Think you're the same person you were 7 years ago? You may look about the same and sound the same, but all the cells in your body that were then in your body have been replaced by others, and your mind has moved to another and different stage. Think, for example, about childhood and youth - how much life changes between infancy and early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
If you assume that the extreme changes in personality and body stop once you get older, you’re wrong, because they’re still happening, but most of us simply don’t pay them the attention they deserve. Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher and spiritual mentor who lived in Austria during the 19th and 20th centuries, was able to divide life by stages of seven years, and these are the conclusions he reached, from which you can learn a great deal about your past and future.
The first cycle starts from birth until the age of 7, and here the basis on which the body will be built is etched, and especially the mind in the future. Already at this age, the mind is creative, intelligent and full of personality, but it is limited by the body that is not developed and adapted to the environment and the tools we all use. In addition, at these ages, it is very difficult to develop deep thoughts because children don’t yet have the language skills needed to express them, and of course, they need a lot more information about the world. So at this stage, we are motivated primarily by instincts of hunger, a desire for love and a need for protection and support.
With that said, our responses at this stage can already teach a great deal about our unconscious behavior and are influenced by the culture and environment in which we were raised - for example, tribal natives rejoice when they see a fat beetle because it is perceived as food, while we in western civilizations will try to stay clear of it because it disgusts us. This reaction is already determined in the early childhood stage. However, the thalamus is larger in these ages, and it provides us with primitive concepts of what is right and what is not - later it shrinks, and these concepts will become the moral code by which we live. Apart from all this, this is the stage at which the basic understanding of the existence of such a thing as "I" develops, and the learning of language is what helps to create such identity and self-awareness.
At these ages, we begin to associate different ideas with emotions, and begin to undergo physical changes that prepare us for adolescence. The thalamus gradually decreases in size and we develop a better understanding of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in terms of the social codes to which we were born. Baby teeth start falling out and the most wonderful thing is that at this stage, the child learns to assemble their inner world. This is a world that includes a definition of the "heroes" in their life, understanding the dangers that exist in the world and developing a rich imagination. The smaller the thalamus, the closer to the stage of puberty, and the more effective the learning about sharing and interacting with others - how to control instincts for the common good.
At this age, we become curious about ourselves in a new way, and in fact, we have a new relationship with life itself. We become more aware of ourselves, our range of emotions expands in all directions as we learn to appreciate music, art, literature and other people in new ways. We "discover" the opposite sex and understand that there are certain impulses attached to it, and these become very central.
Due to the development of new feelings, many boys of this age begin to doubt the relationships that exist in their lives or the religion on which they were brought up. Along with the independence that comes at the age of 21, at the end of this stage the person is already supposed to understand the path they want to walk in their life, or at the very least begin to ask themselves what that path will be.
At this stage there is refinement and reorientation of emotions and thought processes - we enter adulthood. Now the infrastructure for the career that has opened and the relationships that have been added to our lives are being built, along with great energy and hope for a good future. At the same time, we develop awareness of our intuition and judgment, and the importance of compromise in relationships for the good of both partners, without losing our sense of independence.
In addition, at this age, problems from our childhood arise, and we begin to struggle with the challenges and pains we have borne with us over the years, sometimes without our noticing them at all. They usually arise in the wake of our conduct in relationships, which presents us with a challenge but also a possibility of personal development.
As the years pass, the changes we undergo become less and less clear, but they still exist. At this point, most people become more creative than in previous stages, and researchers and inventors tend to reach their peak discoveries during these years. Many spiritual teachers throughout history have also reached their enlightenment at these ages, and researchers speculate that this is because our brain power reaches its peak around the age of 35.
In these years, we begin to understand how our emotions over the years shaped our personality, and also begin to separate what we see fit for us from what our family, friends, and society have taught us to believe is true, but currently collides with our way of life.
Depending on the circumstances of life up to this age, most people begin to feel restless. There is a sudden desire to share our knowledge and life experiences with others in order to leave a mark on the world, so at this age we see many businessmen starting to donate to different organizations or people who just start to engage in a certain type of art. Here we are in a place where we can objectively analyze the results of our choices in life - our relationships, careers, and customs - and try to make small changes to help improve them. We begin to understand what really fulfills us in life
It is only at this stage that the brain and soul really digest all life experiences so far, and this process brings with it a desire to embark on a new path and experience new things. If until now the person has not managed to leave their mark on the world, they now will certainly work to do so. However, at this stage, many people feel they are well past their prime and many act on this feeling, or rather choose not to act - in the event that nothing is done with this feeling, it will come back later and will not go away, it will only grow stronger.
At this stage, our perception of the subject of love is also "matured", and if it hasn’t happened so far, most of us learn how to love unconditionally. If this does not happen, it is possible that the person is still dealing with the challenges of previous emotional stages. It might surprise you to learn that most of us are "stuck" with fears and emotions from childhood that have yet to be resolved. Many suddenly decide to divorce at this age to embark on a new direction in life, and we abandon the stereotypical role we had in society till now in order to find our true identity.
Here we reach our mental and spiritual peak, despite, or perhaps because of, the decline in the health of our bodies. This ebbing forces us to look within ourselves more often, and every little problem in our personality becomes more stressful. At these ages, we must learn how to live with ourselves in a new way, and we need to adjust to our new-older body and understand that the harmful habits that we have adapted so far will not disappear in a day. If the person did not achieve success until this stage or did not achieve their goals, they may sink into depression but they must remember that there are many years left in their life.
At this point, the mind becomes relatively quiet and we accept ourselves as we are. However, many things hidden beneath the surface arise, such as self-restraint which one would now want to stop. Life itself changes at this stage, when taking part in activities becomes difficult and relationships we’ve taken part of till now need to be re-evaluated.
Psychiatrist Carl Jung and writer Nietzsche have developed complete theories about this stage in life. The question "Who am I?" leads us to look deeper into our souls, and the change we want to create in life will be possible and easier because our living conditions at this stage allow this. Not everyone will experience it, but this is the most significant stage of self-discovery for the majority. It will often accompany pain, but that pain is necessary for understanding and accepting certain details about who we are and to make new conscious choices.
At these ages, it is easier for us to accept the different people in our lives as they are, and in fact, we appreciate the differences between us and them and see the good in others rather than the bad. Now we can gain the understanding that most of our choices till now had been made under external influences, even though now they aren’t. Suddenly we understand the power of our choices and this makes us feel like a person standing at a crossroads that splits into a number of directions, and it is difficult to know which direction is right for us.
If you’ve not yet dealt well with the disappointments and pain you experienced in life, this period will be confusing and you may not have the tools to deal with what will come with it. At the same time, more thoughts about death begin and a feeling of distance from the surrounding world encourages them.
If you’ve dealt well with the changes described in the previous steps, you will begin to notice in this stage hidden aspects of your personality that you have ignored until now. The feeling of unconditional love grows, and although the body is significantly weakened, the mind becomes stronger and your influence on other people close to you grows. It is therefore very important that before this age you are able to deal with all the traumas that you have experienced in your life in a healthy way so that you can reach it calm and ready.