True Conversion

Transformation: Week 1

True Conversion
Sunday, June 26, 2016

For much of my life, I’ve been trying to facilitate transformation—conversion, change of consciousness, change of mind—with various strategies and formats. The transformed mind lets you see how you process what’s coming at you. It allows you to step back from your own personal processor so you can be more honest about what is really happening to you. If you do not detach, you are too attached to yourself.

It’s not so much about what comes at you; it’s what you do with it. The Achilles heel of organized religion might be that we tend to tell people what to see instead of teaching them how to see. The contemplative way of looking at something is letting it be what it is in itself, as itself, without any meddling from me by needing to describe, fix, consume, sell, understand, or use it in any self-serving way.

Transformation is not merely a change of morals, group affiliation, or belief system—though it might lead to that—but a change at the very heart of the way you receive, hear, and pass on each moment. Do you use the moment to strengthen your own ego position or do you use the moment to enter into a much broader seeing and connecting? Those are two very different ways of seeing.

From a religious perspective, a conversion experience is an experience of an Absolute. And once you’ve experienced a True Absolute, everything else is relativized, including yourself! Once you’ve experienced fullness, you don’t need to keep seeking “that which does not satisfy” (Isaiah 55:2). Authentic God experience always leads you toward service, toward the depths, the edge, the outsider, the lower, the suffering, and the simple. What you once thought was “the center” has shown itself not to be the center of anything. If there is not such an earthquake in both your heart and mind, I do not think you can rightly speak of spiritual conversion.

Transformation begins with a new experience of a new Absolute, and, as a result, your social positioning gradually changes on almost all levels. Little by little you will allow your politics, economics, classism, sexism, racism, homophobia and all superiority games to lose their one-time rationale. You just “think” and “feel” differently about most things. If this does not happen in very specific ways, I have no reason to believe you have been converted. Your motivation foundationally changes from security, status, and sabotage to generosity, humility, and cooperation. If you do not want to go there, you’d better stay away from the Holy One.

Gateway to Silence:
Teach me how to see.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Authentic Transformation (CAC: 2016), CD, MP3 audio download, MP4 video download.