The Potent Alchemy of Love
We hear a lot about transformation these days, from the personal to the global, which both comforts and inspires me. When I first graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH) in 1999, I often felt like a lone wolf howling in the wind about transformation, especially the mind-body-spirit kind. I felt I had to hide my spirituality from the world so as not to be ridiculed or ostracized.
I no longer feel that way, and for that I am both grateful and tremendously excited. There is an ever-growing, ever-deepening awareness of the need for radical transformation of our beliefs, our actions and our very understanding of the nature of life and reality, of who we are and why we’re here. A critical mass is forming in human consciousness which has the power and potential to catapult humanity to a new reality grounded in love, wisdom, joy and the reverence for all life. Talk about a transformation!
As regular readers of my blog surely know by now, I’ve devoted my own life and work to an ever-deepening understanding of how to consciously transform ourselves in service to our growth and happiness. Over time I’ve realized that the kind of transformation I’m interested in doesn’t actually occur unless something else takes place along with it.
Transformation is the changing of one form to another. In the world of personal growth, our transformations may be experienced as new jobs or careers, healthier bodies, different living spaces or more satisfying relationships.
Yet it’s possible to change careers, change body shapes, change houses and change relationships without actually creating an experience of fulfillment. That’s because while we live in a world of form, we also live beyond it. Our essential nature is intangible, and our experiences of happiness and fulfillment arise from a felt sense of our essential nature.
And so the movement toward deeper levels of fulfillment involves more than a change in form. It requires transmutation, a process which has long fascinated me. Transmutation is the changing of one state of being into an entirely different state of being. Another word for this profound process is alchemy, a word I love because of its association with mystery and magic.
Like transmutation, alchemy often refers to the conversion of base metals into gold or silver, yet its meaning isn’t limited to chemical reactions. I witness alchemy occurring regularly as my clients transmute their self-identities from ones that are fearful or limited to ones that are confident, expansive and filled with possibility. In the absence of that alchemy, their new jobs or new bodies or new homes would feel much the same as their old ones.
So I now see my work as being more of an alchemist than a coach. And I’ve learned that the most potent alchemical force in the universe is Love. I’m not speaking rhetorically here. I’m speaking literally.
That’s why my focus on self-love has deepened over the years. I’ve seen that, in the absence of genuine self-love, any changes we make on a path of personal transformation are changes in form but not in substance. It is only through Love that our inner experience of lack is transmuted into one of fulfillment.
Walking the path of personal transformation will inevitably require us to navigate through difficult emotions. At those times the alchemy of Love is needed more than ever. From my perspective, we haven’t generally been well-educated about emotions or well-trained in responding to them. They are often grossly misunderstood. They are seen as hindrances to both clear thinking and spiritual enlightenment, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
As with everything else in this universe, emotions are energy. And emotional energy has the potent property of magnetism, meaning it draws to itself things and experiences of like vibration.
When emotional energy is infused with Love, its frequency literally changes. Its vibration is transmuted into a different vibration, one that magnetizes different – more loving – thoughts and experiences into our lives.
We do ourselves a huge disservice when we try to suppress, ignore or even still our emotions, because in doing those things we deprive ourselves of the magnetic power to draw people, experiences and ideas into our lives that support our growth. And we increase the likelihood of developing stagnant energy within our energy field, which is not a natural state of being for emotional energy. Emotional energy needs to flow, and blocked emotional energy can lead to both emotional and physical distress.
We also do ourselves a huge disservice when we project our emotions onto others, because in doing so we literally give our power away. (We also subtly yet substantively influence their vibration toward the same emotional frequency, but that’s a subject for another time.) When we’re highly emotional as we focus on someone else, such as when we’re angry with someone, our powerful emotional energy is being directed out of our energy field toward theirs. Energy follows attention.
Thankfully, we have another choice, although it’s not one we’ve been conditioned to make. We can choose to harness our emotional energy in service to our hearts rather than suppressing or projecting it. The enactment of this choice is, truly, a high art. It elevates our human experience toward the realm of Divine creativity. It is an alchemical art. It is an art worth learning and practicing.
The art of harnessing our emotional energy is fundamentally simple, yet it can be extremely difficult to apply in the moment, especially if anger is the emotion we aim to harness. That’s why we need to practice.
Let’s talk about anger. There’s a lot of it storming through human consciousness right now, both seen and unseen, felt and unfelt. The anger that’s seen and felt is the anger being projected from one person or group to another. The anger that isn’t seen or felt is the anger that’s been suppressed within us. We may not even know it’s there until something triggers it and then, Bam!! There it is. Or rather, here it is.
