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 Michael Chat with Shepherd Hoodwin
Soul Age
Part II



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Michael on the Overleaves, Part Seven

Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin
January 9, 2011 BlogTalkRadio chat
Transcribed by Ashvin Sawhney and Maggie Heinze

We have enjoyed these sessions of exploring the traits that are in groups of seven. It might surprise some that we also learn as we explore with you. Your present level of understanding and experience are, on average, greater than when we first brought forth this information; therefore, there is more to build upon. Your ability to receive enhances our ability to give.

Obviously, Shepherd is channeling us, but we are, in a sense, channeling from a larger source than ourselves as well. This illustrates a principle that you can verify: when you give freely, you benefit, and when others receive freely, all benefit; when there are walls to one another, all suffer. So we benefit from doing these sessions--we learn things that perhaps did not need to be known in the past, but do now.

There are seven soul ages that are experienced throughout the three ordinal planes of existence: physical, astral, and causal. Five of those are mainly experienced on the physical: infant, baby, young, mature, and old. One could make a case for the idea that they are also experienced to some extent on the lower astral plane when you are between lives, although, as we said last time, soul age is not so much a factor to souls who are between lives because there is not so much that would highlight them in your interactions.

We made the analogy of school. Children's grade in school is more meaningful in the classroom because they have in common with the rest of the class what they are studying at the moment. However, when they are playing during recess or in the lunchroom, what they are studying at the moment is not very relevant, although, of course, there are differences in physical age. There is no intrinsic reason that fourth and sixth graders cannot find much to share during recess or over lunch. Sometimes older children are more inclined to play with children their own age, but children off all ages can and often do play well together.

Soul age might also be more relevant between lives when you are reviewing, integrating, and sharing with others about lessons from a particular soul age, especially your most recent lifetime. Still, age is not your focus the same way it is when you are incarnate on the physical plane.

In general, souls experience more commonalities on the astral plane, and commonalities are not as defined by soul age. For example, members of your entity (your spiritual family) may share much among themselves even if the range of soul age is great.

There are two soul ages that are not usually experienced on the physical plane, but once in a while are, more for the benefit for humanity than the individual souls. These are called "transcendental" and "infinite" souls.

Normally, incarnating souls are based on the lower astral plane; they are still fragmented. By that, we mean that they plan their lives individually, for the most part, based on their point of view as an individual. Certainly many souls are altruistic and wish to benefit others; as we said earlier, benefiting others is also a good way to benefit yourself. However, you are not, at that point, particularly trying to represent the larger groups of which you are part, although, of course, you do represent them simply because you are a part of them.

Between lifetimes, many souls experience themselves on the middle astral plane. The lower astral plane is closest in vibration to the physical plane, and that is where you vibrate if you are concerned about it; for example, if you had just finished a lifetime, or were planning a new one, or were acting as a guide to humans who are physical. It is not difficult to change your focus to the middle or upper astral plane, especially if you are not particularly tied to the physical plane.

During incarnation, although your soul is anchored on the lower astral, you are focused in the mid-physical plane as a human personality. It is not easy for you to change your focus to other parts of the physical plane because it would not be comfortable for your physical body. However, when you are relaxed and are not focused on doing something, you may become more aware of the lower or upper physical--you can shift focus. You might, for example, sense a ghost, which is of the upper physical. A ghost is the soul of a human who died but who did not properly cross over to the lower astral. If you sense a ghost, you have shifted your focus a little higher (faster) than normal. Or, if you let your focus drop a little lower while, say, gardening, you might become aware of devas, who are nature spirits of the lower physical plane.

"Higher" here does not mean "better"; it simply refers to what is faster in vibration. The middle physical plane feels solid to you because you are focused at that level--your body vibrates there, so it is equipped to perceive what is also at that level. However, as a soul, you have the flexibility to be aware lower or higher than that.

People who channel from the astral or causal are able to shift focus with even more flexibility, but that is not something they would want to sustain for very long. When you are between lives, or when you have completed your cycle of lifetimes, shifting focus is easier because you do not have a physical body that is only designed to manifest in a particular way. However, as a soul, you still have a vibration that is most comfortable at a particular level of the astral, so although you might shift focus and could even visit higher planes, it takes effort.

