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Michael on the Overleaves, Part Six

Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin
November 10, 2010, BlogTalkRadio chat
Transcribed by Maggie Heinze

The seven goals may be the most influential of the overleaves, and are less understood than they might be. More than the other overleaves (personality traits chosen by essence prior to incarnating), goals determine how a lifetime tends to be shaped; it is your primary motivation--what attracts you to experiences--and therefore has a lot to do with the kinds of experiences you have. As with the other overleaves, there are three pairs and one that is single.

There is a pair on the inspiration (inner) axis: the ordinal (contracted) side is called "reevaluation"; the cardinal (expanded) side is called "growth." When your goal is on the inspiration axis, the overall gestalt of your life is inspirational; it is a lifetime focused on your inner world. When it is contracted, it is a lifetime focused on the details, the miniature aspects of inspiration.

We originally named this goal "retardation." A ritard in music slows it down, which is the opposite of the cardinal goal, growth, which is about speeding up the movement of the inner life. The slow movement in a symphony contrasts with the other movements; it is reflective. Many people, when they hear the word retardation, think of disability, but that was not what we intended. Someone who suffers from a physical or mental disability may or may not have reevaluation as his goal. This goal is the least common of the seven; its percentage among those with disabilities is higher, but it is still not all that high.

Typically, a soul chooses reevaluation in order to digest experiences from previous lifetimes that were much more active; it is a breather. It may involve outward rest, but it is active internally. Someone with a goal of reevaluation will often state her desire to lead a simple life, perhaps to get a small cottage by the shore or in the mountains. The person may be busy, but she looks forward to retirement, to not having so much to do outwardly. It's like having a big meal in your stomach waiting to be digested.

With this goal, there may be reevaluation occurring in the sense of pulling up old experiences and looking at them in a different way. However it might simply be evaluation; in other words, she may be parsing experiences for the first time because, before that, she was so busy that she was just having experiences, without an opportunity to assign meaning to them. The inspiration axis is a lot about the meaning of life. Priest and server souls particularly seek meaning in their experiences. That's not surprising, when you consider that the inspiration axis is about the inner world--what is felt and known, making sense of experience.

As with the other overleaves, each of the goals has a positive and negative pole (aspect). None of the traits we discuss are, of themselves, negative or positive, other than the chief obstacle, which is negative because it gets in your way if you let it. However, all the other traits are positive when used constructively and negative when they become a distorting influence because the ego has been blinded by fear in some way. Your overleaves are the building blocks of your life; what you build is up to you.

The positive pole of the goal of reevaluation is "atavism" or "simplicity." Generally, the word atavistic describes a primitive culture, but what we mean here is that the nonessentials have been pared away, back to basics. One is living life simply, keeping the externals as uncomplicated as possible so that the inner process can occur. However, if all the soul wanted to do was reflect on life experiences, it could have done that without incarnating. So, in the positive pole, there is enough interface with the human world to keep it real. If you reevaluate your experiences after passing over to the astral plane, without a body, you can understand a lot of things, but you don't have a chance to apply them. You can reflect on the big spiritual issues, but reevaluating in your body allows you to more readily test your conclusions. Interacting with other humans, especially, helps keep you real. With this goal, you don't need a lot of external involvement, but you do need some; otherwise, you can drift too much into your own world.

The negative pole is called "withdrawal"--the person refuses those reality checks and avoids life. This could manifest as being a hermit, or mentally ill in the sense of being in one's own world that does not bear much resemblance to consensus reality. We are not implying that everyone with mental illness has this goal; we are simply saying that an extreme manifestation of the negative pole could be mental illness, particularly the kind that is highly cut off from others.

You may be wondering if this goal is a factor in autism; generally it is not, although it is in some cases. Autism, like any other classification, can have a variety of causes. With autism, often people are dealing with a physical body that has compromises in its neurology. In such cases, the goal may not be so much to reevaluate as to overcome a difficult challenge so that they may be able to interact more with others. To validate the goal, look for the underlying motivation: what is the soul trying to get out of this experience?

Many people with autism are using the conditions of modern life as an opportunity to bring some issues forward from past lives that can now be worked on with more help. More physical bodies survive today, because of medical advancements, but also more are compromised. One factor is various forms of pollution. Vaccines can be an issue, although they are safe for the majority of children. However, if you overload any living organism with influences that it is not well equipped to handle, it can reach a tipping point. One of the reasons this is an interesting time to be alive on earth as a human is that you are experimenting with a lot of new things, including new toxins in food and the environment; for some, it is too much.

