Transformation occurs when we have learned how to master our ego needs and begin to embrace our soul needs. The principle factors preventing transformation are the fears of the ego.
There are three types of fears:
We learn these beliefs during childhood when our minds are like sponges. Between the ages of 2 to 7 we have strongly developed imaginations and emotions, but we have not yet developed our cognitive capacity for reasoning. Without cognition to support us, we formulate our personal beliefs from our emotional experiences, and we adopt the cultural beliefs of our parents without question.
By the time we reach our teenage years our minds have been thoroughly conditioned by our experiences, our parents, and the culture we grew up in. Our world is built around our beliefs, and our beliefs are assumptions that we hold to be true. They may be true or they may not be true: but we make the assumption that they are.
Our fears can be conscious or subconscious/ unconscious. A conscious fear is a fear we are aware of. A subconscious fear is a fear that we are not aware of, but can be brought into conscious awareness and examined once we have discovered its existence.
When subconscious fears drive our motivations, we react emotionally to situations rather than give a considered response. The reaction precedes thought, and is usually accompanied by a feeling of impatience, irritation, or anger. If you have ever been upset by someone or a situation, or received a letter or an email that upset you and you responded angrily, then you reacted from a subconscious fear-based belief.
Personal mastery is the process by which we bring our subconscious fears into our conscious awareness, and thereby learn how to manage them and the emotions that are associated with them.
There are three stages to transformation (Click on diagram to enlarge).
The first stage of transformation involves learning how to manage, master or release your conscious and subconscious fear-based beliefs so that you can begin to shift the centre of gravity of your consciousness from the ego to the soul. This is called personal mastery.
The second stage of transformation involves uncovering your authentic self. This is the self that lies beyond your parental and cultural conditioning. It is about learning who you really are; what has meaning for you; what motivates you; and embracing the values of your authentic self. We become the master of our own destiny by letting go of the personal and cultural conditioning that prevents us from realizing our true self and our full potential. This is called “individuation”. The term “individuation” was used by psychotherapist Carl Jung as a way of explaining how we integrate the unconscious with the conscious for the purpose of self-actualization.
The third stage of transformation involves uncovering your soul’s purpose—what you are passionate about, what you want to do in the world that brings a sense of meaning to your life and increased potential for personal fulfilment. This is the beginning of the process called self-actualization.
We achieve full spectrum consciousness by learning to master the needs of the ego, and the needs of the soul. Someone who demonstrates this ability is called a self-actualized individual.
In the seven levels of human motivation, self-actualization starts at the level of transformation; the fourth level of human motivation—the satisfaction of our mental needs.
It is only when we turn our minds to address questions such as “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?” and “What is my purpose that we create an opening for the soul to influence our lives.
Usually, we only question who we are and our purpose if we have reached a point in our lives where we have everything we need in terms of material possessions and supportive relationships, and yet deep inside we are not feeling fulfilled, or if we experience a life changing event, or a brush with death, that makes us re-evaluate our lives.
There are also those, a minority in my opinion, who move easily into this search for meaning. They are born with a natural predisposition for understanding the significance of their lives. For the rest of us it normally takes a life changing event.
One person who took this search to a deep level was Victor Frankl. Victor Frankl was a Jew who spent a large part of the Second World War in a Nazi concentration camp. During his time in the camp he focused his mind on his personal search for meaning. Here is a relevant quote from his book, Man’s Search for Meaning:
Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of institutional drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone: only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning.
What Frankl is pointing to is the fundamental need for humans to find a framework for their existence that goes beyond meeting their physical, emotional and mental needs. We are searching for an overarching philosophy to understand and explain our experiences—a framework which is essentially spiritual.
Finding such a framework not only brings meaning to man’s or woman’s life but also provides a pathway for growth—a pathway that shows us a way of becoming all we can become through the expression of our soul motivations.