For the next several weeks I will be doing a series of articles focusing on the Spiritual Tools needed for inner transformation. These tools will be presented in a non-religious framework, using everyday language that anyone can understand. You do not have to be religious or non-religious in order to effect radical transformation at a core level. All one has to be is a Spiritual Person who is open to Spiritual concepts. And deep down, at our root level, we are all Spiritual Beings.
The first tool I will deal with is that of Sight or Spiritual insight. It involves being able to see the need for change. This is really one of the first steps to a deep inner transformation. In order to seek to change, we first must see and be clearly convinced of the need for change. If we think we are fine just the way we are, then chances are we will not change ourselves, unless forced to do so by outer circumstances. But if we can see some fault or series of faults within ourselves, we will eventually become open to change. Sometimes the faults can be clearly obvious. If a person has a habit of drinking a case of beer every night and has had a few DWI's, it does not take a rocket scientist to see this person has a deep need to change. Of course addicts with this kind of background may still need some convincing, but over the course of time the truth will become clear. With other people the need for change may not be so obvious. What about a person who is addicted to gossip instead of alcohol? They may think they are just fine; that it is everybody else who has a problem. But over the course of time, when a person has spread enough slanted stories conveying a false message which seems true to them; when they have unintentionally, or perhaps even intentionally, destroyed the lives of more than a few good people, then they too may see the need for change. Or let us consider a person who has a very judgemental character, who holds onto grudges and has a difficult time to forgive and let go of past resentments or hurts. They may think they are just fine too. But, over the course of time, this person may begin to feel physical symptoms in their bodies such as high blood pressure or ulcers. If they have the Spiritual Insight to look deeply into themselves, they may see their physical ailments are but the material manifestations of their own inner problems and difficulties. They may begin to see the wisdom in letting go of the past, practicing forgiveness, and allowing love and healing to flow into their lives, both on a Spiritual level and on a physical level.
So one of the first steps in effecting inner change and transformation is to be able to see the need for change. For some people this is going to be easier than others. Consider for a moment why both Jesus and the Buddha liked to associate themselves with people who were publicly recognized as being sinners? Did they just love to go "slumming" as we might call in today? Why would Jesus sometimes say to the self-righteous of his day, "Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of Heaven ahead of you."? Because these people, the prostitutes and the social outcasts of his day had the grace that the self-righteous could never imagine: they could clearly see their need to change, and thus were on the first steps of the Spiritual ladder which the self-righteous could not even begin to enter upon. They may have been considered the "scum of the earth" by others, but to Jesus, Buddha, and other great Spiritual masters, they were Children of God ready to advance into paradise.
So it is with us today. It may be surprising, but those who have practiced some very flawed and spiritually corrupt life-styles, such as the alcoholic, addict, criminal or even murderer, may be ready to advance in self transformation more quickly than the average person. And the reason for this is that they may have been beaten down enough and bleed deeply enough to begin to awaken to the need for change, and finally arrived at a point where they are willing to do whatever it takes to effect change in their lives. But it first begins with the ability to see. Do I need to change? What do I need to change? Open our eyes that we might see!