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The Four Stages of Adult Life
A mental model of the evolutionary stages available to us as adults
Through my internal and external research over the last 20 years, I have come up with a model to describe the main stages that adults have the potential to explore after they leave their parents and stand on their own. Different people stay in each stage for an individual amount of time and some even stay in the same stage their whole life. As a quick summary, before we go into the details of each stage, I present them at a glance here:
Unconscious living - Playing out unconscious patterns
Conscious creation - Create our own patterns
Detox - Release of patterns
Conscious living - Create from within in the present moment
Behavior patterns and programs
To make any sense out of this we probably need to talk about patterns first. If we go to the foundation of human action we can say that we have just two types of action and those are either random actions (that have never happened before and will never happen again) or repeating actions that we see over and over again. Those repeating actions are examples of patterns but the concept also includes repetitive emotions and thoughts we have even if they do not result in a particular action.
When we look at these patterns in the energy body they have become entities with particular positions from where they amplify their frequency when they get triggered. We can also see patterns as computer programs weaved into the code of us as bio-robots, determining our emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
I have only found two ways to change our patterns. We can either bury them and use our mind to force new patterns on top or we can release them from our energy body. We tend to try the first method first with mixed success. Let’s look at the different stages in more detail now.
Stage 1 - Unconscious living
When we first come out in adult life we have an idea of how we want our life to be. This idea has been created while growing up and it is heavily influenced by the local community, family, education and mass media. The possibilities we see at that point are limited by our previous experience and we begin to live a life we think is appropriate as best we can.
If we have grown up in a mainstream family, we consider the world and our actions as random and do not give much thought to why things happen or why we behave the way we do. Since the world and people seem random we assume that we are victims of both the internal and external world and must protect ourselves against them.
If we take a look at the energy body in this stage we can see that it is stagnant with fixed patterns all over the place and like a pinball game they are triggered often. In fact, there is rarely a time when nothing is triggered and the personality is various combinations of triggers. This is why it can be called an unconscious life because the actions, thoughts and emotions are not decided consciously by the person, they are played out.
People who follow in their parents’ footsteps continue to live in this stage for a long time and do not question themselves or the world. We often feel a need to defend our cultural traditions, worldview and self-image and refer to the good-ol-days rather than exploring who we really are or how the world really works.
To come out of this stage some people have a near-death experience, illness, spiritual experiences, get inspired by a person or a natural curiosity and lust for life for those who quickly pass through it. When one or more of these types of events happen we usually begin to question the limitations we live within and start to explore other possibilities.
Stage 2 - Conscious creation
When we realize that we have the power within us to change our life for the better we start to envision a new version of our life. We can change our habits to steer our life in a new direction and anything is possible to achieve as long as we keep pushing ourselves each day. Often inspired by people with rags-to-rich stories we can motivate ourselves to completely change who we are, what we do and how we think.
We still feel that the world is random but we have found a way to bend it to our will. We can create new patterns and implement them with willpower, persistence and mindsets to overcome obstacles. Most life coaches, NLP and self-help books try to motivate us to use mental willpower to make changes in our lives. Morning habits, exercise habits, eating habits, working habits and so on.
When we look into the energy body of someone in this stage we often see a strong focus around the head while the rest of the energy body is weak or shut down. The mental body is running the show while a lot of effort is put into closing off unwanted emotions and thoughts. The body is used as a tool by the mind that forces it to move according to newly created patterns that will help the mind achieve its goals.
In this article, to keep it simple, we can bunch together a group of words like ego, shadow, first attention, small self, mind and intellect to mean approximately the same thing. Basically, it appears as a mental activity that sees itself and the world subjectively. It is driven by lower emotion patterns such as fear, shame, guilt and especially in the second stage it wants to control the consciousness towards survival and success.
From a programming perspective, we can say that we update the operating system and install new programs while the old operating system operates in the background causing the new programs to be unreliable and potentially crash. The feedback system built into this creation makes sure that any programs that are still present in our energy body should be mirrored in our external reality and those then manifest as the obstacles that we must overcome in this second stage.
Similar to the first stage, this can end in a crescendo of illness, depression, accidents or a near-death experiences until we reach a point when we have to change. In the Matrix film they describe it as a nagging feeling that something is not right with the world and a decision has to be taken to step into the unknown and leave the old self behind. To stay in the second stage and try to fulfill our needs in the external world over and over again can last a long time but at some point, we realize that more friends, more wealth, more women, more intellect, more success and so on are not the solution we are looking for.
Stage 3 - Detox
To enter the fourth stage we must go through a series of symbolic deaths. Letting go of our old patterns (both self-created and given to us by others) can be a scary experience but it is the only way to reach higher levels of consciousness and get access to who we really are.
