I was recently reminded of a powerful distinction – the difference between change and transformation. With change, I can make a different choice, but, I can always revert back to old behavior. I can change locations yet return to where I began. I can change my mind about a person, but, I can also revert back to thinking about them as I had before.
Change allows for reversals. Transformation does not.
A butterfly cannot reverse the metamorphosis and shove itself back into the casing of the caterpillar. An oak cannot be reduced back into the acorn. Each are transformed into an entirely different way of being.
It’s easy to laud this analogy when discussing these physical form examples but it is a bit more rigorous when it comes to defining transformation in consciousness. Who among us hasn’t had dozens of epiphanies, been handheld to the banks of metamorphosis only to pull a Lot’s wife backwards glance and revert back to what’s familiar?
Northeast of Bodhgaya, India is a terrain of rocky hills and brush populated by slums. Situated inside one of these hills is the Praghbodhi Cave, the place where Siddhartha Guatama was believed to have lived for 7 years among ascetics who fervently believed that poverty was the pathway to enlightenment. Here he subsisted on little, becoming emaciated and ill before departing that way of thinking and traveling towards the Bodhi Tree, his eventual experience of enlightenment.
If you time it correctly, arriving in the predawn hour, you can actually enter and spend alone time in the tiny candlelit rock chamber before the daily masses of Buddhist pilgrims arrive for worship in the monastery that now surround it.
I’ve been captivated by the energy of the small cave on my visits there. I’ve often wondered what happened within the heart and mind of Siddhartha on the day he determined, “Enough.”
What motivated him to end his allegiance to this chosen path of...