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Transcendence versus Transformation

Transcendence versus Transformation
By John Harper

What's the diiference/significance of spiritual transcendence versus transformation?

Spiritual transcendence is the experience of one's consciousness moving beyond the normal sense of self and the body boundary into an experience of the divine, the sacred, or true nature. This experience often manifests as a sense of unity, boundlessness, vastness or an oceanic experience.

Spiritual transcendence is more than a heightened emotional, mental or physical experience. These are often moments of awakening or enlightenment that peel back the veil on ordinary experience and give us a glimpse into a deeper reality.

Spiritual transformation is often referred to as a process of integration or embodiment. Spiritual transformation involves a radical shift in identity from the normal, historical sense of self to knowing and experiencing one as true nature. 

We can look at the process of realization from the perspective of transcendence or from the perspective of embodiment. When people talk about getting rid of the ego, they’re talking about a transcendent experience. It is possible to transcend the personality or the ego, or even physical existence. However, there is a more difficult process which leads to the state of embodiment of reality. Rather than simply transcending the personality or physical existence, this state involves actually embodying essential existence in one’s life.  -  A. H. Almaas, Diamond Heart Book Four, ch. 1

Spiritual transformation and embodiment most often involves psychological work (inquiry and processing) to assist the process of disidentification with one's past, one's history and one's conditioning.

Spiritual transcendence is often referred to as the journey of ascent as the experience often feels like one is moving into higher and higher more rarefied states of being or expansion of consciousness.

Spiritual transformation, integration and embodiment, is often referred to as the journey of descent which reflects the now awakended consciousness descending into human form and living in this world, but not of it.

In the journey of ascent, the individual soul penetrates the various dimensions of creation and manifestation, which are the garments in which the absolute (absolute reality) was hidden. The journey of descent, however, is the conscious donning of these garments by the absolute. The ascent is like a movement inward, while the descent is a movement outward; in the first the absolute regains its conscious awareness, and in the second it retains this awareness within manifestation. Hence, the descent is into manifestation, but not into exile and alienation. Therefore, just as the journey of ascent is that of shedding and separation leading to the simplicity of singlehood, the journey of descent is that of integration and union leading to the richness of wholeness.  -  A . H. Almaas, The Inner Journey Home, ch. 22

transcendence transformation

Join A. H. Almaas—the  founder  of  the  Diamond  Approach  path—for a free webinar on Sunday, September 15, to learn more about this contemporary path to spiritual awakening and human maturity. The topic of this webinar is Transcendence vs. Transformation. 


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