The detox process has always been working in the background like gravity to pull us in line with our highest self. Illnesses and life-changing events have been parts of that pull. The third stage is just when we consciously start using this pull to move us into self-healing. We go from ‘things happening against us’ to ‘things happening for us’. With time we develop trust in this universal healing force striving for balance and we surrender to it.
The frequencies we hold in our energy body attracts and repels external events which is our earthly experience so if we stay open to our circumstances rather than protecting ourselves we can find clues everywhere about our unconscious patterns.
Detox is the process of becoming aware of old patterns and making new choices. As long as we choose to act out an old pattern we continue to give it life force. Instead, we want to observe when patterns come up and choose a new action that is not based on a lower emotion. This reshuffling of actions from lower to higher frequencies can also be called ascension.
We come to identify with our timeless essence rather than ideas and behaviors. We become aware of why we have acted the way we have and do not see any reasons to continue with those patterns. As various impulses come and go in this stage we start defining what is constant within us and move our sense of identity to that instead which increases the momentum of self-healing even more because we can more easily let go of old patterns.
When we spend time in our timeless essence we settle into the zero point of time and space. The more centered in the zero point we are we can experience a neutrality where everything is perfect the way it is. We also get access to our inner senses which we can use to explore our energy body and the world of frequencies around us.
The third stage is fluid in the sense that we are moved through patterns from the earlier stages and gradually get more glimpses of the fourth stage. While there is no endpoint of this stage since our growth is limitless we are perpetually moving into the fourth stage and can stay there for longer periods while the detox process moves more in the background.
Stage 4 - Conscious living
In stage four we can trust in a firm awareness of our inner essence in each moment. We are drawn to the most optimal path for ourselves and the creation as a whole by our highest intelligence beyond the mind.
We stay fluid while we take on temporary roles to interact with the environment. We can not hold on to people, ideas, outcomes or things but we are able to use reference points and mental models to communicate with others. Rather than holding up defensive behaviors, like rehearsed sentences, as shields to speak for us in conversations, we are now free to express who we truly are in the moment.
We do not sacrifice ourselves for anything because we do not experience lack. Since we follow our inner guidance we always do what feels right to us and do not compromise on our values or inner truth. We feel nourished by our actions because we want to be where we are and spend time with others who also are true to themselves or at a minimum strive towards that goal.
The energy body can be accessed at any time and we adjust our focus between the inner and outer realities to stay centered. Thoughts function more as a gauge of inner states and give a verbal expression of frequencies we put our attention on similar to how our inner vision works as a visual gauge for what we have our attention on.
The detox process that has guided us from the shadows during the previous stages serves as a manifestation force in the fourth stage. Since the inside has been mirrored in our external reality all along it is first now that we can reap the benefits. When the inside is clean and rich we are able to manifest heaven on earth in the external world. We can imagine positive possibilities and hold them in our energy body until they become reality.
Inside-out versus Outside-in
Living inside-out means that we change things within ourselves to improve our external experience while living outside-in is when we try to change things in the external world to feel better on the inside.
A big divide through this evolution of consciousness is between the second and third stage when we start observing our thoughts as separate from our ‘self’. It is also in this transition we stop seeing ourselves as a victim of circumstances. We can organize the stages in the following way.
I have found that people in the first two stages can not imagine how it could be to live in any other way than they are used to. Their world is built around what they have previously experienced and since they have not had enough experience of the energy body it is not part of their awareness. Cultivating reference points outside of the mind is vital to be able to enter the third stage.
In the first two stages, thoughts and emotions are often considered the ‘inner world’ but when we evolve to stage three we realize that the energy body is the inner world while thoughts and emotions are part of the external experience. In lower level personal growth tools, like psychology, it is believed they are using an inside-out approach but since it is based in the second stage it is adjusting things in the external representation rather than the inner script.
Making changes in the external reality is like trying to change the image of ourselves in the mirror. The changes made to thoughts, emotions and habits are done by forcing new patterns with the help of willpower which is the default manifestation tool of stage 2. And like we discussed earlier, such changes only move us further away from who we truly are. When we access and release the original debilitating patterns in the energy body directly we instead unleash inner power and potential that can then be harnessed in the present moment.
Living inside-out is to express who we truly are. It is what we came here to do. The patterns from the earlier stages are just the dust we need to brush off after arriving here so we can begin living as the timeless beings we are in physical form. The fourth stage is actually the starting point of exploring who we really are and what we are able to become. The potential is literally limitless and the adventure is just beginning. The future is bright.
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