What is Transformation?

Everyone knows this word. Even children have their transformers – vehicles that change from truck to cyborg and back again, but how does this word relate to breathwork and the supporting practices that enable mindwork to be truly embodied?

Then there is the classic biological metaphor of the metamorphosis of the caterpillar, using all of its biological components to become the butterfly. We seem to think the butterfly is in some way superior to or better than the caterpillar. 

As a person with a biological background I’m not sure it really is, it’s just a different form in truth, a sexually mature form that can move and mate. However, we love our metaphorical symbolism, and butterflies look beautiful, whilst caterpillars, on the face of it, are a bit like worms. As a society, we have a preference for beautiful things, don’t we?

There are whole traditions of esoteric religion and alchemy that talk about the transformation of the basic human animal nature into a ‘higher’ form, where the human behaviour becomes evolved from hatred, jealousy, envy, anger and pride into kindness, compassion, connection and care. 

Translocation is often misunderstood as transformation though. The classic poem of Kabir that talks about goat bearded yogis who start to grow their hair into dreadlocks, wear orange or whatever colour it is that is supposed to be most spiritual, play with strings of beads making holy noises and talk loudly about God. 

Yet they still get angry, are rude to those they see as less righteous and try to control the future out of fear and hope. This is not transformation, its translocation, a sideways shift into a new wardrobe. 

Robert Kegan who wrote a fabulous book called In Over our Heads, inspired Ken Wilber in his vision of developmental growth as a process of expansion of perspective, along with inclusion and integration of all previous perspectives. This is often called transcension with inclusion, it is expansive growth with inclusion and integration. 

And arguably, this is what transformation really is. 

So we have to ask the question, who transforms?

If there is a part of us witnessing or directing some other part of us? Is this just psycho-geographical theatrics?Perhaps it is, yes.


We are making the appearance of getting over our suffering, struggles and limitations, by getting into a kind of therapeutic theatre. An addiction to the appearance of change. But if change actually happens we will behave differently. Simple. We will naturally be doing the necessary actions that make the difference. 

So, who transforms what? Nobody transforms anything. Nobody transforms. There is nothing to transform. There are simply more expansive perspectives that arise through finding even more awareness.

Awareness has a feeling state that goes with it, it is called love or compassion. Awareness as wisdom knows the seamless nature of existence, and it has its empathic side of the coin, which is naturally arising compassion. 

So maybe transformation is simply letting go? Unfolding into greater awareness and concomitant compassion? 

We live in an imbalanced world of dominator hierarchies, control and status. To operate such systems, the individuals who control them require a vision of supremacy and actions of secrecy and manipulation as strategies to remain in charge. 

Transparency, awareness and compassion as an active element of understanding seamless existence destroys all of this, which is why individuals in dominator hierarchies are so keen on the power of spin and fake information.

Maybe transformation is moving from obscurity and secrecy to transparency? The gaslighting, spin and deception of all those in power, however small or large their perceived dominion, is over with authentic transformation and the light of transparency. 

I remember Peter Gabriel’s Witness project years ago, which was to highlight abuse with the eyes of video witnessing. Abusers and power mongers don’t like the truth, they don’t like the eyes of the world on them or their behaviour. 

George Monbiot recently published all of his income online as an act of transparency. This serves to highlight the deceptive practices of folk in the governmental hierarchies that love to cover the slime trails of their self-interest. 

We have to make sure our own internal psychology is free of the slime trails of avoidance, manipulation and deceit. 

Maybe unfolding and transparency is the alchemy we all need to set ourselves free from the tyranny of selfing and the narratives it ceaselessly generates, to support its own existence as a valid feeling tyrant of righteousness, self-interest and control. 

I know from engaging in rebirthing breathwork and deep meditation that the self story dies when we go deep enough in. When we can drop through all of our conceptual patterns and narrative supports, we simply die as a self-thing and become vast awareness. 

I remember sitting in front of my three Conscious Connected Breathwork teachers after a particularly deep breathing session, being questioned by them about every aspect of my life from my relationship to money to sexuality to anything they deemed worthy of inquiry. 

There was no need for anything but transparency. Transparency does us a huge favour, it liberates the need for hiding, secrecy, control, avoidance and the energetic demands of such psycho-emotional deceit, and all the fear that goes with this. Transparency is courageous and liberating. 

Look at all the corrupt politicians squirming around in self-justification for their grubby self-serving behaviour. Do you think they are truly happy? Do you think they truly know what loving and being loved feels like? 

Yet it is not just politicians, it is any of us who are so scared we feel we need to be right, in control and in charge. 

Transformation is personal, it is transpersonal and it is political. How can we expect awareness, compassion and transparency in world governance if we can’t do it ourselves? 

Transformation like charity, awareness and compassion begins at home. Transformation begins with this breath, and then this one, consciously breathing with awareness is the magic key to transformation. 

We can then literally change the world one conscious aware breath at a time.