Understanding Alchemy: How to Drive Transformation
By Dr. Theresa Bullard
How many things do you encounter in your life and work that create tension, stress, or struggle? What if you could transform that tension and stress into something beneficial and purposeful?
The key that reveals to us how to harness that stress or struggle and to then use it towards our advantage is the art and science of Alchemy.
Alchemy is about how to drive transformation.How it works, at its core, is through harnessing differences.
Whether we are talking about different perspectives, approaches, personalities, natures or any other instance of different things, people, or systems that interact. Through the interaction of things that are different from one another a kind of tension or polarization is generated. If that tension is not properly harnessed it can lead to conflict, stress, power struggles, stale mates, competition, resistance, and “being rubbed the wrong way”.
However, when harnessed and directed, the tension between differences can become the very fuel for catalyzing transformation.
The process of alchemy reveals to us how transformation unfolds and how to harness the energy generated when differences collide.
When we learn to work with this process consciously, then we become able to harmonize these differences and drive progression, rather than letting them remain in conflict.
The key to this rests in understanding how to harness the potential within each of the different essences, and then synergistically bring them together in the right proportions. In doing so, we learn how to bring a new level of wholeness, order and creative potential to our lives and work.
Here is a simple physical example of alchemy and how the interaction of different things can generate something new.
Let’s look at the interaction of fire and water. Often we would think of these as opposing elements that do not mix. Too much water puts out the fire. Too much fire will quickly evaporate the water.
When they are brought together in the right proportion and timing, however, the tension, or the difference between them generates steam, which mediates between the two poles of fire and water.
In technical terms, the combination of fire and water gives rise to a work potential that can be harnessed and directed. For example, the steam could then be used to propel a turbine and converted into electricity, or it could be used for steam cleaning, or any number of other applications that have a useful purpose.
Alchemy teaches us the steps one must go through to harness these differences in the right proportions to gain usable energy out of the tension.
Because we have so many things in our world that are different, alchemy is very relevant to our lives today. This is also why alchemy is so essential to becoming a transformational leader. Transformational leaders know how to harness the differences of the people they lead in order to drive overall progress and creative breakthroughs.
Stay tuned next week as we look further at understanding “differences” often represented as polarities and their relationship to alchemy.