Here it is, pounding our hearts and inflaming our minds and clenching our fists, getting bigger and hotter and meaner with every breath we take.
We suddenly morph into the Incredible Hulk, feeling as if we’re going to burst out of our clothes and out of our minds. It’s almost unbearable, which is why we suppress it or project it. We’re trying to relieve ourselves of its immense and destructive pressure.
Most of us don’t want to be destructive. We want to be constructive, so we think we need to rid ourselves of anger. What we often don’t understand is that the essence of anger is powerfully and creatively constructive, but that essence has been transmuted. It has been distorted.
Anger is life-force energy distorted by fear.
We feel angry when we feel disempowered, yet the incredible irony is that the essence of anger – its potent life-force energy – is innately powerful. But fear blinds us to our innate power.
Fear transmutes our creative life-force energy into anger.
Love transmutes anger back to its pure, powerful essence: creative life-force energy.
It really is that simple, that profound, that fundamental. Yet this potent alchemy cannot be realized simply by thinking about it or talking about it. It has to be intentionally directed by our minds, guided by our hearts and experienced in our bodies.
We have to love ourselves enough to want to learn how to harness our anger in service to what we want, rather than unleashing it, which hurts others, or suppressing it, which hurts ourselves.
I have wanted to master this art ever since first being made aware of it. Years ago, as a sophomore at BBSH, we were safely guided through an incredible group experience in which we literally transmuted rage into joy.
I’ll never forget it. Through a combination of music, spoken words and imagery, we were led to experience the emotion of rage. At the peak of my Incredible Hulk moment, when it felt as if my body would be incinerated by the fury coursing through my veins, a shift began to occur. It was subtle and almost imperceptible at first, then it rapidly gained momentum.
I became keenly aware of the energy of the rage, almost as if I could perceive the vibration of its particles and the flow of its waves. Thanks to the expert guidance of the teachers leading us through the experience, I was able to be fully present with the energy without reactively holding it down or pushing it away. And then the miracle occurred.
The heat of the rage morphed into a fierce yet loving warmth, and I realized that I was vibrating, head to toe and beyond, with joy. Joy! JOY!! The most intense, alive and real experience of joy I’d ever had.
Rather than exploding like the Incredible Hulk into a raging monster, I had exploded like a newborn star into joyous radiance. It was absolutely incredible. In that seminal moment I glimpsed a reality vastly different than anything I had ever known.
I’ve had other glimpses of that reality many times over the years, and with each experience I’ve become more committed to experiencing that reality as my reality. As our reality. It is the reality of heaven on earth that countless teachers and masters have been illuminating for millennia, and it’s one that I’m not giving up on.
I believe that in order to create it, we’ll have to become alchemists. Creating heaven on earth requires more than transforming – changing the forms of – our actions, our agreements and our laws. We’ll have to learn how to transmute the very essence of our fearful and destructive impulses into loving and constructive ones.
I’m sure many of you have observed that it’s all too common for injustices to be addressed solely with anger and condemnation, which temporarily shifts the balance of power but also perpetuates the consciousness of fear, blame and shame that gives rise to hurtful actions to begin with.
We keep volleying anger and hatred across the net, rather than changing the game entirely. We keep forgetting that what we resist, persists, because that’s how energy works. In our resistance to something we are focusing on it with high emotion, and the magnetism of emotional energy sustains or even increases the very thing we wish to eliminate.
As we learn to stop pushing against what we don’t want and, instead, use the incredible strength of our anger in service to creating what we do want, we change the game. We change the nature of anger itself. We transmute it back to the pure, life-giving energy that it truly is.
And we do it through Love, the most potent alchemical force in the universe. This Love with a capital L bears little resemblance to what we commonly think of as love. It is the infinitely beautiful, passionate and intelligent power of Creation itself, expressing as Life in all of its glory.
Calling on Love to transmute rage into joy is not a thing to be trifled with. It is not wishful thinking. It is not something to be dismissed with eye-rolling cynicism as mere idealism. It demands the highest levels of courage, commitment and integrity we can humanly achieve, made possible through its inherent kindness, compassion and wisdom.
The alchemy of Love is something we can all learn, if we are willing. Willingness is the open door to the real transformation we long for. In my next post I’ll share with you a practice I’ve developed to help people transmute anger into empowerment, arising from that long-ago breakthrough experience at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and further cultivated through meditation, reflection and experimentation.
Until then, may we all use our anger not to push against what we don’t want, but to stand with open hearts for what we do. We literally have the power to create heaven on earth. Let’s do it.
Copyright © 2018
Suzanne E. Eder