Soul Age Detection
I haven't had a Michael reading yet but compared to the role and overleaves, is soul age easier to detect or harder?
I would say it's considerably harder to detect and more subtle than the overleaves.
Yes, stereotypical examples of soul age can be found in society, but as Shepherd often says, it's the most overrated aspect of the Michael teachings. Too much importance is placed on it.
In the community we've tried to avoid the negative hierarchy that can result from soul age stereotyping, but I think there's a natural human tendency to categorize people into class divisions. In this view, older souls are deemed better, or more spiritually evolved than younger souls. That's nonsense, of course. Experience is not analogous to wisdom. It all depends on the individual. Soul age is just a measure of age, not insight. We all know of elderly people who are clearly unenlightened, despite their experience. And we have also met young people that were wise beyond their years. Thus, the measure of Soul age is just age.
The only distinction comes in the perspective that the lessons of each soul age can teach us. But even that is dicey, since we can manifest soul age differently in various areas of our lives. Someone in a competitive field, for example, could be an old soul but manifest at young soul in order to keep up with the demands of their job. And an old soul could also manifest at mature regarding relationships. There's quite a dichotomy at play here and it's all very subtle. In other words, it's nearly impossible, I think, to look at the surface of someones life and determine their soul age. We've all tried to do this with the people around us -- especially after learning about soul age -- but such acts often lead to petty judgments and false personality. It's a path that leads nowhere, in my opinion.
Much of what I'm saying has already been said better by Shepherd in his work. There's an article at the MT site you could read:http://www.michaelteachings.com/older_not_better.html
It's an interesting topic for discussion, however. Further thoughts, anyone?
Like a lot of things, soul age is more meaningful in the aggregate than individually, as long as you keep in mind that any real society has a distribution of soul ages, and that it's the distribution that explains may facets of that society, not a single number like the average.
Daniel: As I understand it, there can't be an old soul that has not learned from his or her experience as according to his level -- for it's the lessons that are counted, not the time spent on the physical plane.
An old man, then, is not the same as an old soul.
I think you're taking my comparison much too literarily. My interest here is to get people to lighten up about soul age. I just don't see soul age as a merit badge or an indicator of enlightenment. I got so fed up with this insistence to romanticize old souls that I changed the soul age in all of my profiles to infant one. I'm now proud to be an infant soul. The world looks so exciting and new. ;-)
If you do the work required to move beyond a soul age level, you progress forward. That's agreed. On the other hand, if doing that work somehow assured an additional degree of enlightenment, then all old souls at that level would radiate the same amount of wisdom, but obviously that's not true. 12th grade students graduate from high school every year, yet none of them are uniform in their assimilation of the lessons they learned. All we can say is they did enough work to pass their courses, with some passing at an average level and others graduating at the top of their class. All is choice even in the degree that we choose to assimilate our life lessons.
Even the speed which we progress through our lessons is a choice. Some souls cycle off in just a hundred lifetimes, while others require four to five hundred. As Shepherd once said (or channeled) some souls opt for the survey course, while others want a more in depth education. Once again, all is choice.
Shepherd, for instance, channeled that I've had 922 past lives. He even doubled checked the number, thinking it was mistake. I, of course, instantly assumed that I must have been a real dunce and made a ton of mistakes. Michael (through Shepherd) later added that on a soul level I'm simply very cosmopolitan and spent many lifetimes incarnating into just about all of the major cultures that existed during my incarnational time span (40,000 years, I think). It was another choice.
Daniel wrote: Getting confuesed by this is, perhaps, one of the reasons why the personlaities of old souls generally suffer from self-depretiation. An old soul has to own his soul age -- not as an old man in the physical plane, but as cohesive aggregate of all the previous soul ages and their lessons. As far I have read of John Dalmas's life, he never acted like and old man
As mentioned earlier, the comparison of the old soul to an elderly man was to point out that an accumulation of years (or lessons) is not necessarily uniform in its manifestation in every soul. The mileage will vary and it's ultimately a choice. I'm hesitant to believe that anyone has to "own" anything in this natural progression. I'm not discounting what you believe, since I think you're right on one level, but I'm suggesting there's more flexibility than many are acknowledging.
