Step 3 – Transformation
“May I Be Transformed into My Ideal Being”
Just as a caterpillar,
Having reached the end of a blade of grass
And approaching another one, collects itself
[For making the transition],
Even so this atman, having discarded
The body and overcome ignorance,
Approaching another one
Collects itself [for making the transition].
(Hinduism: Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, IV)
Now in Step Three, we summon the inner courage to imagine the very highest potential for our precious human life and renew our commitment to achieve it. We bring to mind our heroes, exemplars, teachers and mentors past and present, and the qualities in them that we most admire. We dedicate ourselves to this meditation so that we might fulfill our most profound aspirations.
As human beings, we are deeply influenced by the virtuous examples and ideals of great beings who have gone before us. Their models help us to imagine for ourselves the grandest possibilities for our own lives. Therefore, the quality of our future depends on the clarity of our self-image and our determination to actualize it. Our self-worth is not merely defined by who were are now, but who we aspire to be.
As we clarify the image of our future being, we also acknowledge and confess our shortcomings, and vow to patiently persevere in our personal transformation. We vow to remove our inner obstacles and negativities. Eliminating debilitating guilt, we generate inward love and forgiveness so that we might unlock the potential for our own transformation.
(1) Video Intro:
Please remember that the purpose of the reading, contemplating, journaling, and discussing is to develop your personal focus for Step Three. In your writing, please explore your own deepest personal insights as well as your beliefs that have been molded by your tradition, teachers, mentors, or role models. Then, reflecting on your writings, create a brief summary that will be the contemplative focus for this step.
As you begin this step, say to yourself with total conviction: “May I be Transformed.” This is not only a prayer, but also your self-directed challenge to achieve your highest potential, to become your ideal being, and to actualize the qualities you most admire. With this determination, engage in meditation to become transformed and to eliminate the negative states of mind that prevent your transformation.
Depending on your way of looking at it, transformation might entail removing the coverings of your natural purity, or eliminating obstacles preventing you from fulfilling your highest potential, or gradually accumulating qualities that you revere. However you look at transformation, the process inevitably entails a combination of emptying out and filling up. We empty our false sense of self, our negative emotions, and our ignorance. And we fill up with the such positive and virtuous qualifies as love, compassion, wisdom, and unity with that we call virtuous, sacred or divine.
In your contemplation, bring to mind the summary of your journal writings on transformation, and vow to actualize these in your life. Here, in answer to your prayer, open yourself to the transformative power and support of the vast and untapped potential of consciousness and (if appropriate) your “higher power.”
(2) Readings: ISM Part II, Step Three, Pages 75-93. MIP Inspirational verses on Gratitude.
(3) Resources: Take a look at the additional resources I have provided for this topic and do some of your own research. Gather together and reflect on your own resources, life experiences and inner vision for the ideal person or state-of-being you would like to manifest in you life.
(4) Journaling: Contemplate and write about the ideals you most wish to embody and actualize. As you do, please reflect on the following attributes to be cultivated for your transformation.
- Imagining the Ideal
- Inward Love & Compassion
(5) Meditation: Practice the seven steps with special emphasis on Step Three.
(5a) Guided Meditation with Music
This version of ISM combines a guided meditation with spiritual music from Buddhism (Ganden Loseling Monks), Christianity (Fiona Davidson, Fonn, Ceile De), Hinduism (Swami Atmarupananda), Islam (Sufism – Camille Helminski), Judaism (Rabbi Zalman Schachter), and Native American (Carlos Nakai) traditions. It is accompanied by a composition by cello player Michael Fitzpatrick “Dawn of the Millenium.” (It is not presently available for download.)
(6) Weekly Class Audio-Video Recordings
If you weren’t able to attend the live online class, or would like to watch/listen again, please click the following link.
While transformation is inevitable, how we transform is up to us. Please journal on one or more of the attributes of transformation listed above that will guide and sustain you on your journey. Then, please share your reflections with each other. Your reflections will help each of us to cultivate our own transformative aspirations and practices.