As each human being evolves in consciousness, it operates in the world from different levels of soul perception. On the physical plane, there are seven cycles of soul perception. Five of these cycles are completely subject to the rules of a physical body: infant, baby, young, mature, and old. Within each of these cycles there are seven levels. The other two cycles of soul perception relate to transcendental souls and the infinite soul.
When you first come to the physical plane, you arrive as a first-level infant soul. You progress over lifetimes to second‑level infant through seventh‑level infant, then to first‑level baby, and so on. Each soul perception has 7 levels, so there are 35 different levels of perception that we can experience before we cycle off of the physical plane.
During each life, you begin again perceiving as an infant soul would and progress through the levels quickly until you reach the highest level you achieved in a previous life. Thus, a person who has achieved a soul perception of 2nd level old, would be born as an infant with an infant's perception, but quickly progress through perceptions already thoroughly learned in past lifetimes, and begin to manifest their true soul age after a couple of decades of growing back up to it. From that point, she can work on lessons that support a movement forward to a new level of conscious perception.
This movement forward is slow and it usually takes at least 3 or 4 lifetimes of experience to progress to a new level. In a very challenging and conflicted lifetime, a person can even become mired down and stuck on her progress toward re-achieving the fullest soul age that was achieved in the last life. Thus a person who achieved the perspective of 2nd level old in the last lifetime may never progress past 4th level mature in perspective this life. When there is such a case of arrested development, people who know this person are often upset and concerned about the person's "immaturity" even when objectively speaking, they are operating at a more mature level than the baby soul next door who is living up to their full potential.
In each lifetime, the cycle and level of soul‑perception you display or "manifest" depends upon your actual soul age, your chronological age, your experiences, and the situation. People do not manifest consistently. In each life, you give yourself experiences which will get you in touch with the infant, baby, young, mature, and old parts of yourself.
Then, depending upon your state of being and the circumstances, you will act out from older or younger parts of yourself. "Older" is not synonymous with "better" because you will give yourself challenges at all soul ages. Because of this, someone who is struggling with her lessons as a late‑level old soul may look less competent than someone who is appropriately handling tasks at a younger soul age.
Younger souls are simply people who have generally fewer lifetimes. Just like a 50 year old is not inherently superior to a 28 year old or a 7 year old, older souls have been here longer and had a chance to garner more wisdom and street smarts. The older you get, however, the more challenging and complex are the lessons you take on.
On the average, it takes three lives to advance to the next level. Not all souls proceed at the same speed. Some may complete all of their physical plane lessons in 50 lives, while others may take hundreds. You will advance to the next level whenever you are ready and feel the urge to move onward, whether you are between lives or in the middle of a life. Some quick‑moving souls will move more than one level in a particular lifetime if they focus on their spiritual development. Changing soul levels can be quite dramatic: the shifting perception brings on changes in your life and how you live it. There is no particular value, however, to speed. Each human being proceeds at its own pace.
The following describes the nature of the different cycles and levels of soul perception as well as how to use all soul perceptions appropriately.
The Seven Cycles of Soul Perception
The Infant Soul
You come to the planet as an infant soul. In this cycle, you are self‑concerned while you accustom yourself to a new type of existence (physical) and learn how to survive here. Infant souls usually choose lives in primitive conditions or cultures that stress the survival element. Infant souls are survival‑oriented, curious about the physical plane, and have little ability to perceive that others' wishes could differ from their own. They do not open themselves emotionally because their emotional natures are not yet fully developed. They are truly self‑centered. Infant souls also have yet to develop a sense of what each culture, or even the human race in general, considers right and wrong. Their conscience is just developing.
Infant souls in a more advanced culture can appear pathologically naive or amoral, and perhaps out of place because they do not fit into society at large. Infant souls are still close to the Tao and have a mystical sense of religion, which can manifest as worshiping the sun or nature in general.
When you are born you manifest your infant soul aspect, whether that is the highest level you will manifest this life or not.
This aspect deals with the primitive, instinctual part of yourself and learning how to survive in a human body. There is a close bond to the Earth, particularly the Earth‑Mother, the feminine part of oneself. You can see in children's attraction to playing in the mud, with bugs, insects, toads and lizards the manifestation of this instinctual infant soul part. Adults often get in touch with their infant soul part through ritual: for example, music, dancing, shamanistic ritual, sex, drugs, drumming, tattooing, or wearing face paint and ornaments.
The infant soul part can also be evoked through a bodily experience, such as illness, accident, or through an enlightenment experience that taps into the primal energy centers. You will experience your infant soul part when your survival is threatened or when there is a perceived threat such as losing a job. Warfare, hunting, walking alone in the dark, scary movies and situations which evoke primal fears will put you in touch with that aspect of yourself.
