Transmutation means change, specifically the change of the lower into the higher. Transmutation is the process by which the destructive elements of our animal being are changed into those of our angelic nature. Transmutation is transformation.
The process of transmutation rests on the principle that all things in the world were originally good and only our misuse of them has made them harmful. Therefore, in transmuting we do not seek to destroy, but rather to change or transform the destructive component of any part of our being (be it a thought, desire or action) into its original God-ordained nature.
In this manner, hate can be transmuted into love, greed into practical generosity, fear into prudence and resentment into compassion.
Here is a brief description of how this is to be accomplished. The human brain is so constructed that as we think and act, these activities are automatically recorded and programmed into the nerve cells. The more we think or do something, the stronger and stronger this nerve imprint becomes. Science calls this “molding” or “imprinting.” On the other hand, if we do not think or do certain things, the nerve impressions of these items gradually fade. If we consciously replace adverse thoughts and actions by those in harmony with the Divine Law, these more constructive imprints will gradually replace the less desirable imprints.
By first changing our thought patterns we are eventually able to change our emotions, and with the change in our emotions we are able to modify our actions. This is the basic physical functioning of transmutation. It takes a strong desire and constant effort on the part of an individual to accomplish such a work, but it is an absolutely essential part of the Great Work.
Therefore, the daily practice of this activity, transmutation, is one of the main cornerstones of the development of every true seeker after things Spiritual. By the efforts at transmutation, the student on the Path is able to set the stage so that the soul, that celestial Divine Spark is cleared of much of the debris heaped upon it over life times of circumventing Divine Law. With the process of transmutation, the Soul Spark is able to “see” more clearly to build its Inner Center, the Holy Temple within.