Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why The Journey of Transformation Isn’t for Everyone

Because this article contains many earth shattering counterintuitive insights, it is most difficult to write. I have succinctly outlined a path that contains some of the greatest rewards of transformation. Yet, it is the one that is least traveled. 

“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of the pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” – Adyashanti

Clearly enlightenment is not for the faint of heart. Enlightenment without transformation is
simply a matter of gaining more information. And transformation without enlightenment is merely a matter of becoming better or making improvements.

Transformation occurs when your view of the future, yourself and the world is altered. In fact, even though you are living in the same world, opportunities that once appeared impossible become possibilities. Through transformation, limiting beliefs that created a sense of paralysis seem to melt away.

For example, in 1954, Roger Bannister accomplished what was believed to be humanly impossible. He ran the mile in less than four minutes. Many people believe he simply imagined himself running faster. However, he had to first transform his thinking and training. To do so, he would have had to crumble away many untruths about training for the mile. Bannister’s transformation would have required him to let go of many commonly held beliefs. In that process, he became someone he had never been. 

Becoming someone we have never been may be what we fear most, partly because we have invested years of experience and education to become who we are. We believe the person we have created ourselves to be is the ‘right’ identity to accomplish our life goals. To let go of that identity, could imply that the person we were was ‘wrong’ or not good enough. As a result, we defend our position until someone can blatantly prove us wrong. That occurs even when we know our thought processes and actions are not always in our best interest.

On the other hand, there are the outliers like Bannister, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs who enlightened us through their personal and professional journey of transformation. Neither of them made happiness their ultimate goal. They discarded many of societies beliefs and worked diligently to produce results that were seemingly impossible to the rest of the world. They experienced numerous failures and in some cases public humiliation. Notwithstanding, they persevered. In that process, their view of themselves and what was possible was altered. And they shed the identity they once treasured because it became obsolete.

On the surface, it would seem that it is important to understand the new insights those great thinkers discovered about themselves. When you peel back the layers, you find it wasn’t what they learned about themselves. It was what they unlearned or how they shed beliefs. Beliefs contain predetermined facts that go unquestioned, like the flat world. When you are able to shed those beliefs from your thought process, you are left with nothing to believe or disbelieve. It is from nothing that you are best positioned to invent anything or everything. While shedding beliefs is the most important part of transformation, it is the most difficult. It is difficult because our identities and accomplishments have been built on the past. And when you use the past as a measurement, it can appear valid.  

With that said, by crumbling away what was untrue and eradicating what was believed to be true, people like Bannister, Edison, Jobs and others, took a giant step into a world of uncertainty. As they continuously navigated through this world of uncertainty, their beloved identities were destroyed. As they transformed uncertainty into reality, they became the catalyst for the world’s enlightenment. Without those who risk their happiness, identities and status, the world would depend on chance and remain in a constant state of endarkenment. Yet, the people who chose enlightenment as a means to transform the world were individuals who were no different than you and I. Therefore, the possibility of inventing the future through personal transformation is available to each of us. What journey are you willing to take in order to enlighten us all?

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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