Transformation is better than change

Deepak Chopra says that conscious transformation makes us human. (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Life is nothing but a series of choices, and if you make good choices, your life will improve. That’s a short, rational statement that everyone lives by, since the opposite – improving your life by making wrong choices – isn’t really a plan. Making good choices should bring the good things in life – but what if it doesn’t?

This is actually one of the most profound questions asked throughout the ages. The obstacles to achieving a good life prove to be powerful. They contain:

  • Catastrophic Accidents

  • serious illness

  • Destructive Mass Events: War, Famine, Plague

  • Forces of nature: climate change, earthquakes, storms, fire, floods

  • Economic Failures and Reversals

  • Political turmoil

  • Prejudice and bigotry

  • Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression

  • Old wounds, traumas and humiliations from the past

As long as the list seems, it is only partial. You could add to the problem of evil, the propensity to violence, the perversity of human nature, and so on. But the importance is clear: achieving a good life involves many difficulties. But with optimism, confidence, and a belief in progress – whatever it takes – each generation has plowed on to change things for the better. Wherever you look, there are movements for change. Lifelong well-being, world peace, reversing climate change and the fight for gender and racial equality all depend on the belief that change is possible.

I have the same conviction, but that long list of obstacles is impossible to ignore. This is where a radical alternative steps in: transformation. Transformation is different from change. If the thermometer goes up or down, that’s change. When water turns into ice, snow, or steam, that’s transformation. The whole universe is built on it. The Big Bang produced a swirling chaos of energy that morphed over eons into subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, stars, galaxies, the elements on the periodic table, organic chemicals, and life.

There is something mysterious about these dramatic transformations. It is very mysterious that two gases, oxygen and hydrogen, must combine to produce water. The coupling of their atoms is easily explained in basic chemistry, but the result, a liquid that is a universal solvent, has nothing to do with the properties of two gases.

This element of mystery also permeates human transformation. Human transformation is at the heart of religion. God or the gods supposedly make it possible for a person to be redeemed, saved, lifted to heaven, enlightened, holy and so on. These magical transformations are very different from ordinary change. Our rational side may be skeptical, and there is always the choice to reject religion completely, but this does not contradict the fact that transformation has a seductive charm. Escaping the misery of human existence and the possibility of disaster is a much better option than depending on the incremental change.

Transformation through religion, we are told, depends on unshakable faith and commitment. But there has always been another path to transformation: consciousness. Consciousness can undergo a transformation as radical as water turning into ice, snow or steam. The process doesn’t have to be mysterious. Think of falling in love, a universal experience that changes everything in a person’s psychology. There are “aha” moments, sudden glimpses of bliss and ecstasy, and so-called peak experiences that are transformative. There are also negative states of consciousness such as sadness and chronic depression.

How do you achieve a transformation of the positive kind? Falling in love, “aha” moments and glimpses of bliss and ecstasy are transient. But there is a permanent aspect of consciousness known as transcendence or going beyond. I explored the possibility of continuing in a book, meta-humans, which is based on the undeniable reality of transcendence. At the most basic level, you can identify with mental activity or you can faithfully shift to the still mind that is deeper than mental activity.

This is the only choice that leads to transformation. (There is such a thing as an accidental transformation, which makes Scrooge a totally different person in A Christmas song and Saul of Tarsus becomes St. Paul on the road to Damascus, but the experience of spontaneous transformation is rare.) This shift in fidelity distracts your attention from the constant flow of daily experience, allowing you to explore the nature of consciousness as it is. exists in you. The discoveries on the road to transformation include:

  • Knowing you are safe veilig

  • Knowing you’re part of a bigger plan

  • Realizing that there is a higher consciousness

  • Finding Peace Untouched by Suffering

  • Discovering that there is a level of consciousness that provides solutions to every problem and answers to every question

  • Experiencing Bliss

  • Seeing through the illusion of the physical world

  • Trust in existence to support you

  • Becoming free from all restrictions

  • Finding your true self

  • Discovering that life is a field of infinite possibilities

These are discoveries that no change can bring to the surface of life. They are not a matter of faith. They are the immutable properties of consciousness itself.

I’m not saying that all these discoveries happen at once, or in what order they happen. That depends entirely on what is known as the evolution of consciousness. When you learned to read in elementary school, your consciousness evolved – you entered the limitless world of written language. Growing up takes longer, but it is also an evolutionary step in consciousness.

When people become seekers, walk the spiritual path or desire enlightenment, the same process, the evolution of consciousness, is at work. It, in turn, depends on our ability to transcend the mundane appearance of reality. Society is not organized around inner transformation. Such a possibility is either ignored, mocked or set apart as the mystical matter of religion. But I think the possibility of transformation is the most important discovery anyone can make. It is the first step in all the transformations that follow. In fact, conscious transformation makes us human; it is the most precious gift of self-awareness.

DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit organization for research on wellbeing and humanitarianism, and Chopra WorldwideA modern health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego and a senior scientist at Gallup Organization. He is the author of more than 89 books translated into more than forty-three languages, including numerous, New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book, Metahuman: Unleash Your Infinite Potential, unlock the secrets of going beyond our current limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the past thirty years Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his next book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books) will help to reach new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. Time magazine has Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

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