When you can detach from the belief in fear, these experiences give you "highs" that take the form of instinctive adrenal rushes or chills and an acute awareness. The heightened awareness is the result of your instinctive center opening up to your essence so that it can immediately perceive any possible danger and be alert enough to act on it. Generally, Infant Soul experiences are physically intense and primitive, as opposed to refined and mystical, in the sense of getting one in touch with forces greater than oneself.
The Baby Soul
By the time you have reached baby soul perception, you have handled survival on an individual level. The emphasis in baby souls is toward developing and maintaining civilization and order. They learn how to harness their creative energy in this direction.
Baby souls like their lives to be structured and look to authority to provide that structure. In religion, they prefer large, organized belief systems that provide ritual and standards of behavior. They seek cleanliness and medical care (i.e., having rules and authority in charge of their bodies and their health). Baby souls are uneasy around anything out of the ordinary.
Baby soul societies are rigid and have strict hierarchies of authority: for example, the Roman Empire. These souls are less violent than infant or young souls, and look to the survival of the group, as opposed to their individual survival. This is the soul level at which the conscience, or a sense of the morality or immorality of certain acts within society, is fully developed.
Your baby soul aspect is the part of you that has learned to deal with structure and authority figures and to relate to the world in a more civilized manner, whether you are a baby soul or not. The civilizing influence that parents and society imprint on children is that which evokes the baby soul aspect to control the raw infant soul aspect. The first major experience for that part of you is toilet training. It is where you are told to control your natural instincts in order to please the existing authority (your parents). Next comes controlling your eating habits, controlling your anger and fear and controlling your speech. (Parents often experience this phase as making "real people" out of little barbarians.) As you continue to grow up, you have your behavior modified by teachers in school, by your peer group and by authority figures such as police, doctors, ministers, and politicians.
Your baby soul aspect is that part of you that is conscious of following the rules such as: "Make your bed in the morning." "Bring a sweater." "Don't accept candy from strangers." "Drink plenty of fluids." Your baby soul aspect likes cleanliness, order, and structure, and is flustered by the lack of it: "Why didn't you clean your room?" "Why didn't you tell me we were going to eat early?" "We've never done it that way before!
Your baby soul aspect feels it needs to control instinctive behavior such as eating, bathing, dining, sleep, and having sex. Also, all social behavior is primarily influenced by the baby soul sense of propriety: when to cross the street, how to dress and act in public, how to behave at social gatherings, how you use your words, and so on. You will notice it come out most strongly during traditional social gatherings such as holidays, weddings, and funerals.
The Young Soul
Young souls have learned to handle survival on the physical plane and have mastered order and civilization. They now begin establishing themselves as the authorities that the baby souls look to. This soul perception is in the middle of the soul's experience on the planet and is the most oriented towards the physical. Young souls are heavily identified with their bodies and their egos. They will have the most problems admitting their true age and will be the most likely to resort to cosmetic surgery to preserve a youthful, attractive appearance.
Young souls are also the most skeptical when confronted with any experience beyond what is subject to "scientific" proof. They usually do not concern themselves with mystical or religious experience except to the extent that it makes them acceptable in the world. They often will regard the idea of life after death as preposterous and, therefore will fear death.
These souls are the most highly motivated toward success in whatever field they pursue and will work the hardest to achieve it. The prototypical young soul is the attractive, rich, successful person most often portrayed on television. To a young soul, what you own, and how great a reputation you have, is what you are. They see the world through the perspective of right versus wrong and good versus bad, and so those who do not agree with them are usually viewed as wrong, bad, or deserving of punishment or contempt. Nonetheless, they want to keep up with or surpass their peers socially, monetarily, and politically.
Young souls often have strong political feelings and involvements, and are typified by historical figures such as Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror, and Genghis Khan—all founders of great empires. The Ming Dynasty, the British Empire, and the United States (especially in its early years) are examples of young soul empires. This planet has, until very recently, been populated with mostly late-level young souls. Therefore, the dominant political, social, and cultural systems reflect these values. Only in the last 25 years, an eye blink of time in the history of the human race, have we begun to have early mature souls outnumber late-level young ones...and indeed every other soul age as well. This has created profound social, political, and economic shifts world-wide, and will continue to do so until the planet settles into an early mature soul consciousness. This will probably take at least another 250-300 years.
