Those undergoing the fourth stage of reincarnation are known as mature souls. At this stage, life is about embracing otherness — other perspectives, other people, other cultures, other parts of one’s own being.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

The lives of mature souls focus on exploring the true nature of self, life and especially others. Reaching beyond the forthright independence of the third stage, the major challenge at this fourth stage is to discover how to live inter-dependently with others, and other-ness in general.

So …

  • Whle the young soul focuses on being assertive, competitive and successful, the mature soul focuses on being sensitive, cooperative and authentic.
  • While a young soul insists that its own perspective is right, the mature soul recognises that other perspectives are equally valid.
  • While for the young soul self-interest is all-important, the mature soul is more concerned with the self-other relationship.

Mature Soul Perceptions

The mature soul develops an ever-deepening sense of both self and others. Life is no longer simply a matter of what happens out there in the world, but also what is going on “in here”, where we are coming from, what it all means.

Through understanding more and more of their own psychology, mature souls also learn about what makes others tick. They come to recognise that all others are their equals, at least on the inside. In fact, their own perspective is nothing but one among many equally valid perspectives.

In other words:

I see life from my perspective and you see life from your perspective.

I accept that my point of view is just another perspective, and not necessarily the only ‘correct’ one.

All perspectives are equally valid, and we can arrive at mutual understanding by sharing our perspectives with each other.

As an aside, you can see something of this respect for others’ perspectives in, for example, the films of Steven Spielberg (a Mature Artisan). Whereas stories like Jaws and War of the Worlds could have been little more than routine action movies, the director manages to show the validity and fluidity of each character’s perspective – whether child or adult, male or female, strong or weak.


At this level there is also the development of empathy — appreciating others’ experiences from their perspective.

I can appreciate how you experience life.

I can perceive life as you perceive it. I know how you feel, and I understand why.

Though our perceptions are not the same, we are all the same on the inside.

But the mature soul’s sense of self can become confusing because of this empathy with others:

I am very aware of how you perceive me, how you feel about me.

I can also identify with you, yet I am not you.

So who am I?

The mature soul keeps being reminded that all perspectives are valid but not necessarily correct, and that there are perspectives on perspectives on perspectives… So begins the search for a deeper truth that will ultimately lead back to oneness.

Other Mature Soul Characteristics

In contrast to the outward-bound adventures of the young soul, there is at this level an inward focus on perceptions, meanings, issues, relationships and the meaning of life.

Mature souls seek understanding, authenticity and integrity, especially in relationships, but also in other aspects of life including art and spirituality. They come to appreciate both the diversity and complexity of life, but there can be a lot of ‘naval gazing’ as they struggle to get to the bottom of it all.

Because of their willingness to accept and include others, and their empathy for others’ experiences, mature souls can be overly self-critical at times. While young souls tend to blame anyone but themselves for their own problems, mature souls will readily look for their own faults.

And whereas young souls like to have their own opinions and assert them forcibly, mature souls are more ambivalent when it comes to taking sides on any issue.

At the beginning, they will tend to reject and criticise the competitive, materialistic thrust of young soul culture. (Ironically, many mature-soul writers, artists and performers have achieved fame and fortune this way.)

Later on, the holding of strong opinions for or against anything seems dubious.

Mature Soul Relationships

Being a mature soul is all about seeking “right relationship.” More than any at other soul stage, mature souls are likely to bond for life in a positive, loving, intimate partnership.

It is a time for soul-mates to get together and help each other work through their issues to create a mature, healthy relationship. It’s also in this stage that conscious parenting becomes a key challenge.

At this level, love is generally experienced and expressed as appreciation, a genuine acceptance of the otherness of another.

Irrespective of whether you make me feel good or not, and irrespective of how you feel about me, I love you for who you are.

The mature soul is attracted to opportunities to express this appreciation of otherness, or diversity, the more unfamiliar and ‘alien’ the better. For example, one may develop a love of exotic wildlife or of foreign cultures.

Mature Soul Lifestyles

Mature souls can have sophisticated, avant-garde or post-modern sensibilities, but in private they may struggle with basic emotional issues. Because life is now all about optimising one’s relationships with anything and everything, mature souls can find life to be intensely complex and stressful, filled with emotional turmoil, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Inner conflict is very common.

Hence there is often a need to find time and space for introspection, or psychotherapy, or perhaps an artistic outlet, to confront the confusion and negativity within oneself.

Hence also a desire to keep well away from both the enforced limitations of baby soul cultures and the me-first competitiveness of young soul cultures. Do it any place but here is the mature soul motto, and this often shows in their facial expression.

There also emerges at this level a desire to explore the deeper and quieter forms of spirituality, such as Zen Buddhism. Mature souls tend to gravitate to liberal, multicultural places like London and San Francisco, though they prefer the relative tranquillity of the suburbs to the push and shove of the city centre.

