If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard to change core patterns, beliefs or behaviors, you’re not alone. However, with some understanding of the work of UCLA researcher Dr. James Gimzewski, and a bit of insight from George Leonard (author of Mastery), you can make the process of transforming virtually anything a whole lot easier.
First off, if Transformation were easy, there’d be a lot more people fully living the life of their dreams. Unfortunately a lot more people are struggling than thriving though, and there are very specific reasons for this.
Over the past two decades working with thousands of people from all over the world I’ve seen what those reasons are, and discovered how people can effectively transform their lives. In this post I’ll share some specifics of what I’ve learned, as well as some intriguing new research that’ll help you make sense of the process of transformation.
The Truth About Transformation
The truth is, creating a fundamental change in the structure, behavior and perceptual patterns that shape your life takes some real work. But doing the work is worth it (if you want an awesome life!) and so much easier once you understand the actual process of transformation.
To illustrate what’s really going on during the process of transformation, I want to share the fascinating research of Dr. James Gimzewski of UCLA, who’s discoveries regarding “cell sounds” shine light on the energetic and physiological processes happening while an organism is actually transforming.
Gimzewski found that living cells emit a tone or frequency that can be amplified and listened to with specialized equipment. In his research with yeast cells, he found that the sounds that the cells emit predictably change when they’re under stress, and abate altogether when they die.
Gimzewski also found that during the process of transformation, the sound that an organism’s cells make follow a very specific pattern – a pattern that when understood can help you transform yourself and create breakthroughs with a lot less struggle and a lot more ease.
What’s the Pattern Underlying Transformation?
Gimzewski applied his research methods to pupae, monitoring the sounds generated as they went through metamorphosis to transform into a fully developed butterfly. During metamorphosis a striking pattern emerged.
The process of transformation showed up as bursts of intense periodic activity, separated by periods of silence.
In other words, the transforming organism was not going through a process of constant change, instead it was mobilizing energy and resources only during very specific times. These bursts were followed by periods of little to no activity.
But what is even more interesting to me, is what Gimzewski observed to be happening to the organism’s structure inside the pupae.
As the pupae transformed, it first liquified into a sort of substrate for a new structure to form from. Then, it began to reorganize itself into a new and entirely different structure. But what was driving this process?
There wasn’t an intact brain and nervous system sending out signals to orchestrate the change. So how was it happening?
Gimzewski observed that what was organizing these pulsations was a series of 8 “pumps”, which according to him appear to correlate with the energetic Chakra system that ancient wisdom traditions have described for thousands of years.
Watch Gimzewski talk about his experiment at the TEDxLA conference (If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip to 7 minutes in).
Through modern science we once again hear that some mysterious energetic vibratory force is organizing the structure of the organism and dictating the process of transformation. If you’ve ever seen a demonstration of cymatics, then this is no surprise to you (check out a demonstration of cymatics below).
2 Ways That Gimzewski’s Research Can Help Make Your Life Easier
There are two key factors involved in Transformation that Gimzewski’s research brings to light. They’re simple, yet profound and I think they’ll help you navigate the process of transformation in any area of your life more easily.
1. Transformation is a process guided by rhythms and cycles: Don’t fight it.
What does this mean?
There are organizing forces contributing to metamorphosis, that operate on a pulsatile rhythm.
There are bursts of activity and change, then there are periods of what appear to be stillness, where it seems like nothing is happening. However both periods are a critical part of the overall process – they’re BOTH necessary.
What I’ve found, is that the people who successfully and predictably transform themselves and their lives embrace both periods of the process.
Instead of getting upset about what seem like manic bursts of activity and change that end up stopping abruptly, leaving them feeling like nothing is happening, that they’ve failed, and that all their work was in vain, they recognize that they’re in the period of stillness. Instead of fighting it, they actually embrace it.
They allow themselves to slow down and observe what’s going on inside and around them. They don’t try to hurry things up, or get overly frustrated that the momentum is gone. Instead they know that another spurt of activity will be happening soon.
They’re not complacent. They don’t stop doing stuff that matters. They’re able to observe that they’re experiencing one part of a natural rhythm or cycle that is bigger than them.
2. The pulsatile nature of transformation parallels the Journey to Mastery.
If you’ve never read the little book Mastery by George Leonard, get it.
In it Leonard describes the path to mastery and the three types that set out on the path but never make it – the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker.
The Dabbler loves the newness of the first burst of progress, but the falloff from the peak is brutal. The Dabbler’s enthusiasm quickly wanes as he enters the period of stillness (the Plateau, as Leonard calls it) and he ends up quitting what he was doing to take up a new activity.
The Obsessive sticks with the path, however she doesn’t understand the necessity of the period of stillness (the Plateau again). So she works fervently to try to keep the sense of progress going at all times, even when she’s really in the period of stillness. She stays in the game, but she’s frustrated and feels stuck and resentful that things aren’t happening fast enough.
The Hacker is actually more comfortable on the Plateau. It’s how he intentionally avoids having to deal with the intensity of the “burst” periods. The uncertainty and momentum of the bursts freak him out, so he just lowers his standards and hacks around where he’s at, never really improving or growing.
Here are Leonard’s 5 keys for not fighting the rhythm of transformation and achieving mastery:
- Instruction – Find the best instructor, teacher, mentor, guide facilitator and immerse yourself with them.
- Practice – Devote yourself to your journey or craft and LOVE to practice it. “Stay on the mat”
- Surrender – Find the satisfaction in mindful repetition by discovering the endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes.
- Intentionality – Hold the vision of what you really want, and keep revisiting it even when you’re on the plateau.
- The Edge – Ride the edge, push the envelope and at the same time stick to the fundamentals – one of the great paradoxes of mastery.
The Big Lesson Here?
To me the biggest takeaway from the research I described above, and the process of mastery as described by Leonard, is that in life transformation is always available.
As soon as we stop fighting where we’re at and accept and surrender to the larger rhythms that are guiding us, we can instantly realize that we’re right where we need to be – and can refocus on where we want to go next.
Watch an excerpt from one of my live seminars about the 12 Signs that you’re transforming, and the most common questions asked during Transformation.
I’d love to hear your comments/questions!