Your young soul aspect is the part of your essence which has learned how to make decisions for itself, whether you manifest mainly as a young soul or not. This aspect is capable of leadership, particularly in the area of handling the physical plane. You use your young soul aspect when you take charge of yourself, discipline yourself, and become determined to succeed. For this aspect, what is "right" is that which promotes its goals, and what is "wrong" is that which is detrimental to its goals. This part of yourself is less emotionally connected than the baby and mature parts. It tends to be goal‑oriented and egocentric.
Because we live in a predominantly young soul society, we are constantly bombarded with young soul values. Those values tell you to be success‑oriented, to be ambitious even to the detriment of others, to be sexually attractive and youthful in appearance, to make a lot of money, buy all of the right products, and to make sure you can explain just what you are doing and why. People who do not accept young soul values are often judged as inadequate or strange. A good example of young soul political ideology was the arms race. The thinking behind this says that if you don't get ahead someone else will. Survival becomes competitive.
The advantage of cultivating your young soul aspect is that it has the motivation and self‑confidence to be achievement‑oriented and to give you success when dealing with other people, particularly in your career. Older souls who neglect this aspect feel that their survival is threatened and therefore put too much attention on the physical. Thus, this aspect needs to be in balance with the others in order for you to function well on this planet.
The Mature Soul
The mature soul has handled her issues of success and authority and has reached the point where she begins to open herself to emotional issues. Mature souls are less self‑concerned, and orient themselves toward others, especially in groups. Rather than opening themselves up to the world as a whole, they begin with intimates and family, feeling that their relationships with others are more important than personal success or career.
Mature souls feel their connectedness to others by identifying with them and by seeing others as mirrors of themselves. This quality gives mature souls an aura of sincerity not found in other soul perceptions. The worst offense to a Mature Soul is to do something to her that she would not do to you. Mature souls are less warlike than younger souls because they see others as themselves. Often, however, they give themselves lives of emotional turmoil and drama in order to open themselves emotionally. It is at this soul perception, therefore, where you find the most incidence of drug abuse, suicide, and lingering terminal disease.
Your mature soul aspect begins to develop after your young soul aspect has peaked in its achievement. It begins with the feeling, "There must be more to life than just this." Sometimes people feel the need to sabotage their young soul aspect by giving themselves times of poverty, tragedy, great loss, or ill health in order to open up the mature soul part. Usually this is achieved through being in relationships of great emotional intensity. For mature and old souls, this period is often experienced when they are in their twenties.
If you have reached a mature or old soul level, you can use your mature soul aspect as that part which has an investment in your relationship to others and to the planet. "Others" can include intimate friends, family, people you work with, the community, a political group, humanity at large, or even the ecosystem. The value of the mature soul aspect is in the full development of conscience, compassion, and the ability to be emotionally connected and fulfilled, as well as to give and receive love. Those who neglect this aspect will feel unfulfilled in their emotional expression and will appear aloof, callous, or estranged from others.
The group consciousness of the mature soul aspect desires to be "like" others and therefore seeks to be understood and accepted into the group. This can be seen in its means of expression: clothes, speech, values, where you go and what you do and how you behave. From this point of view, mature soul behavior is a further evolution of baby soul behavior, as they both operate with group consciousness.
As the planet shifts towards a more mature perception, we see people acting out of group consciousness and becoming interested in the emotional harmony of the planet as a whole. With the acceptance of mature perception will come an increase in spiritual awareness and the ability for mature and old souls to manifest themselves more readily at their appropriate soul ages.
The Old Soul
The old soul has learned how to emotionally connect and puts her attention toward spiritual growth. Old souls learn to detach from the emotional intensity of the mature cycle and then gradually detach from the physical plane entirely. They have a more intellectual approach to existence than mature souls, and they are able to conceive of the greater whole of which we are all part. Old souls need to complete all of their physical plane experiences and karmas before turning their attention toward astral lessons.
Early old soul behavior is characterized by a period of internalization, soul‑searching, and a feeling of no longer fitting in with the mainstream of society. Once this aspect has been "discovered" and fully internalized, the next step is determining, "How am I going to show up in the world?" For the older soul, this means finding a way of expressing herself in her personal life and in her career that is in alignment with her inner purpose. Because each soul is unique and wants to make its individual contribution, there are not many role models for older souls in a young soul society. Old souls in this society also have a tendency toward self-deprecation; they know they do not fit the norm and may deem themselves unworthy as a result. Older souls usually investigate various spiritual teachings that are available, but, in the end, create their own belief system from a combination of many different spiritual perspectives.
Your old soul part has the ability to rise above the mundane events of life and put you in touch with the greater purpose of being here. It does not become "stuck" or identified with the difficulties and tragedies of human existence but is able to see itself more objectively and with a greater sense of humor. It cultivates a sense of philosophical detachment, humor and non‑identification while attaching itself to the sense of something greater and beyond itself. Old souls learn to flow with life as it happens, as opposed to resisting and fighting with it.