Some Famous Mature Souls

There are many well-known mature souls, predominantly in the arts. In contrast to the “can do, will do” attitude of young souls, it is the subtlety, sensitivity and sincerity behind mature soul accomplishments that makes them stand out. Many of the world’s great artists, novelists and musicians have been mature souls, including Botticelli, Michaelangelo, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Dostoyevsky and Van Gogh

Mature souls: Michaelangelo, Shakespeare, and Van Gogh

… as well as Mozart, who apparently reincarnated as Michael Jackson.

The same soul? W.A. Mozart and Michael Jackson

Many of the world’s great movie actors are mature souls (as opposed to self-styled movie stars, who tend to be young souls). Some obvious examples of Mature soul actors include Kate Winslet, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter.

Soul mates? Mature Artisans Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter

In the field of politics, mature soul leaders tend to be liberal, inclusive and internationalist rather than conservative and nationalistic. This is something many baby and young souls can find incomprehensible and detestable.

Recent examples include Tony Blair and Barack Obama (both typically earnest Mature Priests).

Tony Blair Barack Obama


The Five Stages of Reincarnation

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Infant Soul Baby Soul Young Soul Mature Soul Old Soul

192 Responses to “Stage 4: The Mature Soul”

  1. 1 Soul in Transit 27 Aug 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Let me begin by saying that I give many thanks to the author of this site, and to you sir (Barry) for your insight into the matters of the soul and being. Now with that said, I also want to make clear that I DO NOT want to turn this into a discussion about drugs. Because my situation, condition, and/or confusion goes way beyond my use of DMT. My whole life I have been trying to figure out who I am and what is my purpose, and how do I fit into this world as a whole. And here I am 41 years old and still wondering. My life has been about a quest of knowledge and being able to express myself creatively. When I’m not people watching, lol… sorry, I’m trying to make sense of this crazy world. I have always been very interested in ancient history, religion and science, and I have always been an artist. I draw, write, paint, sculpt and make jewelry. As for jobs I have done interior design, architecture and civil and mechanical drafting, graphics and I have even dabbled in fashion design. So based on what I’ve read on this site, I am either a Mature or Old Soul, and more likely an Artisan, but could be a Scholar.

    My use of DMT started less then a year ago, but my interest and/or discovery of it started several years back with me finding and reading “The Perfect Way,” by Ann Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland. For anyone who has ever read “The Perfect Way” I do not need to express all the possibilities and doors that opened up. One of those doors was the Astral and the search was on, then, as I said I found DMT.

    I’m sure your wondering what any of this has to do with you, and to be honest I’m not sure. It’s just that you and some of the others on this site seem to be more informed and knowledgeable then others, and I need help. So I think before I go into too many details I should ask you if you are familiar with the Astral Body?

    • 2 barry 27 Aug 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Hi Soul in Transit

      So glad you like the site, and many thanks for the feedback.

      Based on what you’ve said about yourself so far, I’m guessing Mature (probably) or Old (possibly) Artisan with goal of Growth (quest for knowledge with confusion is the negative pole, comprehension of life, or wisdom, is the positive). And (possibly) mode of Observation.

      FYI, over the last few days I have had the feeling that I am in now the midst of some pre-orchestrated synchronicity. Seems like you may be having the same feeling. I won’t go into too many details about mine just yet as I would need the permission of other individuals involved, but I am in one private discussion about experiencing DMT and another with a real master of lucid dreaming who knows all there is to know about experiencing astral travel.

      I am familiar with DMT (though have never taken any) – I have the Spirit Molecule book somewhere in my vast scholarly collection.

      I am also familiar (more in theory than practice) with the astral plane, the astral body, astral travel, meeting nonhuman beings through lucid dreaming, etc. (Several books on all that in my house!).

      I’ve personally had a couple of lucid dreams which quite affected me, including one in which I revisited a past life in medieval Europe (the Pyrenees) when I was a guard, killed by a marauding gang leader who didn’t halt when I said halt but just cleaved my skull in two with an axe.

      Hmm, just went off on a tangent there, but my intuition is telling me to go with it…

      Look forward to hearing more,


      • 3 Soul in Transit 28 Aug 2014 at 4:01 am

        Negative pole… ouch. Well I guess that’s why I’m asking questions, just trying to bring myself out of this confusion. You have said that we preset our own lives, picking our parents, deciding major events or lessons that take place in our lives, etc. Do you believe that there are exceptions to this, and if so when, why and who?

        From what I have gotten from “The Perfect Way,” our souls are the keepers of knowledge of our past lives. And our Astral Bodies play as a kind of veil concealing our souls? Do you believe this? If so, if for what reason would our souls be revealed to us and how would we obtain this knowledge from her?

        I have so many other questions and things I want to say but I’m hesitant because I don’t want to sound crazy. Do you know of any meeting places or groups that get together whom discuss such issues?

