The above illustration is a representation of Spiritual Evolution, found in several placces on line (original source unclear). This illustration presents the traditional religious and spiritual idea of consciousness developing from a more genital and so to speak animal consciousness to a higher one. However, the lowest type of consciousness is not genital- or body-centered, but egoitistic or narcissistic, based on an I-It (or ego-shadow) duality towards others. So whereas the unevolved human may still indeed have a dull brown aura such as represented here, there would not necessarily be a bright spark in the genital region. Rather, the whole aura would be heavy and based on a negative and selfish attitude to others
Self transformation is about changing this lower consciousness, characterised by delusion, greed, and aversion (to use the example of the Buddhist kleshas, or you could mention Catholic seven deadly sins or anything else), to one distinguished by Gnosis and Empathy
Self transformation might be said to be distinguished by four elements, the Map, Path, Guide, and Practice.
The map is the worldview or orientation, in this case Esotericism or Metaphysics. But without poractical application, this is never anything other than a head trip. Some go to one extreme and only get caught up in pne particular explanation, which is endlessly elaborated (the classic example is Theosophy; more recently some of the Wilber Integral Theory people are like this too, in view of the parallels between the two organizations I can certainly see the Integral community going the same way as Theosophy) or different theories and at best gnostic intuition that while useful and inspiring is only in the head (I sometimes are like this). Others go to the other extreme and reject ideas and the mental world altogether (many of the Osho people seem to be like this, also when I did Theta Healing course, there was a reference to brain candy. Also there the Buddha's parable of the arrow, although this was perhaps only meant in a certain context). Both extremes are equally bad. The map is necessary to provide orientation, otherwise you believe any garbage, and there is no discriminating of what is true or false. So the map, or theory, or metaphysics, should never be presumptively dismissed.
The path is the practical application of this; which could be called religion or yoga. Both have the same etymological meaning - to bind back or yoke (to the Divine), but Religion implies institutionalized religion, literalism, fundamentalism, and worship of an external deity. Sure there are exceptions, Jainism, Buddhism, and perhaps also Taoism reject the idea of an external God, and you could say that Taoism and NeoPaganism are non-dogmatic. But because religion has such a bad association in this way, I use the Indic term yoga instead.
The Guide may be an external spiritual teacher or master or Guru, or one's own Inner Self in tune with the Supreme. Again, I'll use a popular Indic term, Guru. It is important here obviously to distinguish between the true and false guru; the latter being far more common than the former. I consider only a fully realised being to be a true guru. Although this doesn't have to be the case, you can have an authentic mentor for example. But I would rather attune to none but an authentic Realizer or Divinizer.
And finally, Practice is living a spiritually pure life; Spiritual Discipline. The word spiritual unfortunately is often associated with religion, so a further Sanskrit term can be used here - Sadhana.
Following the paradigm of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, Self transformation works on five levels - Physical, Vital (= emotiobns and desires), Mental, Psychic (Divine Soul), and "Spiritual" (Universal Self), the goal being Supramentalization (Divinization). i would associated the transformed and transmuted Mind with Gnosis and Nonduality, transformed and sublimated ego-shadow emotional nature with I-Thou Empathy, and transformed gross and subtle Body with Transmutation/Metamorphosis. Obviously also, all these stages interact and overlap. Rarely do all these levels develop at the same time, and the Integral Divine Realization encompasses all of them.
The above is from the excellent Kheper site http://www.kheper.net/index.htm
Blogger Reference http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Multi-Dimensional_Science