Many souls, particularly those of a lighter density, are quite comfortable between lives on the middle astral. The upper astral is the soul's focus after completing the physical plane, especially when the soul's entity (spiritual family) is beginning to reunite. That is not a level from which human incarnation normally occurs. Because the vibration is faster, physical bodies are not comfortable holding it as a permanent source of incarnation; therefore, visiting it from the physical plane would be a "special occasion."

There are currently many human beings who tap in to the upper astral to bring in transcendental energy, but who are not incarnating from the upper astral. However, a true transcendental soul is an actual physical incarnation from the upper astral, carrying a vibration that is more rapid than normal for human beings. That particular vibration tends to shake up social institutions. Gandhi is the most recent famous example. What he taught and did was powerful, but it really was what he *was* that had impact, and what he did and taught reflected that; it was his presence more than anything else that shook things up.

There is a lesson here that is true for all people: being who you are is the most significant factor in your impact on others, and what you do, although it reflects who you are, is secondary. Even those who are incarnating normally from the lower astral vary in the vibration they bring in their lives. Those who have a more rapid vibration (you might say a more spiritual vibration) also stimulate change and growth for humanity. However, a transcendental soul is potent enough to affect change throughout a society.

An infinite soul is a representative from the upper causal plane, who is, in turn, channeling through a universal quality from one of the three high planes: love, truth, or beauty. It is such a rapid vibration that a physical body chosen to accommodate it must be quite sturdy. Usually, a transcendental or infinite soul incarnates toward the end of a person's life, displacing (or sometimes blending with) the soul who had been animating the body before. The original soul steps aside (or makes room) for this larger, faster vibration. Generally, a transcendental soul displaces a priest, and an infinite soul displaces a king. There are usually a number of incarnating souls who offer to be displaced and are considered to be "candidates." One of the determining factors is whether the body can handle the energy without burning out too quickly.

Prior to the entrance of a transcendental or infinite soul, if a person has already been channeling from that plane, his or her body is more accustomed to its energy. Bodies used for channeling are often designed from the ground up to be able to accommodate it, even though it is still not necessarily comfortable, although it is certainly an interesting experience for the body and personality. People do things all the time that are not comfortable or ideal for the physical body. Many athletic activities are unnatural, in a sense, but are interesting challenges.

From the soul's standpoint, there are things to recommend every physical and soul age, because they are all necessary to complete a full perspective. Any soul or physical age can be experienced in either a positive or negative manner. There are old people who are wise and old people who are crotchety. There are toddlers who are adorable and toddlers who are holy terrors. It is very hard for people in your competitive society to step outside a hierarchical view of everything. The positive aspect of competition is that it galvanizes people to do their best, but it also leads to false comparisons.

It is not better or worse to be young or old, as all are needed to cover the bases. How empty the life of any human being would be if he or she did not get to start out as an infant and experience that stage of being cared for and allowed to just be, getting used to the physical plane. Or who would want to miss out on being a toddler, youngster, teen, young adult, or old person? Old age is not very popular these days, but in many cultures, it has been revered, in part simply because it was so unusual to survive that long. There was often the feeling that there was something special about that, even though, of course, there are infirmities.

There are seven levels to just about everything. For example, there are seven levels to each plane, and then each level may be further broken down into seven parts, although it may not necessarily be useful to examine them carefully. This whole universe is built on the principle of seven, so it crops up a lot. As we explored, there are seven soul ages, and then each age itself has seven levels; this particular concept is useful because you spend at least one lifetime at every soul age level. Your soul age level tells you a lot about how your life feels to you.

