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An Old Man off the Beaten Track in the Rockies Has a Secret.
You Have To Ask Directions To Transformation
The Aspirant was looking hard for the Happy Hermit's Haunted Hut. He drove around looking for the Sign: "Transformation, Colorado, Turn Right". The Hut was built against a piece of granite. He was smiling big time. The Aspirant was in a great shiny spiritual outfit. His grin was full of ambition, confidence and the energy and commitment to bear any burden. The Hermit just winked at him. "You want the right turn at the Freeway. You are way off course."
The Aspirant knew what the Hermit was doing. Word was he acted drunk, but he really wasn't. "You are trying to discourage me from taking this little old wet alley into that dark woods over there. That "abandon all hope" sign you put up for kicks, because you know you won't have to do much work if you can talk people out of the path of transformation. Gotchya didn't I?"
The Hermit sipped on some strange Chai brew as he chuckled to himself. "Yeah. You got me. My job is to prequalify people." The Aspirant knew right away. "Gotta keep the amateurs off this road, huh?" The Hermit looked at the big spider on the welcome sign. "No, my job is to keep the experts off this road."
Experts, Powerful People and Those Whose Number One Goal Is Stability
"What do you mean?" The Aspirant was already quizzical. The Hermit picked up his speech, the one he had given so many times before. "OK, let me tell you who shouldn't be on this road. First of all this little cruddy muddy path is not intended to be appealing, right?"
People Who Have To Be Certain - "There are many many people who's prime mission is to be able to very certain when their head hits the pillow every night. It is absolutely terrifying in the deep inner depths of ourselves, so one of our big items as a species is to feel certain. You see feeling certain is kind of like an opiate. It helps you sleep at night. The smaller the number of uncertainties we have the easier it is to do all of the things we have to do every day." There are a hundred wonderful things in faith and politics and society that people feel certain about. Why do you want to take those away?" The Hermit put up his hand to stop the Aspirant. "Did I say I wanted them to have less certainty?" "No." The Aspirant did not get his drift. "Certain people, powerful people, stability-seeking people are great people. They are wonderful people. The world has to have them. They are prime, number one, super necessary citizens of this planet. The millions of the rest of us who don't feel quite so certain and stable are in the mission of trying to get like them. They make it work! It's my job to make certain that people ARE NOT transformed. You don't understand my purpose". The Aspirant was really confused. Most people who accidentally get on the Road To Transformation have a wonderful flyover about a couple miles down that path. It saves a whole lot of troubled souls, a whole lot of anguish that people don't need to have, a whole lot of "mission mush" from happening.?"
"Mission Mush? Let me guess. Its not their job this time to go through the hell of transformation." The Aspirant was pretty happy with himself. "Kind of. It is every body's mission to eventually become transformed. It's just that life is always trying to transform us, but unless you are bending toward transformation, you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, wash your hands, gain your composure and go on your way." The Hermit bit his lip a little. "Life is full, absolutely full of opportunities for transformation, but they are all negative to the person who is trying to be certain, happy, successful and stable." The Aspirant was trying to keep up. "All experience is helpful right? No one is going to waste. So, what are they doing?" The Hermit jumped in. "That's where the Mission Mush comes in. They quickly refocus on their mission and go on. Their mission is not transformation, so those experiences are THINGS TO RECOVER FROM."
As Winston Churchill said:
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."
The people on the freeway are wonderful, successful, happy, energetic people who want to stay on the freeway. When they go through the many experiences that life throws in their way, the troubles and challenges that are common to us all, they do their best, gain victories, experience some doubt and grief and trouble, but they go through "proximate transformation". Most all humanity goes through proximate transformation on a daily basis." The Aspirant was catching on. "In other words, they go through the whole process, its just that they quickly get back on their horse." The Hermit responded. "Yes. Isn't that what you hear all the time --- get back on the horse when you are thrown." The Aspirant joined in. "The experience is valuable and helpful and maturing and enriching and has its own value, but it's only in the neighborhood of transformation. The causation is real close, but it is "proximate", kind of in the neighborhood and near to the process, but they don't follow through on it." The Hermit gave him a cup of tea. "Its not that we don't pray, seek counseling, muster our abilities and seriously explore the complexities of life, it's just that most life is too daunting and overwhelming for the process of transformation. Ego and Pride and Strength of Purpose and Ambition and Self Realization are the points of most people's lives, or at least, mustering all the power they can to get all those things."
The Beauty of Proximate Transformation is that people are pretty sure they have been transformed when they go through with it. And in a dichotomous way, that's good. It prevents them from spiritually going to places they are not quite ready for. It is as if they think they had the experience, so let's get back to business. Kind of like the following:
*Like a kid who drinks a bottle of wine one night and thinks that's what boozing is.
*Or a kid who gets to first base and thinks that's what sex is.
*Or a person who takes a sled on a college hill and thinks that's what skiing is.
*Or a person who goes steady for two months and thinks that that's what love is.
*Or a person who gets a DUI, turns to religion, and thinks that's what conversion is.
