«Sojourn: Karma, Reincarnation and the Evolution of the Soul by Gina Lake. This book was offered for free for many years but has now been published ...»
After this stage, in the stage of maturity, the ego’s grip begins to loosen. The answer to the question, “Who am I?” broadens, as we begin to identify ourselves not only with loved ones, but also with humanity in general. At this stage, the question, “Why am I here?” becomes pressing, as we seek meaning that goes beyond the ego’s goals. This questioning continues into the final stage where, at last, some answers are found. In the final stage, we begin to glimpse our divine nature and understand the divine plan.
THE STAGES IN HUMANITY’S JOURNEY
We as individuals are making this journey, but humanity as a whole is also passing through these stages. There was a time when most people on earth were in the earliest stage of evolution. Then, animism was the representative state of consciousness and humanity’s religions reflected that. The gods were assumed to be actively involved in their lives and present in the forms of nature.
People at this stage developed elaborate rituals that helped them feel they had some power to control their destinies. But they saw their power as coming from the gods and not from within themselves. In this stage of evolution, feelings of powerlessness and dependency on supernatural forces presided. Nevertheless, early human beings learned to survive in their unpredictable and dangerous world, and they developed a philosophy that helped them cope with their feelings of powerlessness and fear. Religion provided comfort and an explanation for the unpredictable and seemingly cruel events of life.
The next step in humankind’s evolutionary journey was out of animism and into a worldview that saw human beings as children of an anthropomorphic god. This god passed judgment on them and either damned them to hell or sent them to a blissful paradise. This is a familiar perspective even today because, although many have evolved beyond this stage, many are still at this stage.
Feelings of powerlessness and fear continue to pervade this worldview, and the previous stage’s animistic sense of oneness is replaced by a sense of separation. At this stage, the world is seen in polarities: us vs. them, God vs. Man, good vs. evil. In this worldview, there is no room for the shades of gray, which are so much a part of the perception of later stages. The religions of this second stage reflect this philosophy, as does the hierarchy in their governments, families, and businesses.
This polarized and hierarchical mentality carries over somewhat into the next stage of evolution, the stage to which most of the world’s people have now evolved. This is the stage corresponding to youth in humanity’s evolution. The difference between this stage and the last is that those at this stage rely more on themselves and less on authority. The individual acts as his or her own authority and tries to be an authority to others.
In this stage, the ego is king and power is sought for one’s own benefit rather than for the benefit of one’s tribe or one’s God. Those at this stage today have built a highly technological society capable of fulfilling every physical comfort and ego desire. But their sense of separation and their competition with the environment and desire for power and comfort have brought humanity to a critical point, which is forcing us to reevaluate our relationship to life and to each other.
The next stage in the evolution of humankind corresponds to maturity, or adulthood, and is yet to come. When this time does arrive, it will change the tone of life on this planet significantly. Those at this stage have a greater sensitivity to the plight of others, a longing for the Divine, and more resources and talents to put to use to improve conditions on earth. The world at this stage will be a very different place.
The last stage, when most people on earth would be in the final stage of their evolution, is hard to imagine. It will be one in which brotherhood and the Divine will be honored above all else and most of our physical needs will be easily met. This will leave us free to explore our talents and experience life from the perspective of our true nature rather than from the perspective of the ego.
The names that will be used to describe these stages of human evolution are the names given to these stages in the book Messages from Michael by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: the Infant cycle, the Baby cycle, the Young cycle, the Mature cycle, and the Old cycle. These five stages, or cycles, will be the framework used to discuss the evolution of human consciousness and its lessons.
People in each cycle have their own way of perceiving life, which is why understanding each other is so hard. Furthermore, we can only understand and accept different perspectives if we have experienced those perspectives ourselves. The purpose of examining these differences is not to figure out who is more evolved, but to bring greater understanding, compassion, and patience to human relations. Hopefully, this information will not be used to judge others. Even so, it’s too important not to consider.
Our sojourn on earth begins with the first breath of the first incarnation in the Infant cycle and ends with the last breath of our last incarnation in the Old cycle. Because it takes many, many lifetimes in each cycle to learn the lessons of that cycle, most people have lived hundreds of lifetimes before reincarnation on earth is done. The number of lifetimes it takes to complete the journey depends on how fast we progress through the lessons and how many resting lifetimes we choose. We all choose some resting lifetimes for recuperation, which do little to advance our progress.
As an aside, it might be important to mention that some people who are alive today have already evolved beyond earth and have come here from other dimensions to help during this critical time on earth. Many of these individuals are here for only one lifetime, and they bring advanced consciousness, intelligence, and talents to this world.
EVOLUTION IN OTHER KINGDOMS AND REALITIES
Evolution on earth is distinct from evolution in other physical realities, although there are threads of similarity in all physical systems. The most basic similarity is that every physical system has unconditional love as its goal. Another similarity is that all physical systems evolve by means of trial and error, that is, the process of evolution is the same in every physical system. Some of the lessons are the same as well. But because of the vast diversity in the universe, lessons in one system may bear no resemblance to lessons in another.
For instance, where individuals are without emotional bodies, lessons pertaining to the emotions are irrelevant. But emotional development is central to our evolution because, in our system, developing unconditional love is related to emotional development. In other systems, unconditional love might be developed by other means. The universe is infinite and anything we can imagine exists.
With this in mind, let’s focus on our particular system and its characteristics and lessons.
