There are seeds in the ground all winter that know themselves to be small, hard-shelled beings, jam-packed with the stuff of life. What a wonder-filled state of awareness that must be!
And how disturbing the cataclysmic changes of spring must feel. The frozen earth that has cradled and protected the seed suddenly becomes damp and warm, causing the shell to crack open and expose the precious life within to an unknowable world. From the outside all looks normal and natural. Spring is merely playing the great alchemist; prodding the seed to awaken, rise into the sunlight, and grow. The seed will eventually morph through countless changes into an entirely new, unique, and magnificent expression of life.
But to the seed, the transformation may seem confusing and at times even devastating. I imagine the seed thinking, “What is happening? Am I safe? Will I still exist without my shell? Can I go back to winter and the safety of all I know?” I wonder if the seed experiences a sense of unending release and discovery. It is constantly losing the illusion of control and opening up in surrender to the flow of an ever-changing world. I imagine it comes to love and thrive in the newness of each moment as it lets go of old structures. I imagine it comes to identify with the flow and the grace of the moment, to know itself as a living part of a grace-filled, evolving whole.
Life is an amazing journey of constant transformation – for every blade of grass, every tree, and for every living thing. Each of us holds a starring role in the epic, ever-unfolding journey of transformation. I just wish the process came with an owner’s manual so we would not feel such confusion and sometimes painful resistance to the play of the Master Alchemist! Over and over again on the Spiritual Path, we release layers of the illusions so adored by ego. As we release identification these illusions states, awareness elevates to reveal the ever-present beating heart of Divine Essence within. Yes, it can be blissful at times, and we definitely experience elevated states along the way. Yet we also often find change to be incredibly challenging, so we resist the process! It is a sure sign that the ego is kicking up an almighty fuss over its diminishing influence as the boss. As one of my master teachers says, “If you are not feeling resistance to deep meditation, you aren’t doing it right!”
Like the seed, each soul has innate evolutionary capacities that unfold along the path. And more good news is that the entire universe is supporting us. We can indeed trust the transformation process at the deepest levels.
It can also help to know what some of the Path of Transformation looks like so it is not such a head-scratcher when things appear to go ‘wrong.’ Here are some of the signposts we may encounter over and over again as we progress on this spiritual journey. May this list of signs of Transformation add to your elevated, expanded perspective of the process!
Signs you are in a phase of Spiritual Transformation:
- You are alive! All things are changing constantly. If you doubt this, try to take the same breath twice or make time hold still! Breathe deeply and relax into life itself. As much as you can, release the need to control or design the moment. Natural unfoldment and the Divine Alchemist have loving and expansive plans for you, way beyond what you can probably imagine in the moment.
- Cherished people, thoughts, or experiences fall away. This may occur in your inner and/or outer world. As your vibration rises, everything that no longer resonates with you will begin to release. This process of deep purification and release can feel odd, yet liberating if we allow it to unfold. We can also enhance this phase by offering up things that no longer serve our lives. Pain can arise the more one clings to old forms. It does help to know what is going on and to shift identification to the one arising from the changes instead of to the one clinging to the old. Parts of this phase can feel unsettling, yet it is ultimately freeing, and can lead to a deep sense of liberation and a new, less hindered life.
- You often choose to be alone. Steep climbs up the mountain of awareness often require silence and inner focus. If you find yourself choosing or needing more alone time, you may be going through a positive separation from people and situations that have bound you to old forms of consciousness. You can trust your inner wisdom as a guide when it craves alone time.
- Finding some people really annoying. There are phases on the journey when we find the traits of other people to be really aggravating. We may see others as pushy, condescending, submissive, or any of a million other things that drive us crazy. This can be a tough phase, because generally it means people are mirroring something we don’t see – and certainly don’t like or want to own – inside ourselves. It is easy to project a block outward, to stay in judgement and think of one’s self as separate or more advanced. The ego loves this sort of employment. For the spiritually oriented soul the gift in this phase can be subtle and intensely hard to own. Chances are the annoying thinking rising up out of the unconscious, subconscious, or shadow is a block to enlightened awareness. It can feel like a creature from the dark lagoon is messing up the romantic movie of our wonderful self! If you find dark thoughts arising within and projected outward, don’t despair or start berating yourself! Actually, congratulations are in order! You have hit pay dirt. A core misperception – a major illusion state is showing up to be recognized, owned, and released. Once this work is done, the sense of emancipation and expanded awareness can be wonderful. You have released more of your True Self from a dense inner jail. And as a bonus, it becomes much easier to not only tolerate, but to genuinely love the ‘craziness’ in the people and world around us!
- Disorientation, chaos, the dark night of the soul. One of the curious thing about spiritual friends is that when you tell them you are in the depths of inner and outer chaos, they may say, “Oh how wonderful!” It is not that they don’t love you. It is that they see you evolving rapidly. Your old false identity and sense of enmeshment in the world of illusion is dissolving. Unfortunately, this phase can be alarming and disorienting. It is a stage of the spiritual path calling for quiet alone time, conscious breathing, diving into your spiritual practices, calling in your guides, going for energy work or whatever works to keep the positive energy active and elevating. Mostly, know that your sense of the True Self and your innate connection to Source is calling you home through a jumble of archaic, collapsing inner and outer structures. While uncomfortable for the ego, chaos can be a very good sign on the path.
- A new sense of identity and connection. On the spiritual journey, one is often jumping on a sort of trampoline of awareness states. It is quite natural to experience expanded states while in meditation, seeing a beautiful sunset, or simply being in gentle mindfulness during the day. The goal is to begin to stabilize the experience of life while maintaining elevated awareness states. As this doorway of inner perception opens, a whole new phase of expanded awareness opens and we more fully embody enlightened heart-mind. At least initially, it is helpful to stabilize this state by focusing on practices that to help maintain this high vibration. The world of illusion can be very distracting. It exerts a strong magnetic pull to bring our awareness back into the Samsaric fray. It can help to deepen spiritual practices, trust inner wisdom, connect to source, and clear out remaining bits of Velcro to illusion consciousness. Even the Dalai Lama lives mostly in seclusion and is surrounded by highly advanced souls to help him maintain the mountainous spiritual vibration he holds for the world. In this phase, one continually clears, elevates, and guards the temple while living in the world. It is a sort of new incarnation in which identification with the illusion world is constantly falling away. It is a phase where ‘scales fall from our eyes.’ It is a rebirth of unity consciousness and holds within it the precious experience of Being fully Home and fully Alive.
We are so like the seed. In every moment our precious Essence lies hidden in plain sight. Thanks to the ongoing process of Transformation, illusion states that hide Essence begin to unravel and fall away. Our true Divine Nature begins to slowly, almost shyly, reveal itself. We are often rather amazed to find that we are already a living expression of unbounded love and wisdom, imbued with the potential of Creation itself.
Thank you for being on this journey! Have no doubt your presence and personal shifts are a gift to those around you. By doing the transformational work of the path, you open vibrational pathways in the collective consciousness for others on similar journeys. Walking the spiritual path is of deep service to the world. Many deep blessings on your journey!