Inner Revolution: The 5 stages of radical transformation
We all fear uncertainty. But do you know that this uncertainty can help you transform your life for good? In fact, the tension is a part of the process, a sign that transformation is under works or in development. In one of Rumi’s poems, a boiling chickpea talks from the stew pot, complaining about the heat of the fire and the blows of the cook’s spoon. The cook calmly tells him, “Just let yourself be cooked! In the end, you’ll be a delicious morsel!” Transformation is a process where you literally allow yourself to be at ease, opened, even broken apart, in order to awaken yourself. When you are in the midst of the process, you might feel like that overheated chickpea, or like cookie dough raw and untogether. That uncertainty, the feeling that you’re caught between an old self and an unknown new one, is one of the signs that you’re in a true transformative process.
There are many signs that you can learn to recognize, because for most of us, real transformation happens in stages that can be tracked. Given below are 5 radical steps for inner revolution.
- The Wake Up call
Every transformative process begins with a wake up call. For some, it can be a sudden intuitive recognition, while for others it may be external circumstances that trigger inner revolution. These experiences can sometimes be traumatic ones. It can shatter one’s beliefs amongst themselves. Evolutionary biologists believe that stress is what invents evolution in nature: Plants grow through pruning. Human beings grow the exact same way. When we’re faced with a situation that we can’t control or change with our current level of understanding and skill, evolutionary stress arises. The stress impels us to question, seek, practice, and eventually to take a leap out of our comfort zone into a higher level of awareness.
- Holding Uncertainty
The stage following a wake-up call often involves letting yourself live in the stress of unanswered questions and unsolved problems. Living with stress is uncomfortable and disturbing. But there’s a power in stress. In science, art and spiritual life, important breakthroughs are often preceded by a period of intense frustration or impasse.
Holding Uncertainty helps in creating an insight that allows you to refine your vessel and open the psyche for revelation and insight.
- Grace, Insight and Awakening
Sometimes, you start to read a book and the exact words that you need to hear leap out to you. You can always tell when the grace has rushed in. Often at this stage, your life seems filled with meaningful coincidences, inspirations and synchronicities that carry you forward almost effortlessly.
Often the insight is something you already knew, or thought you knew, but in this realisation, everything feels different, and you know that the world will never be the same again.
- The Honeymoon and the Fall
After the grace stage, there is a certain happiness about everything in general. You will feel that the toughest struggles are over or don’t exist. For many, it creates a subtle or not so subtle feeling of spiritual superiority, a feeling that you’re being guided or shown the way, and a slight disdain for people who haven’t yet gotten it. The downside of this stage is overconfidence.
The fall might happen as a result of your own missteps. In the euphoria or confidence of the Honeymoon period, you might make a big professional ‘mistake,’ fall in love with someone inappropriate, quarrel with your best friend, your family or your teacher, ditch your marriage, or become discouraged by the complications involved in making a significant life change. Why does this happen? Usually because our psychological vessel is not strong enough to hold the power of our spiritual insight.
The fall is actually necessary as it underscores need for integration and initiates the integrative process. In the Integration phase, you may find yourself negotiating contradictions. Your inner developmental process may seem to demand radical freedom to practice, travel, or change the terms of your life. The process of Integration demands that you make efforts to consciously bring insights into action.
True transformation is a natural process that affects the way you think, act, and feel in every situation. This means that you cannot control the pace of transformation any more than you can control the process by which an apple tree flowers and bears fruit. Ripening must take place, both in fruit trees and in human beings.
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