Transformation is a Process
Once many years ago my wife and I were in a store and I came across a calendar which promised to give everyone a spiritual gift that they could use on the date of their birthday. So, I turned to my birthday page and called across to my wife and asked, “What do you think was my gift?” “Patience,” she replied. “How did you know” I asked? She responded, “Ron I’m married to you,” which gave everyone who overheard the exchange of a good laugh. I share that story because I know how it feels to want something badly, to chafe at how long something is taking to unfold. While hopefully in the years that have ensued since the above dialogue took place, I have become more patient, I sympathize with people who fidget and squirm and try to move the clock along through mental telepathy.
One thing I have learned is that the process of transformation can’t be rushed. It takes time. Ernest Holmes taught that any pattern we wish to change we can, he wrote, “Perhaps not in a moment, or a day or a month or a year, but you can change them.” When we think about it doesn’t it make sense that beliefs and habits we have acquired over the course of a life time don’t evaporate over night? Holmes taught that it isn’t a matter of making affirmations or holding thoughts, it’s a process of gradual re-education of our whole mental reaction. That is no small task.
Jesus and The Buddha are two examples of this. Neither came full orbed into this life as the spiritual masters they became. After he was baptized Jesus went off into the wilderness for forty days, while there he was tested, and in this testing became more fully aware of who he was. The Buddha searched for years before he sat under the Bodhi tree and became enlightened. Anything as important as spiritual enlightenment does not come easy. That is what Lao Tzu was telling us when he wrote, “A journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step.”
The first time I entered a Center for Spiritual Living in 1990 I was blown away by the message, after the service I said to my wife, “I’m not sure what happened in there but my life changed today.” I was wrong, my life didn’t change that day, it began changing that day. It is still changing as I move along my path. I am not where I’d like to be, but I am heading in the right direction. Cervantes reminded us that it isn’t the destination that counts as much as our path in getting there when he wrote, “The road is more important than the inn.” In the meantime we need to keep practicing. As Adyashanti wrote, “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 is seeing through the façade of pretense. It is the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” If that sounds like a big job it is. So, why not get started right now?