So we have been talking about transformation and the experiences surrounding them. But how do you actually prepare the soil to enter into them. Can you create these ah ha moments? Can you provoke those noetic experiences that are often high impact?
I want you to think of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1…he prayed that they would be enlightened….that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened.
• Eph. 1.15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
Remember I keep saying spirituality is seeing…but there it is again in Paul’s prayer.
Another way of asking the above questions is can you position yourself in such a way that you increase the incidence of bumping into God enlightening you mind.
Elijah…Elisha…John the Baptist…Peter James and John… Paul. They all experienced this.
So let’s go to the garden as a powerful metaphor for transformation. Gardeners don’t grow anything but create the conditions in which things can grow.
The first thing the developmentalists talk about it is something we mentioned in a couple posts months ago…
1. Gardeners accommodate new experiences and resist assimilating them.
• Zebra assimilated to a horse. Eventually the child will come realize that there is an animal that looks similar to a horse called a zebra but that they are not the same. When that happens we are moving into accommodation.
This is how we stretch and revise our mental models (the way we think the world IS). And this is probably how we are to account for profound shifts in consciousness. So here is the million dollar question how do we increase our ability to accommodate and not assimilate?
Two psychologists who have specialized in studying awe and wonder propose two essential elements to awe…
• 1. Perceived vastness
• 2. Accommodation
In other words it may be that some experiences are so vast, so profound so far beyond what we have previously perceived that they in effect demand that we transform our worldview in order to accommodate them.
Sheer vastness forces accommodation because we simply have no category for the ZEBRA.
So why do some experiences challenge our belief systems resulting in positive transformations while others don’t?
Keltner and Haidt, these two psychs, say it is your ability to take in the vastness of the experience without assimilation that moves it toward the pole of transformation.
Louise Sundararajun a psychologist and religious historian argues that only after failed attempts to assimilate will we allow accommodation and new mental structures to be formed.
This sort of shift is what leads to different brain wiring and a more spacious way of BEING. Notice these experience don’t usually bring new knowledge in the sense of facts and figures but new knowledge of being-ness or vastness or of how things are.
She further argues that the only way to insure our ability to accommodate is to step back and look at our process of thinking and judgment this is what is typically call metacognition.
• Looking at and thinking about our thinking. Observing what we are observing and thinking about it.
More on gardening next week.