        • 4 barry 31 Aug 2014 at 11:13 am

          Most of your questions are addressed already on the site, here and there, but to quickly run through them:
          – No, there are no exceptions that I am aware of. Why would we NOT choose our parents etc when all information about who they are and what will occur is automatically available to us? We know what we are doing when we set up lives … at least, to the degree that we understand, given our soul age.
          – Yes, between lives we have total access to all past life memories (and even future life probabilities). Our experiences are within our astral body, if you like. And all souls’ experiences are stored as part of the “Akashic records”.
          – When we incarnate into the body of a human infant, the soul memories become unconscious while our consciousness becomes fully identified with the intense sensations of the physical body, and the workings of the human brain. Thus we forget ourselves. Many refer to this as a veil of amnesia. It would be pretty horrendous to be a sweet young child with conscious access to all our past life traumas and karmic acts. Only a very old soul can handle that.
          – As we evolve, we are better able to start accessing our soul memories while in human form without being completely distracted, disorientated, confused or traumatised.
          – Meeting place / groups – there are numerous groups in Yahoo and elsewhere, just try googling “michael teachings discussion”.

          cheers SiT


        • 5 ion-christopher 02 May 2015 at 7:30 am

          Soul in Transit and Barry, and any,
          I definitely did not choose my parents, I remember that all quite explicitly. I have a, slightly different? set of ideas about these things. They are quite well enunciated in a series of talks (Ion-Christopher Audio Blog) which I am presenting on a new site so no URL. But you can seek and find me if you want – and I would encourage it.

          I am here to learn about this system of reincarnation, which I have left a blank. My memory of past lives was erased – I did choose that – and probably as a result I have excellent recall of “Heaven” and awakening in the womb, and through starting school.

          Anyway, I do have astounding good answers for Soul in Transit – SoulS in Transit! Ha-ha. And it is such a delight – I feel such good vibes.

          THANK YOU SO MUCH for the recommendation of The Perfect Way. It is – perfect. It fuses the mythologies and philosophies of the Ancient times with my open questions, providing a critical few new authoritative answers – bravo!! You are making me expert and deep now. (Shimmer.) Thank the Purpose it was crafted in the 1880’s and is free to download.

  2. 6 Pauline Wood 28 Aug 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I have been reading into Michael teachings for around 8 months and I’m totally fascinated. I have struggled with low self esteem issues all of my life (which makes me think that I am probably a mature soul). Since reading the Michael teachings I do feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I never considered before that I suffered from low self esteem in order to grow as a soul. Along with this realisation and discovering running I have not quite changed (I’m still the same person) but because I am not hindered with self hatred and self doubt, I’m allowing myself to become the person that I have always been.

    Of course I would like to know what age soul I have got and would consider a Michael reading in the future but in a way it doesn’t matter and neither does that authenticity of whether it actually exists. In my mind, if it makes you evaluate your life and helps you to forgive your imperfections then that is only a good thing. I will start forgiving myself more and think how I fit into my soul’s journey rather than just be caught up in a cycle of self hatred and doubt.

    • 7 barry 30 Aug 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Pauline

      Great to hear that you’ve found the Michael Teachings helpful. It certainly is liberating to see where you and others fit in one big “matrix” of possibilities. As for soul age – yes, this particular site mostly appeals to Mature souls who seek above all to understand and be understood. But you’re absolutely right – the label isn’t what matters, if the result is you find greater freedom and self-forgiveness.


  3. 8 F 23 Oct 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hard for me to believe Obama is a mature soul. The guy, for starters, is a pathological liar. He seems to be anti-a lot of things as well. He has a fixed ideology and is unwilling to accept any other way! He doesn’t always vocalize (sometimes he does) what he really believes in. All one has to do it analyze how he behaves though. If Hitler is a Baby soul then Obama probably is too. The propaganda machine tries to prop him up as a “wise” or a “mature” and “caring soul” but he has been nothing like that as president. Everything he does is for political purposes and he cares a lot about he is perceived. He’ll use any tactic to get his way! As long as he can get away with it.

    • 9 barry 23 Oct 2014 at 3:12 pm

  4. 10 almira 23 Nov 2014 at 6:44 am

    Hi Barry, I’m so glad to stumble on this site. I’ve been reading this site for 2 days now when baby Kai is asleep or preoccupied.

    I always feel blessed every time I read up the thoughts of kindred souls. It affirms the words of my spirit guide that I need not worry. Everything is alright. Whenever I need help, help will always come. Right now I feel stuck. I’ve been practicing Twin Hearts Meditation of Loving-kindness with a group, on and off. It’s my stress reliever and the energy in the center is uplifting.

    But somehow, it seems I’m more critical and unkind in my thoughts of others. I’m struggling with character building and self doubt if I could truly let the Higher Self come through in daily life. But I know I will stick with the meditation since this gave me the experience of Divine Oneness years ago. In my core, I know that duality can be transcended and all of my struggles in this incarnation are just levels of the game of life.

    Ever since I was a child, I’ve known that we are more than the personality that we are born with. That our lives have purpose. But at the same time, those thoughts made me think of suicide during my teenage years. I looked at my elders, those who are successful and not so successful in society’s view. I judged (cringe!) their lives as devoid of meaning. They seemed to lead lives of quiet desperation. I said to myself then that I would rather die than be that. I would have committed suicide then if not for my love for my parents. They would have been shamed if I did. I promised I would do so when they’ve died. Lol! I was so young then.

