"Soul Age" describes one of the most immediately practical and useful aspects of Michael's body of information. The Soul Ages describe the very basic stages every soul will go through in the process of its evolution. Your Soul Age helps describe where you are in that process. Soul Ages can also help describe the average perspective of groups of people, communities, countries, etc. Understanding the Age of an Essence, or a group of Essences, can greatly increase your ability to be accepting, adaptable, compassionate, and constructive.
Ironically, this part of the Teaching can also tend to be the most susceptible to abuse, misuse, and complete distortion among Students. Remember that the Soul Ages are not hierarchical and that one Soul Age is not better or worse than another.
Before an Essence commits to a cycle of lives as a Human, it will go through a long process of energetically exploring the Earth and all of its kingdoms of life forms, along with all the other souls who are considering becoming Human. Some souls decide to move on to other planetary systems and some souls never even choose to incarnate. Since you are reading this, your Essence decided long, long ago that this planet and all it has to offer was just the right place for your adventures!
The Essence enters its first lifetime!
What happens next is an incredible journey of dedication, intensity, and adventure in the school of Earth and playground of life! Each lifetime gains more knowledge for the Essence and the use of that knowledge is continually improved upon when planning the next lifetimes. As the knowledge and experience grow, so does the maturity of the soul, and that maturity is described as a Soul Age. The progress through the Soul Ages is Essence-determined and no other Essence, or God, or Tao, or institution, or ANYTHING monitors your speed or level of growth. Your Essence is the only one who can determine when to move on, and how long to experience a Soul Age!
There are 7 Soul Ages to the experiences of living life as a Human being. We will only cover 5 here as they are the most relevant to you in the beginning. There are 2 additional, extraordinary Soul Ages that are experienced after the completion of all of your lifetimes as an individual soul, but we will not cover these in the Basic Teachings.
Each Soul Age can take as many lifetimes as the soul wants or needs to take, but there is an average of 49 lives per Soul Age.
Infant, Baby, Young, Mature, and Old
Infant Souls are those that are new to being in bodies and new to the planet. They are usually superstitious and fearful, choosing lifetimes set away from the chaos of modern life, or at least living separately from it, even if in the midst of it.
The basic lessons of the Infant Soul are Survival. The lifetimes tend to be centered mostly on learning how to feed, clothe, and keep the body alive.
Since the forests and other isolated areas of the world are all but gone, Infant Souls have fewer places to choose for being born and being "left alone"; therefore, they appear to be choosing to be born in more "concrete jungles" over the past 50 years or so. Infant Souls contribute to the rise in the homeless population in metropolitan areas as these souls are learning lessons of survival in the "new jungles". Infants can be as accomplished as anyone else, but there is an edge of instability and even insanity in their eyes. Most modern Infant Souls get into very big trouble, mostly through murders and breaking the civil, unspoken "rules" of a society.
There are very few Infant Souls coming to this planet anymore since there are very few places left to incarnate without older soul ages interfering. The Infant Souls who are already committed to a cycle of lifetimes will tend to find it difficult to keep older soul ages from either exploiting them, or being compelled to rescue the Infant from its survival struggles.
The Infant Soul Motto might be, "There is ME, and everything is just scary and threatening!" As the Infant begins to learn how to survive, it begins to seek experiences in groups, which leads them to the Baby Soul Age.
Baby Souls have fairly mastered the experiences of basic Survival and now seek experiences focused on how to behave in groups. Baby Souls gain experiences through supporting an authority, being civil, enforcing order, being clean, law-abiding, structured, etc.
The development of most Religions is rooted in Baby Soul values and ideals. What better way to bring order to a large group of people and to encourage respect but through the mythologies of a vague, scary, parental God who can get angry and punish you if you misbehave? There are many forms of religion, of course, but one can see why Baby Souls would be drawn to this context. There is a security in the churches and the rules and laws are handed out by an unquestioned authority.
Baby Souls will rarely question, they simply have the decisions handed to them from a trusted authority, which they will defend blindly. They do not ponder their individuality, except in terms of how they fit into the contexts handed down from an authority.
All things based on order, structure and justice are Baby Soul concepts, like the library systems, judicial systems, and police forces.
Baby's see the world only in terms of "ME, and NOT ME". This means if you are "NOT ME", you are wrong, bad, and possibly "going to hell". They see everything in terms of black and white, good and bad. Baby Soul's seek such order, it only makes sense to them that you behave within their own terms. Their world is strikingly "black and white", but as the soul grows through the Baby stage, it begins to gain an individual identity, which leads to the Young Soul Age.
Young Souls have learned all they can from being civil and listening to authority. This Age is like the adolescence of Soul Ages.
