2.7 The 4 Developmental Periods That Occur Within Your Life

“In the morning it rises from the nocturnal sea of unconsciousness and looks upon the wide, bright world which lies before it in an expanse that steadily widens the higher it climbs in the firmament.”

Carl Jung

4 Periods Of Life

Our lives and entire reasons for being here on Earth can be expressed using the 9 numbers (1 through 9). When you find a particular number defining something, that something can be described by the essence of that number’s inner meaning. Numbers pre-existed us and all of life and were given birth while the Universe was still a cosmic soup and before everything cooled adequately to form the world we find ourselves in right now. Numbers existed well before we did and are one of the ancient archetypal indicators that if properly uncovered and ordered can describe something that is important to know.

Life unfolds through the development of 4 unique stages. The number 4 occurs here and illustrates periods of time wherein something gestates and eventually comes out the other side perfected and ready to move on to another stage (or at least the opportunity is presented for that to happen).  Even though energy is but one and the same thing and only occurs in different forms (photons, subatomic particles, atoms, and molecules), it exists in 4 distinct forms one for each unique plane of existence: spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Each stage is perfected in such a way that as the next stage unfolds and becomes well defined a person (or the evolutionary process itself) essentially has a new goal to accomplish during that new period.

In a person’s life, there are 4 consciousness developmental periods. During those 4 periods, consciousness starts out in the physical, moves to the mental, graduates to the emotional, and finally evolves through the spiritual. Each stage becomes a learning period and a way to “burn through” the lower expectations and accomplishments of each stage. If a person approaches these periods correctly, much can be accomplished.

Each stage occurs for roughly 1/4 of that person’s lifetime and if one lives to the end of the 4th stage (without early death), that life could fulfill its destined purpose or at least is allowed to. Its up to each individual to put in the work to accomplish what each period is asking for. If the first 3 life periods weren’t lived well, it makes it really difficult to do well in the 4th and final period of time before a person dies and that life’s opportunity for growth and learning is over.

Life, as we know it, is a process with no definite destination. We get to select that destination. It is essentially a journey of growth and development potential, and each of us will embark on different paths using our current motivations and past karma that lead to different outcomes. There are, of course, similarities that our individual journeys share with another since we are all bound by the unconscious – the influence of the group consciousness during a particular point in time. However, according to Individuation (and when we look at the 12 archetypes), each of us goes through 4 different stages of life during our lifetime.


Stage 1 – The Development Of Your Body During The Physical Stage

During the Physical stage, we are mostly preoccupied with our looks, with the way our body looks and what other people think about us. Consider this stage as archetypal infancy – without direction, without knowledge, and without conception. We are dependent on others for survival, similar to how infants are dependent on their parents. But beyond that, it is also a stage of superficiality, and we see nothing beyond the surface of what life has to offer.

During this stage, we might stay for hours looking and admiring our reflection in the mirror. Our bodies, our external appearances are the most important things to us, nothing else. This doesn’t necessarily have to be taken literally. It can also mean that we’re still being taught our functions in society, and that is why we’re constantly looking for the approval and guidance of others. Towards the end of this stage, we begin to learn that the expectations of others should not define our actions and decisions. Instead, we start to look inwards to create a path for ourselves and hence the demarcation of the 1st stage to the 2nd.

Stage 2 – The Development Of Your Mind During The Mental Stage

During the Mental stage, our main concern is to go out there and conquer the world, to do our best, be the best and get the very best, to do what mental warriors do, and act like mental warriors act. This is a stage when we continually think of ways to get more than everybody else, a stage of comparison, of defeating those around us so we can feel better because we have achieved more because we are the warriors, the brave ones.

Towards the end of this stage, we return to the main question – the problem that we’ve been aching to answer for the longest time; who are we? And in turn, we begin to embark on a long, arduous journey of experimentation to discover our true identity.

Stage 3 – The Realization That You Aren’t Happy & That There Is Something More That You Can’t Quite Identify But Realize That You Must Be Involved With Or You Won’t Be Fulfilled During This Lifetime

During the 3rd stage, you realize what you have achieved so far is not enough for you to feel fulfilled, to be happy… You are now looking for ways to make a difference in the world, for ways to serve those around you. You are now preoccupied with ways to start giving. If you’re successful, your mission in life becomes abundantly clear, and you have the clearest sense of direction.

You’ve never been more ready to unleash your potential to make a real, actual difference in this world instead of indulging yourself in materialistic pleasures. This 3rd stage is all about the statement that you’re going to make with your life; the legacy that you’re going to leave. Your thoughts and actions mimic your beliefs about leaving the world better than when you first found it.

You just need to figure out how you’re going to do this and that is the goal of the next stage.

Stage 4 – The Last Stage Where You Either Accomplish Your Spiritual Reason For Being Or You Don’t

During this 4th and final stage of the Spirit, we realize we are more than our body, we are more than our possessions, more than our friends, our country and so on. We come to the realization that we are divine beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, and not human beings having a spiritual experience.

We now know this is not our home, and we are not what we thought we are. We are in this world but not of it. We are now able to observe ourselves from a different perspective. We are now capable of stepping out of our own mind, out of our own body and understand who we really are, to see things the way they are. Or at least this is the primary goal during this stage.

We become the observer of our lives. We realize that we are not that which we notice but, the observer of what we notice.

Not everyone will be able to satisfy and achieve the goal of this 4th stage of the Spirit… Some are not even fortunate enough to have reached this final Spiritual Stage. But these are the 4 stages of life and they exist for each and every one of us. The successful accomplishment of all 4 stages is our human potential and if we’re fortunate and work hard, we’ll accomplish quite a bit and do well.

Regardless of whatever stage you’re in right now, individuation and the use of Jungian archetypes can guide you towards the Stage of the Spirit – a period that will provide you with enlightenment, and true wisdom.