In Transition: A Trajectory of Becoming
Transition is a word that we hear so often nowadays. Friends speak of being in transition between jobs … relationships … even of their sense of identity. And we read of a world in transition … or of living at the time when one age has clearly ended while the new has yet to emerge — is in process of emerging.
Deep forces are at work within and all around us. The psyche and culture of separateness is brushing up alongside new understandings of wholeness and synthesis. It is happening in every area of life … every area. This plays out on the world stage as a curious dance, steps of cooperation often going on unnoticed while movements of conflict attract all the attention. And it’s not something happening only in the externalities of the world – the dance lives within us. Our lives are the raw material of some massive process of transition and transformation. It’s personal … and it can be painful.
Transition can be thought of as a trajectory of becoming – an energy dynamic leading from the known (drawing heavily on the memory of the past) towards that which is to become known … towards that which we sense intuitively to be a future possibility.
This helps us to observe the present with a measure of detachment – to observe with love and understanding. Who ‘I’ am is in transition – just as the whole world is in transition. I can hold a loving space for ‘my’ process … while at the same time attending to the future possibility.
Listening is a good metaphor. Change at the level of the personal (and at the level of community and society) produces a lot of noise – conflict, muscular conversation, awakening sub-personalities. Initially we might respond to this noise either by giving it all of our attention, by becoming absorbed in all its colors, pains and pleasures – or by doing the opposite and blocking it out in favor of subtle sounds of silence.
Observing transition can lead us to listen to both sounds – the noisy and the quiet – seeing both as meaningful parts of what is happening. This is not as simple as it may appear … we are not used to the quiet sounds and don’t have the ear for them. We need to learn to listen to the Self on its own terms, otherwise we will find that our listening is conditioned by all the noise that is around us – projecting the noise onto the silence. After all silence can appear at first sight to be an absence of noise – passive and empty. Later Silence is seen to be full of deep sound, vibrating to other realities and leading us into encounters with the Divine.
The task is to draw the imagination into the orbit of the Self, so that the Self may become the Teacher and Guide, leading us from the present towards future possibilities. This, for me, requires structure - architecture – a line of approach to the Good, the Beautiful and the True.
In times of transition a teaching is of special significance because it brings a sense of stability and more particularly of Law. A teaching carrying the note of truth gives us a frame of reference through which we learn discernment. The Self will help us find the teaching that is real for us – and when this has happened we can begin the great experiment – using the teaching as a working hypothesis, a model around which to craft a Way Forwards that resonates with universal principles and yet is essentially our own.
One of the values of a teaching is that it helps us to see the significance of our apparently small, relatively insignificant lives in relation to something that is so much greater, richer and cast in the language of the divine. For to live in a time of transition means that everything can appear to be in flux – it’s not simply the world moving through earthquakes of change as local and global come face to face – but its also as if the Gods themselves are moving through an era of change. Something much bigger than us is shifting shape and we can become a proactive conscious part of the process.
One of the clearest ‘teachings’ for me about our historical period has to do with initiation – moving from one state of beingness to another so that when the process is well underway we find ourselves to be quite differently oriented. By understanding that this is what is happening, to ourselves and to the collective, we are able to cooperate with evolution with a measure of wit and loving intelligence – really becoming conscious participants.
It is a curious paradox that only through self-forgetfulness – something that comes as a result of work with the Self through a universal teaching – do we get a glimpse of the significance of an individual life. Only then do we begin to love the Whole as we love the Self – and to see the Self as an expression of the Whole.
In a time of transition there is a need for Teachings that give an understanding of change embracing its mythical, metaphorical dimension of initiation. And there is a need too for Teachings that can lead us into ever deepening appreciation of the evolutionary import of wholeness, inclusiveness and oneness. We need Teachings that shine a light on the Work of relating unity and diversity, separation and wholeness, local and global.
We are living through a process of initiation by fire – that is our transition. Our learning, or so it seems to me, is all about love and relationship. This is true of every field of relationships: between people and peoples, nations and the United Nations; with animals, plants and minerals; with the earth the stars and the cosmos; and also with the Great Ones of the inner side of life, identified by philosophers, priests, shamans and poets throughout the ages.
May we embrace transition, and through it grow to live ever more purposefully and lovingly. So may we serve.
Steve Nation, a New Zealander, worked for almost 20 years at the London office of World Goodwill and Lucis Trust. Together with his late wife, Jan, he is co-founder of Intuition in Service and the United Nations Days & Years Meditation Initiative. Since 2002 he has coordinated an annual global meditation Vigil for the International Day of Peace. He writes a regular column for the UK journal, Caduceus, and serves on the Board of: Lifebridge Foundation; Lucis Trust; Triangle Center, New Zealand; Darjeeling Goodwill Animal Shelter Trust, India. He is on the Council of the ‘Spiritual Caucus at the United Nations’. Steve now lives in the Hudson Valley, NY, USA with his wife, Barbara Valocore.
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