Latin, conversio "a turning round, revolving; alteration, change."
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Conversion is often used in a Christian context for a change from one sect to another or turning to follow Jesus. Below, conversion refers to any turnabout. Your lifespan is a continual conversion - an ongoing flow of change, transformation, of turnings. Conversion, for example, is the dawning of a new day and the sunset each evening. Nothing is out of the reach of conversion. By a change (i.e., conversion) of heart, everyday endings and beginnings can become suffused with sacredness (so, sacramental). Moments can be a turn of relative time or imbued with the timeless within the turnings... it is our choice.
Central to spiritual contemplation is observing changes inside and outside the body and learning to appreciate the play in consciousness. By engaging in awakened awareness rather than seeking to get rid of the changes, we learn to live in the flow - not resisting, not indulging... being with the transformations in body and mind. We discover communion with change opens us to the sense of our oneness with Life. We cannot enjoy union with Life by resisting the immediate forms - physical and mental - arising into awareness out of Life.
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Conversion is not merely something you undergo. Conversion is what Life does. When you walk into the wood, you see conversion everywhere. You see, for example, trees and deadwood. Life is in the decay; tree and deadwood are alive. Life works to create new forms. Nothing is wasted.
What is in the decomposition? Potential and potency are the nature of life. When change happens in your life, you may see it as an ending, like a decomposed tree. It is, and it is a new beginning. Without change, we could not know the joy of new beginnings.
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There is hidden in conversio a deeper meaning. The Latin goes back to an assimilated form of com "with, together" and vertere "to turn." Let us inquire silently, "With what, or who, do I convert?"
There is some companionship, some communion, here. We do not turn from and, so, turn to alone. We are not isolated in change. Is it possible to convert alone? The great wisdom traditions say, "No."
Sometimes, we may sense another presence with us, affirming Life is communion - a wholly communion. Even God cannot be alone, as indicated by such teachings as the Trinity. The Eastern Church speaks of the Trinity as a dance: three together, one but three. God dances with God. Whom, or what, do you dance with?
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August 2014 -
I awaken and, for the first time in many days, feel hope and faith. I feel Grace filling and flowing in body and mind. I rest awake in the deep night, amazed, thankful. I sense new hope, that something is being born, that this space of emptiness is being taken care of. I sense this movement is not to a stillbirth, but a vital, new beginning, breathing, crying thankful with bliss at the Mystery of how Spirit works in our surrender to Life Itself. I do not need, now, to see what this new life will look like. I only need to agree with Life.
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Conversion moments are moments of turning, turning from to, becoming something new now from the past then. We cannot make these happen; we can prepare for them.
Life converts us. We are each part of the Whole that challenges us to grow, to become, and in our becoming, the Whole is becoming with us.
Does this mean suffering? Conversion itself has no suffering. Change is not a problem. We struggle and sorrow when trusting struggle and hardship more than ease and bliss. Many have been taught to distrust Life. Many have been conditioned to believe efforting and sorrowing is the norm. This suffering is based on illusion, a lie.
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What of trust in conversion? To be converted, we do not have to have complete faith. Trust can be accompanied by distrust. Even when doubting, praying for conversion is an act of faithfulness. Not seeking help at all is an act of infidelity.
Not knowing what will arise in that space of trust and distrust, we may feel unease while sensing spontaneous anticipation of something being born. We have no joy in this possibility if we do not trust, even in our distrust.
We act from this emptiness between the known of the past and the unknown taking shape. We always live in this moment between what we remember and what we call the future. We passively allow Grace to arise, and Grace inspires us to act.
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A tree does not try to do the work of Life. A tree does not try to be a tree. A tree flourishes in receptivity to Life. A tree is a space in which Life happens. We are like trees. Nature can teach us about allowing Life to do its work without our thinking we must do it for Life. Creativity arises out of communion with Life. All action becomes creation as sared, holy, enlightened action. We will be joyful by following what trees teach us.
At your present age, you can see you have changed over time. Yet, has that seeing the change changed? From whence arises - or makes possible - conversion? While we may fear change, imagine your life without change - can you?