    I’m glad help came. I’ve been given the grace in my 20s to get over that stage which I call the dark night of the soul. My belief that our lives have purpose has been affirmed. My purpose is to be happy. Helping others by sharing what I have gives me happiness.

    I’m still struggling with doubt, anxiety, stress and lack of sleep as a new mama. But I know I’ll get through because help will always come. I’m just remembering that as I’m typing.

    The reason I’m taking up space in your site is actually to thank you. It is people like you, strangers in a sense, but not really who helped me then and now. Whose writings and wise counsel gave me strength to carry on.

    Thank you Barry and all the men and women, long out of body or still in the body for reaching out to those of us who are lost and need a little light that your words provide.

    God bless.

    • 11 barry 22 May 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you thank you thank you !!

  5. 12 Elisabeth 28 Nov 2014 at 12:56 am

    By the way: Mozart was an old soul old-2 (2 3/2 5 6 5 7/2 4/7) and Michael Jackson was mature-7 (2 3/2 5 6 5 7/2 4/7).

    • 13 barry 22 May 2015 at 11:44 pm

      * shrug *

  6. 14 downbythebrook 28 Dec 2014 at 1:27 am

    I wouldn’t describe Tony Blair as a mature soul- that ego driven war mongering politician!

    • 15 barry 28 Dec 2014 at 9:48 am

      Actually I would describe him as very a typical Mature soul – conflicted between coming from ego and coming from heart, which I for one can relate to. Being a Mature soul doesn’t make one immune to making poor choices.

      I would say Blair is a Mature Priest with (in this life) a goal of Acceptance, an attitude of Idealism, a chief feature of Arrogance, possibly a mode of Perseverance. As a typical Priest, he was (and still is) out to change the world for the better as he sees it. With a goal of Acceptance he is warm and amiable, but prone to ingratiate, and hates to say “no” because he fears being rejected in return. With a chief feature of Arrogance, he is afraid of showing vulnerability (especially in public) and therefore prone to hubris (“I don’t make mistakes. Therefore I have no regrets.”).

      I suspect his war-mongering image will grate on him to his dying day, unless he has a sudden insight into how his own weaknesses led him to make terrible choices.

  7. 16 Trukon 06 Mar 2015 at 9:23 am

    I’m a 19 year old multiracial American male from North Carolina and I was raised from birth as a devout Presbyterian Christian. I’ve had a love for knowledge of history, science and the world around me since I was a small child but I struggled in school because I never felt driven in the classroom…I always wanted to be out exploring and experiencing the world for myself with all of my senses. I was also verbally picked on a lot from elementary school up until about the end of 7th grade because I was very different from my classmates but the bullying stopped by high school and everyone finally accepted me for who I was which led to me making many friends and great memories. I have a love for physical fitness and a passion for training in martial arts as well as competing in track & field and MMA which I would like to take to a professional level simply because it is personally the most satisfying thing I have ever participated in and it allows to truly express who I am and learn about myself. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic I guess you could say and I’ve had my heart broken about 2 times so far which hurt me so much both times that it completely ruined my focus on martial arts and track but I always took away so much knowledge from the situations as time went on and one of my biggest hopes in life has been to find a wonderful soul mate to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve had a very stressful family life and my family is a bit dysfunctional to say the least but I’ve never really sided with anyone on issues, I’ve always seen them in this group of equals that are always fighting and hating when they should love and care for one another. One of the side effects of all this stress led to me having some bad anxiety which can really bother me at times and I’d smoked marijuana before but very rarely and I had no idea how much it could help with stress and anxiety. Well about a year ago I moved in with my close friend to just get a break from all the fussing and fighting at home and he and another friend recommended I smoke every once in a while to help myself relax so I started smoking. For a while I just would have fun and laugh and get hungry as hell and have all these little creative ideas on poetry and comedy. After a few weeks though I finally got used to thc and would get the nice mellow high that would really allow me to relax and think so clearly for the first time in years….it’s almost as if it was a meditative state but I have no idea how to meditate. As I would think I would do so very inwardly and it made me analyze who I was as a person and over time since the first day it has made me change myself into a better person than I was. Other times when I would think it would be different, I would think very outwardly and think of others and the nature of the universe which I had never done before and it lead to me renouncing my religion which left me in a very confused state. I believed only in what had been proven through science and didn’t believe in other realms of existence or souls until one day I had another revalation, we are all connected by an energy that makes up everything that is and I had this overwhelming sense that we are reincarnated again and again but beyond that I understood nothing. I’ve read a tiny article on what Buddhists think happens when you die but it didn’t answer my curiosity so I never researched it further and I’ve been thinking I’m fucking insane for the past few months or there’s something very different about me at least. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve given so much information and it’s because I want you to try and understand what little I’ve explained and tell me what you think. I’ve studied many western religions but I know almost nothing of eastern religions or mysticism and spirituality beyond Christian prayer. A while back I started researching my thoughts and started with spiritual revalation through drugs which lead me to learn about dmt. The people’s description of what they realized while on the drug was almost exactly the same as the realization I came to over the past year and a half just sitting and thinking so deeply. I’ve read and learned all kinds of stuff about psychedelics since then but haven’t tried any yet. Today I read about Tao for the first time in my life and I just felt like I had made another breakthrough or something but I wasn’t really sure what to think because all these revalations have made me skeptical of world religious views but it seemed so true to me. Earlier today I was just sitting and thinking about why I have these radically different views with no human influence whatsoever so I pulled out my phone and Google do I have an “old soul” now mind you I’ve never seen or heard that term used anywhere and it’s brought me to this. I read other articles and sites first about this and it has pretty much gone along with EVERYTHING I “realized” and filled in so many blanks but I still have so much more to read as I’ve only read about the soul and it’s journey so far. It’s funny I don’t even know what this religion or philosophy is called, I just read this article because when I started reading I thought I was an old soul but the mature soul seems to describe me very closely while the young and old not nearly as much. What’s happened/happening to me? What kind of soul do you think I have? How could I have come to this with no person’s guidance? I’ve never read anything like this before and no one I know personally has this view. Sorry I typed so much I just feel like a fascinated little kid…this is so amazing!

