In our development we need to pass through such a state where we lose our previous form. This is like a grain of wheat that is planted in the ground and is completely decomposed. Only a Reshimo (reminiscence) remains, whereas the substance itself transforms into dirt, transforms to become nourishment for the new form that appears after the decomposition.
Which is to say, a descent from the previous state occurs and after this an ascent to the new state. And in the lowest point of the shattering only a Reshimo is left that is transformed and changes into a new Reshimo, into a gene of the new state. The right form for birth and growth is like this, both for the plant and the animal, and even for the person in our world, and likewise in spirituality as well.
Otherwise we could not pass from one state to another state. There must be transformation here, a new ten Sefirot. From the previous Partzuf of ten Sefirot, to the new Partzuf of ten Sefirot only the Reshimot pass. That is what happens in our world because the spiritual root is revealed in the physical branch, and likewise with our inner development. The same one law acts in everything. It follows that every new state is attained on the way only by our abandoning the previous state, changing our consciousness, comprehension, and approach in that it’s felt in us as incorrect, not appropriate, and therefore we upgrade ourselves to a new level.
In spirituality this is much more prominent than in physicality. If in physicality the person doesn’t change his consciousness, his outlook on the world, his view, his opinion, then he doesn’t grow. He only adds to the previous consciousness and therefore that same small child remains except with more dimensions. The sign that a person has grown is that he is transformed in understanding, in consciousness, in effort.
He gets control over these states and brings himself to a state where suddenly all his previous control, all his previous approach, disappears. He is no longer able to remain in it and he feels himself powerless, lost, not knowing what to do next. On the spiritual path we call this state a descent. We feel ourselves confused, not understanding what is happening to us, and after that we reach a new state. As a general rule in normal life, transformations like these don’t happen and the person simply goes and adds to the old baggage and therefore never gets a new form, so he remains the same child in his old age.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/02/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam