Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Transformation

The notion of transformation is intriguing especially if it relates to a person’s psychology as compared to one’s physical attributes. For instance one can easily transform his body by going to a gym or change his looks by going to a cosmetic surgeon.  But the transformation of psychology is much more difficult unless from a religious context which is sometimes superficial.  Quoting from Erhard’s website:

‘Transformation is a shift in the experience of "I am" from seeing yourself as content of experience to seeing yourself as the context of your contextual experience.’

‘Graduates of the est training  regularly report that their ability to be, to be with themselves and with others, and to engage with others in a full participation in the opportunities of life have been transformed; i.e., shifted from a thing-determined to a self-determined context’.

Hence, transformation entails a change of the conception of the self from one of content to one of context. In my case, I always revisit my past experiences, checking my blog entries, photos of past events, courses attended and so on to give me a view of myself (‘or who I am’); someone who graduated from certain schools or worked on certain projects or lived in certain countries and so on. Sometimes it feels like a sort of baseline, that I need to touch base every time I begin a new assignment or experience. Perhaps it’s following the precept of examining one’s life following Socrates.

But Socrates dictum was good for an earlier age and needs to be extended for the person to develop to the next level. In this regard, one may be anchored to his past and not able to be ‘alive’ to the moment. The focus needs to be on ‘being’ instead of ‘self’ that is defined by his point of view which is a result of past experiences.

‘Being is awareness, recognition and attention to the experience at hand. It is at the cause of experience rather than at the effect. It is to "be" something rather than to "have" or "do" something’.

‘The poetic experiences of love, health, happiness, self-expression, and satisfaction are but a few of the feeling-action descriptions that express the process of being’.

‘Process of being defines through abstraction what is actually experienced rather than a thought or concept of what is experienced’.

Therefore, changing the conception of one’s self is the primary challenge because it means getting rid of one’s past, as defined by his ‘point of view’ – the result of one’s many experiences and training. Hence, one just needs ‘to be’ and react to the moment, without need to protect his ‘fixed’ self-conception.

‘The "point of view" is a function that we all possess, and it is that aspect that limits our ability to be authentic, to create new experiences and to see life as it exists in the present’.

‘Recognize that one’s fixed point of view limits his ability to experience what is true, as well as the richness and joy of life’.

Therefore, in my example, I had tried to widen my point of view by reading more or watching movies more or travelling more while actually perpetuating an old conception of self – intellectual, mind and body advocate, Socrates follower, etc. I was striving to seek transformation by increasing the quantity of my experience when what I needed was to improve the quality of experience - by changing the lens of my perception. Hence, to ‘be’ something (i.e. a writer) instead of to ‘do’ something (i.e. constant travelling, reading, watching in order to be a writer, etc.). Nevertheless, all these efforts were useful at a certain point in time because of the journey and experience and skills learned in the context of my career and other endeavors that required a particular skill.

Perhaps I have become what I had already wanted to be: financially literate, modern investor, sportsman, cultured and modestly successful in career. But I never achieved a breakthrough in my goal to be a writer – trying to learn the various techniques, reading and blogging more and trying to gain more experience rather than just ‘being’ a writer. The old point of view of the Hemingway writer is not applicable to my situation as well as all the other writers that I have studied.  After all, it is too late to be a war correspondent or a news reporter or a poet but just be a writer based on what one has already learned. In other words I am trying to be a writer based on an old concept that I have learned, rather than just being one.

From another perspective, one undertakes all these self-development activities:  joining Toastmasters, blogging, travelling, attending lectures, playing golf, doing all these stuff is not because one needs to do something but because it is a result of being – to be alive. Hence, the cause of experience not the effect of experience – therefore one is who he is not because of doing all these stuff but because one has done these stuff because of his ‘being’ (his awareness, recognition and attention to the experience). Therefore, confusing one’s motivation maybe the problem.

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