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Spiritual Transformation Comes Through Self-Examination

by Louise Finlayson

Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Deep and lasting transformation comes about only when we look at our lives on the material plane anew, through a spiritual lens.

Let’s look at an example. Someone, let’s call him Eric, is upset that he didn’t get a promotion that he thought he deserved. He’s angry at his boss, for not seeing his value and for treating him unfairly. From a material perspective, Eric thinks he has a problem and that life has been unfair to him. He is angry because he can’t control external events. He projects his anger at his boss seeing him as his enemy and a bad boss. Simultaneously, he thinks of himself as a victim and a failure. Eric feels captive and is busy believing his own thoughts about his perceived captivity. He is embroiled in a win/lose mentality.

Now let’s say that Eric looks at the same situation through a spiritual lens. He now sees that the world does not exist to fulfill his personal desires and is not all about him. His notion of fairness is irrelevant. He sees that he has no “problem” and realizes that his suffering is the result of his reaction to the situation. As he steps back from his reactivity and accepts reality he is able to see that not getting a promotion isn’t good or bad. It’s just a fact. When he removes the shame and judgment about not getting promoted, he sees his choices more clearly. Perhaps he’ll look for another job, go back to school to gain more skills or ask his boss what he can do to make himself eligible for a promotion. In any case, he takes ownership for his decisions, and through doing this, is more conscious in his life.

Like Eric, most of us move through our day absorbed in the material realm, trying to acquire, organize, and control the material aspect of our world. At times, we even think of ourselves and others as objects. On the physical plane, we see things through the lens of duality—up or down, left or right, good or bad. We spend much of our time comparing ourselves to others, striving and seeing our value as a human being in the products we produce. “My children go to the finest schools, therefore I am a worthy,” or in Eric’s case, “I am unworthy because I didn’t get promoted.”

We become blinded to the fact that the material realm is only a portion of what exists; some might even say it is an illusion. There is impermanence on the material plane. Jobs come and go, even our physical bodies will cease to exist some day. Spirit, on the other hand, stays as it is, it is eternal. Because spirit is intangible and invisible, we tend to overlook it .

If we transform our perspective and look at our world through a spiritual lens, we see that there is no duality—everything is connected and interdependent. Love is the overarching principle in this realm. If we live with love as our guide, we flow with the natural order of things and experience harmony internally and externally. We become less interested in pursuing every bright, shiny object because we recognize that there isn’t anything outside of ourselves that will fulfill us.

Spiritual transformation is a process of looking at life through the lens of unity instead of duality. Right where we are, in our current job, with our family and friends, in the body we have right now, we can start to break a lifetime of habits by using the simple and straightforward practice of consciously choosing which lens we look through. Exercising this choice, over and over again, especially when it is hard, will transform our consciousness. That is the path to freedom.

Louise M. Finlayson, Ph.D., is a transformational life/leadership/executive coach with more than 30 years of experience, located at 1525 Western Ave., Ste. 1, in Albany. She conducts private sessions and hosts workshops. For more information, call 518-218-0707 or visit LouiseFinlayson.com.