Fire, Transformation and Pressure
Letting the Word of the Teacher Start an Internal Fire that Leads to Lasting Transformation
In chemistry, we learn that heat changes the makeup of matter. It’s most relevant to us in the use of heat applied to food. Animal proteins, many vegetables and grains become more appetizing and more digestible when heat is applied in the proper measure. As well, you may have watched a butcher pound meat as a way to tenderize it, just as grains are subject to the mill stone in order to be ground into a fine powder known as flour.
From this, we can recognize that the ‘natural state’ of things on the Earth is not necessarily the final state or most useful. Through the intelligence of man, open to the Guidance of God, we can take the things of Earth and improve them for our purposes. In this lesson, we will talk about how this same principle is applied to us as souls.
Some people hold to the idea that if it’s natural, it should be left as is. Imagine you have a garden in your back yard and alongside the plants that you planted, you find lots of weeds pushing up through the soil. Most weeds are ok to look at so one could accept that they are there naturally and so let them be. If such is your perspective, doesn’t it also make sense women not shave their legs since the hair is natural? Or that all men would let their beards grow?
God gave man to the Earth that he might have dominion over all things. Nature, left on it’s on will do all it knows how to do which is to grow and survive. But man has greater capacity than just to survive. Survival is an animalistic instinct. With the inclusion of our souls, we have the opportunity to be creative beings with imagination, vision and love. We are the only beings who create from imagination to express feeling and the things we observe. Animals create habitats but they do so instinctively for functional purposes. They play with each other and frolic in the wild, but they don’t have souls and thus don’t have the capacity to imagine.
In order to reach your full potential as a creative being, you have to rise above your base nature and move out of a mindset of instinctual survival and sensual pleasure. You need to be transformed into the higher version of yourself, that which is latent inside you and seeking to emerge. The fundamental catalyst for this transformation is pressure.
In the Christian Path, there is a lot of metaphor around bread. Jesus is proclaimed as the Bread of Life and daily bread is mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer as a reference to our right to receive food each day. At the Last Supper, Jesus breaks the bread and states that it is His body and that by eating of His body, you will have eternal life. One could imagine the Apostles sitting around the table looking around wondering what kind of weird trip the Master was on. They saw bread come out of the oven just like they always did but this time, Jesus said it was His body. One of them could’ve raised his hand and said, “It’s bread. So what’s up with it being your body?”
Because they had great reverence for Jesus as the Messiah, they didn’t do that. They learned to be uncertain, maybe even uncomfortable but to go along with things until more could be revealed. Jesus was a transformed and illumined being. As such, He was able to speak of supernatural things and affect matter with absolute confidence and authority.
Getting back to the bread, remember that bread begins as a plant, a type of grain that comes out of the ground in a raw form. After it is harvested and dried, it must be ground into flour and that takes a lot of pressure. Next it is mixed with water, and pressure is applied to knead it into shape. Finally, it is placed in the fire and the heat creates a different kind of pressure. Heat stimulates the molecules and somehow, mysteriously, that movement brings about a higher state of the matter, meaning it renders a more useful end product that nourishes others.
This describes nicely the transformative process that a disciple goes through on the Path. In our raw state, we are able to function in basic ways. Sometimes we get prideful thinking we’re pretty darn good, able to multitask and achieve financial success. From God’s perspective, we really miss the mark when we start thinking like this. God knows the potential of a human being. Jesus and Mary fulfilled it and they are still growing in their roles so until we get even close to that, we need to remain humble.
Our mission is to transform and fulfill a higher potential. As we discussed earlier, this means we have to make ourselves available to the Fire of God that creates pressure inside of you. Unlike the bread in the oven, we have a choice on what we do when that heat comes. When you say you want to be a disciple, you are saying you will discipline yourself and allow the fire and pressure to work on you and change you.
Presently, you can’t see very clearly. A Priest has been put through intense transformation and with each successive wave, emerges cleaner in intention, more pure and more able to see things as they are. By their devotion and willingness to be changed, they are endowed with gifts of sight and spiritual authority through the Word. They know the power that a Lighted soul has to affect matter, not just meaning the things around you but people and situations. But we step on the Way with a lot of concepts about how life is. We haven’t fully learned or accepted the supernatural but instead we have formed rigid ideas based on limited experience.
More practically, you will find, if you ask to be taught spiritually that there will be times you will feel like you are being hit from left field. It is common to feel misunderstood and unfairly judged. This is a symptom of a few things; wounding, lack of consciousness, lack of faith, lack of patience to name a few. Imagine that a child of 10 years old comes home and states very emphatically that boys and girls can never be friends. At that age, prior to puberty, some boys might simply conclude, based on current experience that they just won’t get along and they haven’t yet felt the stirrings of attraction that will come later.
What are you to do as a parent? Is it correct to agree with your son that boys and girls will not be friends? You know that someone of his age can’t see what is going to happen and in fact, what reality is. Do you get angry and frustrated by his opinion? Hopefully not but you find a way to teach him the truth and open him to the possibility that what you are saying is true. In due time, he will come to experience it and realize you were trying to prepare him for something inevitable.
You can walk the Path at your own pace and stir up pressure by yourself to get yourself motivated to transform. This actually works to some degree. Think of when you get fed up with a behavior and decide firmly to change it. Generally you put a restriction on yourself and forbid yourself from acting that way anymore. This creates pressure because likely you feel the urge to do it and by saying you won’t you will feel a tension. An alcoholic or drug user would feel the withdrawal of the stimulant and disciplining oneself to not indulge creates internal pressure.
In reality, very few people have the sight or discipline to see things at the more subtle levels, beyond the obvious aspects that need to change. This is why a Teacher is pretty much essential. A Teachers’ job is to love the student and be the conduit for God’s Love to reach them. We’re all pretty comfortable with that when it means kind, encouraging words, gentle reminders, comforting talks and sharing a laugh. But when it becomes about speaking the harder truth and bringing the fire of God through a certain type of intensity, many of us recoil and react intensely.
The Teacher knows to speak the Word and then retreat allowing the pressure to begin. The student then has to decide which way to fall meaning on which side of the fence they will land. Will the pressure be interpreted as God’s Love trying to move them to a newly transformed state? Or will they decide the teacher has a problem and can no longer see clearly.
This sort of pressure or more intense corrections are the catalysts for dramatic growth. They potentially crack the hard shell and expose a whole other level of reality. They are defining moments along the Way and take courage to face. All real Teachers know this intimately as they have been the recipient of them many times themselves. If you decide to trust what you hear, even though it might make you feel a lot of really hard emotions, you can go within while meditating and see something about yourself that is up for examination. This is what is going to dramatically move you along.