Steven Wright said, “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman “Where’s the self help section?” She said if she told me it would defeat the purpose.”

There is much talk about self help in our world, and it is often seen as trivial or selfish. When we talk about self help or transformational inner work, what is it that we are transforming? What exactly do we want to change? Who is this “self” we aim to help?

We do not transform ourselves for our self, we transform our self from our self. We lose our identification with our small, temporary egoic self. We awaken to see that we are a part of the whole, and bigger then we previously imagined.

Furthermore, another way of saying this is this.  We do not transform ourselves for our self, but for all of us.  In other words, although our inner healing and awakening work may–and often is–at first motivated by our pain and suffering, or our egoic striving to change or better our self, we come to see that anyone who heals, transforms and awakens inevitably helps others.  In truth, it is the most effective and some would say the only true way we can help the greater whole or global community, by changing who we are, or perhaps allowing more of who we always are to emerge.

So self help becomes decreasingly selfish and increasingly global. As a culture, we do not yet create space for or honor the inner journey. We may envy it or judge it, but there is little patience or space for taking a retreat, or even pausing at work when some old grief arises. But ever more of us are recognizing the need we all have for healing, for getting to know our self, for making space for our pain, and creating space for grace to awaken us, shake us from our old patterns and limiting beliefs.

Energetically what happens is we become the change. Our very energetic vibration moves from one of chaos and judgment, pain and whatever other emotional turmoil we are in, to one of resonance, peace, and calm. Others find themselves automatically drawn to us.  They unconsciously entrain themselves to our balanced energy field.  These are the people like St Francis, or Jesus, or it could be someone who bags your groceries. People want to be around them.

The more we do the inner work, the more we see that the path leads us out into the world.  Our innerconectedness inevitably leads to interconnectedness.  As we further heal, we move away from the narcissistic need to personally heal to a passionate drive to serve the greater good.