Recognizing Spiritual Transformation

In human experience, we tend to recognize change far more quickly when it is dramatic,
rather than gradual. If something suddenly emerges or rapidly collapses, we are struck
by the change and as a result, we feel a need to deal with it or at least cope with it.
Change that takes place more gradually, however, such as the maturation process
or the aging process, takes more time to notice. After the change has long since
established itself, some event or observation occurs that triggers our awareness that a
transformation has already taken place and we are first becoming aware of it.

The reality of spiritual change is that not only is it often a gradual process, it is also
generally very subliminal. When physical changes take place, there are obvious
external signs as well as changes in ones abilities. One cannot avoid noticing these
types of developments. Spiritual change presents a greater challenge. For one thing,
we are all aware that both physical maturation and physical aging take place at certain
points in our lives, and that these changes are going to effect us; that we will have to
accommodate nature. Not as many of us are as keenly aware that as human beings
we go through spiritual evolution, as well, in the course of our lives. When the spirit
transforms, there are rarely too many obvious external manifestations.

Ironically, spiritual changes are often transformations that are at least as profound as
physical changes are, though they are much harder to recognize unless one attunes
oneself to them; something a person must train themselves to do. In actuality, the
process of spiritual evolution is of far more long term import than its physical, emotional
or intellectual counterparts. It is from the spirit, the level of the soul, that the intellectual,
emotional and physical spring. It is the soul that is the core of our lives in This World. It
is the soul that survives into the Next World. Therefore, what happens to the soul in its
evolution of the utmost importance.

Interestingly enough, most people are most cognizant of, and attendant to, physical
change. If we are suffering from a physical illness, we seek relief. If we experience
physical discomfort, disability or change, we tend to pay attention to it and to seek
rectification or rehabilitation.

Many people are attuned to intellectual and emotional distress or dysfunction. When
we are confused or having a difficult time psychologically or emotionally, we tend to
process with close friends, trusted relatives, or professionals in these areas. We confide
in those close to us, who we feel can understand what we are going through and who
can offer us sympathy, support and guidance. In the case of spiritual growth that is
taking place within the individual, far fewer people recognize the change, let aside have

any clear idea of how to manage it effectively.

Emotion and intellect function as processes. As we experience things emotionally
and as we learn, we undergo a process of experience, internalization, integration
and assimilation. By going through things experientially, we are provided with the
raw material for growth. By emotionally and intellectually processing what we have
experienced, our personality develops and evolves.

What is not clearly understood often, is that our emotional and psychological maturation
leads directly to yet a third and most critical process, that of spiritual growth. When
we have gone through developmental breakthroughs and reached new psychological
and emotional levels, the internal material is provided for spiritual growth. At this point,
processing begins on the deep level of the soul itself. The soul begins a process of
deep self evaluation, self redefinition and transformation, for spiritual change is actually
the evolution of the soul.

On a spiritual level, this level of processing is in many ways very subtle. Yet, there
are ways to recognize that the process of spiritual change is taking place. As the soul
begins to redefine itself and its context in the world, there are several manifestations.
First, there is a full, general withdrawal into oneself. One can find himself or herself
feeling very distant from everything that is going on around them. It begins to get
difficult, trying to handle more than than one thing at a time. Moreover, communicating
with others may also become harder. There is a strong sense of needing a great deal of
space and a lot of quiet. At the same time, one finds themselves operating with very low
energy levels. It often seems like a great effort to get anything done at all, regardless of
how small the task.

This is all due to the fact that the soul is working on the deepest inner levels of self,
which require a great amount of energy. Subsequently, energy is pulled from all
three of the other areas of the conscious self. We are drained physically, emotionally
and mentally, temporarily. It is very important to realize when going through spiritual
transformation, that there is nothing wrong. One is not falling apart. What is merely
happening is a massive transference of energy to deep within oneself. Accept that fact
and you can flow with the process.

Second, as a result of the work being done on the deep inner levels of self, a great
deal of shifting will take place. One finds many of their attitudes and perceptions
changing. One’s beliefs and views about themselves, about their lives, about their
relationships, about the world in general, are suddenly in flux. This often leads to a state
of psychological and emotional discomfort. One can feel very confused and disoriented.

This is not surprising. If one is going through spiritual change, one is going through
inner transformation on the deepest levels.

Many of the old structures of perception and belief are being dismantled, and disposed
of, by the psyche. This creates an emptiness. In the void that is produced, there is not
very much that is familiar. There is precious little to hold on to. Consequently, this can
be very disconcerting. One simply must be patient and wait for the soul to build the new
structures it needs. Keep in mind, that the process of spiritual transformation is one of
restructuring for the future. One’s energy is diverted only as long as the reconstruction
process requires it. It is not a permanent state of affairs. Let it run its course.

Third, the soul must also communicate to the conscious self what is transpiring, what
transformations are taking place and what these changes mean. This is a purely
internal interaction of the soul communicating with the mind. What happens in this
communication can manifest in several ways. While one is going through this inner
process of spiritual change and transformation, dreaming may be intensified. One’s
dreams will then come to consciousness more forcefully and more frequently than
normal. The dreams become very vivid, and easier to remember. These dreams are
often very important messages from the soul to the conscious mind. There is usually
heightened awareness during spiritual transformation. So, one also experiences deep
insights, a series of intuitive flashes of understanding, and the periodic realization of
changed perspectives.

Bear in mind, that spiritual transformation is not a regular, fixed occurrence. Unlike
physical development, it does not come automatically as a function of time. It comes
when we have grown sufficiently emotionally and psychologically and have reached a
point in our lives when we are truly ready for soul growth. When that happens the soul
itself takes over. On a conscious level all we can do is acknowledge what is transpiring
deep within ourselves, and allow ourselves to flow with it.

To paraphrase a great rabbi; To have a door of opportunity open and not seize it is
a great transgression. To not be aware of our spiritual state and not seek to develop
it, is a tragic oversight. To go through the profound process of spiritual shifting and
transformation of the soul, choosing not recognizing it when it occurs and not honoring
it as a result, that is truly a sin.

Whether we acknowledge our spirit or not, the soul grows regardless. We all evolve
spiritually whether we care to recognize it or not. There is no way to interfere with soul
development. It is beyond conscious control.

The difference is that when a person learns to recognize the signs of spiritual
processing, he or she comes to a point of accepting their essence. When one embraces
their own inner evolution, one connects with their soul and with the innermost core of
who they are. That experience, which is voluntary and is directed by conscious choice,
is the act of willfully uniting mind and heart with the soul. That experience is an act of
moving toward God. It is an act of self realization and of self affirmation on the highest
level. When we come to know ourselves better, we come to understand the Creator
better. The road to Self is internal. The way to God lies within. They are parallel. They
are the same.

Rabbi Fisdel


About rabbifisdel

Rabbi Steven Fisdel is the founder of the Center for Jewish Mystical Studies in Albany, California. Rabbi Fisdel was trained and ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. He is an active Kabbalist and a well known teacher. As a practicing Kabbalist, Rabbi Fisdel has first hand experience with both sides of Kabbalah. Steven studies the original texts, clarifying the ideas and subsequently teaching the traditional doctrines to people of all spiritual backgrounds. He also uses a wide range of Kabbalist meditation practices to help seekers to access higher levels of consciousness. Steven maintains a private practice doing psycho-spiritual profiling, spiritual counseling and Kabbalist Healing work. He teaches and lectures widely on the Kabbalah, the nature of consciousness, meditation and the practical application of mysticism to the process of inner repair and soul development.
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