There are periods within our lives, when we, as individuals, go through tremendous internal change and deep soul searching. During such periods of introspection, transition and self evaluation, whether or not we are consciously aware of it, we have made a commitment to God and to ourselves. We have undertaken to do great inner work. We have committed our inner being to laboring, diligently, toward achieving greater self understanding. Through this process of internal focus, we deliberately orient our conscious selves toward facilitating our own spiritual growth.
In Jewish tradition, this process of inner soul work is an annual occurance. It begins with the High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and culminates on the festival of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Having passed through a three week period of deep soul searching, rectification, repentance and atonement, an individual emerges from the most intense and most spiritually charged periods of the Jewish year.
If one has done the work self examination effectively, he or she has succeeded in transforming themselves internally. They have utilized, properly, the Days of Judgement (the High Holidays) for inner cleansing and spiritual realignment and have reaffirmed their relationship to God, through gratitude and joy during the season of Thanksgiving (Sukkot-Simchat Torah).
Deep inner work, when done in earnest, brings with it very practical consequences on the psychological, emotional and spiritual levels. If we have carried out, fully, the process of searching our souls, admitting our mistakes, rectifying the damage we have done and realigning ourselves to the good, the flow of divine love, we come out of this experience, holy, cleansed and reborn. For we have reached within and faced our own failings. We have reconciled with God and now, place our complete trust in God’s compassion and guidance. A great door has been opened.
Once a door is opened, many things can happen. You can find the morning paper or the dog can get loose. Guests and friends can arrive or an unwanted solicitor can. Regardless, the result is that by opening the door, fresh air circulates, connecting you with the greater world outside. You find that you are free to come and go. There are a lot of possibilities. Some anticipated and some totally unexpected.
The same holds true, when one opens the door of the heart. True return to God and to Self must come from the heart. Without emotion or without allowing for the meditations of the heart and the inner knowingness it provides, we would not be human. It is the heart, that makes us in the image of God. By allowing for the opening of the heart, much is brought to the surface and to the point of direct experience. Some of what comes forth from within, is anticipated. Some is accepted. Some is welcome. Some is overpowering.
During spiritual change, we are constantly being prompted to move forward, to move beyond where we were, to where we need to be next. Often, our conscious mind is the last part of our being to know this. It is the conscious mind that is also the most resistant to change, frequently. In the intensity of periods of deep internal transformation and due to their enormous potency, one can encounter a storm of powerful feelings. One can experience an upsurge of issues or an onslaught of events, which are, completely unanticipated and quite possibly, totally overwhelming. This is part of the process of spiritual emergence.
I would define spiritual emergence as an internal shift, prompted by the soul, that changes one’s life by altering one’s perspective. This type of change can be very abrupt and disconcerting. However, it will lead one to the next level of spiritual awareness and development, if one chooses to ride the process out.
When a spiritual shift takes place that is being orchestrated from within, emotions long suppressed or left unacknowledged, can explode to the surface in order to be recognized and dealt with. Events can occur, that shake the foundation of a person’s beliefs and disrupt the traditional ways one has looked at or approached something. What is happening is important to understand.
When you experience such a shift, your inner being has made a decision. It decided, that not only is it necessary for you to move on spiritually, but also that you are ready and able to handle it, whether your mind thinks so or not. It is laying the cards out on the table and you have to play out the hand. If you handle the situations presented to you, if you work out the life puzzles before you and weather the emotional storm, you will emerge a spiritually stronger and more integrated person.
There is no right or wrong way to handle what your inner self is impelling you to deal with. The critically important element is simply, that it is handled and processed. Then and only then, does one move on.
When one, successfully, works through this soul directed process of change, one passes through and moves beyond guilt and shame. One arrives, ultimately, at the point of spiritual maturation. Here, guilt and shame have dissipated forever. The choice one faces, here, is crucial. The choice is between learning to grow, spiritually, as a soul or delaying progress, indefinitely, by not facing one’s issues.
To expand and develop spiritually is the essence of existence on all levels of being. Spiritual evolution is the very core of life. Sometimes, we are lead to seek the path and walk it diligently. We are prompted to make changes and are given the insight and courage to embark on the journey. At other times, the door is suddenly thrust open and we are booted out, finding ourselves on the road, de facto. Sometimes, that is the way it has to be. The choice to move on spiritually can come from conscious choice or it can be thrust upon us from deep within. The former path is that of spiritual quest. The latter one is the route of spiritual emergence. Either way, one finds themselves on the road to soul development.
Whichever way one comes to embark on the path, it will eventually be the cause of great excitement, anticipation and joy. For the road leads to God. It is the path of life improvement on all levels. It is the way of peace, if walked in honesty and integrity. Spiritual emergence is one’s arrival at a new crossroads in life. This is a sacred event. It is not to be feared. It is to be welcomed.
Travel the road of spiritual emergence and pursuit with earnestness and devotion. Always bear in mind, that the conflict, pain, anxiety and confusion, you may encounter, are only signs along the roadside. They are, by no means, the road itself. The way of the spirit is the path of inner peace.