Transformation and Compassion

Have you ever seen the movie, Transformers, where cars magically twist  and turn into robots? In the movie we watch with a child’s eye how cars change into robots….wait, wait, they don’t just change they transform.  On the TV show Extreme Makeover they transform homes not just change them.  After being a teacher and learner for 25 years as the former host of her talk show Oprah Winfrey, Oprah now hosts and produces a show called “Super Soul Sunday” that talks about all types of transformation. Are you currently undergoing a process of transformation?

The caterpillar who becomes a butterfly goes through a transformative process.   Transformative processes are happening everyday in nature; budding leaves eventually become falling leaves, glaciers melt and become the sea, and rainstorms sometimes happen even when the sun is shining.

If you are like me I want to understand the process of how to take change processes and make some of them transformative. One of the hardest things for me is to transform my anger into compassion or channel that anger in fighting social injustices.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that for the past week or so, I have been in a straight up, cuss your neighbor out and the wind, get out of my way, and tired of it all this craziness with racial profiling, hate crimes, and white supremacy, patriarchy relating to the assassination and murder of Renisha McBride.

Transformation involves taking the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that we have and allowing these feelings to grow.  Through a transformative process, we are able to let anger turn into compassionate ones. This process is not easy.  But I listened to Mr. and Mrs. McBride this morning talk about how they were transforming in the face of their daughter’s unspeakable tragedy, this helped to ease my pain.

I know that healing from this type of tragedy will take lots of time, in this lifetime and probably my next lifetime.

How do we maintain some sense of balance after we face traumatic and sad events?

I don’t have all the answers but I have learned something about this subject having studied it now for several decades.

We first start be allowing our feelings, whatever they are to have space, emotional space to grow.  By staying with our emotions they have generative power and with a compassionate heart and caring wisdom, we can notice that negative emotions have power but lose them when we face them.  I sometimes think of my angry emotions as a large puff of air, like thunder or lightning.  Thunder and lightning although part of the sky when it rains are not endemic to the sky.  In other words, they are natural expressions of a changing cosmos but they are not the sky!

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions
English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anger is a very tricky emotion because sometimes it is just anger but most of the time it covers a sensitive emotion like guilt, shame, hurt, or confusion.

Anger is what is called a masking emotion.  Anger in many instances is what we show others in order to mask our real feelings.  I sometimes fear that if I share my hurt or more sensitive self that others around me won’t understand and that I will be further hurt. With this logic it makes sense then why we may not reveal our sensitive feelings to others.  Why put our feelings out there when we believe that others are just going to walk all over them, right?

The problem with this thinking is that the emotional mind makes a thin distinction between what it creates and where it (the emotional state) ultimately resides.  In other words, once a feeling is created internally it has a shelf life within the emotional mind of the creator. Positive feelings lare the natural state and last longer, they are like the sky.  Negative emotions are reactions to our lack of positivity.

I think what meditation teachers, our parents, wise friends, and spiritual leaders, are trying to teach us is this: we must transform the negative emotional state or feeling into compassion or some other helpful emotion.

With compassion we reveal to ourselves and to those around us a form of radiance, a general acceptance of what could be with something that is in the process of becoming.  With compassion we possess the ability to allow change to happen into a dynamic transformative process.

Choosing compassion is  allowing the sky to be the sky.  Experiencing the negative emotions is like knowing that the lightning and thunder will go away soon, that these are not the sky although they may dominate the sky.

 

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