by Chris Tong, Ph.D.
Secrets of Human Transformation
there are (and have been throughout history), very few highly spiritual
people who practice the habits we will enumerate in Habits
of Highly Spiritual People. In this section and the next,
we’ll begin to see why.
At the crux of the issue is the matter of heat. When we make a change in ourselves, even one that is rightly aligned to the Greater Reality, in the manner described in the last section, there is a friction between the old tendencies and the new habit. This friction is experienced subjectively as heat. And it is anything but comfortable. It literally is the energy that was about to reach the surface of the body-mind as the expression of a psychic impulse (a desire, an emotion, etc.), but which is consciously frustrated before it reaches the point of expression. The now freed-up energy registers as heat in the body. The more impulses that are frustrated, the greater the heat in the body. So if you are making an entirely new character out of the being, there’s gonna be a whole lotta heat!
The basic fact is, if you can’t stand the heat, you will get out of the kitchen. So effective schools of transformation have to explicitly address this matter of heat. It can’t just be ignored; any school of change that is founded merely on good intentions, positive thinking, or talking alone, will drop the ball of change the instant things start to heat up.
So the first principle for heat management and endurance in any school of transformation is to set expectations right. It is going to be an ordeal, just like any creative activity (and attaining absolute freedom and happiness is the greatest of all creative activities). No pain, no gain. But it is worth the heat.
Part and parcel of this process of adjusting expectations is restoring the requirements of adulthood. Only in recent years has “adulthood” or “maturity” been a matter of simply living past a certain age (e.g., 18). Traditionally, age was only one factor. Demonstration of maturity was far more significant. Applicants for adulthood would have to endure a “rite of passage”, whether it took the form of “running the gamut”, “hunting the tiger”, a "vision quest", or whatever. We need to be re-educated out of consumer society values, and enlightenment weekends; come to fully appreciate what the ordeal of growth is going to involve; and make a commitment that will last through and beyond whatever arises during the rite of passage. That is what it means to be humanly mature.
I recall a personal experience that impressed me with this point about taking up the ordeal in a manly fashion. In 1987, I was engaged in bioenergetic therapy with Leslie Lowen, wife of Alexander Lowen, the founder of bioenergetics, at their home in Connecticut. In their living room, they have a “bioenergetic stool”, which is a cushioned rack over which one stretches one’s back, thus countering the forward hunch that otherwise tends to take over the bodily posture with time and age, ultimately leading to death and rigor mortis. The bioenergetic view treats the physical body and the psyche as functionally equivalent; one’s character is reflected by one’s musculature. Chronically suppressed emotions are reflected (and implemented) by chronically tensed muscles which disallow the energy flow that would otherwise result in the expression of those emotions.
Hence, arching one's back over the stool is a means for helping to break the rigidity of the body’s musculature, and allowing energy (and emotion) to flow again. I was doing just this when Al Lowen walked in the room, looked over at me, and, with a big smile, exclaimed “Best thing for you!” and walked on.
The reason this little exchange had an impact on me was because there I was, in almost unbearable pain (trying to relax into the pain) as my spine was forced to unwind, and here was this fellow saying “Best thing for you!” At that moment, I happened to glance at a quote he had posted right next to the stool, which seemed to underscore his comment:
Obviously, Lowen admired that last disposition the most! Indeed, the breaking of the "bow" that is the identification with the false, limited, egoic self so as to reveal and restore identification with the True Self, the Divine Being, is the very point of Spiritual Realization.
The basis for such a commitment or vow is necessarily a revelation of some kind about the greater alternative to which one is committing. Especially for the ordeal of the spiritual process, one couldn’t possibly endure the heat of the passage without Divine Revelation (received not just once, but even regularly). When it comes to heat, this Revelation even takes a particular form:
In contrast with the “low levels of energy” that we are adapted to, what must happen instead is that we melt in an Ocean of Spiritual Energy and Light — something only a true Spiritual Transmission Master can provide on a steady basis:
And so Grace-given Revelations of being melted in the Divine and All-Pervading Sea of Energy are profoundly inspirational. We become aware that the very same thing we are suffering as heat — namely, free energy — when it encompasses the entire body is not different from the Sea of Energy.
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