Self-transformation: Turn to face the sun
When the bubble bursts
it knows itself
to be the entire ocean.
My interest in self-transformation began in a state of desperation.
In my early thirties, I was a university lecturer in clinical psychology soaking up media and academic adulation for the work I was doing in behaviour therapy and sex therapy. The idea of self-transformation had never occurred to me, not once, in all of those thousands of hours spent guiding others out of their fears and anxieties. My patients were the ones in need of self-transformation, not me. Or so I thought.
That all changed when I went through the most challenging time in my life. Some call such an experience “the dark night of the soul”.
The psychological practices I’d been using and teaching were of little use to me. I didn’t know where to turn. Then fate or divine grace intervened and I heard the story of Baba Ram Dass, who’d gone through an extraordinary self-transformation. He’d been a Harvard professor in psychology, got hooked on LSD and ended up in India, where he realised he was looking for himself, his true Self. The story told by Ram Dass on the LP record I was given captivated and enthralled me. I now knew that there was a knowledge about the human condition outside of academic psychology that might help me. So I started searching.
Many years later, I was well and truly addicted to the journey of self-transformation, adventuring into the vast unknown of my true Self, with every disturbing emotion appearing as the wind to propel this boat into the vastness of the ocean of the Self.
Why do I love exploring and writing about self-transformation? Not just so I can learn to be loving and fearless and become a better therapist. But because it’s like discovering fire hiding inside the dry log of wood; it’s like tasting sugar after crushing the cane; it’s like feeling that I’m being born with the dawn of each new day.
I’ll leave you with a teaching by Rumi, the great Sufi poet of 1207-1273. He wrote:
Go on a journey from self to Self, my friend….
Such a journey transforms the world into a mine of gold.
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