    • 17 barry 12 Apr 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Trukon,

      I’m sorry your message has slipped under my radar for a few weeks.

      Your background so far bears quite a bit of similarity to my own. I suspect you are a late Mature soul, or possibly early Old soul, with (in this life) a goal of Growth and an attitude of Idealism, and moving centered

      (for explanations see: )

      I can’t tell your soul type based on what you’ve written. The physical fitness and martial arts thing could suggest Warrior or it could simply be a reflection of being moving (physical) centred.

      A goal of Growth means going through life with an underlying desire for insight and understanding of the mysteries of self, life and others. It also usually means living a life of intense, varied and conflicting experiences, which actually serve to stimulate the search for ever more insight and understanding. People who change religion, career, country, and/or family more than once in life, and whose lives seem to be “one thing after another”, are usually driven by the goal of Growth. The constant change and contrast keeps their perspective expanding. Thus, especially if they are Mature souls, they will want to get to the actual truth of things and not put up with anything phony or dogmatic.

      The last 6 months for me have been typical — I’ve been through a spontaneous kundalini awakening, a physical healing, a 3-month bout of whooping cough (ongoing), death threats, and I’ve lost my job. All grist for the mill!

      Hope this helps!!


      PS – Wearing my responsible older adult hat for a moment, I would advise caution with marijuana while still at your age. The human brain does not fully form with all its higher cortical functions until we reach the age of 25. Before then, the brain is particularly vulnerable to marijuana’s less pleasant side effects, not just paranoia but (in rare cases) psychosis, with a risk of long term trouble. Ok, hat off.

  8. 18 Bri 21 Mar 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I didn’t always know I was a mature soul, but there was always a part of me that knew I was different. As a child, I suffered a depression that probably all mature souls can relate to. It wasn’t caused by the chemistry in my body or hormones and it wouldn’t be helped with medicine and I never talked about it before to anyone. Just a second grader, I suffered this certain distraught that drained me mentally, physically and mentally. I never thought my parents would ever care because I knew they’d just call it complaining. I was always feeling like I was looked down on even though I was very respectful to everyone else. Ten years later, I still feel that way at times, but my experiences have helped me deal with it in a positive way. I now recognize it as having wisdom in a world so broken in an age of entitlement. For seventeen, have this powerful empathy for people a high level of intuition. and I have this knowledge and self-assurance that was mentioned above. I also am curious about the world and have no desire for most of the things that young souls hope to acquire. I aspire to use my compassion for other people through social work and channeling my wisdom through reading the Bible. The book of Proverbs talks all about wisdom and the benefits of being wise. It has helped me with numerous areas of my life and I know that God made me an old soul for a reason. One of my goals that I really hope to accomplish is to connect with old souls and inform them of the benefits of having a beautiful spirit inside of them and not to let the brokenness in the world stop you from what you are meant to accomplish: changing the world.

    • 19 barry 12 Apr 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Lovely, thank you Bri.
      And for what it’s worth, I would guess that you’re a Priest soul.

  9. 20 Madeline 09 Apr 2015 at 6:43 am

    Why is it that we have a larger group of young souls then infant or old souls? What has created this imbalance that is causing so much suffering and mis-understanding.

    • 21 barry 09 Apr 2015 at 10:39 am

      Hi Madeline

      Imagine a wave of new souls starting their reincarnational journeys in their chosen species (eg, Homo sapiens, 1m years ago). Even if they all start off at the same time, some will reincarnate more frequently than others, some will reincarnate less frequently. Over time – thousands of years – you will see a natural spread. A few will be in stage 2 as baby souls while the majority are still infant souls in stage 1. Later, some will be entering stage 3 as Young souls while most are in stage 2 and some are still infant souls in stage 1. You see how a bell-shaped curve will naturally appear?

      Now we are at a point where a few souls (5%?) have already completed stage 5 and “cycled off” while some are still taking their time in stage 1. The majority, however, are in the middle stages, with the “peak” around the end of stage 3.

