...the spiritual agenda is paramount, which is the conversion process. Whether we know it or not, we're all transforming, because we're hungry for the opposite of our vice... Helen Palmer
A key question for coaches is how to balance clients' immediate needs with our knowledge of their transformational potential. Sometimes they don't know to ask for what they really need.
This path is not easy, often blocked by what Kierkegaard called "tranquilization by the trivial." For many years, passages from Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision have inspired me to engage my clients' spiritual hunger:
"Growth involves movement into the unknown and often requires surrendering familiar ways of being. Consequently, we tend to fear growth. The tragic result... is that we actually deny and defend against our greatness and potential... What are the common characteristics of profound transpersonal experiences? The words vary but people's accounts worldwide agree that a central realization is penetrating insight into one's nature or identity... Undertaking this process is regarded by the great wisdom traditions as the highest goal and greatest good of human existence... A common characteristic of higher development is that our identity or ego changes, eventually losing the sense of solidity and separateness and becoming transpersonal" (pp. 110 - 114).
Here's how one of my clients describes her own process:
"The word transformation gives me a bit of trouble because I think of transforming from something to something, which is a one-shot deal, and that's not how I've experienced it in my life. I think of an evolution of consciousness that's endless. Transformation is a word we use in the West because we want to get someplace. There is a grand scheme and there’s no manual. It comes a paragraph at a time. It’s what your heart is calling you to do.
"In the process of our evolution we have things that block us, that get in the way. Leonard Laskow speaks of treasured wounds. So for me the exploration is seeing how I've held things that kept me from moving forward.
"What has changed most in me is not blaming myself as much. I went from 'It’s all my problem,' to 'It’s not at all my problem' and digging in, to becoming an observer of all that, seeing how it unfolds, not judging. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I’m lighter, more present. I still get caught, but I get 'uncaught' quicker."