In your first lifetime as a human being on earth, your soul age is first-level infant. Whether your second lifetime is at second-level infant depends on a few different factors. One is that you simply have to live long enough to be able to complete the seven internal monads: birth, "terrible twos," independence from family, midlife, retirement, final illness, and death. At your midlife monad, you have done enough to check in with essence and see whether the life you are living is in accordance to what you had planned; if not, you try to put yourself back on track. Today, that is typically done from about age thirty-five to thirty-seven, but when there are shorter life spans, this can be in the twenties. We don't think it could be successfully accomplished in any human being before the mid-twenties, but with a long life span, it could be accomplished late in life as long as there is still time to rectify what needs to be. The fifth internal monad is taking stock of what was learned, the "senior citizen monad"; the sixth is the descent into death, which could be very quick, and the seventh is death itself.

You not only need to complete these but you need to do so in the positive poles, meaning you need to make realistic evaluations and take them to heart. There is no requirement of perfection, but there is a requirement of being authentic in your engagement in the process.

Of course, many lifetimes are cut short, particularly by war, disease, famine, and so forth, but those are also interesting experiences for the soul. You probably learn and grow more from the way you die than through any other experience. So the soul is not always that concerned about how long the life is, but is quite interested in the way it ends.

Also, the soul is in no hurry to move through the soul ages. It is theoretically possible to do one soul age level per lifetime and therefore complete the physical plane in thirty-five lifetimes, but virtually no one does that. That would be like taking a trip around the world but only staying one day in each destination. You would spend most of your time on airplanes, boats, trains, etc., and you wouldn't see that much.

In any case, you start out first-level infant, move to second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh-level infant. Then you start first-level baby, and so forth, until you complete seventh-level old, taking however many lifetimes you wish. When you feel complete and don't have any important outstanding karmas, you graduate, or "cycle off."

Each of the soul age levels one through seven is characterized by the vibration of that number. There are seven roles, or types of souls, and each one is also associated with a particular number, so the roles are a good way of acquainting you with the qualities of the numbers one through seven.

The number one role is server. It is the foundation. Server is the most ordinal role but in the most cardinal position because it comes first; servers, in a sense, lead the way through their service. You might say that they are the first ones to help, and show the way to others. Similarly, the first level of a soul age establishes the foundation.

At first levels, you stick your toe in the water of that soul age's perception. So, for example, if you are at first-level mature, you are moving into the point of view of the mature soul, but you are just starting, so you are not all the way into it; there is still quite a bit of the feeling of the young soul.

We are using the example of first-level mature because the movement from seventh young to first mature is the most radical change the soul experiences on the physical plane. If you stretch a rubber band as far as possible and then let go, there is a moment when it changes directions. Seventh-level young is going as far as you can in the mastery of the outer world; when you are done with it, you start to move in the direction of the inner world. It would be impossible to fruitfully explore the inner world before you had gotten a handle on the outer world; otherwise, you can be overwhelmed by it.

Mature souls focus on relationships with others, but not the outer forms of relationships, which are more a focus of baby souls. Mature souls focus on the content and feeling of relationships as they reflect their internal state, what relationships can teach them about themselves. There is a good reason that many of the greatest artistic works are done in the mature cycle: they are often an expression of the inner world, and the attempt to grapple with what it all means.

First levels are often uneventful. At first mature, it has not been very long since you finished sixth young. Sixth levels tend to require many lifetimes to complete because they involve wrapping up loose ends with other people relative to that soul age. The number six goal is growth, and that is also famously busy. Seventh, the king level, pulls it all together, making sense of it. In the case of seventh young, you are probably going to teach others about mastering the outer world while reflecting (maybe not consciously, but on some level) on all your young soul lifetimes. "What did I learn? Where do I want to go next? Have I left out something important?"

As you move into first mature, you could be forgiven if you thought you deserved to coast a bit. You are integrating what you have finished with, and acclimatizing to what you are moving into; you are regrouping.

The second level correlates with the role of artisan. It is half-in and half-out of the new soul age's sensibility, balancing old and new, attempting to reconcile and unite opposites. At second mature, you are integrating the best of what you learned as a young soul and creating what you are going to need for the rest of the mature cycle. It's about structure and design, so you are stabilizing in the mature perspective, getting your bearings.