      To call this an imbalance implies that it would be better if we were all moving in parallel, all going through the same stage at the same time. While that might seem attractive from a human point of view, it would mean overriding the free will of souls choosing their incarnations.

      Also, I doubt it would do much for our evolution. Suffering and misunderstanding between beings with different goals and perspectives, at least to begin with, help to kick-start the evolutionary impulse. At some point we get fed up with suffering and being misunderstood. At some point also, we realise how we ourselves cause suffering and misunderstanding, both in ourselves and others. And we also come to realise that while we can’t do much to stop others from causing such things, it is in our power to choose not to.

      • 22 downbythebrook 12 Apr 2015 at 5:39 pm

        Sorry to hear about all that unpleasantness you’ve had going on Barry. I haven’t been having an easy time of it myself lately- some of it similar to yours.Let’s hope Spring brings peace, prosperity and good health to all of us. x

        • 23 barry 22 May 2015 at 11:49 pm

          Almost out of it. Still with last remnants of whooping cough, and still out of work, and child still unwell. But apart from that, an abundance of energy and good things emerging !!

          • 24 downbythebrook 23 May 2015 at 12:26 am

            Hope the good energy rolls all that away Barry.

  10. 25 James 12 Apr 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Hi there.
    At what point does a being start the soul journey? It has been proved that we descended from apes to become homo sapians. So therefore we must have had souls as apes before we became ‘human’? Does that mean that all animals and creatures have souls? How does a crocodile or frog choose its next life or review its past life? And especially if they are only acting on instinct. It may sound like a silly question but if you think about it, it’s very practical.

    • 26 barry 12 Apr 2015 at 11:15 pm

      There’s a bit of semantics here that muddies the question.

      From within the human perspective, “we” are indeed human beings and we are said to “have” these esoteric things called souls. For a spiritual perspective, however, “we” are actually souls and we sometimes have human bodies because we repeatedly opt to experience life from within the limitations and lifespan of the human form.

      As souls, “we” did not descend from apes. Rather, our human bodies are descended from apes. It could be said that we have “descended” from nonphysical consciousness to physically-focused consciousness by fusing with the human body, which is our chosen vehicle for self-evolution.

      Our evolution as souls is all about choice. We have chosen to reincarnate in human form in order to develop and learn from our capacity to make individual choices, again and again. Most other life forms are not vehicles for individual conscious choice, but are expressions of the life force in myriad forms and ways of being.

      The word soul refers, in general, to that current of life force or stream of consciousness that is present in any living, autonomously mobile creature. Our souls, however, are semi-detached from the greater stream, as it is our choice to experience the separation and evolve from that back to unity. We belong to a subset of souls who are evolving in self-awareness through their capacity for individual choice.

      Hope that makes sense.

  11. 27 Kathleen (Kathy) 19 Apr 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I have a certain knowledge of reincarnation and I think it was inborn in me. I have struggled in this life and had many misfortunes but also many so called miracles. It is not and never has been an easy life. I am at a cross road here, I am elderly and conflicted with a lung decease that doesn’t really concern me. I have been chastised by members of my family for believing in reincarnation, devote Christians every one of them. I am curious and just don’t always see things the way they do. In an attempt to give it a shot, so to speak I have been reading the bible which, in truth doesn’t answer my basic questions of life. I believe in God and I believe in Jesus but reincarnation simply makes since to me. My caring relatives think my soul is in danger. Many of the bad things in my life are explained to me by them, it is the devil confusing me. I have had dreams of being other people and they were very clear and well remembered. I am called a very strong person because of my ability to overcome hard times and keep on ticking so to speak I guess I just want to know what you think.

    • 28 barry 20 Apr 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Hello Kathleen

      Thank you for describing your situation. I am slightly amazed that you have continued to live for so long in a family of devout Christians who disparage your inner awareness of such things as reincarnation. I think I would have gone mad.

      As I see it, your family have less awareness than you. That doesn’t make them wrong or bad, nor does it make you wrong or bad (despite what they may say). Their perception of life is limited to what they are willing to believe, and what they are willing to believe is limited to whatever is consistent with their upbringing and culture. They are still going “by the book” (literally) while you are torn between the book and your own sense of truth. They cannot make sense of your experiences without overturning their lifelong belief system, and I imagine that is something they are not yet equipped to do. So instead of revising their beliefs to accommodate yours, they are assimilating your beliefs into theirs by attributing your “unusual experiences” to the devil. I guess the challenge for you is to embrace that which you know to be true from your own experience irrespective of what they say. That doesn’t mean you have to openly argue with them (you will surely lose in their eyes), but I would encourage you to hold what you know to be true as a private understanding — a secret you share with God, if you like.

      It is a terrible thing to be told that your sense of truth is wrong, or the work of the devil, and the cause of misery. My heart goes out to you.

      Truth is truth is truth… I wish you great courage in holding to what you know, and may the disbelief of others around you leave you unscathed, like water off a duck’s back.

      • 29 Kathleen (Kathy) 02 May 2015 at 1:44 pm

        Thank you so much for your input. It is so true what you say. I would never try and argue with my relatives for a case for reincarnation. That is my choice but doesn’t have to be theirs. I don’t push my beliefs on to anyone, it is my choice and people will believe what the want to believe. Oh yes, the reason my family hasn’t driven me crazy is because I live two thousand miles away from them.