However, when the body is compromised, it is an opportunity for the soul to bring forward unresolved issues. Today, they can be handled in a more conscientious and caring way. Therefore, while a soul is dealing with an autistic body (which can actually be a number of things; there is not just one correct definition of it), it is also able to perhaps deal with a trauma from a past life. For example, if a person was badly beaten in a past life and had a compromised neurology as a result, now there's a chance to work it out further, in a more nurturing environment. In such a case, though, the goal would more likely be acceptance or even discrimination, because the issue is more about how one fits into society. The way to validate someone with a goal of reevaluation is to perceive whether she seeks simplicity. Not everyone who withdraws is seeking simplicity.

The opposite goal, growth, is the most common, just as reevaluation is the least common. It is about seeking new experiences that may expand your inner world. The positive pole is "comprehension." In growth, a person is attracted to challenges that cause him to react in new ways, thereby activating inner resources that may have been dormant. Learning something is more a by-product, but comprehension implies that the person expanded his repertoire and broadened his horizons, whereas in reevaluation, a person avoids new experiences so as to finish up processing old ones.

In a larger sense of the word, your whole cycle of growth includes both stimulation and reflection. At the beginning, you are stimulated, and then everything else is about dealing with the results of that stimulation. The last stage is reevaluation, when you put it all together before you move on to new stimulation. However, the goal of growth refers to that specific spurt of stimulation.

It is interesting that growth is so much more common than reevaluation. That reveals that you can process a lot of growth with a relatively short period of reevaluation. The natural balance is to spend a lot more time being stimulated, and a relatively short but potent time making sense of it all. Some people think that it's the other way around. An example is those who spend a lifetime in psychotherapy reevaluating their childhood for far longer than the childhood lasted. Most find diminishing returns with this because they may not be really living their life--they are just analyzing it, so there is not enough new data to keep things fresh. For some, the ritual of regular psychotherapy is useful, especially if they don't have friends to talk to. Everyone needs to be heard and be able to bounce things off friends. Sometimes the psychotherapist is a friend-substitute, and that's fine, but you get more bang for your reevaluation buck when you undertake it directly and honestly--glean the lessons, and than get moving again.

Of course, if you have reevaluation as your main goal, that doesn't apply to you. However, if you have chosen it as your goal, it probably indicates that you were not very willing in the past to reflect on your life; therefore, you needed to devote an entire lifetime to doing so. For that reason, many with this goal still manage to stay fairly busy, even if it is less busy than what would be normal for them as a soul.

The goal of growth does not refer only to what some might narrowly define as spiritual growth; it is growth as a physical person. It could involve learning about anything: foreign cultures, languages, cuisines; it could be delving into the psyche. People in growth almost all like to be busy. They are attracted to new experiences, and can handle being busy fairly well. A packed schedule does not faze them as much as it might others, all things being equal.

However, it is possible to overdo anything, and the negative pole, "confusion," results from overdoing it. More than any other pairing of goals, it is common to slide between growth and reevaluation, because they provide a necessary balance to one another. If you have a goal of growth and are in the negative pole of confusion, meaning that you have been overstimulated, you need time to reflect. Then, it is natural to slide to the positive pole of reevaluation and simplify for a while. Whether you are in growth or reevaluation, it is a good idea to avoid the extremes, because the extremes will put you in your negative poles.

However, it is an extreme only if it feels like an extreme to you. Your schedule might look extreme to someone else, but the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in whether you feel you're handling it with a reasonable amount of comfort. If you are in the negative pole, you will start to feel overwhelmed; it is more stimulation than you can take in. Some of those who suffer nervous breakdowns are people in growth who didn't know when to quit. What we call "true rest" and "true play" are necessary to some degree for everyone in order to live a balanced life, and especially useful when the pace of the life is accelerated.

The expression axis goals are "discrimination" and "acceptance." The original name for discrimination was "rejection," clearly the opposite of acceptance. It is another word that tends to bring negative things to mind; nobody likes to be rejected, particularly romantically, and that is often the feeling reaction to that word. However, in fact, all of life is a series of choices: many times a day, you are either accepting or rejecting. If you scan the cereal boxes for breakfast, you are probably not going to accept all of them; you are not going to eat them all. Therefore, you will reject most of them in favor of the one you accept.

The expression goals, like the expression axis itself, are about how you navigate the world and react to others. Discrimination emphasizes the "no" aspect of things and acceptance emphasizes the "yes," but no is meaningless without yes, and yes is meaningless without no. If you say yes to everything, eventually you nullify your choices because you cannot accept everything--it becomes a big no. If you say yes to every possible thing you could do with your time, you will end up missing most things, even if you try to do them all. If you say no to everything, you are not making a thoughtful choice, either. It is only what you end up accepting that shines light on your standards and what you are trying to do, why you are rejecting other things.