The Young Soul seeks recognition, fame, excitement, stimulation, material rewards, and they are highly competitive. This is where the soul begins to indulge in the physical plane and really get into some trouble and adventures!
This Soul Age tends to be the least spiritual, though they will use religious or spiritual groups for networking or help to maintain a position of authority over other people. It can be very difficult for a Young Soul to be spiritually conscious since the focus is so strongly on being as physical as possible.
Young Souls are gaining experiences about individuality, self-expression, competition, self-sufficiency, strength, abundance, endurance, and prestige.
They see the world in terms of "there are you and me and I am going to win."
When an Essence has indulged in the physical plane, experienced all its riches, there will come a point of realization that "there is more to life than this", and that is the step toward the Mature Soul Age.
Mature Souls have learned all they could from having everything they have ever wanted; they've been rich, been recognized, and extracted whatever they thought was important to obtain from the physical plane. Once they have all of that experience, the soul and personality figuratively look around and say, "now what?" It starts to seek experiences focused on emotional connections and spiritual intimacy, wholehearted trust.
The Mature Soul finally confronts the internal sense of separation gained during the Young Soul Age and begins to reach out to others in pain. Most Mature Souls find intimacy through the sharing of intensity and emotions, seeking others who can identify with such personal, inner struggle.
Mature Souls are the most intense and dramatic about life, which helps encourage the questions of "who am I?" and "Why am I here?" They begin to turn away from organized religion, preferring a more personal spirituality.
They begin to recognize the sources of pain and oppression in society and seek to alleviate those influences in any way; therefore, the Mature Soul actively supports some form of "Rights", such as Gay Rights, Animal Rights, fights against Apartheid and Child Abuse, etc.
They crave closeness and meaning in their life. This Age is where the soul begins to want to contribute and "count" for something.
The Mature Soul sees the world as "there are you and me and I know how you feel."
Many of the Students of the Michael Teaching who are drawn to this teaching are somewhere in their Mature Soul cycle.
When the Mature Soul has begun to soften its boundaries, has forged some profoundly intimate relationships, and has built a sense of inner security and peace, that soul then begins to feel a gentle, but haunting, pull to find what feels like "home", and they know it isn't "here".
Old Souls now have gained the experiences to help them discover where they fit in, who they love, and they have answered some important questions about why they exist and "who" they are. They now begin to question everything on a larger scale. "Where do we all fit into the scheme of things?" "How does reality work?" "What is Love?" "How do I get Home?"
The Old Soul feels a strange sense of being "tired", and knows that one of the last profound experiences will be in finally, utterly, accepting and loving this world, the people in it, and everything about it; the experience of truly unconditional Love. More difficult than discovering a Love for the world, is the final, most difficult experience of all,... the Love of You. That experience can be most terrifying because Old Souls have glimpsed the magnitude of the vastness of the Universe across all of their lifetimes and they realize their tiny place in it.
The Old Soul begins to sense a need to understand what I like to call "home"; a vague place that is obviously "not here", but truly a place of oneness with the universe and life. They begin feeling a deep recognition of other people that is not limited by the current lifetime. Old Souls can see the entirety of a person, "remembering" other people from other lifetimes.
A challenge for the Old Soul is to now draw wisdom from their souls, using the knowledge gained across all of their own lifetimes, and understand how to live and communicate with all other Soul Ages. They begin seeing past the veil that separates the Physical from the Non-Physical, which draws the Old Soul to mystical and profound spiritual experiences. Eventually, the Old Soul learns to experience life with a uniquely balanced sense of awe and familiarity, as it experiences its last lifetimes and seeks reunion with their spiritual family.
A SPECIAL NOTE on Older Souls and "status": Some people may think that those who are claiming to be "Old Souls" are delusional, misinformed, and/or saying they are Old Souls just for attention or status. This is ironic because the people who are overly concerned with this subject are unwittingly revealing that they are the ones who actually interpret Soul Age as a status symbol.
A truly Old Soul is not going to be preoccupied with status and labels. It has been said that if an Old Soul were told he is a Young Soul, he would ponder the possibility, but if a Young Soul is told he is a Young Soul, his defenses go up because there are obviously "better", "more advanced" Soul Ages.
Soul Age is meaningless as a status symbol to those who study this Teaching as a means to gain an understanding of themselves and others. If someone really is claiming to be "old" as a way to seem better than someone else, you probably won't see them around this Teaching very long, anyway. Using Soul Age as a status symbol would only make sense if all of the students saw that term as indicating one soul age being better than another soul age, but the foundation of the Michael Teachings makes it extremely difficult to maintain that kind of superficial comparison.
