34 beyond experience: transformation

“Beyond experience” is the third of six doodles exploring principles found in nature which lead to flourishing.  If something is not flourishing then it is likely that something is missing or getting in the way.

It was a beautiful day at Yellowcraig Sands on Scotland’s East Lothian coast.  I’d been watching surfers out amongst the waves for some time, wondering when they were going to stand up on their boards.  Then it dawned on me what they were doing.  They were using their boards to journey down the coast without leaving the water.

The waves may have been three or four feet at the most, so they were using them in a different way.  Surfers are great examples of energy transformation.  They can’t make the waves but they have become skilled at turning them into movement.

The tale of King Canute illustrates this.  In response to his over-flattering courtiers, Canute shows them that the power of a king is nothing before the natural forces; he is not God and the waves would not obey him.

There are many energies at work in the universe that we cannot control, though we can become more adept at turning them towards some or other end.  What we glean from this is that we can retell our stories of pain and suffering in different ways.  Sometimes the most painful stories become the purpose and urgency for our lives.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery but she escaped to freedom.  She realised that she must return to help others escape and was one of the founders of the Underground Railroad, making it possible for many more slaves to escape to freedom.

Retelling our stories doesn’t mean fabricating fantasies but using the energies that hurt us in a different way, towards a greater goal.

SOMETHING TO DO: Writing down our most painful stories can be a way of disarming them.  For a start, we become the owner of that story, not the other people or circumstances that hurt.  If you have a painful story, you may wish to write it out, as prose, or poetry, or if words are hard, then in some representation, as a drawing or simple structure.

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (a novel)


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