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As a human being, you are constantly changing and evolving into the best version of yourself. It’s a journey towards maturity and spiritual awakening that will require challenges and trials along the way, pushing you out of your comfort zone and facilitating personal growth. Where are you in this journey?
While some simply view the journey toward spiritual awakening as an ongoing journey that can’t be compared from one person to another, as they believe that there are no set milestones along the way that we can predict, others believe that this whole journey – body, mind, and soul – follows a somewhat predictable path that can be applied from person to person.
While the speed at which you are traveling this path may vary at different stages of your life, by looking at broader time periods experts can predict where you should be, approximately, due to your age. Consider, for a moment, who you were when you were entering grade 1, where the other grade 1 students were at mentally, and then compare that to your physical, mental and spiritual state entering grade 9.
While there are certainly some parts of the journey that could vary incredibly (especially if you are focusing in on a religious journey for example, and your relationship with your God), there are undeniable similarities…
Just look at the physical stature of a grade 1 student versus a grade 9 student. By grade 9 you are starting to deal with hormonal changes that you likely weren’t even aware existed as a grade 1 student.
There is a vast difference in your book smarts, sure, but what about your life knowledge? As you grow up you experience more in life, learn more about life, and, as such, develop mentally and spiritually as a result.
Maybe you had your first real love by grade 9, and subsequently, you may have also experienced your first heartbreak. You may have worked your first job (Newspaper route? Babysitting?) which taught you important lessons about the value of money.
Reflecting on this, philosopher Rudolf Steiner developed a theory relating to the stages of life, believing that these stages of development could be grouped into 7-year periods.
While we may all move at our own pace within each of these stages, allowing for some individuality and difference in development from person to person, we generally all move from stage to stage around the same time in our lives. He then took this a step further, comparing these stages to astrological cycles, revealing the way the energy of the Universe may impact this development.
Each of these stages is necessary, preparing us for what we will encounter at this point in our lives. If there is one thing we all need to recognize, it’s that growth and development aren’t optional.
Anyone that seeks to succeed in life finding joy, happiness, success and more, must first become a person capable of experiencing it, as well as capable of experiencing the challenges that you will have to overcome in order to achieve it.
Here are Rudolf Steiner’s 7-year stages of life:
The first stage of your life is one that will involve significant growth and development. After all, there is no denying that a child of 7 is MUCH further developed in every way than a newborn. When we enter into this world we have very little to no actual knowledge.
Driven by the biological needs associated with survival, we are completely unprepared to handle anything in the world on our own. This is why parents play such a vital role to provide for their children, not only physically, but also to provide for their mental and spiritual needs.
It is during the earlier years that a child learns the basic concepts of love, awareness, consciousness, emotions, creativity, and personality. Each of these will be incredibly important as they continue to grow throughout their lives.
These young and highly impressionable children establish the foundation for everything that they know to be true through learning from their parents, so it is necessary for parents to provide them with a good example.
It is for this reason that children raised by emotionally unstable parents often struggle so much in later years. This is also the stage of life in which we learn the concept of language and with it the value and power of communication.
While children of this age are still dependant on their parents in many ways, they begin to learn and explore their own capabilities. In doing so, they truly begin to discover their own personality, recognizing that it can differ from that which their parents may have impressed upon them at a younger age.
Physically, children begin to move through puberty, a necessary step from childhood towards their adult lives. This is often a very unsure and unsettling time in a child’s life, as the changes that they experience leave them feeling awkward, vulnerable and even, in some cases, frightened.
For this reason, they need their parents to provide them with the security and safety to continue to learn and grow, rediscovering themselves. Children begin to develop ‘people skills’ at this stage, learning how to interact with others, both in a positive and negative context.
As we become more self-conscious during this stage, this is where we really start to discover what brings us joy and happiness. We may have taken part in various hobbies as a child because our parents encouraged us to, and even had fun doing it, but it is at this stage where a child then reflects on whether this is something that they will carry into their adult lives.
As they develop physically, they will also find themselves more aware of their sexual self and sexual attraction, noticing others in a whole new way. At the same time, however, they will also begin to develop their willpower and self-control when it comes to sexual thoughts and feelings.
Faced with a whole new level of independence, individuals at this stage begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses, an initial idea regarding their purpose in life and their personal limitations. Much of this growth will be done through making mistakes, but it is how you learn from them that matters most.
While the individual went through some serious growth in the previous stage, this stage is seen more as a process of refinement. This is the point in life where one steps free from their adolescents and begins to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for the demands of adulthood.
It can be incredibly overwhelming, and it is important not to put too much pressure on oneself to move through this stage too quickly. There is a good reason why the stages are believed to last 7 years, providing time to work through them at a more realistic pace. It is at this age that most people begin to truly understand and embrace their individual personality, even if it doesn’t fit into societal norms.
It is also the stage in which people start to view relationships and connections as a more lasting partnership as opposed to simply something to bring them joy for a shorter period of time without worrying about the future. As such, they become far more in tune to the needs of their partner as well as their own.