The third level is the warrior level. Warriors are famous for working hard. When you are at third level, you are climbing the mountain of that soul age. At third mature, you work hard to understand yourself and the feelings of others, including how your choices affect them. You are beginning to feel what they feel as a means of learning about yourself. When you learn about yourself, you are learning about everyone because you are not so different from anyone else.

Fourth level is the middle, scholar level. At fourth level, you have the confidence of one who has climbed the mountain and who has planted a flag at the summit of the soul age. Now you are going to start back down the other side, seeing what you find. Because it is the scholar level, it is a time of both learning and teaching. It is not as hard-working as the third level; it is a time of enjoying the fruits of your previous labors.

Fifth is the sage level. It's now time to expand on and play with what you have learned. Sages are about play and the expansiveness of pushing beyond boundaries. Since you are going downhill, now you are propelled--you have momentum. Fifth mature souls like to play around with expectations about relationships and about how people should be.

Sixth level is the priest level. You are approaching base camp but you often encounter some obstacles before you can get there. You are stretched; you are dealing with things you have not previously handled. Let's say that when you had set out from camp, you had neglected to bring enough food or water. By the time you get to sixth, you are starting to feel where you did not prepare well. Sixth levels are typically the most difficult because you are starting to feel internal pressure to deal with any karmas you have not yet repaid. Souls are always handling karma; it is not just at sixth levels that you repay them. However, some are easier to check off your list than others; at sixth level, as you are moving downhill on the other side of the mountain, there is a momentum that says, "I can deal with these things and I need to."

When you were moving up the mountain at second and third levels, you were being propelled more by your own effort; you were climbing, and that is a more cardinal (influential) experience; you were setting the tone. Going down the mountain, you are propelled by the mountain itself, you might say, or by gravity. You feel compelled to handle, if not everything, whatever loose ends you can handle at that point. Although sixth levels can be a lot of work and leave one feeling shell-shocked at times, it can also be exhilarating. Imagine having climbed a tall mountain, and now you are moving back toward camp, picking up speed. Incidentally, the completion of karma includes the completion of positive or philanthropic karmas as well. Priests are all about inspiration, and sixth levels are about the exhilaration of connecting to what is higher. In this case, it is the momentum that the mountain is providing for you. You realize that you do not control everything, that there is a higher good. Whether it's the law of karma or other things, you are carried along; ultimately, you see it as worthwhile.

At seventh, the king level, you are moving back toward base camp and pulling together all the pieces of your experience, perhaps organizing your gear and cleaning up a little bit. It is generally not as steep an incline. You might talk with your fellow travelers about the experience you just had climbing the mountain, what it meant to you, what you learned, and what you might want to do differently on your next climb. In this case, the next climb will be the old soul cycle.

Your true soul age is where you actually are as a soul, what is really happening with you. However, almost two-thirds of humans at any given time are not entirely, at least, manifesting their true soul age. It is operating within them but their lives may not look like that is what they are doing. There are three reasons this could be the case:

They might just be too young to manifest their true soul age. Newborns manifest as an infant. Teens generally manifest mature or younger. Those who are late-level old often do not manifest at their full soul age until their mid- to late-thirties, although there are many exceptions to that; we have seen teenagers who manifest old. This is not necessarily a desirable thing; an example is children who are forced to grow up too fast because circumstances are harsh--they had to take more responsibility than was natural for them, and it probably cost them, but it does happen.

Another reason people manifest younger is that the soul has decided that it needs some review or brush-up of an earlier age.

The third possible reason is that the person is stuck. Let's use an example of a sixth mature king manifesting late young who was never comfortable with messy human emotions, and continues to resist dealing with them in relationships. At this point, her growth demands facing them--it can no longer be put off. Kings tend to be strongest in external achievement, and she may have gotten away with not dealing much with difficult emotions by incarnating mostly as male in male-centric societies. However, there may be many useful things learned whether one is manifesting true soul age or not. Resisting the lessons may lead to increasing inner friction that will probably eventually break the person loose, leading to dramatic strides in the relationship department when it finally opens up. So simply manifesting younger is not necessarily a big problem.