So, as with reevaluation and growth, one cannot have one without the other, but one’s lifetime is more skewed one way or the other. There is another parallel with reevaluation and growth: discrimination is also unusual, the second least common of the goals, and acceptance is the second most common, which illustrates that you need a whole lot more yes than no for an effective life, but sometimes you have to focus on no to clean up your yes.

The inspiration axis is about feeling, and the expression axis is about thinking. Thinking conveys your feelings into the world. Discrimination especially, reminds one of the intellectual center, because when the intellectual center is working well, it is discriminating. Your intellect can tell the difference between things. If you see two kinds of dogs, it is your knowledge that lets you know what kinds you are seeing.

People with a goal of discrimination are typically trying to repair the damage of too many lifetimes of not being able to say no. They may overdo it and say no too much. Depending on the soul, the goal may be done subtly or with a lot of rough edges. How a soul manifests a particular overleaf also has a lot to do with his imprinting and the rest of the overleaves.

In the positive pole, "sophistication," a person makes well-reasoned choices. A stereotype that is often used to illustrate the goal of discrimination is the wine connoisseur, someone who has a high ability to evaluate the merits of a particular wine, the pluses and minuses, and how it might go with a particular food. The end result is a more delicious meal. However, if you have a goal of discrimination, it is most brought to bear with things you care about, so if you don't care about wine, you may not be all that discerning in that department. If you don't care about clothes, you may dress carelessly, without bringing your discernment to bear on your wardrobe. If you do care about words, you will be discerning in your choice of them.

The opposite goal, acceptance, can, in the negative pole, "ingratiation," cause one to be a people pleaser--trying too hard to gain the acceptance of others. A person in discrimination cares less about the other people's opinions because there is such focus on her own opinions. It is easier in discrimination than in acceptance to handle being rejected from a club you want to join, for example. However, there is no escaping the fact that human beings are social animals. You know deep in your bones (or your genes) that if you are shunned by your community, you could die. Therefore, if someone makes a big show of not caring what others think, she probably does care a great deal.

Discrimination can be prickly because the need to make your own discernments and choices can pit you against the will of others; you can be caught between a rock and a hard place. Needless to say, there are many growth lessons in dealing with that.

The negative pole is "prejudice," which is not true discernment; it is going by some predetermined rules about what to reject. Using the example of the wine connoisseur, the sophisticated one would smell the wine and taste the food before making a final determination. In prejudice, a lazy shortcut would be used: "Oh, that wine could never go with that food."--no real work is done to discriminate; it is a knee-jerk reaction, and is judgmental. It is in the negative pole that the connoisseur is more likely to look like a snob--closed minded and rigid. In the positive pole, he would be thought of as a good person to ask for advice about his area of expertise. Positive poles are based in love, so someone in the positive pole would use that energy in a way that feels good to self and others.

About thirty percent of people have a goal of acceptance; growth accounts for forty percent. Therefore, seventy percent have lives shaped by either growth or acceptance. They are quite different from one another. The positive pole of acceptance is "agape," meaning unconditional love, or simply tolerance; it is about being open in a loving way. Someone in acceptance will likely say yes more often than someone in discrimination. However, in the positive pole, one says yes to those things where one can contribute. Again, it is physically impossible for one to say yes to everything and make it stick. If you say yes and don't mean it or can't follow through, you get into trouble.

The highest form of acceptance is accepting life on its own terms, particularly your own life. There is also a valid desire to fit in, to be accepted in your community. When you have this goal, you learn about how your society works and what it takes to contribute to it in a smooth way. You want to have a harmonious society, and you try to exemplify how to accomplish that in your own life.

The ordinal overleaves are contracted, so discrimination and reevaluation focus more on the self, whereas growth and acceptance focus more on society. Growth avails itself of all the world has to offer and participates in it. Acceptance is the grease of the wheels of society, helping everyone get along, trying not to be contentious. Therefore, people with this goal are often nice, pleasant people, relatively easy to get along with.

In ingratiation, this is taken to an extreme, being too worried about what others think of one. The yes is selfish, designed to avoid conflict, improve one's status, or make up for insecurity; it is not coming from the universal forces of love, truth, and beauty. It is not true acceptance, making peace with what is; it is a fear of rejection, which is not the same thing. It is brown-nosing, being too nice in a way that is not authentic.