  12. 30 Som 10 May 2015 at 5:02 pm

    This discussion is very intruiging to me.For past Few years i have been wondering about reincarnations ,why we are the way we are. and what we we supposed to do here..what are the lessons and how do i get o know hem.
    I have always been very introverted and shy.I wished that I was bit like others.I always tend to think..over think and evaluate things..
    I dont mingle easily.Therefore naturally I dont have lots of friends.I find people and relationships. Sometimes I feel very self absorbed.I am in my own world speculating, thinking or imagining.As if I don’t belong here.

    The most challenging part of this entire thing are the people.I really grapple with the way they work and function.What makes them happy why they behave the way they do?How do they process any information? Why they think so differently from each other…is it conditioned or the they are naturally so?what makes them sad ?vulnerable?what makes them open up to people?How can I reach them?How can I decode these questions to get to know them better.?
    I know all these sounds crazy but that’s how my mind works..I speculates compares thinks.I have started reading psychology to seek for answers.
    I dont think other people struggle with these kind of problems much.Any insight would be helpful.

    • 31 barry 10 May 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Som

      Actually, many people struggle with the same questions. I suspect you are just living n an environment where such people are not apparent.

      If you read about my own life’s journey you’ll see that your line of questioning is exactly where I’ve been coming from. I felt the same confusion when I was about 20, but by the time I was 40 I could see how that same confusion had prompted me to take my life in a direction that has been utterly meaningful and satisfactory.

      I suspect that, like me, you are a mature soul (exploring the reality of self and other), and probably with a current life goal of Growth (searching for the deeper truths and broader perspectives that will accelerate your evolution). Your introversion leads me to suspect that you, also like me, may be a Scholar at heart (the type of being that has a natural tendency to assimilate information and knowledge).

      Being a mature soul is all about getting to grips with how self relates to other(s). For an introverted Scholar, this is quite a challenge. Scholars prefer to live life at arm’s length, watching the world go by rather than getting involved in all that messy interaction. But eventually – if we are to evolve – we must come out of our solitary mental worlds and explore the world of human relationships directly.

      The very questions that puzzle you are the drivers that will guide you. Trust that your life is unfolding precisely as you have planned it to. Perhaps you will become a wonderful psychologist…

  13. 32 Som 11 May 2015 at 3:02 am

    Thank you Barry,
    I have read quite a number of books on spirituality and past lives and incarnations.I am 28 doing my PhD in Molecular Genetics.After my studies I would like to study psychology.
    .Even though I like to absorb knowledge and acquire wisdom I feel I cant communicate them effectively to others and perhaps I am more comfortable deep down just to observe and assimilate rather than to preach the world.Imparting knowledge isnt something I strive to do…but when I do I am not so convincing.I though sometimes get frustrated with this inability to communicate effectively.
    I have an idealist view of life.I find it hard to believe that people are inherently doing something wrong…acting.People tell me that I make excuses for everyone for every behaviour and some actions and behaviors are inexcusable.
    I have started questioning the customs the traditions the blind faith of my relatives and the society I come from which makes them think I am arrogant.
    I have no problems abiding by their laws and following their way.I some of them useless though and sometimes downright irritating.

  14. 33 sarahecarr29 18 May 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Barry, yours is my favourite site on matters spiritual – it seems to give a lot of the answers to my questions, and it all just ‘feels’ so right.
    I would be really grateful for your view on where I am in spiritual development. (One interesting question I have asked myself is why this matters to me so much. The fact that we are all of equal value should mean that it really doesn’t matter, since we will all get there in the end. I think my preoccupation with this is a reflection of my in-some-ways competitive nature. I’m not sure whether I was born competitive or became it through my schooling, which was very much about grades in relation to others rather in relation to my own potential.)
    I am 48 and work as a freelance editor/proofreader. I am well educated and always did very well at school. I wanted very much to be a nurse but my parents were adamant I must got to university (nursing wasn’t a degree subject then), as they thought that’s what clever people should do. I have since wondered often often about becoming a nurse but there are practical difficulties (financial – I need to keep earning to help keep the family/house; and health-related – I have really sensitive skin/eczema). I am lucky to be very happily married and to have four children. I quite like my editing work but feel it doesn’t offer me much opportunity to develop personally. So 4 years ago, I trained as a complementary therapist and am now also training as a counsellor. I do voluntary work alongside my paid work in bereavement support and working with those affected by cancer. I love this work, but struggle to juggle it with my paid work sometimes.
    I live in a very middle-class area and am financially comfortable (though not enough to give up paid work). I like to give money to charity whenever I can, and am always very aware of those less fortunate. I also like to notice people’s individual needs and respond to them, even if just holding a door open for someone, smiling at a stranger, offering words of encouragement etc.
    The thing that mystifies me most about myself is that I can be unusually non-judgmental on some things (e.g. extreme things such as criminals’ acts) and yet the complete opposite on other things that many people see as quite trivial (e.g. people in my community not appreciating their wealth/good fortune, and feeling smug that they have these things entirely through their own merit). This makes me quite outspoken sometimes, and I think many people round here see me as a little odd. I have fewer friends than many and am introverted, yet always greet strangers (which many of my community simply wouldn’t do). I am also very into being authentic, to the point that I choose not to dye my grey hair or wear make-up. I like this natural look, and am always clean and tidy, and but I think others find it hard to fathom why I would not wish to adorn myself as they do. So all in all, I feel a bit the ‘odd one out’.
    I have one brother, who is very into ultra-running (running distances over 100 miles) and other outdoor exercise. He seems to me quite selfish and is poor at keeping in touch with family, including our elderly parents (who really miss his contact). I think one of the ways I have coped with his lack of interest in the family is to tell myself he is a younger soul than I am (and so that is why he is as he is), but recently I have begun to wonder: if I am judging him, does that make me the younger soul?
    Sorry to waffle on at such length – I would be really grateful for your (and any other readers’) view on where I’m at and what I should be doing to be more peaceful and to progress as much as I can in this lifetime.
    Thank you very much, Sarah