*Or a person who runs a lap at school and thinks that's what a Marathon is.
*Or a person who watches an actor die on TV and thinks that's what war is.
*Or a person who gets a scrape and some iodine and thinks that's what pain is.
Transformation Sign Posts
If you do a little reading, some biographies of thinkers, poets, mystics, prophets and monks, you will notice that certain qualities emerge as the soul travels this particular path. The Hermit noted: "Just because someone is a preacher, or a "holy man" does not mean that they have gone through the process of transformation. It is a process that a soul goes through because he or she is on a path. It is not professional choice, office held, how many years someone has been in a church, how many decades they have spent wearing a certain habit or belonged to a certain secret club. It is completely a personal experience.
The Aspirant sat down in a rocking char. "I see you are getting comfortable in my little hideaway here", said the Hermit. The Aspirant was already in another place. "Why don't you kind of describe what it will be like, when I am making my way down that dark, rain-soaked personal path." The Aspirant had a genuine look, and The Hermit got really honest. "Now, I am just quoting what other people have told me". The Aspirant winked. "Sure". The Hermit protested. "I am a Hermit. That doesn't mean I am a Transformed Hermit. I have just talked to a few people. I have read a few books. Before you get to the illumination part, you usually feel some very strong negatives. You say to yourself. What an outcome. Leave this alone. But, its preparatory to the last outcome."
1. Utter Existential Loneliness - Exploring the feeling of absolute singular "all by yourselfness".
2. When a person is undergoing this process, they can reach out and not feel anything touching their psychical hand. Abandonment in spades.
2. The Sense of Powerlessness - You wake up in the morning muttering "There but for the grace of God go I." You stand alone in your back yard and look up at the stars and say. "I am miniscule."
3. You Feel Like Underneath Your Blustery Ego is a Fake.
4. You ponder your thoughts and see angst, anger, competitiveness, superiority. You watch yourself speeding to stop lights and looking for spot lights; and wonder what animates you, and you feel like a Sand Man.
5. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is in your neighborhood.
6. You feel like your life has been Destroyed, taken apart by an iron ball, and it is swinging above you, waiting for you to stand up.
7. Then, a Still Small Voice speaks up. "All that stuff was just to get your attention. What is you is not any of that. What is you is not dead, ruined, destroyed or obliterated. It's just your sense of yourself that is splattered all over." Now, you can begin transformation.
Why Would People Seek This?
"Exactly my point!" The Hermit had a tinge of sarcasm cloaked beneath his inscrutability. "What's the draw? What's the wonderful mystery? What individuals stumble upon in the beginning, and end up craving in the end, is a taste of the ineffable. One guy said it was like walking around in Heaven, but being here on earth. The experience happens first with no warming. You feel immersed in a flame or a cloud. A feeling of ecstasy makes you almost stammer. But then you have a very clear feeling of moral clarity and a brightness of mind. The around makes sense. Nothing seems contradictory. It is a feeling of the sense and the mind. Absolutely everyone, in the long haul, is going to be happy, you feel. The feeling of love is buoyant. Life is just pulsating. That pulsation is life itself and it seems to be the mattress you lie on, the cushy moccasins you wear, the comfy cloak you don." The Happy Hermit went on. He seemed to be twinkling. He seemed to be drunk, but he was just drinking a Chai and Green Tea and Honey brew.
The Happy Hermit went on: "The individual's personality seems to be crackling with charm. A transfiguration seems to take place. Anxious outcomes seem to be evaporating. You seem to be aware of things that were not taught to you. Eternity seems to be touchable. You have a sense of Gigantic Continuity. Stuff like that. Of course, I don't know this stuff. It's just what I have read."
The Aspirant was kind of buoyant himself, but he was filled with doubt about the Happy Hermit. "Of course, I don't know this stuff...it's just what I have read. You say that because this is a personal experience that many great minds have communicated, but the experience is so authentic that it can't be cheaply imitated, right?"
"Not Some New Cool Manifestation Or Nutty Heresy"
The Aspirant felt he had him. The Hermit turned around suddenly and stared deeply into his eyes. "Or commented on like its some cool manifestation that might be the next big thing, or some nutty heresy that the "certain people" will widely condemn." He looked even deeper into his eyes. "I think you had better be on your way. You are sounding like a Journalist, not a real Aspirant." The Aspirant/Journalist felt an increasing separation. "After fasting for about a month in the high desert, a person does not want to be interviewed. And when he is asked if he met the Ineffable, he doesn't feel like talking about it."
The Happy Hermit returned to his confusing ways. "Your recording instrument will not work, and if you are not really interested in Transformation, you can't get there from here. Why don't you get in your car and lose altitude. U.S. 40 is just down the road. Stay on it and it becomes Colfax Avenue. It will take you to downtown Denver."
The Aspirant/Journalist got in his car and drove down the hill. He remembered that a drunk old man with a liquor license in an old hovel was "too much in his cups" to give him any directions. Christofer French is the Founder of Astrologygetalong.com, a place to talk about other states lit by the stars.