Transformation is a word that gets bandied about a lot, especially in New Age circles. And you might have filed it away as “woo woo” or not applicable to you, or even, perhaps heretical. The kind of transformation that I am talking about is relevant to you – it’s especially relevant to anyone who takes following the words of Jesus seriously. If you want to find joy, live a life full of love and compassion, or really follow Jesus, you need transformation.
OK, so now I’ve convinced you to at least read a while longer. How is it that I am defining transformation? Here it is, in less than 140 characters: Transformation is a process, and it allows us to increasingly live in the moment in the presence of the Holy. You can’t be a real peacemaker without transformation. You can’t love God with all of your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself without transformation.
So what gets in the way? Why is it that we need transformation? Some might call it ego, others call it the “false self”, some might invoke Satan (I won’t, though.) There are a lot of ways to talk about the things that get in the way. Living in the past, and worrying about the future. Identifying with our emotions, so we act out of them, instead of acting out of love and compassion. What the Buddhists call the “Three Poisons” which will be familiar to anyone as obstacles to living with love: greed, hatred and delusion.
Transformation is possible. It takes determination, it takes faith, and it even takes doubt. And there are many ways to put yourself on the path to transformation. Just about every spiritual tradition has a path you can trod. But, of course, I’m all about just one of the many – the contemplative path. That’s what everything here is about, really. Tools in the Christian contemplative tradition to help you transform, and live a life with love and in the presence of God.
From the introduction to the Philokalia:
[T]his path is open to all to follow, each to the best of his or her ability and whatever the circumstances under which he or she lives. Indeed, in this respect the distinction between the monastic life and life ‘in the world’ is but relative: every human being, by virtue of the fact that he or she is created in the image of God, is summoned to be perfect, is summoned to love God with all his or her heart, soul and mind. In this sense all have the same vocation and all must follow the same spiritual path. Some no doubt will follow it further than others: and again for some the intensity of the desire with which they pursue it may well lead them to embrace a pattern of life more in harmony with its demands, and this pattern may well be provided by the monastic life. But the path with its goal is one and the same whether followed within or outside a monastic environment.