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Catharsis, Metamorphosis, and Stasis. The Way of the Boddhisattva

Updated on December 16, 2010

I read Chogyam Trungpa's work when I started meditation. My copy of his book, "The Myth of Freedom" is falling apart at the seams. I have used it again and again.

In the beginning, it was too esoteric for me. It appealed to my intellect. As the years went on and I continued the discipline he so much adhered to, I began to see truth in what he had written, experientially. It was awe inspiring and frightening at the same time.

He had talked about the Prajnaparamita close to the end of the book.

In the Heart Sutra it says: "Therefore the mantra of transcendent knowledge, the mantra of deep insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the incomparable mantra, the mantra which calms all suffering should be known as truth, for there is no deception. In transcendent knowledge the mantra is proclaimed: OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA"


In each and everyone's life there is a series of catharsis. A spiritual cleansing, if you will. We do this at will when we sit and meditate, whether we like it or not. Discipline.

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines catharsis as

Definition of CATHARSIS

1: purgation

2a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art

b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension

3: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression

Meditation is like washing clothes, or extracting something in the laboratory. You take off layer after layer of dust from the mind,or from the clothes, and in case of isolating something in the lab, you take more and more of the material stripping it off of the source. The greater number of times you do it, the cleaner the clothes, and the more your product. It is empirically so. It is an active process and the truths you encounter are solely your own.

Metamorphosis is never ending. It is a continuous process. Until death and the ensuing return. I do not want to use rebirth for personal reasons. A consequence of catharsis is the continuous removal of occlusions. Our blind spots. We arrive a truths one truth at a time.

The definitions of metamorphosis:

1a : change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means

b : a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances

2: a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching

Finally, stasis. Where everything is held as an unlimited potential. It is what is in between thoughts.

Definitions of STASIS

1: a slowing or stoppage of the normal flow of a bodily fluid or semifluid: as

a : slowing of the current of circulating blood

b : reduced motility of the intestines with retention of feces

2a : a state of static balance or equilibrium : stagnation

b : a state or period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change in a lineage occurs

The cocoon is symbolic in the sense that it holds the potential for a butterfly. So is a seed.

For a boddhisattva, the stasis can be eons. He can, at will emerge,and engage in compassionate action, not necessarily as a butterfly. Being human is where he can help the most.

A true warrior does not have to engage in war all the time.

© 2010 by Melinda M. Sorensson


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    • M K Paul profile image

      M K Paul 

      5 years ago from India

      Thank you for sharing....I liked the hub very much

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you, loveofknight..for sharing.

      We all do that...get does not have to be so formal as is recommended to sit in lotus or half lotus but not necessary...awareness of the breath is all..

    • loveofnight profile image


      5 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Of late I have been going through some things that seemed to be sticking to me like glue.I could not figure out what to do to release myself, it was so self defeating.After reading this I reexamined the things that were going on around me and you are right. "Meditation is like washing clothes, or extracting something in the laboratory. You take off layer after layer of dust from the mind" Meditation is the one thing that was a part of my daily life and for whatever reason it seems to have gotten lost.Thanks for reminding of of where I need to start to free my mind of the cob-webs that had taken over.A good share indeed.....Be Well and stay Blessed

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thank you, Dawnemars for dropping by and leaving your comments as well as your votes. You are too kind.

      Much appreciated.

    • DAWNEMARS profile image


      6 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

      Very interesting work. Inspirational and transformational. Has to be worth while for me. I love how you deal with these concepts here. You clarify emotional and psychological processes which are natural in a compelling way. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      According to the Bhagavad Gita, we must offer all our actions to God. Then we become detached from our actions and will no longer generate more karma.

      We have to take action yes, but it is a fallacy to believe that we are accomplishing the actions. It is the intent, rather than the physical action that matters more. Hence a sage can sit still in a cave and effect a multitude of events, if he wills it.

      But he has become a sage by the very realization that he must let others be, to exercise their own free will.

      To expect others to do what you want them to do is another form of aggression and like everything else one must work it within themselves.

      Thank you, someonewhoknows.

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      To be detached from the fruits of our actions requires a lot of soul searching. - meaning? - Depends on what actions and how they relate to our individual soul and the souls of others?

