As the month of December dawns, the community at Unity Church of the Hills enters the final month of our year-long “Journey of Transformation.” This past year has brought major changes, not only within the UCOH community itself, but also in the world at large, and ultimately within our own individual lives. Changes, changes and more changes. It seems the entire world is smack dab in the midst of massive, foundational changes, the scope and breadth of which we have not witnessed in our lifetimes.
With Rev. Steve Bolen retiring in June after a ten-year tenure, and Revs. Brian & Kristen Grandon becoming our new ministerial team the following month, it’s pretty obvious that change has been afoot at UCOH. Beyond UCOH, major changes in the social, economic and political realms that govern so much of our daily lives are wreaking havoc on old power paradigms, breaking down the foundations of many of our most treasured institutions.
In my own life, I have lost count of the number of friends and family members, myself included, whose lives were devastated this past year by everything from hurricanes to disease and suicide to financial devastation, among many other factors. It’s enough to make one want to scream for everything to slow down, if not altogether come to a screeching halt so we can catch our breath. But, that’s not the way change operates; and, it is certainly not how transformation occurs.
Change Is Inevitable, Transformation Is Optional
To many, if not most of us, change often feels chaotic and threatening. With so much change happening all at once, it can be a challenge to remember that change is actually a simple fact of life, a principle of cosmic law. Change is inevitable and perpetual, one of the only constants in our life. Changes are changing all the time. If we do not make our peace with that truth, then we are likely to live our lives reacting to events from fear and resistance, rather than responding from love and spiritual confidence.
Despite appearances, change is never random. There is always a purpose for every single change that comes about in our lives, whether we see it at the time or not. The primary purpose of all change is transformation. When we resist change, we delay, or altogether shut down, the possibilities for transformation. The caterpillar does not resist the changes necessary to transform into the butterfly. The caterpillar has no choice but to become the butterfly. However, humankind does have a choice. We have no choice about whether changes will happen. But, we are at choice about whether we embrace the changes in order to transform our experience. For humans, change may be inevitable; but, transformation is optional.
Seeing The Big Picture
In Dr. Robert Brumet’s book Finding Yourself In Transition, he uses the metaphor of the caterpillar and butterfly to make an important point about the human resistance to change. He contends that we are oftentimes like a caterpillar crawling on top of a beautiful, large Oriental carpet. The caterpillar is only able to see or sense the colors and the textures of the carpet that are right in front of it. The caterpillar is unable to see the “big picture,” or how the carpet weaves together into a beautiful and holistic pattern, where every part of the carpet is intrinsic and necessary to the whole.
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” – From Illusions by Richard Bach
Only the butterfly can rise above the surface of the carpet to take in the macro view, the “big picture,” as it were. If we could see the “big picture” of our lives, we would be able to see how every single change we experience facilitates our own transformation. Within each and every one of us, there is a divine plan guiding our individual destiny and creating opportunities for the transformation and evolution of our individual soul. When we see the “big picture,” we know that the divine plan is also at work within the collective soul of humankind.
So, What IS the Divine Plan?
In short, the divine plan is intended to facilitate the evolution of consciousness to its highest possible expression. To make this point, Dr. Brumet draws on the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who believed that humankind is a “vital link” in the divine plan to evolve consciousness. In Teilhard’s view, the evolution of consciousness changes slowly, over long periods of time. Every once in a while, we make a “quantum leap” from one level of consciousness to another. Or, as Rev. Brian recently put it, in his 5-part series around the work of Dr. David Hawkins, we move from one “zip code” in consciousness to another.
Many people today believe that we are standing right on the threshold of just such a “quantum leap” in consciousness, perhaps a collective opportunity to change zip codes all at once together. This is a principal reason why the “changes” seem to be coming so fast and furious. Teilhard maintains that “crisis” precedes each “quantum leap” of consciousness. However, crisis does not automatically result in evolution. Crisis, like change, is not the evolution itself. It is merely the opportunity to facilitate the transformative experience of evolution. Crisis alone is not enough to guarantee transformation. Something more is needed to fulfill the divine plan.
Crisis Is A Turning Point, Not A Catastrophe
Just as change does not guarantee transformation, crisis does not guarantee evolution. In order for transformation to be achieved, we must willingly embrace the changes, and consciously engage the process of transformation. To achieve that end, Dr. Brumet maintains that we must cultivate a “mindful awareness” of the changes in our lives. We must be willing to ask, as often as is necessary: what is the purpose of these changes? If we do not receive a clear answer when we ask, we must continue to affirm affirm that there is a purpose and remain vigilant for its revelation. Even when we can’t know it in the moment, we must trust that the purpose will reveal itself in time.
Unless we are consciously and actively looking for the purpose underlying the changes, then we are likely to experience considerable resistance to every change that comes about in our lives. Resistance does not prevent change. If we resist the changes long enough, crisis ensues. However, this is not necessary. A change or a crisis in our lives always signals a “turning point;” yet, there is no need for a crisis to become a catastrophe. We can avoid crisis altogether and find the joy in transformation, if we are willing to see the “bigger picture” of human evolution and do our part to facilitate the divine plan.
Co-Creating The Evolution
We are not born to be “passive observers” in the divine plan. We are born to be co-creators of it. The evolution of consciousness, which is the very purpose of the divine plan, is for us. We are the ones who will experience the evolution. We are the ones who benefit from its realization. We are also the ones who will suffer the consequences, if we resist the changes that facilitate transformation.
Every single one of us is responsible for the evolution of the divine plan. We cannot wait for others to do it first. We must be willing to do it first as an inspiration to others. None of that can happen until and unless we make a commitment to do the internal work necessary to evolve our own individual consciousness. The ultimate demonstration of that commitment is to engage in a mindful co-creation with the divine processes that govern all of Creation.
Finding The Joy In Transformation
If we are to transform our experience and embrace our role as co-creators of the evolution, it is incumbent upon us to embrace, engage and cooperate with the divine processes of Creation, on Creation’s terms, and not our own. We do not get to set the rules of Creation. We only get to work in cooperation and alignment with them, or not. To truly transform our experience, and not merely rearrange the furniture in our consciousness, we must assume personal responsibility for the unlimited creative power that is our divine potential. Then, we must place that creative potential into the service of the divine plan.
Playing small and resisting changes will not bring us peace. Likewise, there is no joy to be had from abdicating our responsibility as co-creators of the evolution. The only way for us to create joy and peace in the midst of change is to embrace the changes. Change is never random; and, it always has a purpose. The purpose of change is to transform your experience, to evolve your individual consciousness towards a mindful co-creation with Creation itself. This is the only direction we can travel in the evolution of consciousness, the only way we can know the joy of transformation.