compassion, the light of understanding, the light of justice, the light of peace and joy. That’s not to say that a more embodied miracle is impossible — just that there’s no need to worry about such things, when the spiritual miracle is fully, presently available.

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • http://Anamcara Cynthia Capone

    Would you explain oppositional energy/action and give examples? Graci

  • Carl McColman

    Oppositional consciousness sees everything as having value relative to something else, rather than deriving value from God. Thus, men are “better” than women (or vice versa), rich people are “better” than poor people (or vice versa), Christians are “better” than Buddhists (or vice versa), etc. Compare to Paul’s assertion that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. Oppositional consciousness assumes that nothing can be “up” unless something else is “down,” while non-oppositional consciousness naturally sees relatedness and unity where the oppositional mind sees conflict and competition.