Your old soul aspect is the part of you that has the agreement to teach and assist others along their chosen paths of spiritual development. Most old souls teach through example. Along with teaching is the commitment to complete your existence on the physical plane by integrating and balancing all of the different aspects of your entire being, infant through old.
The last lesson for an old soul is agape, or unconditional love, toward herself and others. This is the most difficult lesson because it means self‑forgiveness as well as being able to love others to the extent that you can give them permission to be on their own chosen paths. Once all aspects of human existence are fully accepted, an old soul becomes eligible to move on to the other planes of existence.
Summary: The First 5 Cycles of the Physical Plane
Knowing about the different aspects of soul perception is being aware that each fulfills its own purpose. This is why in each lifetime you give yourself imprinting from individuals of different soul ages and experiences to remind yourself of each of the previous levels.
It is difficult to give up the impression that "older is better" and to see the value in the different aspects. Older souls often feel misunderstood by younger souls and find them difficult. The antidote for this is for the older soul to take responsibility for having had more experience and to learn to be compassionate about the other person's point of view without trying to change them, "grow them up," or make them different.
Recognizing that we all have these different aspects and seeing the value of each makes it easier to achieve a state of balance. For example, when we see ourselves acting out of our baby soul parts, we can recognize that we are probably in reaction to a fear of being out of control. This can lead to a recognition that being in control leads to a more civilized society.
If everyone acted out as an infant soul, life would be survivalist and uncivilized. If everyone acted out as a baby soul, life would be structured and orderly, but constantly in fear of retribution from some greater authority or power. If everyone acted out as a young soul, a lot would get done, but from the point of view of competition and with little compassion. If everyone acted as a mature soul, life would be very emotional and people would do what felt right, but often without regard to common sense. If everyone acted out as an old soul, people would be spiritual yet lazy, and it would be hard to get much accomplished.
The way to balance the different aspects in oneself is first to begin identifying them. The second step is to see their usefulness and to weed out some of their negative characteristics. The third step is to find the right function of each of the parts so they can be useful. Then you can evoke different functions intentionally when you see the opportunity to use them.
For example, you can use your infant soul aspect to feel in touch with the Earth, the seasons and cycles which affect us. You can use it to heal your instinctive center. Your baby soul aspect provides a structure to situations that otherwise would seem fearful. You can use it to be polite to others. Use your young soul aspect in the areas where you want to be successful and goal‑oriented, such as your career, or to raise your self‑esteem. Your mature soul aspect helps you feel emotionally fulfilled and connected. You can use it to understand other people and to have compassion for their position. You can use your old soul part to seek spiritual fulfillment, to relax from all the intensity of earlier levels, and to feel connected to something greater.
When working on trying to achieve the greatest potential in soul perception, remember to try to stay in balance with all the aspects. The unconscious tendency is to swing from one extreme to another. The person who is in balance with all aspects will be able to feel competent in all situations and will be able to relate to people of all soul levels. From this sense of balance, you can make positive contributions in all areas of your life.
The last two cycles may be experienced on the physical plane, but are not necessarily subject to all the rules of the physical plane as are the infant-through-old cycles.
The Transcendental Soul
The transcendental soul is a representative member of an entity that has completed its lessons on the physical plane and has recombined all of its entity members astrally. One of the essences of this recombined entity takes a body in order to teach their (the entity's) students directly about the greater connectedness of the universe, as seen through a higher center. Transcendental souls can come from any of the higher planes: astral, causal, mental, messianic, or buddhaic. All entities do this at least once, and in at least one parallel universe.
Transcendental souls will sometimes come into a newborn child, but most often they use the body of a departed seventh-level old soul who has agreed to this exchange. Usually they will only be in a body about three or four years because they are so habitually in higher centers that it wears out a physical body to have that much energy going through it. They might be in the body up to 10 or 20 years, but almost never a whole lifetime.
In times of transition, such as we are experiencing now, there will be more transcendental souls appearing, preparing the planet for the manifestation of the infinite soul. Examples of transcendental souls from the past are Mahatma Ghandi, Yogananda Paramahansa, Meher Baba, Hazrat Khan, Mother Cabrini, Pope John XXIII, and St. Francis of Assisi.
Transcendental souls are not necessarily self‑aware. Unlike the infinite soul, transcendental souls do not necessarily display "superhuman" attributes. Mainly, they just look like fine examples of balanced human beings who identify with a group consciousness. Since transcendental souls have a group soul, they tend to see themselves as members of humanity, rather than feeling that they are on their own personal path.
