Healing and spiritual transformation is quite a focus of psychological methods and practices these days. Deep joy, clarity, and peace are some of the promised fruits of the inner journeys associated with psychotherapy, shamanic rituals, breath work, bodywork and medicine ceremonies. Not much is mentioned, however, about the frustration, dissatisfaction and disillusionment involved in waking up. The immense deflation and disappointment wired into the transformative process doesn’t really sell all that well.
“Making the darkness conscious is disagreeable and therefore not popular.” (Carl Jung) True healing (the reuniting of separated and isolated parts) can involve the breaking of hearts and the shattering of dreams, imaginings and hopes. Healing and transformation require the passage through the paradox and parallax of birth and death, creativity and destruction, transcendent and descendent currents and vibrations. Healing that is truly transformative must, by its nature, traverse the full spectrum. Not only does transformation involve resurrection, but crucifixion as well. While it is natural to be inclined toward a desire for renewal and rebirth, it would appear that God or Source or Life-Itself does not share this bias. The alchemical processes of dissolution and putrefaction are apparently quite effective and equal means to open us up to our transformative potential. We want to heal, we like the idea of a desirable outcome on the other side but we don’t want to have to feel too much on our way to getting there. We do want to feel fully alive, but not too vulnerable or tenderized. This is so dearly human and need not be shamed. But Life doesn’t move through our bodies or through the natural world with judgment, prejudice or partiality. At times, “getting what I want, the way I want it” is not a delicate or sensitive-enough receptor site around which a healing or transformative process can organize. The wisdom of Love, as it moves through natural forces and natural laws of Life, carries our bodies and our minds into transformative territories and experiences we would otherwise consciously choose to avoid. Relationships ending, dreams collapsing, careers recycling, the dissolving of the way it was all supposed to turn out: these yellowings of soul are not evidence of error, failure, or defeat, but of the relentlessly creative nature of love as it moves here. One form dying so that another may come into being. At times, the burning may seem unbearable. We may burn until we are translucent, but it is by way of this burning that healing, wholeness, and transformation is revealed and known.