Being stuck relative to manifesting your true soul age is not the same thing as being stuck in general. The main thing the soul objects to is being bored as a result of the person not engaging with life, leaving little for the soul to do. An example is when a person feels obligated to do something that is not in harmony with self; he could, with some courage, quit an unfulfilling job and do something more in essence, but instead just numbs himself, which prevents the soul from really having much access to the life, not a happy situation.

Q: Are we required to finish all the soul ages?

A. It's not so much that it is a requirement as that it simply doesn't work not to. If you are twenty-five, you cannot skip over twenty-six to get to twenty-seven. It is not that it is prohibited; there's just no way to do it.

Let's say someone is second-level old, and at the moment is feeling, "I've had it with the physical plane! I want to finish this up and cycle off now. I don't want to have to go through third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh old." That would be like dropping out of school, which you are certainly welcome to do, but then you haven't finished school, and this whole thing is school. Eventually, in the school of life, you will jump back in.
There are periods when incarnating as a human is more difficult, and this is a very pressurized time. Almost everyone is feeling the heat; it's not easy. It may comfort you to think about not having to come back, but after you complete this lifetime and take as long a vacation on the astral plane as you want to, you will eventually feel called back if you are not done, and it will not always be this difficult.

Theoretically, if you still feel the way you feel now after you complete this lifetime (in other words, after you die), you could take a thousand earth years off. The reason you would probably not actually do that is because you've been working on things with other souls with whom you'd probably like to finish. If you have started a particular monad (a lesson, or compact unit of experience) with someone, you would probably want to do the other half of that with that same soul; if you wait a thousand years, that soul may not be available to do that with you. However, you certainly can take as much time as you need between lives to be ready to come back.

Q: Do souls of some entities (spiritual families) tend to move slower through the soul ages than others?

M. We have not observed entity-wide patterns. We see a wide range within entities based on personal preference. Factors include how many lifetimes a soul has, their average length, and the average length of time between lifetimes. Souls take as few as forty and as many as a couple thousand lifetimes; if the latter, a lot of them would likely be very short.

Those who complete the physical plane in, say, forty to eighty lifetimes are probably more engaged behind the scenes on the astral plane, helping others a lot between lifetimes, while souls who are doing five hundred to a thousand lifetimes are working more actively on the physical plane (in cooperation with those who are not as externally active). Ultimately the experiences of all souls are pooled. Therefore, as an individual fragment, you do not feel that you have to experience everything, because you know that especially your entity mates will cover some of those bases and will share the stories with you. Basically, you live the lives that interest you to live. Sometimes, one thing leads to another, so it's not always planned out at the beginning; you may end up discovering something that you want to explore more, so you do.

Every soul is different. Some want to be sure to visit most of the main cultures while it is incarnating, while others are happy to stick with one or two they feel an affinity for.

Q: Do the number of lives vary among soul ages and levels?

M. Yes. Sixth levels typically take the most lives, followed by third; first and seventh levels tend to be quicker; the others vary. Young and mature cycles tend to take more lifetimes.

Also, some souls naturally enjoy the focus of a particular age and therefore invest more lives there. So if you have a particular interest in the inner world, you may take more lifetimes in your mature cycle.

This is the opposite of what many students assume--that the soul would want to get through it all as quickly as possible. However, if the soul truly had that attitude, it might not bother to begin a cycle of incarnations at all. If you love travel, you are not motivated to get it over with as quickly as possible. You would probably budget your time to spend more time in the destinations you like, so it is not a race. As the saying goes, it's all good.

Q: Are there predictable ways that soul age influences the expression of a role?

M. Yes. We went through the soul age levels one through seven and spoke about how they correspond with the seven roles; let's do that with the soul ages themselves:

The infant cycle is number one, the server soul age. Therefore, servers who are infant souls are in their element. They hit the ground running. You could say that servers are fully functional during the infant cycle. They grow the most easily throughout the physical plane because of being the number one role. They have the fewest requirements for fulfilling their essence; one can serve anywhere. They continue to blossom and expand their essence throughout all the soul ages, but in infant soul societies, servers are the bedrock.

