Reflections by Jerry Webber

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Transformation: Becoming the Exact Original of Who You Are

Laurence Freeman says this about transformation and becoming the persons God created us to be:

"By being rooted in this place of transformation which is not geographical but spiritual, our own inmost centre, we are changed from being an approximation, an imitation of ourselves, into the exact original of who we are." (Laurence Freeman, Web of Silence, 28-29)

I'm drawn to Freeman's turn-of-the-phrase, that we are kept from living the life for which we were made by living as "approximations" of ourselves . . . that we are hindered from being the "exact original of who we are" by living as "imitations" of ourselves. Stiff words. And true.

We slip into the cultural programming of daily life without consideration of consequence and are lured with siren calls to success, validation, and well-being. We assume that we are what we think. Or else, we are what others estimate us to be. We are fragile people. We need affirmation. The legitimate soul-hunger within us is cheapened into a grab for superficial ego-strokes and momentary validation.

Without a significant spiritual practice to sustain us, we live very much on the periphery. By "significant spiritual practice" I refer to some practice that accesses the inner recesses of our souls, that dips into the region of our lives which knows we are more than external validations and cheap ego-strokes. A regular practice of contemplative prayer, meditation, and silence/solitude enables us to touch the inner depths of our selves. By regularly accessing this interior reservoir we become more and more familiar with the "exact original of who we are."

Freeman writes about the "re-programming" that happens through prayer and an "ordered life." Prayer, meditation, and praxis re-orient our inner life so that we live more and more from our inner soul-reservoir and less and less from the periphery of "approximation" as "imitations of ourselves." At this interior point God does the work of transformation within us.

Freeman's words encourage me. Contemplation and prayer are not auxiliary to "real life." They are, in fact, the source of life, the well from which we draw our lives and ultimately from which the life of the world will be transformed.

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