How and When does Transformation Take Place?

As a student of personal transformation for the last 32 years, I’ve consumed a lot of material designed to change people’s behavior. I’ve studied from many authors, public speakers, and spiritual teachers whose teachings have affected millions; and I’ve personally gained a tremendous amount of insight and personal revelation that has allowed me to experience more joy in my life.

As it pertains to transformation of the self, or the betterment of the small self, most of these teachings rely heavily on the doing of things to affect change. This is because we are physical beings, so we rely heavily on the evidence of the senses to determine who and what we are. A tree is a tree because at some level, society has decided on a name and meaning based on what it looks like and what it does.

We can certainly do things in order to change. That seems to be the logical way to approach self improvement. If I want to quit a habit, I must stop performing the actions that determine the unwanted behavior, and I can even replace it with another habit that’s maybe not quite as bad. Once I’ve stopped the old habit and have created a new one, I am changed, and transformation has taken place. I’ve become someone new.

The question is, did transformation happen because I forced it through action or was it because I finally surrendered and allowed it?

Perhaps it depends on who you ask. The world will tell you that it is by force and that in order to accomplish anything, it takes hard work, determination, and a winning attitude. It also tells you that in order to be successful, you must compete and fight your way to the top and become the best at what you do.

At one time in my life I wanted to be an entrepreneur and make lots of money—helping people along the way of course ;). Success and security were the goals. I spent a lot of money that I didn’t have on business courses filled with shortcuts and questionable strategies. I also worked hard spending countless hours toward starting a business, unfortunately, at the expense of spending time with my family. Nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice right?

Was I successful in the end? No. Instead, I joined the vast club of failed opportunists mainly because I hit a wall and didn’t know what to do next or how to fix it. The reason it failed is because I couldn’t surrender to the idea of becoming what I thought I wanted, using the methods proposed in the courses. It wasn’t who I really wanted to be at the spiritual level. It was the small me or egoistic me that wanted it.

What I learned was that in order to change your behavior you have to transform your identity. There’s no way around this I’ve tried. You can work hard, apply force, and create habits that affirm who it is that you think you want to be, or you can simply allow the real you to come forward. The real self or higher self doesn’t have to be taught how to behave, and we don’t need to force successful habits to be who we want to be. All we have to do is let go and allow.

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