The Infinite Soul
The manifestation of the infinite soul retains the consciousness of the Tao when it enters the physical body. Thus the infinite soul is self‑aware, knowing its purpose and its superhuman abilities. The infinite soul will occasionally manifest through the personality of a seventh-level old soul who has agreed to cycle off. The infinite soul comes to teach and to assist the planet in its soul-level transitions.
A recent well‑known manifestation of the infinite soul was Jesus Christ, who was a seventh-level old king until the last years of his life. During that incarnation, the infinite soul assisted the planet in its transition from baby to young soul cycles. In future incarnations, the infinite soul may manifest through more than one person, in order to assist the planet in its transition from young soul to the group consciousness of mature soul.
The Seven Levels of Soul Perception
This is the level of introduction, in which you experiment with your new perception. First-level souls operate from their previous level of perception about two‑thirds of the time. For example, if they are first-level old, they operate mainly as late mature souls. A first-level infant soul will be closely in contact with the Tao. This is one of the growing‑up levels.
The second level is difficult because you are torn between the comfort of your old perception and the opportunities and growth available in the new perception. Second-level souls manifest from their new perception for a period, then revert back to first level. Toward the end of the second level you must weed out the habits and acquired tastes that belong to your previous perception in order to move on to a newer one. Second level souls are constantly working with the lessons of duality and partnership, and continually have to make choices from a variety of options rather than following one obvious path.
When you reach the third level, you are operating entirely from your appropriate perception, except that it is internalized. You look inward and deal with the internal issues that have come up around your new level of perception. Third-level souls tend to be more inherently introspective and quieter than those of other levels. Third level souls need a certain amount of privacy and down time to stay balanced. Being surrounded by others is actually wearing on them and they work better and live better alone or with few other regular participants.
In the fourth level, you take your new perception out into the world. It is a level where you are busy and visible. It also is a karmic formation level, where you reach out to others and form relationships with them that can be karmic and intense. At the fourth level, people fit into the mainstream of society more easily than at any other level except sixth, and these lifetimes are usually amongst the most extroverted in a cycle. Fourth level is similar to sixth, however, in fourth level you deal with karmic formation, and in sixth with karmic clean‑up.
The fifth is the eccentric level. It is where you first begin to get glimpses of your next level of perception. For example, this is where a mature soul gets a glimpse of the old cycle, where young souls glimpse mature, and so forth. The experience of fifth level is similar to having climbed the Himalayas and finally reached the top, only to see a whole new mountain range ahead of you, ready to be climbed. In the fifth level you feel unstable, you feel that you have lost the security of your normal perception, and you feel the drive to prepare yourself for incorporating a new level of activity.
Fifth-level souls have the feeling they do not quite fit in and need to find ways to deal with their eccentricity. The more solid roles—warriors, king, and scholars—like to pass through this level as quickly as possible. The more fluid roles—Priests, Servers, and particularly Artisans and Sages—can learn to revel in it because it gives them the opportunity to explore the unusual side of their natures. Fifth level souls find solidarity amongst other fifth level souls of all ages. They are also defenders of minorities and have appreciation and compassion for others who do not fit in to society's mainstream.
Sixth is one of the busiest levels because it is where you complete the karmas accumulated earlier in this cycle or in previous cycles. You feel driven to be out in the world, meeting those people and completing those unfinished relationships with them. Sixth-level souls are often on the move and do not usually settle down for long periods of time unless their karmas dictate that they must do that. This is one of the levels where you may be more outgoing than is usual for your essence in order to reach the right people.
Sixth-level mature is one of the most demanding of all the soul levels, in that whatever karmic work that you still have to work out from any previous level is worked out there if possible to progress to older soul levels with a pretty clean karmic slate and more objectivity and ability to teach. A pitfall of the sixth level is that you may lose the awareness of the need to take care of yourself in the midst of dealing with so many external relationships. Toward the end of this level, you begin to teach what you know in preparation for the seventh level.
In the seventh level, you relax from the activity of the sixth and find an appropriate method of teaching what you have learned during that cycle. You experience a certain mastery of the lessons of that soul age. It is one of the more enjoyable levels because you can separate from the karmic intensity of the sixth and learn to flow with life again. In the case of seventh-level young, you may find yourself advising people on how to make their lives successful. For seventh-level mature, you would be likely to offer emotional counseling of various sorts. At seventh-level old, you find a way to teach something about the total knowledge you have accumulated during your lives on the planet. One of the requirements of completing your experience on the physical plane is that you successfully teach someone else. Essences return as seventh-level old for as many lives as they wish until they cycle off the planet.