THE FIVE CYCLES
We are body, mind, emotions, and spirit. In each of these areas, we meet lessons, but certain lessons are more important in some cycles than in others. What we learn in each cycle is stored in our unconscious to be used and built on in later cycles. The lessons encountered in our earliest lifetimes pertain primarily to physical survival. Once these are learned, which takes many lifetimes, we focus on emotional and intellectual growth and then on developing specific skills and talents. In our final lifetimes, spiritual development becomes the goal, as we are ready to experience our true nature and begin expressing that in the world more.
How many lifetimes are spent learning each lesson depends on several things, particularly on our willingness to learn from our mistakes. We are free to accept or reject advice from others and make other choices that will either enhance or diminish our ability to learn our lessons. Another factor in how quickly we learn our lessons is the amount and kind of learning that has taken place in previous lifetimes. Conclusions we have drawn about our experiences in former lifetimes subconsciously influence our perceptions and how easily we accept new learning. Another factor is our personality.
Everyone is born with inclinations and tendencies, determined by his or her astrology chart and other esoteric factors.
To understand the journey better, it might be helpful to outline the evolution of the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of our being.
The first lessons pertain to maintaining the physical body. The physical lessons are central to our earliest lifetimes because they teach us how to obtain the food, water, shelter, sleep, and warmth we need to survive. In the early stages of our evolution, life provides experiences that teach us the value of hard work perseverance, patience, endurance, responsibility, caution, realism, and practicality. Failure to develop these qualities in response to the challenges of life leads to death or a significant decrease in comfort and security. The reward for learning these lessons is being able to deal effectively with the world and provide for our basic needs.
Once some basic survival skills are achieved, usually somewhere in the Young cycle, some choose to continue developing their physical abilities, although no one is required to. Like other talents, physical talents, such as athletic prowess, eye-hand coordination, agility, and manual dexterity take lifetimes to develop, but the drive to develop these talents shows up earlier than for most other talents. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that the Young cycle is a time for ego development, and ego development is more related to developing the physical body and its skills and the attainment of material security than to other talents, such as musical or artistic ability.
Because emotional development is intrinsic to developing unconditional love, the emotional lessons also begin early in our incarnations. For the same reason, emotional development continues to be important in each cycle, with each cycle having its emotional challenges and characteristic expression of feelings.
Fear is the overriding emotion of the Infant cycle. Because the youngest souls live in fear of nearly everything, venturing out into the world is threatening and avoided whenever possible. When Infant souls are confronted or feel threatened, they either withdraw or lash out angrily or even violently, depending on the degree to which they feel threatened. Their anger is automatic, uncontrolled, and primitively expressed. And because their egos are tenuous and their coping mechanisms are undeveloped, these youngest souls are easily overwhelmed by life. This often leads to a life of isolation or dependency on those willing to shield the Infant soul from the threatening forces in the world.
The degree of love that Infant souls are capable of feeling is limited. What love and joy they do experience is usually closer to appreciation than love as most of us know it. So if their protectors fail to shield them or abdicate this responsibility, Infant souls are no longer likely to feel love, but hatred and revenge. For the youngest souls, there is a fine line between love and hate. Consequently, violence is common in families with very young souls.
The Baby soul’s emotional range is more extensive than the Infant soul’s, although Baby souls’ emotional reactions remain primitive. Fear and anger are still profoundly felt. But the most distinctive feature of emotional development in the Baby cycle is the appearance of guilt and shame. A degree of conscience develops by the Baby cycle that allows guilt and shame to come into play. Jealousy is another feeling activated in the Baby cycle because attachments to others have developed. While the Infant soul’s experience of love was one of dependency, the Baby soul’s is one of possession. Baby souls are a little more able to understand and respond to the feelings of others than Infant souls, but sensitivity and compassion are still at a very elementary level.
In the Young cycle, emotional expression is similar in many ways to that of the Baby cycle, but fear is less prevalent, and anger and aggression are more so. Young souls see themselves as separate from others and have learned to respond aggressively to the environment rather than passively. This is an important step in their emotional development, but Young souls need to learn to control or channel their aggressive impulses. For most, this isn’t achieved until well into the Mature cycle. So for much of the Young cycle, Young souls expend their energy aggressively defending themselves and then coping with the problems caused by that in their relationships. For this and other reasons, relationships are a major area of learning for them.
Although Young souls have a greater capacity to love than Baby or Infant souls, to them, love means possessing people and trying to get them to fulfill their needs. The lover is an object of gratification and a source of security for the Young soul. But that is fine. At least these feelings bond them with people long enough to develop some genuine feelings of camaraderie. For Young souls, love is a “you and me against the world” proposition but a necessary step along the road to learning to love more deeply.
Rather than blaming others for their problems, as in the Young cycle, Mature souls try to understand others and are more willing to accept their share of the responsibility for any problems.
This shift from childlike egocentricity to adult self awareness and self responsibility is a major step in emotional development. Mature souls have also learned to cope better with their fears and to control their anger, often through repression.
In the Mature cycle, self blame and self denial replace the dogmatism and self-centeredness of the earlier cycles. Anxiety, discontent, apathy, alienation, boredom, depression, and confusion make this + a difficult cycle. Mature souls are all too aware of the differences between themselves and others, resulting in continual self-questioning and seeking. This is often ameliorated through psychological counseling or a humanistic philosophy.