Most of us know of the successful movie franchise “The Transformers.” You’ll be glad to learn that this blog has nothing to do with that Hollywood action movie. Rather, this offering addresses being a transformer of an infinite flow of energy, energy that’s everywhere, filling and enlivening you, energy you are free to transform however you decide. The only limitation? Your beliefs and your brain power.
As detailed by famed yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in his renowned Autobiography of a Yogi, a spiritual life-force enters into the physical body through the seventh chakra, also known as the thousand-petalled lotus, which is located around the crown of the head. This life-force energy comes into the body and then may be “transformed” into impulse.
Humans are powerful transformers that take the raw energy of the universe (or, if your prefer, of God) and individualize it. And it’s our brains that make this process so interesting. In yogic philosophy, there is a distinction between our infinite aware Self (the seer), and our finite brain (the doer). Our “Self” is an eternal, conscious, and self-aware entity while our brain is a finite cluster of our conditioned habits, patterns, and perceptions.
It is often said that our mind makes an excellent servant, but a terrible master. This bit of wisdom is fairly easy to see in the practical world. Think of any person you might know who is no longer in control of their mind—someone in a self-destructive addiction pattern, for example. Though there may be some people who are chemically predisposed to being unstable (schizophrenia and other mental disorders come to mind), most of us are quite free to chose our thoughts and therefore affect many outcomes in our lives.
The Infinite (my preferred term for the source of all things) gives us the impulse to move forward, to fall in love, to write a book or a blog, to successfully fulfill our tasks as work, and so on. But it is our mind, a part of us that is changeable and malleable, that powerfully transforms those impulses into a wide range of experiences. Our God-given free will is a powerful tool that allows us to condition our minds in ways that will either set us free or damn us to suffering. If there are times or moments in your life where you feel powerless and that you don’t have a choice, take a deep breath and think again. It’s all about perspective.
I remember reading about a story of a Buddhist monk named Kong. He had been imprisoned by the Chinese government for peacefully fighting for human rights. He spent years in this prison being tortured and tormented, until one day he was finally released. Years later, when interviewed about this experience, he was asked if he had ever been in “real” danger. His response? “Yes, twice I was in danger of hating my Chinese captors.”
When faced with a truly challenging situation, it is not uncommon to hear someone say, “I don’t have a choice.” But my question is: “Don’t we?” And how much true freedom are we giving up when we relinquish this freedom to choose—choose at least the perspective with which we can face a challenging situation?