What is Transformation?
Transformation takes place in us whenever we manage to change something fundamental within our psyche and mind. We need transformation because without it, we are, knowingly or unknowingly, entrapped by limiting and repeated patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour. When we break through these patterns, the possibility of fulfilling much more of our human potential finally becomes available.
Transformation requires right knowledge and tools that can accurately guide us to penetrate into the depths of ourselves and alter these patterns. We need to know exactly where to go and what exactly we should do. Our psyche, mind and spirit are endowed with amazing capacities for growth and expansion, and when we find the right tools we can awaken these dormant capacities.
Generally speaking, when it comes to transformation, we find two different approaches: the psychological and the spiritual.
The psychological approach:
Psychology can be thought of as a bottom-up inner work: it compels us to look deeply into the raw materials of our psyche as they truly are – the emotions, the irrational thoughts, the fears and avoidances. It teaches us to courageously and directly address these elements; to realistically look at ourselves, without the cover-up of self-image. When we don’t know how to treat these inner contents, we hide them away, even from ourselves. Psychology gives us the tools so we no longer need to repress.
However, psychology is usually not enough to bring about a profound transformation. Working on our psyche alone provides us with a very limited and narrow view of the human mind and its extraordinary capacities. With psychological work, we tend to forget that the domain of the psyche is only one layer of our consciousness. For a more profound transformation, we need to expand the horizons of our own being. The depths revealed by psychology are indispensable, yet we don’t want to forever get stuck inside them!
The spiritual approach:
Spirituality can be thought of as a top-down inner work: it gives us the realization that our human mind is much vaster and more unlimited than we can ever grasp. It can expand to unbelievable heights, break through any known frontier and overpower any sense of psychological limitation. Its profound science of consciousness teaches us that to be a human in the cosmos is a far greater phenomenon than just an individual and threatened psyche facing life’s challenges.
But spirituality too is usually not enough. Spirituality aspires to take us so high, that it often tends to forget the foundations of our being and leaves them shaky and untreated. Here we might get stuck in the illusion that meditation should solve all our problems. Spirituality clings to ideals of love and divinity, while ignoring the fact that beneath these ideals there flow an untreated subconscious, disturbed emotions, primordial fears and violent desires. It hopes that somehow the spiritual discovery will effortlessly change the selfishness, aggression, fear, and anxiety, but annoyingly these psychic elements stay unchanged. So spirituality without psychology serves us more like a cover-up of such inner worlds, a sophisticated form of repression.
The art of transformation combines top-down and bottom-up inner work. In this way, psychology and spirituality contribute their remarkable gifts to our human wholeness. Our spirituality is deeply grounded in the reality of life, and our psychology serves a vaster context of human potential. We learn how to cultivate our roots and make them invincibly strong, and at the same time we open up to skies without limits.
Finally, we can confidently guide our psyche, mind and spirit to grow towards new levels of maturity, intelligence and self-responsibility. And this is when the fuller potential of human consciousness awakens in us.