A few things about soul age.
Hierarchy is such politically loaded termm, yet it's real: in nature, and, I assume, everywhere. The key to not get angry at it, I have found, is to see it inside a circle.
Dave, you said: "Experience is not analogous to wisdom. It all depends on the individual. Soul age is just a measure of age, not insight."
Old soul age has to include and trancend all previous soul age levels. It's more a measure of lessons than experience. Some learn faster. The measure of soul age is not just age, it's worthwhile experience.
Also, you said: "We all know of elderly people who are clearly unenlightened, despite their experience. And we have also met young people that were wise beyond their years. Thus, the measure of Soul age is just age."
Yes, access to essence (which is often translated to spirituality) is possible at all levels. However, our understanding of spirituality -- they way it manifests as it's filtered through our soul age (which is a physical plane overleave) -- will vary according to our soul age. The breath of old soul age spiritualiy includes more.
I agree with you in the dangers of the hierarchy of soul age. There are people of other soul ages whose active spirituality, work on themselves, outlook, or just the lives they have lead and the decisions they have made, make them more of an example on how to e.g: acces our higher centers more frequently, get closer to true personality, or just live a more fulfilling life than old souls.
Nevertheless, old souls, do have more experience (not just an accumulation of years). I wish people would approach them more often. Daniel Hi, A few things about soul age. Hierarchy is such politically loaded term, yet it's real: in nature, and, I assume, everywhere. The key to not get angry at it, I have found, is to see it inside a circle. Dave, you said: "Experience is not analogous to wisdom. It all depends on the individual. Soul age is just a measure of age, not insight." Daniel replied: Old soul age has to include and trancend all previous soul age levels. It's more a measure of lessons than experience. Some learn faster. The measure of soul age is not just age, it's worthwhile experience. <<<
Dave again: You're adding a fine line to this, and that's ok. I was playing the devil's advocate around the whole topic in order to move away from the generalizations we often see in the community regarding soul age. I think we all understand the basic nuts and bolts of soul age, and most of us could recite the stereotypes of the various levels in our sleep. Unfortunately, soul age is occasionally used against others in negative ways, and that's my real bone of contention. I've watched this happen for years now and it can be a major source of ego and chief feature activity. It's frequently the first thing you hear among students who first discover the teachings. They begin to scan their friends and family, deducing that so-and-so is a mature soul, or that their narrow-minded, bible-thumping aunt must be a baby soul, etc.
We often arrive at such conclusions because we do only focus on the common stereotypes of each soul age: young souls are materialistic; mature souls are dramatic and emotional. Take Beethoven, for example. He was about as stormy as you can get, yet Yarbro channeled him as a 3rd old soul. The stereotypes are really absurd at times. I often wonder if the mature soul stereotype is more about the dramatic choice of overleaves the mature soul tends to choose? But I'm not asking for a review of those things here. Please, no. This list is far more advanced than that.
Regarding your comment, I agree, progressing through each soul age level requires finishing the internal monads in the positive pole. That certainly involves worthwhile experiences, but once again, it's not a feat that's analogous to wisdom. It's really about showing up and doing the work. You can technically cycle off after 7th level old and not necessarily be enlightened. You've just completed the course work, so to speak.
Spiritual growth is not something that can nor should be measured by soul age. I think that's where the stereotypes of soul age have hurt us. That's why I'm saying soul age is a measure of age, not insight. Sure, many old souls have indeed learned from their experiences and do fit the mold of the generalities. But there are many old souls who have not, and as long as they do the work they'll graduate like the rest of us.
I think we often forget that personality is not essence. Students make snap judgments about others based on their behavior, but behavior is not necessarily a measure of soul age, either. It's a product of the personality, which may or may not be manifesting in the positive poles. I know old souls who are rude and obnoxious, and young souls who are kind and compassionate. In fact, we've had a couple young souls join this list, and when it was discovered they were channeled as young, the usual comment was that something must be wrong, that they were too "nice" to be a young soul -- surely their chart must have been mischanneled. ;-)
The truth of the matter is that there are young souls who are more spiritually advanced than some old souls, just as there are elderly people who have enjoyed a variety of life experiences but have learned nothing from it. I think there's a mythology about old souls that needs to be let go. The rewards of spiritual growth are available to anyone, no matter what their individual soul age. It's all a matter of choice. Sure, the lessons at the old soul level may be better suited for getting the bigger picture, but that doesn't mean all old souls will get it -- many won't.
