This week’s podcast is a conversational discussion of three concepts that function sometimes as synonyms, sometimes not.

When a monarch butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, we see transformation, but not salvation, nor exactly liberation.

Transformation implies a shift into a much better state. There is no implication that the person was previously imprisoned and then found liberation; nor is there necessarily any religious implication to the term transformation, which is often overused.

I believe that the real transformation takes place in the movement between unfaith, living with a material center of gravity, and faith, with a center of gravity in Deity. We may slip several times a day into unfaith, and may recover as often. Gradually we stabilize our YES.

A person may experience transformation triggered by a change in diet or exercise. Some people become practically religious in their proclaiming to the world the salvation (my word, not theirs) that has come to them through this particular practice. The personality system of thinking, feeling, and doing on material, intellectual, and spiritual levels has several areas in which a person may suffer grave need. When that need is met, blessings ripple throughout the system. Spiritual faith may also be involved in a person’s accomplishing the transformative change in diet and exercise.

Liberation implies freedom from and freedom to, a previous prison and a release into excellent functioning. For example, some people are the prisoners of unfortunate idea systems. How to liberate them (and should we presume ourselves to be free of all such prisons—smile?)? One approach makes a bold, direct challenge, to puncture resistance and break through to a deeper level of the person where change can be made. However, an assault on someone’s belief system usually fails. Here is where it becomes important for the would-be liberator (including the direct challenger) to understand the other person’s belief system well; there are usually features that are widely shared with other people, as well as individual differences, so it helps to know the individual personally.

The greatest liberator is divine love. It comes into the person from the spirit within, and it also comes through others, be they friend or stranger.

Like liberation, salvation implies a from-to movement, but what distinguishes salvation is that it implies that transformation has come to what is most essential to the human being, the core of the person, the soul. If we stop and ponder a truth that we need to understand and make our own, we slow down the racing mind and let go of the urge to click the next link. We meditate on meanings and let them sink in. Doing so takes us from being centered in mind to being centered in soul. The Psalms of the Bible, as consistently as any literature I know, express the soul in its agony and rejoicing.

Salvation involves who we truly are . . . in relation. I would say, in relation to the Universal Father (a Father so generous as not to demand that we use any particular name or intellectual idea in order to achieve a satisfying and growing relation).

“Please be patient with me: God is not finished with me yet.” This saying that was popular decades ago touches on an important truth. Our creation is a work in progress. The body is something that God creates through biological evolution, as affected by the accidents of time. But the soul is where God continues the silent, gradual work, making the best of our decisions of mind and fashioning us as creatures for all eternity–if we make that choice with the YES of genuine faith. He gives us the faith by enabling us to recognize core spiritual truth, saving truth, which gleams and calls us, knocks on the door of our heart, opening vistas so gently as not to overwhelm our creature freedom. We must authorize that movement of spirit faith, must will to follow. Faith starts small, with a wholehearted belief in the mind, and it grows like a time-release capsule into something that integrates and uplifts every aspect of our being. Living and growing faith is ultimate transformation, liberation, salvation.