“Everything can change in a moment; we have little control over the outer weather patterns as we make our way through the landscape of life. But we can become masters of the inner landscape. We can use what happens on the outside to change the way we function on the inside. This is the moral of the great teaching myths. The hero conquers a monster; the heroine completes a quest; the reward at the end was there all along – the true self, the awakened consciousness. Joseph Campbell said, ‘What all myths have to deal with is transformation of consciousness. You have been thinking one way, you now have to think a different way. Consciousness is transformed either by the trials themselves or by illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it’s all about.’
When we have been through a trial and survived it – or better still, transformed its terrors into revelations – then we begin to approach other adversities with a different attitude. Change & loss may still knock us off the horse, but soon we are back in the saddle, stronger & wiser than ever. As life progresses, and we continue to transform and refine our consciousness, we gain more insight & humility, greater strength of character, and deeper faith in the meaningfulness of life.
But how do we do this? How do we transform terror into revelation? How do we stay sane & courageous in the midst of a trial? … the process of transformation (is) a journey of brokenness leading to openness, descent to rebirth, fire to Phoenix. Difficult journeys are best taken in a sturdy vehicle, or at least with a trusty guide & a helpful toolbox. …
The practices I used most often to stay on track during a Phoenix Process are meditation, psychotherapy, and prayer. These tools continually encourage me to keep my heart open and my mind awake when I would prefer to shut down or go back to sleep. The practice of meditation has helped me develop a steady heart and a less reactive & agitated mind. Psychotherapy had opened me up to an inner world of cause & effect. At a critical time, it pushed me to take responsibility for my own happiness – to stop waiting for that elusive someone or something to mend & define me.
Sometimes … meditation & therapy – seem tedious & boring; at other times they can be intimidating & challenging. We may want to give up. But the hard work demanded by a Phoenix Process, and the courage required to break open & stay open, are worth every moment of struggle. The payoff is enormous: We come into the liberating presence of our authentic self.”
Lesser E. “Broken open. How difficult times can help us grow.” Villard, NY, 2005.