The real value of soul age is in how it explains the trends we see in different cultures. The conflict in the middle east, the new kids on the block in China, the young/mature clash of perspectives in our own country, are all fascinating aspects of soul age that can be observed and measured. But using soul age as a means of judging character or spirituality? That's a gray area. Perhaps Shepherd will weigh in on this. He can speak more knowledgeably about this subject than I can, and much of what I know about the teachings has come from him trying to knock some sense into my pea-sized brain. I'm just stirring up ideas for discussion. But did I get anyone to move beyond the generalities and think about this just a little differently? A smidgeon, even? ;-)
Dave, thanks for the spirited perspective. Lots of good points. Recalling something from Shepard's Journey of the Soul, it said the purpose of the teaching wasn't to know soul age, role and overleaves, it was to find new territory for love to enter. For that reason I'm not very concerned about assessing someone at the "wrong" soul age. If it seems to fit at the moment, fine with me since I'm happy to experience the person again and see something different. Sure some get hung up on the older is better idea. I'm not sure that anything needs to be done about it other than note it. Reminds me of my scientology days where the goal was to increase one's spiritual awareness through completing levels. OT8 is the highest level available and there was a lot of specialness attributed to these people who attained it. From outside the scientology belief matrix those same people look and act just like regular people. You made a good point about looking at the world political picture through the lens of soul age. ~~~~Max
Is soul age easier to detect or harder?
I find it harder. For one thing, you have to discount factors like a scholar's neutrality, a priest's innate spiritual orientation, or an artisan's high frequency, all of which tend to read older to the untrained eye. Warriors and kings tend to read younger than they are, since they are earthier. (More below.)
When we jump to conclusions about someone's soul age based on current negative behavior, how do we know whether we're seeing the full extent of that person's soul development, or just human immaturity? If you had met John or me in our youth on a bad day, what would you have assumed? Were you seeing true soul age, or pieces of ego not yet processed under the light of day, such as negative poles of role and overleaves, chief obstacle/feature, or imprinting? Any behavior has a number of possible causes. Would you have been able to conceive the John then blossoming into the John now?
The reverse is also true: is someone whose light shines brightly necessarily an older soul?
Is relationship drama indicative of a mature soul, or a sage drama queen at any age? Doesn't *everyone* have some relationship drama? Soul age is strictly a matter of what the central life focus is for the soul, and it may not be obvious from the personality's behavior. It is fair to say that the older the soul age, the greater the possible expansiveness, but it's all relative; the point is to be happy and comfortable at wherever point we are. Later on, we'll each be part of a causal entity, which is certainly more expansive than being physical, but that's just a different experience; each step is needed to fill in the blanks.
Baby souls do not possess a monopoly on narrow-mindedness. Yes, there is a tendency toward rigidity in them, but it can be subtle. My two brothers are baby souls. I observe rigidity in some ways, but not in others. We are each complex, multi-faceted human beings. My baby king step-mother was more obvious in that regard. For example, she had the germ phobia that Yarbro mentioned, but my brothers do not. Well, one brother, who is mildly retarded, had a brief period in which he was taking several showers a day, but most of his life, he's gone to the other extreme, so maybe he was temporarily playing with that issue. My older brother tends to be cut-and-dried, but then, he's a king with all king overleaves, so there's a lot of "no excuses, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, just do it" mentality. With so many influences, it's hard to say where a particular behavior comes from. He has zero interest in metaphysics and avoids the topic, but also avoids religion (we weren't raised to be religious). However, my younger brother, a scholar, has asked me a couple questions about the other side.
I have a friend who is a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy). He's done a lot of work on himself, is very spiritual, and would seem to perfectly fit the stereotype of old soul. I was surprised to get him as a second-mature artisan, but he agreed with it when I talked about the foci of the mature vs. old ages. I had confused
the softness of a server-cast five-input artisan with old-soul airiness.