In that situation, someone in acceptance can slide to discrimination and be more discerning. He can start thinking about what is worth accepting, what isn't, and why--sophistication. That can help get him back to agape, or simply being more at peace with himself in the world.

The opposite dynamic for someone in discrimination also works: if she is being narrow, prejudiced, and too much by the book, she can slide to acceptance and be more open-minded and tolerant--for example, being willing to try a new wine with a certain kind of food.

With all the overleaves, souls gravitate more to some than to others. The goal of acceptance is on the cardinal side of the expression axis, as is the role of sage. Since sages are about self-expression, they often like to perform or write, and need an audience for that, so they have a natural social interface with the community. This has an obvious correlation with the goal of acceptance. Sages not only crave acceptance, but need it, or they can't do their job. A sage with a goal of discrimination may handle it well, but it can also be a train wreck. The forces of wanting to be loved conflicting with wanting to reject can make for a difficult personality. You could also, to a lesser degree, imagine a sage, being so naturally socially oriented, feeling a push-pull with the goal reevaluation, although some could experience it as a much-needed respite. So it does depend on the individual.

The two action axis goals are "submission" and "dominance." Submission is the warrior-position goal, and dominance is the king-position goal. They are both lives concerned with doing; they are focused in the outer world. Submission is about doing what supports something larger: a leader, a cause, or an ideal. It shapes a life that often involves doing things for others. People sometimes confuse this with the role of server, which is inspirational. With servers, the emphasis is on caring for others. That may involve doing something like cooking a meal, but the feeling of it is caring for someone's mundane needs, the most basic things. Submission is about doing outer things in a way that a warrior might fight for a larger cause. The way it manifests depends a lot on the person and the circumstances. Submission and dominance, in a minority of circumstances, look the way that you might assume--the person in submission being submissive, the person in dominance being dominant. However, often the overleaves are more subtle than that, and do not adhere to obvious stereotypes.

Let's say a king soul has a goal of submission. The person will not stop being a formidable presence, but her life will be shaped around devotion to something outside her personality. In submission, it's not about your own agenda; it's about learning to let go of your agenda and work with, perhaps, a leader's agenda, a political party's agenda, or your boss's agenda. The positive pole, "devotion," gives you the sense that you are helpful and loyal; "loyalty" is a key warrior word. It also correlates with perseverance mode, so you persevere in that.

The negative pole, "subservience," is a loss of boundaries that causes you to violate your own personal needs; your devotion did not end up being a win-win, it was not both helpful to the cause and satisfying to you, but instead cost you something essential to your own sanctity.

The goal of dominance has a positive pole of "leadership." Because it is a goal, it is the outline of your life. It does not come on as strong as the role of king, which it resonates with, because it's more about what you are doing with your life rather than who you are. If you are also a king or warrior and have a goal of dominance, you will have a very strong action axis quality. However, if you are, by nature, more mild-mannered (a server or scholar, for example), and your goal is dominance, you may not look like an obvious leader, yet you tend to end up as a leader in spite of yourself, because that's what your life is about. The positive pole is "leadership," but it could be leadership in quiet ways. Let's say you're on a committee at your church; you may not say much, but if you have a goal of dominance, other people in the committee will tend to look to you to lead.

Leadership as a positive pole is not telling others what to do; it is working with all factions to try to get clear on what the right thing is. It is facilitating a solution that works well in the situation. The negative pole, "dictatorship," is more of top-down; it is being bossy and imposing a solution: "I win-you lose." The negative pole of submission, subservience, is "I lose-you win." In the positive poles, both win. In submission, a person has the satisfaction of knowing that he supported something that he feels good about; he supported it and helped it come to fruition. Leadership is not so different, really; in dominance, one is the more obvious force in working things out, but both are needed. You've heard the expression "too many chiefs and not enough Indians."

One way that these goals are complementary is that no one can be a good leader who has not first learned how to follow. If you cannot accurately take good directions, you cannot accurately give good directions. If you cannot put your ego aside and support others as leaders, you will tend to be an egomaniac when you lead. If you are too identified with your position, whether you are leader or follower, and are using it to reinforce your self-image, you cannot get the job done. Therefore, there is value in going back and forth between these two goals. The devoted person who has turned into a doormat needs to find a quality of leadership, the ability to take a stand. The person who has deteriorated into dictatorship needs to think about the larger cause that is being served and find the spirit of devotion to something outside the ego.