      Pollution of the earth ,water,air,and soil?

      Pollution of our minds as well as our bodies and the body of the earth herself?

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Dearest Deborrah, Thank you for your comment.

      To be still is very challenging for a lot of people. It is a difficult concept to accept that it is not us doing the work. We are programmed to identify with the body and to say "I did this today, I will do this tomorrow. I acquired this today, I will acquire more tomorrow."

      That we need action is absolutely necessary.

      To be detached from the fruits of our actions is another and requires a lot of soul searching.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      7 years ago

      Msorensson, Thought provoking! Meditation is a time to focus, be still and quiet the mind… Meditation can bring about a metamorphosis and it takes discipline! I agree when you say metamorphosis: “is never ending. It is a continuous process.” Yes! We are forever becoming…

      Melinda you have shared some profound wisdom here! “A true warrior does not have to engage in war all the time.” It is so important that we learn to “BE STILL & KNOW!”

      Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you kindly, Ingenira.

    • Ingenira profile image


      7 years ago

      I like what you wrote about meditation is like washing clothes. Your writing is always so refreshing and thought provoking.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Yes thank you Katie!! It was fascinating how that was incorporated into that article.

      I was telling my students about washing clothes!!

      Thank you for dropping by!! Much love to you!!

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      OH MY, I love your analogy to washing the clothes. I feel it's a practice of casting it out to the vast sea and thus being whole and perfect like the deep wide and vast sea in natural balance. Well written and much appreciated. Love and Peace :) Katie

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Dearest Nell,

      You get the greatest benefit from it by not wanting anything. Just like when one exercises, not because one needs to anymore but as a matter of discipline.

      When you do it without expectation of anything, then you are doing it perfectly.

      Thank you for dropping by. Always much appreciated.

      Much love,


    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, Melinda, I used to do meditation, and after reading this I feel that I should start again, I remember when it soothed me, and calmed, we forget the obvious sometimes, and now I know what my new years resolution is! thank you, take care as always nell

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Wow..Thank you, Prasetio!!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Amazing, Madam. It open my eyes about other culture and religion. Meditation is always be the best thing we can do to release stress and this was really work for us. You always impress me with wonderful information like this hub. rating up. Love and peace!


    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you Tony. Yes, it is true. I just wrote this today in one of my blogs:

      "It is in the search of forever that one finds the NOW, in accepting mortality that one finds immortality, and in giving up hope that one finds love."

      I find that I can only write from experience and when I do write something I needed clarification about comes to light.

      Thank you for stopping by. Much appreciated.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      I really enjoyed reading your take on these concepts. You put them so clearly. In your comment to Todd you say that the only goal of meditation is to be in the now. That is so meaningful and helpful to me. Thank you.

      Love and peace


    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, hello, hello. Much appreciated.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      This is a complete different world opening up for me. I wonder whether I can follow it and understand it. Your is so wonderful and inspiring. It is fascinating.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, SilentReed. Yes, it was difficult to understand in the beginning.

      I just followed what he advised. Sit, sit, sit, whether I liked it or not.

      And yes, without empirical evidence, which may or may not take a long time, we can read volumes and volumes of books and it will not help us.

      We have to do the manual labor and then gradually, we will have eyes wide open.

    • SilentReed profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for sharing and you explain it so well when you wrote..

      "In the beginning, it was too esoteric for me. It appealed to my intellect. As the years went on and I continued the discipline he so much adhered to, I began to see truth in what he had written, experientially."

      We can read books and if we are lucky have a spiritual teacher to point us in the right direction

      But without direct experience as the final test of validity, all indirect knowledge acquired only give us glimpses or fragments of the "truth" we seek in the path of self-realization

      the video provided a soothing background while reading your hub

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, Shalini, Yes, I just adopted that method of looking things up in the dictionary this way readers can interpret it as they apply in their own life. Thanks so much.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      7 years ago from India

      Thank you - I enjoyed that - especially your explanations. Meditation being like washing is such a simple yet powerful analogy! And I love the way you took us through the definition of the three states to what it should mean in our lives.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Oh..Thank you, Neelesh. That is so kind. Thank you.

