“Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”
Step 1.) Realize that imagination is superior to reason:
“Necessary illusions enable us to live.” ~Ingmar Bergman
Before transformation, before self-empowerment, even before courage, there must be imagination. If you cannot even think outside your tiny lamb’s box, how will you ever be able to transform yourself into a lion powerful enough to trample it?
Thus, imagination is foremost. It is even more important than reason. Because reason is telling you that you’re just a little lamb stuck in a little lamb world with mighty wolf laws keeping you in check, docile, and immure. So, you will have to sacrifice reason to imagination in order to gain the wherewithal to challenge the system. Most of which is religious smoke and mirrors, a political song and dance, and merely a cultural cartoon playing itself out in your brain.
You must be able to transcend the box that has you thinking like a lamb before you can gain the courage to crush it. Mind must come before matter in this matter. It’s a delicate epistemological balancing act, a precarious existential highwire show, an intellectually Herculean task requiring Promethean audacity. And it is one that you will probably fail at.
This is because cognitive dissonance itself will be your greatest enemy. Which means you will be your greatest enemy. Therefore, the most important part of realizing that imagination is superior to reason is understanding the importance of staying ahead of the curve of your own human conditioning. In short: it means getting out of—and then staying out of—your own way.
This will require putting your Ego on a leash. Which will require resurrecting the only thing that can keep it on a leash: your Soul.
Step 2.) Take a leap of courage out of faith:
“It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.” ~Anatole France
After you’ve managed to think outside your tiny lamb’s box through the power of imagination, it’s time to crawl out of it. But how do you do that? The simple answer is courage. In particular: a leap of courage. In more particular: a leap of courage out of faith (rigid certainty) and into fortitude (flexible curiosity).
But first, we need some context. What exactly is it that’s buttressing your lamb’s faith? What is it in particular that’s propping up your lamb’s rigid certainty? What is it precisely that is keeping you conditioned, indoctrinated, and/or brainwashed into believing a certain way?
Put simply: it’s the pettiness of your ego. Put a bit more complexly: it’s the culturally conditioned aspect of yourself projected onto the world. Put concisely: It’s the socially constructed part of you that you have subconsciously used as an identity to engage with reality.
But what happens when—having used the power of imagination over reason—you finally realize that this culturally conditioned aspect of you is limiting you and keeping you inside the box? What happens when you finally see how it is the culturally constructed ego that is keeping you meek, weak, and courage-less in your lamb-hood? What happens when you finally understand what’s preventing you from becoming a lion?
Now enter Ego Death. Most people falsely assume that Ego Death means killing off the ego. This is not what it means. Ego Death means annihilation. The ego is annihilated in the “cocoon” of “death” in order to emerge as the “butterfly” of the soul. Ego Death is more of a rebirth than it is a destruction.
The metaphor of the cocoon is trite but important. The invulnerable ego must die in order for the vulnerable soul to be born. Certainty must die for curiosity to be born. Attachment must die for detachment to be born. Rigidity must die for flexibility to be born.
Taking a leap of courage out of your tiny lamb’s box (faith) must take place in order to cure the disease of certainty with the medicine of curiosity. Without curiosity there is no openness to new knowledge, there is no flexibility of thought, there is no plasticity of spirit. Without curiosity there is no way you will be able to integrate your shadow. Which is the next vital step in how to transform a lamb into a lion.
3.) Integrate the shadow:
“My devil had long been caged; he came out roaring.” ~Dr. Jekyll
With your curiosity in front of you and your certainty behind you, you now have the existential plasticity to face the Underdark of Yourself. Your certainty is shattered glass behind you as you walk “barefoot” into yourself. Your curiosity is a blazing light inside you, shining into the darkness, making the darkest parts of yourself light up into glorious conscious awareness.
Having been hidden, hushed, and repressed for so long, the shadows come alive. They dance with fierce revivification. They laugh with thirsty desire. They sing with jovial howls. They are finally seen, felt, heard. And they are hungry. Their appetite slams together inside you, a soul-quaking shockwave, shaking you to the core. They join forces to become the shadow aspect, the inner beast reborn, primal darkness incarnate.