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'The Temptation of Jesus" by nakedpastor David Hayward

‘The Temptation of Jesus” by nakedpastor David Hayward

I’ve been thinking a lot about the pain of transformation.

Like growing pains. I sprouted up very fast as a teenager. It actually physically hurt. Especially in my legs.

They say that the greatest stressors in life are things like illness, death of a loved one, divorce, finances, and moving. Essentially, these are all about change varying in degrees of intensity.

I claim that spiritual change is traumatic. It can actually be painful.

Stress manifests itself in my life physically. In the past, a doctor thought I had MS. An MRI proved that wrong. Then I got shingles the same week. My doctor said, “David, stress is a bitch!” This happened to me during a very stressful spiritual time in my life. I was going through a very traumatic spiritual transition and it showed up in my physical self.

Actually, it confirms my conviction that there is no separation between the physical and spiritual self. We cannot separate spirit from flesh, soul from body, energy from matter.

I am One. We are One. All is One.

Having read a lot of lives of saints, spiritual leaders, and mystics, I’ve noticed that many of these people share their own struggles through spiritual transition.

In Eastern mystics, such as one of my personal favorites, Krishnamurti, he went through an excruciatingly painful change that boosted him to the next level spiritually. Those who wrote about it from an Eastern perspective talked about his Chakras and the Kundalini process.

I read the hard-to-find biography of Byron Katie. Her husband at the time desperately tried to buy up all the copies because it showed her in less than a complimentary light. They are hard to find now. What a fascinating read! It talks about her painful transition from a depressed, mean, and miserable woman into the mystic I believe she is today.

Some aboriginal peoples have vision quests where you go into the wilderness and under harsh conditions ignite your challenging spiritual transformation.

The story of Jesus talks about him going into the desert for 40 days to fast, be tempted by the devil, and be tormented by wild beasts. From here he launched his ministry.

So I wonder if different cultures in different times take these painful transitions and call them something, label them, name them, and package them into a desired, expected, or even elicited formative process.

Some call it Kundalini, or vision quest, or desert experience, or dark night of the soul, or dying to self.

(NOTE: During these times it’s important not to lose it! It helps to have guides. But if they aren’t available, it helps to have read up and understood that you are about to go through a very intense transformation that will tax you spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially… in so many ways. It’s during these times some people lose their moral footing and wreck their lives. Stories of this abound!)

Maybe we could call this painful spiritual transformation deconstruction.

Yes, this is my attempt to encourage you that the pain you’re experiencing is the dawn of personal transformation. As painful as it is, as impossible as it seems, as undesirable as it presents itself, it is necessary for our growth.

For me, it is important to keep this in mind while I’m going through this painful transition. This way I don’t despair that it will never end. This way I realize this is a part of my growth process. This way I don’t get careless and resort to unhealthy behaviors to escape the changes I’m experiencing.

When I read your updates, I get very encouraged. I admire the bravery you display. You are amazing human beings going through amazing changes to become even more amazing human beings.

I’m glad to be journeying with you. It decreases the intensity of my pain.

Much love,