The neutral goal, on the assimilation axis, is called "flow." Its original name was "stagnation." Again, that sounds like a bad thing, but a still pond that has various things floating on it can be a beautiful example of stagnation: it's not going anywhere, it is just being. However, to be stagnant as a personality is generally understood as being stuck, which is the negative pole of this goal, "inertia," as opposed to simply resting or being held up by the water. Others have called this goal "relaxation" or "equilibrium." It is the neutral goal, but that may seem like an oxymoron: if you have a goal, you are not neutral. However, you could think of it as the goal of not having a goal, setting up your life without a directed one.

There are different ways this can affect a life. We have spoken of how growth can slide to reevaluation, and vice-versa, and so forth with the other goals. Flow, being on the assimilation axis, can slide to any of the other goals. Some people who have this neutral goal temporarily do various other goals throughout life, giving them flexibility in how their life is shaped. A soul who does not slide a great deal is having a rest life or is simply working on learning to flow.

In the positive pole, "suspension," people in flow let themselves be carried on the surface of the water, however it wants to move them, not passively, but not insisting on a particular outcome too rigidly. When they flow, things tend to work out. The highest form of this goal is surrendering to the universe, letting the highest good dictate how you move in your life. There is ease and relaxation

The negative pole, "inertia," is the opposite, being stuck. In inertia, one has too much weight; it is a rock that sinks to the bottom and stays in the mud rather than a leaf that is gently moved by the current; it is overly passive. In the positive pole, one is responsive to the subtle currents; one perceives how they are moving and can sense what the right thing is. Sometimes the flow is more active, and sometimes, quieter.

In flow, one seeks to find the natural order of things and feel part of the whole, trusting that it will find your right place for you. People with this goal tend to have a life with a little of this and a little of that. They may, for example, have several different careers that they meander in and out of.

In the positive pole, the person is a dance partner like Ginger Rogers following the lead of Fred Astaire, but in this case, Fred Astaire is life itself, she is responding to its movements. In the negative pole, instead of being Ginger Rogers, one is an inert blob, not responding.

Q. How does the goal reflect the life task?

A. The goal reveals not so much what the task itself is, but how it is executed. If you have a goal of dominance, your life task will manifest in a more active, kingly way. If you have a goal of acceptance, you are likely to conduct your task in a more accommodating way. With a goal of flow, it is intended that you do your task in a more fluid way.

Q. I've found that the negative pole of flow can manifest as a resistance to going with the flow, which leads to a lot of turbulence, as well as excessive passivity, which leads to stuck-in-a-rut stagnation.

A. They are the same thing.

All the assimilation axis traits can either be airborne or earthbound. This includes the scholar role, the chief obstacle of stubbornness (obviously), the attitude of pragmatist, and so forth. Its very neutrality dictates that possibility. If you have more than one trait on the assimilation axis, that tendency is increased. You want to avoid the stuck or plodding quality that the negative pole can impart, and seek the lightness and elevation of the positive.

A ballroom dancer who is swept off her feet in the flow of a dance is not passive, and it is not as easy as a good dancer makes it look. Effectively doing the goal of flow is not necessarily all that easy. There are many things in life that can trap you and make you stuck. To be life's dance partner, to be nimble and airborne, requires work, but it is not the same kind of work as with the other goals. Being neutral, it is active and passive at the same time; it is not just passive. Being just passive is being stuck, and being just active here leads to spinning your wheels, like a car stuck in the mud, exerting a lot of effort but not going anywhere. In inertia, your life feels sticky; you're in the mud. In the positive pole, it feels like you can breathe fresh air.

The right blend of active and passive is the perfect equilibrium of the assimilation axis, and it is not easy to achieve, but when you have achieved it, there is a sense of fluidity in your life. You are not making things happen, but are a part of something larger. You are turning, and as you turn, other things are turning as well. You fit into the whole.

Q: What would the ballroom dancing type of analogy be for growth?

A. Growth is like dominance in that it looks more like Fred Astaire than Ginger Rogers. The lead dancer needs to make sure that he or she is doing the steps accurately and giving the right signals to the partner. If one is moving toward the negative pole of confusion, the best advice is to sit out the next dance--go have a glass of water and relax. In other words, slide to the opposite, reevaluation.

Understanding the goals can shed a great deal of light on the human drama. It is easy to judge people with other goals. A person in acceptance may be dismayed that other people are not as nice as she is. A person in growth may view others as lazy. A person in reevaluation may think that everyone else is on crack. A discriminator may be appalled by other people's lack of refinement. In submission, a person may wonder why others are not as willing as he is to put forth effort to help. In dominance, a person may scoff at others' inability to take the bull by the horns. In flow, others may seem too pushy or ambitious.

There is a good reason for the mix of goals. The negative poles create problems, but these differences are, together, what makes the world work. If everyone had the same goals, it would be lopsided.

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