Glimpses of Transformation

Sometimes, songwriters and poets like to compare the attempt to possess what we love to trying to capture a butterfly. So it is said that the butterfly ceases to be a butterfly when it is pinned behind glass, just as love is only love when it is given room to move.

Occasionally, we have wondered if the 'Transformational Movement' might also be one of those things that lives only so long as it is not pinned down. One of those things that can be captured only in glimpses.

Fortunately such glimpses seem to come increasingly often. For instance, I was recently told by an Episcopal Priest, Stephen Blackmer of Kairos Earth, that he had awakened at midnight the night before to the clear and present understanding that, deep beneath the surface, our myriad social problems boil down to just one. He said, they all boil down to expressions of a wounded human spirit. It sounded like he had had a glimpse, like the rare kind when the butterfly actually comes down to land on your hand.

The next day, I sat with a couple of impassioned brothers who had dedicated themselves to the support of people experiencing homelessness, Sean and Ryan Clauson of the World Peace Center. They spoke about their journey towards unconditional love. They said they had come to understand this journey to be the true and fundimental solution to the crises we face. They had a sparkle in their eyes. And I too was getting another glimpse.

With love and butterflies, I get why they resist definition. But why is the understanding of the primacy of inner transformation in meeting our global challenges so hard to pin down. Why would it be so hard to agree upon and act upon? Why would it live so often in these glimpses and so seldom on the page?

Perhaps the answer to these questions has to do with the way that the meaning of these statements remains dependent upon the experiences from which they are born. What were Sean and Ryan's glimpses of unconditional love? What was Stephen's glimpsing in the middle of the night? What were the glimpses we shared when they told me? And what are yours now as I tell you?

It seems that these statements are all expressions in time that must be linked to a certain kind of awakening - the awakening to the underlying nature of this world, that deep below the surface, we are all emerging from a single source.

Perhaps we could say then that these transformational statements are not our own. Perhaps they are just the expressions of awakening. The oneness of this world is not something that we understand. It is something that understands us. And so the glimpses of the transformational movement, are less something we express than something that shines through us. They are so many expressions of awakening that shine through the cracks in our individuality.

And yet so much depends upon these things. These statements about the healing of the human spirit and unconditional love are not without their practical implications to human survival. And these implications are things we need to better understand. And so we are tempted to make an object of that which is within us until the colors fade. I am tempted to call these things "points of strategic leverage," or "overlooked opportunities" or "foundational elements" in our journey to a just and sustainable culture. But I am slowly learning from those who hesitate to agree, or those who do so only half heartedly, that we must not try to capture what we must rather be captured by.

simon dennis