When societies move from hunter/gatherer (infant) to agricultural (baby), they begin to build towns and create more complex societal forms. Artisans, the number two role, excel at creating new forms, so they are in their element in the baby (second) cycle.

The number three soul age is young, and the number three role is warrior. This is an easy correlation to see. Warriors are about productivity, competition, adrenalin, excitement, and challenges. Young warriors are often on top in a young soul society; they are best equipped to take full advantage of that cycle.

The number four soul age is scholar. That may at first seem counter-intuitive, because one thinks of mature souls as being highly emotional and dramatic, which is the opposite of the stereotype of the scholar. However, if you think of the mature cycle as an assimilative cycle, as a time when people are integrating the outer world with the inner world, then it makes more sense. And, contrary to the stereotype, mature souls are not necessarily overtly more dramatic than anyone else.

You might say that because of the focus on relationships, there's more potential for drama, because relationships can be volatile, but they are volatile at any soul age when people are confronting the issues of self versus others. At every soul age, there are abundant relationships, not just mate relationships, although most humans mate, but siblings, parent/child, friendships, community relationships, etc.--these are always operating. Humans are social animals. The only way you are not going to do relationships is if you are a hermit, which you are not going to do very often, because it would limit your growth.

However, if you are a young soul married couple, although your relationship may be very important to you, you may not have time to study the relationship itself in great depth. You might go to a marriage counselor, read some books, or whatever, but if you do that it would be more "in your spare time" because what is more interesting to you as a young soul is what you are achieving, maybe in career or maybe in other ways. And there is certainly much merit to focusing on what you are doing in the world; there's nothing wrong with that.

However, when you are a mature soul and you are in a relationship, it is easier to see it as a laboratory for learning about yourself, which all relationships are. So the mature cycle is really about learning. There is a deepening, a ripening, of self. The interest here in community is not so much that suddenly there are communities, because there were always communities, but in the mature cycle, communities, like relationships, become laboratories for learning about self. Therefore, they come under the scholarly microscope, whereas maybe they were taken for granted earlier.

Baby souls create solid communities. Young souls tend to challenge them in order to venture into new territories and start bigger cities. Mature souls may miss that warmth of feeling connected to the more intimate community, but want to do it in a new way; they don't want the rigid communities of the baby soul, where everyone knew what was expected, because that is no longer interesting. Like the scholar, the mature soul looks for what is most interesting.

The old soul age is fifth, and five is the sage number. Sages seek wisdom, insight, understanding, and perspective; they want to see how everything fits together. They ask why rather than what. "What?" is a scholar question. "Why?" is a sage question. Old souls are also philosophical. Having completed the mature cycle, the old soul feels it has a pretty good handle on self, and now there is curiosity about self related to the cosmos.

Six is the priest number, and that is the transcendental age; we mentioned that it is usually priest souls that are displaced by transcendental souls. The whole concept of being transcendent is a priest idea. Priests want to be in the body in a transcendent way, and transcendental souls want to harmonize societies, help the disenfranchised, and bring everyone on board.

The seventh soul age is the infinite, correlating with the role of king. Kings pull it all together. At the seventh level of a soul age, you pull it all together and look forward to what comes next. The infinite souls known in recorded history, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Lao Tzu, brought to bear a comprehensive view of everything: they exalted the life force energy itself, endeavoring to make people ready for something completely new.

Since most souls do not experience the transcendental and infinite stages on the physical plane, in a way the physical plane doesn't quite have a place for priests and kings. They find their greatest manifestations off the physical plane. It is their job to bring the higher energies into the physical plane, but they are not in their element in any of the five soul ages commonly experienced.

Q: If one reaches enlightenment now, how does this effect future lifetimes? In some traditions, enlightenment is sought to avoid future lifetimes.

