The Stranger Within

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I submitted the following article recently to an online magazine, Parabola, for their current theme 'Transformation'. The magazine is devoted to the exploration of the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world's myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life.


December 2022

Transformation, in my view, is mainly about truth. It may be that an event in our life is transforming in the physical sense and can have an immediate uplifting or devastating effect on our lives; or, it may be something that we hear or see, or a person we meet, that changes the way we think and what we do with our lives and could be seen as transforming the path we take in life. But all these happenings are, I believe, an opportunity for change that comes from within and which may take a lifetime to develop. For in facing the truth, which I believe is what would be needed at such a point in our lives, this would require us to draw on inner strength to help us go forward in the best way we can and may sponsor the question "how well do I know myself?". This would be spiritual strength because I believe we all have a Spirit within our physical body and from this can come great clarity and wisdom, and also great peace which perhaps we are all searching for as we live lives that at this time can be quite difficult and challenging. Noise pollution, and the very physical and material world that is predominant at this time, affects us perhaps more than we might think, so a transformational event could be life changing and rewarding with the right approach, and likely to be a part of our Tapestry to see how we perform on this stage that is life on Earth.

This knowledge and understanding have been with me and have helped me throughout most of my life since coming into contact with The Erasmus Foundation, a spiritual teaching and healing centre based in Laxfield, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom. The simplicity and logic of life, as explained by our spiritual tutors, has helped me transform myself over time from someone who lacked confidence and true self-knowledge to a person who feels more comfortable with themselves, and who has found a reason and purpose to life. So, in my case the transformation is a work in progress and happened through meeting the Foundation all those years ago, stimulating my mind, which I say is my Spirit, to think differently and to understand what life is truly all about.

The Erasmus Foundation is not a religion but has a simple belief in a Great Mind, a force that some people might call 'God' but in the Foundation we say 'Great Mind'. The Great Mind has a plan and is in control of our Universe, which is governed by the Natural Law; so, everything living has been designed and created by the Great Mind. We also have a belief in Spirit which is the essential and eternal part of each one of us and created by the Great Mind; but at this time when we are on the Earth, our Spirit is living a life in a physical body in order to learn and experience certain things and to make progress spiritually. So, reincarnation is central to this belief and, in my view, gives logic and understanding to the many different lives we see around us. Our Spirit does not stop learning when we return Home to Spirit, but life on Earth is rewarding as well as challenging, a balance of opportunity to learn and experience much, and as such is often referred to by us and our tutors as 'The University of Life'.

I am minded here to give the example that is within Romans 12:1-2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." By taking lives on Earth, we are tested and live to a Tapestry of Life designed for us by the will of The Great Mind, within which are choices and responsibilities to see how we are learning spiritually. There is certainly no punishment when we return Home, and indeed it is expected that we will make mistakes or do something that could be called 'wrong' because this is how we learn and also how we teach at the same time – "to teach by example" is often quoted by one of our tutors in the Foundation, Ruscora, who lived the life of the Dutch Humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam and whose name the Foundation is named after because he was a person at that time who wished for people to come together to discuss and share their beliefs, their Gods, their thoughts. It is also the case, that to be truly challenged and tested in this University of Life there would be little value in living a life that would be too easy with little opportunity to progress as a Spirit; as we are all different ages spiritually, the life that is designed for us is to suit our individual needs for that particular time in our evolution.

Given that the balance of life will always bring times of challenge and testing as well as times of joy and achievement, we could say that within every life there is an opportunity for transformation and, indeed, we might also say that we come to the Earth to live a life to be transformed through the purpose and experience that life brings.

What I have learnt from the Erasmus Foundation is that getting to know ourselves is what it comes down to when our thoughts are stirring in new ways, often through being touched spiritually in some way. This is why truth is key to any change or transformation. At this time, I would say that an important first step is a self-inspection so that we build up a true picture of what our strengths and weaknesses are. Meditation is an excellent tool to help us here, and slowly, over time, analysing what we find, we will come to appreciate ourselves in the fullest possible way. It is not an exercise that can be done in a day, a week, a month, or even a year; it might take a lifetime to get a true, full picture of ourselves.

The quote from the King James Bible, "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," is an apt one, because as we uncover the truth about ourselves and find the strength to accept what we find, we will be set free from a life of fantasy and falsehood that may have been our stance up to this point, and we will find an inner peace that has been allowed to surface and which will untie us from any restrictions we have set ourselves in trying perhaps to be accepted, liked, needed, or maybe we had wished to stand tall in physical stature and be applauded and lauded by those around us. As reality dawns and the transformation takes place, we will become the person we would like to be with; and this will be apparent to others as they, too, feel more comfortable around us. If someone turns away, then maybe they do not appreciate the truth that is you, and maybe they need to discover their own truth about themselves so that they can find peace and accept others as they are.

So, over time this transformation will help us understand ourselves and life better, and we will realise our purpose; because everyone has a purpose, and everyone has a gift for something, otherwise what would be the reason for the Great Mind to design a life. We are a part of the jigsaw that is Universal life, and a part of the great stage play whilst on Earth, however long or short that part may be, always remembering that in everything there is reason, purpose and logic.