I know some hippie types who are young souls. It's a mistake to assume that every pothead is old, dude. I'm old and I'm allergic to smoke. I am a total failure as a pothead. I can't even tolerate the brownies. Plus, I cut off all my hair. Man!
So how *do* you validate someone's soul age, if not by jumping to conclusions based on superficial evidence? That would be a great question for Michael during the chats. But, for starters, I'd say that you have a better shot at it with someone who seems to be more in his/her true personality/positive poles. If, for
example, someone is living from his trauma or mental illness, you tend to see the trauma or illness rather than the true personality. Obsessive-compulsive disorder could, on the surface, resemble the baby soul phase, but any soul age can suffer from it. Someone who was heavily imprinted to be different from her true self and has not thrown that off will likewise be hard to read. By definition, false personality means that the essence is not in evidence, and soul age is an essence trait.
So starting with someone who seems to be mostly in his true personality, look for the basic life lessons. John Roth has, in many posts, discussed how infant, young, and old souls are more individualistic, whereas baby and mature souls are more community oriented, so start there: Does the person put greater emphasis on community or societal issues, or is she more marching to her own drumbeat? After sorting that out, ask if the person is more outwardly focused (infant, baby, and young) or more internally focused (mature and old). You might then get the soul age by process of elimination.
People think of older souls (defined in Yarbro as third-mature and older) as being more spiritual, and it's true that there can begin to be more focus on spiritual things, but I think it's really more that older souls focus increasingly on the inner self and personal growth. There are many older souls who are not spiritual as a new ager would define it, and many younger souls who heavily pursue spirituality, especially priests and servers, and especially in cultures that value it more, such as India. A surprising number of gurus were channeled by Yarbro channels as young and even baby. However, what we see as spirituality there is also the local religions. We view the yogic traditions as spiritual in part because we may have to go out of our way to pursue them, but some people are raised in them, just as we may have been raised Catholic or whatever. Any religion becomes spiritual when a participant transcends the dogma and makes a direct, living connection with spirit. And any spiritual practice or teaching can quickly descend into dogma, including the Michael teachings or following a guru.
One's culture of origin has an impact on everyone, whether it's accepted, rejected, or somewhere in between. Even an old soul raised in a fundamentalist home (of any religion) may find that religion acceptable if religion is not a central interest for that person. It may be seen as an adequate vehicle for maintaining family and friends while other goals are pursued. It may not seem to cost much to profess beliefs that please those around one.
Furthermore, only a small minority of people, even among old souls, are seeking to consciously awaken. Soul age does not equal spiritual awakening. Yarbro says that 11% of humans are old, and 24% are mature. Clearly, 35% of humans are not consciously awakening. As Dave pointed out, a soul can complete the physical plane without ever being spiritually conscious, just as one can complete college without being smart. Soul age is just one factor in the motivation a person might have to awaken. Another is past-life history. And sensitive people of any age may seek spiritually simply because they're unhappy and think they might find answers that offer insight and relief--that was certainly part of it for me.
A big problem with the descriptions of the soul ages in the Michael books is that they tend to rely on the most negative and extreme examples. That's understandable, since it is easier to spot negative pole behaviors--positive poles are harmonious and don't stick out as much. Still, we need to avoid over- generalizations. Stereotypes often have some truth in them, but none of them always hold true. They become bigotry when spun negatively and people aren't seen as individuals.
A Michael teachings stereotype may hold true 40-60% of the time, and may help a beginner get a feel for the traits, but you have to really learn the teachings well to get beyond that percentage of accuracy. For example, if you can't recognize a sage who isn't loud-mouthed or a scholar who is, you don't know the teachings well, and its usefulness is limited to you.
Incidentally, it's trickier to discern someone at the first and second levels of a soul age because s/he may not be fully immersed in it. You're likely to see some residual qualities of the previous age.
I took a stab at channeling the poles of the soul ages. I'm sure there are better words, but this is what I got, along with their foci and how Yarbro describes the way they perceive the world: (see post Soul Age: Focus - Perception)