Another important consideration: Some students have a stereotypical interpretation of how an Old Soul "should" behave or not behave, describing how an Old Soul should feel or express himself, etc. The point that these people are missing is that the reality of being an Older Soul is that you have all other Soul Ages under your belt of experiences! This means you do have more flexibility in choosing how to behave, how to express yourself, what tools to draw from, etc. There will be times when an Old Soul appears to be a Young Soul, simply because he can or needs to use that aspect of himself. In the same way that a physically-aged Adult of 40+ years old can get rejuvenated and heal by playing like a child (or with a child) in that child's games, so can an Old Soul play the Young Soul games, if necessary.
Being an Old Soul doesn't mean you avoid material security, living hand to mouth, resisting technological advances, and sit around philosophizing while waiting to die. In fact, since the Old Soul has all of those lives under the belt, it draws strength and wisdom from ALL levels and seeks to LIVE more fully! That means that an Old Soul may just WANT to play out a Mature Soul drama, or have a business that succeeds like a Young Soul, or draw from the Baby Soul experiences as a means to have order and respect within a household and family, and sometimes the Old Soul just might get silly and free with the Infant Self through dancing and drinking!
The whole POINT of getting to a place where you are an Old Soul is that you have gained the perspective of each previous Soul Age and can use those perspectives as you wish!
I'd like to share an analogy that helps you to keep in perspective that the Soul Ages are NOT better or worse.
Imagine you walk into a room with a stage in the center and 5 chairs all set up in a large circle, all facing the stage, and there is a lot of activity on the Stage for you to watch!
The first chair in the circle can be likened to the Infant Soul Age. It's the first time in the room, it's the first time you are seeing the stage, so you sit and stare and fidget and observe and get as comfortable as you can. You watch the Play, but you also look around the room and shift in your own chair, nervous, but getting adjusted, and not really knowing what is going on. At some point, you begin to understand that the key is in sitting still, watching the play, and gaining some insight that way. You then move to the next chair.
Now you are in a new position in the same room with the same stage with the same play. BUT, not only has your perspective changed but now that you understand where to focus, this makes the play even more interesting!
Someone else has now seated themselves in the chair you previously occupied.
You do remember what the room and stage looked like from that previous chair, and what players you could see better, and what activity on which you got a better angle, but now you have a new perspective from your second chair! You can see things in the room you didn't notice before, you now see different props, etc., while the person in the first chair (your previous chair) is observing from the angle you originally had. From your position you now have the memory of the previous chair PLUS the experience of this newly seated perspective. The first person is not better or worse, only in that he/she is seeing the room, the stage, and the play, from a different chair!
You now move to the third chair, the fourth chair, etc., all the while learning to see the room and stage and play from a new perspective while also retaining the perspective of the previous chairs occupied.
It is important to note that all of the Soul Ages you have experienced (all of the chair perspectives that have come to pass) are now within your grasp to remember and draw from! It wouldn't be very appropriate to turn to the first chair while sitting in the third chair and scowl or judge them because they cannot see from your point in the circle. You, yourself, sat in that chair at one time, and though you gained what you gained from that chair, a new person may even notice things you completely missed, so there can always be something to learn from those sitting in positions you previously occupied.
ALL Soul Ages can be recognized for what they are: a different point on the same circle.
Your point in the circle has as its capacity for understanding and showing compassion for the previous Soul Ages. For instance, a Baby Soul and an Old Soul in an argument will mean that the Old Soul may have to draw from his/her Baby Soul skills to help the situation along. The Baby Soul has not had the experiences of seeing the "room" from the same place as you, but you can remember what the room might be like for the Baby. This does not make the Older soul better than the Baby Soul, any more than an Adult is better than a Child, but one simply has the ability to be more responsible and adaptable, if he chooses.
THE WORLD NOW
If you look at the world in terms of the average Soul Age, you will see a much more interesting and compassionate picture than if you simply look at the world as a place of chaos, war, struggle, and division. Some populations will have a higher percentage of one Soul Age, which will give a culture or society a different environment and approach to life than another population. There are Young Soul societies, such as the United States, and there are Old Soul societies, as we can find in Holland. Within a Country, you will, of course, find "pockets" or communities of Soul Ages drawn together.
The world is now officially and technically predominated by Mature Souls. This can be seen in the breaking down of boundaries and connecting of people all over the world with telephones, televisions, traveling faster, and even with the Internet. It can be seen in the Berlin Wall coming down, the environment being seen to be Global, not just local, it can be seen in the Human Rights Movements, Gay Rights, Animal Rights, Women's Rights, etc.
Though the world is officially "Mature", the United States is just coming out of a long Young Soul phase and is slowly introducing the effects of a more Mature Soul mentality. There are still Young Souls in power making decisions that affect us, and even though it will take a while for Mature souls to find power and leadership appealing, they are making their way into these positions slowly.