Recently someone asked me if I had a favorite scripture in the Old or New Testament. I remember feeling this smile creep on my face because I do. It is from Romans 12:2 – “do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed in it through the renewing of your mind.” It is so easy to conform to the ways of this world. It seems like everything we are taught from the moment we are born is about helping us to conform to the ways of this world. However, all the ancient wisdom texts I have read, including the New Testament have told me to be counter cultural. The message that has come to me repeatedly is transform; do not conform.
This is so much easier said then done. One of the things I have come to realize is that before I can begin the process of transformation in my life, I have to develop the gift of awareness. I have to become aware of the ways in which I am conforming to the ways of this world. I have to become aware of the ways in which I have become domesticated to the dreams of the planet as don Miguel Ruiz has written. I have to develop the gift of mindfulness that Thich Nhat Hanh and other Buddhist teachers have written. I have to begin to see that which I cannot see. Sometimes we have done such a great job of conforming to the ways of the world; we do not even realize we have even conformed. This could be viewed as the perfect form of slavery. We do not even realize we are even enslaved. If we are not aware that our way of being and thinking in the world has been domesticated, then we cannot see the need to work towards transformation.
But doing this work on your own can be lonely and harder. It’s not that it cannot be done, but it is easier when we have a community of others who are seeking to transform along with us. As the song says, I get by with a little help from my friends. Well actually, with the help of co-journeyers we do more then get by. We have a group of people who can help us to raise our own consciousness about our level of awareness and assist us in our transformation. It’s not only what others are doing for us, but also what we are doing for others. Journeying together, we help each other along the way. Trying to transform in this world through the renewing of our minds is not easy, however, when we are working, learning, growing and transforming with others along the way, we have support for our journeys.
Sometimes our friends hear us say things or see us do things in ways that seem to conform to the ways of the world. Sometimes they can hear or see us react out of fear, anger, doubt, lack, or other negative energy when we are not even aware we have done that. Those who can challenge us in our journey are more then friends, they become spiritual partners. They are the ones who raise our consciousness, challenge us to explore and press through our discomforts, release the fears, and redesign our lives. They are the ones who help us tap into our compassion, courage, and commitment to spiritual evolution. And we are all that to them in exchange. We become for each other the ones who help each other do more then just get by with a little help from our friends. We become for each other those who support each other as we seek to not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed in it through the renewing of our minds.