When we go through transformative experiences such as an important trip, moving to another country, starting a new career path, becoming a parent, falling in/out of love, – we stop being “somebody”, the one we were before. We enter into a new dimension of ourselves which is unknown and more expansive than the previous one. This expansion is experienced in many levels at the same time (you became a parent and your house is not the same anymore, the empty room is now the room of the baby, you discover your impressive nurturing and loving capacity, and your patience, and how good is your partner in supporting – or not etc.) and comes with this new “identity” of yours.
When it comes about spiritual practice, the expansion beyond one’s known identity is also present, and one finds that deep meditation experiences are always described with the same words: “softness”, “lightness”, “indescribable peace”, “emptiness”, “centered”, “expanded” among experienced meditators. It´s like if everyone gets to the same headspace. As if profound experiences don´t differ much from one person to another. But how come that two different individuals have almost the same inner experience while going deep into meditation? One can say that, framing it in a structural perspective, the “somebody” – the one who meditates – becomes “nobody” – the one who experiences all the possibilities within without identification – and because is nobody, is everyone at the same time.
Transformation – or change – is present at the level of our mundane life and at the level of our spiritual life too. Many spiritual doctrines teach about how one can become enlightened (a transformational process aiming at “seeing” or “knowing” things as they are) or knowing your true self (Atman), a saint (those of us “who are more perfectly transformed in the image of Christ” defines the “Lumen Gentium” No 50), how to stay closer to God or “to act according to the Light of the Creator” as Kabbalists explain, and so on. And none of these processes occur without experiencing a deep transformation within.
Whether you are moving into another country, experiencing a significant loss, falling in love, in the path of sanctity or spiritual realization, you are changing. Purists may raise a brow at this point since I´m comparing becoming a parent or traveling with the path of spiritual realization, but to me, they differ by visibility (how material or visible is the process of transformation) and calling (distinctions between what is profane and holy are, usually, the place where problems arise, and they are most of the times culturally biased – I´m not trying to say that divinity is not sacred, I´m pointing out toward a certain carefulness that is needed on this matter, especially in a globalized world). The “somebody”, the one who is aware of itself to the point of selfishness, when becomes a parent, is a “nobody”. The entire attention goes to the baby – it can´t be another way! – and all that happens around it. The spiritual seeker, the “somebody” who seeks inner peace, wisdom or God, becomes a “nobody” in a profound meditation experience, in the Holy Communion or during the Praying time.
Our consciousness and reality are one and the same (check out my previous posts). By understanding all the aspects of our life as different dimensions of one single thing, by bringing up a core, center or unifying space within in which the “somebody” can surrender and become a “nobody”, we won´t feel lost or lacking the point of reference – a feeling that occurs very often when we experience change and transformation, especially in this “liquid modernity” as Bauman named it. On the contrary, we will embrace change, no matter how uncomfortable this change might be, because that´s the foundation of our human experience, that is what all of us (no matter our differences) experience in life. This understanding brings not only wisdom but also a greater compassion toward all living beings. And at the end of the day that counts because we are all having our own doses of fear, uncertainty, loss, gain, judgment, realization, and satisfaction, and we deserve some little peace in between.
Credits for the image @ajaychahal29