      In the gap between thoughts, in the gap between silence and sound, the space, the static space is where unlimited potential is. But we cannot access it so easily until we have quieted our minds some. It is what meditation gives us.

      Yes, the sages say, you swallow the Ganga when you take a sip of water. It is true.

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image


      7 years ago from new delhi


      i guess stasis and living in the moment occurs when we realise the underlying unity of all things and that not only are all things within us but we are also at the same time in all things.

      awesomed it and if there was a higher word i would use it too

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I am honored, thank you. Did you ever spend time in any of the monasteries? I am curious, Rob.

    • Robwrite profile image


      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      I'm a Buddhist so I enjoy reading this type of thing. Thanks.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Beloved Audrey, I am the one gifted with the friendship and love of all of you. Thank you!

      It is not random that we know each other here, that we have met each other if only in cyberspace. It is because somehow we can hold hands with each other and be on this journey together in this lifetime.

      Thank you, Audrey. Much much love, Melinda

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear, beautiful Melinda - Your hub is so inspiring! I have read it three times. To be in the now is a principle and habit worth forming, for that is all we have. I also like Martie's comments. I had not known the word "stasis" until reading it's meaning here. How blessed I and others are to be able to learn and grow from your writings. You are filled with wisdom and light. I am so very honored and blessed to be your friend. I wish for you all that is good, all that is pure and all that is love. Thank you.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you VioletSun. You said the magic word, unlearning.

      Yes, we have so much to unlearn.

      I love that you were able to listen from outside of your mind. That is what awareness is about.

      Thank you kindly for visiting. Much appreciated.

      On a last note on truth, I always tell my son this, that if and when he asks me anything, I will always tell him the truth, but he should be aware that that truth can change, therefore its only value is at the time he asked it of me and like Gandhi, my only commitment is to truth, the truth of that moment.

      Warmest regards,


    • VioletSun profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      As I was reading this while sipping a cup of warm tea, the energy behind your words is so balanced, that my mind stepped aside and listened to your words. I am with you and Martie, we each arrive at truth in our unique ways. I have done so much unlearning, that I don't know what is true anymore, and it gets disconcerting at times and freeing at others. A lot of shedding has taken place in the past 7 years, perhaps this is a purification of sorts.

      Thanks for writing this, learned more tonight.

      Rated up!

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Scribenet. Yes, I chose this one from many..

      Thank you so much.!!

    • Scribenet profile image


      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed this Hub and the video. It was a stressful day at work and listening to the video helped me unwind and forget about the day which wasn't important at all... just full of noise and hot air! Now I can enjoy my evening!

      Thank you!

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi, Todd. It is said that one hour of meditation is equivalent to ten hours of negotiation, in business that is.

      There is only one goal of meditation. To be in the NOW. The now is where everything is. Past, present and future, converging.

      It seems paradoxical but it is truth.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I really need to start giving meditation a go. It could only have one outcome, and it's a positive one. :-;

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, De Greek. Much appreciated. Yes, it is a picture of the soul.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      7 years ago from UK

      Melinda, I always like the things you write because they are so human and such a picture into the soul. Well done :-)

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, Green Lotus, I appreciate you and your wisdom. Much love, Melinda

    • Green Lotus profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thank you Melinda for sharing the wisdom of the boddhissatva. Reading the old texts can be esoteric and at times overwhelming, but you have broken it down and presented the ancient "truths" beautifully. Rated up and awesome

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      You are too kind, Martie, Thank you. I love what you wrote as response. I hope others will read it as well.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      I enjoyed this hub. I can give evidence that this is true. This is life. And yes, ‘we arrive a truths one truth at a time’, and not all of us at the same time. What I’ve learned as the truth at the age of 10, someone else may learn at the age of 50. That is why I am against judging others, because you never know the truth known by someone else, and you never know if that will become your truth as well. Whether that truth is acceptable and admirable, does not matter. A murdered know truth we may never know, so don’t judge. All we have to do, is look after ourselves and our loved-ones, and to protect us from evil the best we can.

      Melinda, your writings always-always reveal your beautiful soul. I feel honored to be your follower.

    • msorensson profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you, Kathryn!!

    • kathryn1000 profile image


      7 years ago from London

      That is good reading.


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