In Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar uses the image of water boiling to describe transformation. He says if you are watching water boil it will appear that nothing is happening for awhile and then you’ll begin to see little bubbles in the water and then “all of a sudden” it begins to roll and boil. It may appear to be instantaneous or like a miracle when the transformation in state happens but in fact, it was all the events leading up to that moment (perceived as small or big) that culminate in what we call transformation.
Transformation (parinama परीणाम) is a “thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance” such as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. The caterpillar is completely returned to it’s original state and then imaginal cells (yes really!) begin to turn on and at some point they overwhelm the defenses of the old cells and begin creating a butterfly. More on metamorphosis here
This is also a deep, not so pretty process. It involves a deep unrooting of obstacles that are in the way of the transformation and defenses that have been built up. Or, perhaps the transformative state was there all along and it was just covered by debris? In any case, we just be willing to strip ourselves bare before we can begin to see our own truth or reflection. We must wear down the resistance little by little (bubble by bubble, cell by cell).
YS.III.13 etena bhutendriyesu dharma laksana avastha parinamah vyakhyatah
Through these three phases, cultured consciousness is transformed from its potential state (dharma) towards further refinement (laksana) and the zenith of refinement (avastha). In this way, the transformation of elements, senses and mind takes place.
“The dust of the clay is its property (dharma), the lump is the modification (lakshana) and the pot is the final condition (avastha). If the potter wants to change the pot’s pattern, the potter breaks it down to its original state for reshaping. It is the same with a gold ring. To remake it, the goldsmith has to melt it down to its original state.”
-Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar
When I began this most recent journey a year ago, it was indeed like standing on a precipice, a total remaking of myself. And as my colors begin to shine out of my cocoon on the other side of this transformative process, I called my teacher Victoria yesterday for advice and she said….
RELAX, just relax, it’s not really a big deal
I woke up this morning, my mind felt like a placid, clear pond.
It’s time my friends, it’s time to wake up, find our path, refine our sadhana, together, as one, with a luminous diversity of expression.
Are you in? Questions to ask yourself:
What do I really truly want from this life?
What is my dharma, my unique purpose for being here?
What advice would I give my future self?
Feel free to express in writing, painting, dance. Share as you feel moved or keep as your own private show.