Starting to gain confidence in one’s personality in the previous stage, this opens the door to truly explore one’s creativity at this age. It is for this reason that many will make the greatest advances in their careers during this stage of life.
Creativity not only encourages those in artistic fields like painters, musicians, and writers, but it also provides for a new way of thinking that can open the door to new solutions to old problems.
This can lead to great developments in research, technology, and even the way one chooses to handle situations in an office setting.
This triggers a new way of looking at life as a whole, which can lead one to reconsider their spiritual beliefs. It is important not to fight this, but rather explore it. It may lead right back to the beliefs one established in childhood (but with more conviction from having challenged them) or it may trigger a complete change – either way this is an important period of spiritual growth and awareness.
Now that one has started to better understand themselves and the concepts that they have learned in life, this is the stage where many feel compelled to start sharing this knowledge with those that are still at earlier stages in the journey.
This may lead to taking on a mentor at work, fulfilling this need through active parenting at home or, if one doesn’t have their own children, taking a child in their family or community ‘under their wing’.
It is also at this stage that people start to look back on their lives and reassess the choices that they have made up to this point. Are they happy with their career? Are their habits all still serving them in a positive way? What changes can they make to improve their lives? It’s time to reconsider what serves to move one forward, and what is holding one back.
This is believed to be one of the most dramatic changes that one will experience throughout adulthood, which often leads to what we refer to as a ‘midlife crisis’.
People suddenly become aware, due to the incredible introspection of the previous stage, of the unaccomplished dreams, unlived experiences and missed goals throughout their lives. More aware than ever that their time on Earth is limited, they start to question whether they will ever achieve all that they wanted to achieve, creating a pressure to make things happen NOW.
Some people will try to relive their youth as if doing so will somehow help them to turn back the sands of time. Others will simply become depressed from this revelation.
It is said that this is the stage at which unconditional love is discovered. It is important to find a balance between celebrating one’s accomplishments, recognizing the areas for growth moving forward and accepting the things that are now behind us.
As we begin to enter a period of physical decline, this stage will call on us to reconsider the way that we look at ourselves and all that we do. This can call many of our habits into question, as we attempt to make changes to extend our lives and hold onto our youth in any way that we can.
For example, one may reconsider their eating habits, or try to get out and moving more often by joining a walking group. This physical decline will also highlight the inevitability of death, which will lead once again to questioning one’s spiritual beliefs, this time with the concept of death, possible judgment and the afterlife in mind.
This can be an emotional experience making it incredibly difficult for some, however, it is necessary.
As one moves into this stage of life they begin to look back on all the questions of the former stage and find acceptance in what they have discovered.
This includes acceptance of their mortal life, their spiritual beliefs, their current physical state, all that they have accomplished in this life and the mark that they are leaving behind.
This ultimately brings peace and tranquility, as they are no longer fighting the sands of time, but rather accepting them. It is often at this stage that one begins to prepare for a new chapter of life with retirement on the horizon. This is a whole new mindset, which will have an impact on the way they view many areas of their life.
Relationships will be assessed to determine if they provide a real connection moving forward, unnecessary responsibilities and worries will be shed, and the individual will seek only those things that bring them happiness in life.
A deeper acceptance begins to set in at this stage, allowing the individual to look back on their life and take comfort in the many opportunities that they have had along the way to grow and change. They will start to truly recognize this journey, those who played an important part in it and how it defined them along the way.
This is also the stage when one starts to recognize the differences between themselves and others around them, embracing these differences rather than fighting them.
They no longer care how others may view or judge them, accepting themselves, and others, for who they are without conditions. Relationships that have survived to this stage in life will be deeper and more valuable than ever before, revealing those people who truly matter.
At the same time, people at this stage can no longer be bothered to make sacrifices for people or situations that they don’t see as important. This is where the stereotype of the ‘crusty elderly person’ begins to develop. However, it’s not that they don’t care, they are just selective of where they invest their energy.
Realizing that life is short, one will begin to truly notice and appreciate the subtleties of life at this specific stage. The smallest things may suddenly bring them joy, like the ability to enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea with a good friend, or the sight of the sun’s morning rays coming in their window.
This will allow them to truly love and appreciate the relationships that they still have with friends and family, often leading them to want to spend more time with their loved ones now than they have for some time.
There is also a renewed desire to share their knowledge and experience with others, especially now that they feel as though they are starting to truly understand it all. While they may be becoming physically frail, their spiritual state is stronger than ever.
77-84 Years and Onwards
For those that experience this stage, it is one that brings a ‘new self’. Looking back on life and all that they have learned over the years, they have a new understanding of who they are, what they faced, why they made the choices that they made and how those choices helped to bring them to the stage that they are at today.
This self-awareness is both powerful and calming, strengthening and peaceful.
They accept their mistakes and missed opportunities, tying up loose ends in an attempt to avoid carrying any resentment with them to their death bed. This will help them to find further resolve, allowing for an easy transition into death (or the afterlife if one believes that to be true).
Source : awarenessact