M. That is a rich question. One would need to start by defining enlightenment. The simplest way would be the idea of light coming on in the human being. Every human being is a combination of essence and personality. Every essence is unique, and some naturally vibrate at a higher and stronger level than others, based on the cumulative work of their lifetimes. However, by definition, essence is light, or energy.

Also by definition, the personality is an activated lump of clay ("dust to dust, ashes to ashes"). With the help of biology and so forth, essence breathes the breath of life into the lump of clay, and it comes to be a person. However, in most people, the personality is still lumpish. There can be vibrant light coming through the personality, but it is often not consistent or mastered. Children are often radiant, but not necessarily in a way that is able to hold when confronted with the dense vibrations of the world.

So one way you could define enlightenment is that enough essence is downloaded into personality to light it up and keep it lit up, no matter what events transpire on the physical plane. This is a realistic expectation for someone on the spiritual path. Unfortunately, there are many legends around enlightenment that are not correct. The most persistent myth is that in one moment you will achieve enlightenment, and then you will know everything--you will never make a mistake again, you will have all knowledge, and be perfect. That is not a realistic hope or expectation for someone on the physical plane.

When enough essence is downloaded into the personality to keep it lit up, the human experience is certainly a lot more positive and effective than before. If the soul has some native psychic abilities, these may be brought to the front. Anything else that the soul already learned how to do in other lives is more available to the personality because there's not so much lumpishness in it, so it is more responsive to the incarnating essence. However, what the essence never learned will not manifest. Therefore, there's the opportunity to keep learning in all lifetimes, to give essence more experiences and capabilities. Learning can be accelerated when more essence is downloaded into personality--it becomes easier to learn, there is momentum, and learning builds on itself.

A good example is musical accomplishment. If the soul never studied music in any of its lifetimes and has little affinity for it, the enlightenment experience is not going to make that person able to pick up and play any instrument; there is simply not the facility developed. Yet, if there is an enlightenment experience, thereafter it would be easier to learn an instrument than if personality was only functioning on half its life potential. There would be more alertness and fluency. It is like integrating the brain, which makes it a better tool for everything that it might undertake, but you still have to have the experiences.

As we are defining enlightenment here, you could have an enlightenment experience as an infant soul. You could download enough essence into the personality to light it up and make it run on all cylinders. Then it might happen that you encounter something that you are not equipped to handle. Let's say a neighboring village invades and you are tortured; you have no frame of reference, you do not understand, and you don't know how to handle it. You temporarily lose your connection with essence. You had been running on all cylinders, and now you have a blow out.

Still, having previously had a good download from essence, you are better equipped to handle that experience that came out of left field than if you never had the enlightenment. You might be able to figure out how to heal yourself and integrate that traumatic experience relatively quickly. Furthermore, you can work your way back to enlightenment faster and more effectively because you know what essence feels like in your body. However, as an infant soul, you still have most of your lifetimes and a lot of new experiences ahead of you, and you would not want to miss out on them. You came for the experiences.

There are some people who have enlightenment experiences but whose physical plane mastery is pretty limited. They can download a relatively large amount of essence but do not know how to deal with their own emotions very well, or are not sensitive to others in relationships because they have not invested in those fields.

You are here to learn about being human, and if you are able to do so in an enlightened way, with more essence participation on a conscious level, all the better. However, if you skip over learning how to balance your checkbook, budget, cook a meal, clean a house, make a living, garden, or whatever, you are not going to feel that you really had the human experience when it's all over. Spiritual experience is part of the human experience, but it is not the whole thing.

The ideal is to merge all levels of experience in a happy, productive way. Many spiritual and religious paths urge their practitioners to avoid sexual expression. However, the ideal is to merge sexual expression with open, clear emotional expression, intellectual wisdom, and a full-bodied spiritual download. This is obviously much easier said than done, but if you started out eschewing sexual experience and just focused on the spiritual, you would never have the opportunity to have the full experience of enlightenment, which is bringing your whole body along into the spiritual experience.

If you can bring joy into everything you do, into every part of being human, that is the most complete and effective spiritual experience available, and is the goal of the soul. Whatever you do, bring your light into it to the best of your ability, and you will grow.

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