    • 34 barry 19 May 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Based on all you’ve said, and how you express yourself, my impression is that you’re most likely a mature server.

      Appreciating the equal value of others while struggling with one’s own issues, and being preoccupied with spiritual progress, is classic mature soul stuff. And servers are in the habit of feeling disgruntled and critical about others in society who don’t share their instinct for contributing to the common good.

      The mere fact that you are capable of judging others, I would say, probably isn’t of huge significance. I have seen plenty of harsh judgements of others coming from people who are apparently old souls — it’s not just a habit of younger souls. Judgement is simply a mental ability to discriminate and evaluate; like any ability it can be used positively or negatively or impartially. Besides, I have a suspicion that you judge yourself more harshly than you judge others. Perhaps you would benefit from accepting and trusting your ability to judge.

      Mature souls are happy to be successful, they just stop believing in “success at any cost”, which is what drives young souls. However, we live in a world in which young souls have long outnumbered mature souls. The young soul mentality is strongly embedded in our culture, and throughout much of Western society we are raised and educated to be competitive and successful, to see life as a competition, and to expect others to be the same. For mature souls, one of the challenges of mid-life is to overcome this mentality. (It is typically from the age of 35+ that we seek to be ourselves despite our upbringing.)

      It’s possible that you have been a nurse before, as it suits you well, but in this life you intend to support others in a more intimate and/or less physically demanding way (hence the skin sensitivity).

      Not sure if I’ve addressed exacty what you asked but feel free to get back.


      • 35 sarahecarr29 22 May 2015 at 10:58 pm

        Barry, sorry to have taken so many days to reply – much food for thought, as well as busy week with work. Your reply has helped me greatly, thank you very much. I do have lots more questions, but I know there is much on this site that I haven’t had chance to fully explore yet, so I will take the time to digest everything you have so generously put on here before I take your time with other questions. I am glad you made the effort to identify your life purpose, because it is clearly making a really positive difference to many people, not least me.

  15. 36 Kathy 18 May 2015 at 2:46 pm

    You sound and think just like me, although I never thought of my self as competitive but in after thought I guess I am in some areas. I have a problem with judging others and I am working on it. I firmly believe I am a mature soul. Don’t know if this helps but I hope it does. Kathy

    • 37 sarahecarr29 19 May 2015 at 7:36 am

      Thank you, Kathy – that does help. Good to know I’m not alone!

  16. 38 Clara 23 May 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Hi! 18 year old Londoner here. After reading about this I believe I am most likely a mature soul. I believe my area, south London, has a large concentration of early mature souls but also a large concentration of young souls. I’m currently going through that “what is the purpose of everything?” Stage and definitely finding the self-reflection overwhelming. The mental health struggles associated with mature souls is something I find intriguing as I and a large proportion of my peers definitely seem to fit that trend.

    I do have self-esteem issues and at times feel as if my inner-self and body are disjointed. I find it strange that my seemingly vast inner-self can be contained within my body. Is this typical mature soul thinking?

    I often feel very out of place in certain situations where there is a young soul majority, and most at peace when conversing with other mature souls. Lately I have been increasingly anxious about what I actually want to do in the future. I have many interests and often have a problem with indecisiveness. I have a keen interest in literature and sociology and my friends and teachers often comment on my ability to spot connections and make perceptions that other people overlook, coupled with a tendency with one idea to branch out quickly to a seemingly random concept. I have difficulty in a society which likes to attach labels to everything. I don’t ever seem to fit into only one criteria and I feel like although I can fit into many different categories to extent I can never wholly devote myself to anything.

    I definitely agree that England is definitely a mature country. But although there is less young influence in some respects there is still a very competitive undertone to society. People are almost competing to possess the greatest amount of mature soul characteristics something which I think I think is illustrated in this new obsession with so called ‘hipster culture’

    • 39 barry 02 Jun 2015 at 2:25 pm

      Very impressed at your clarity, Clara … um, no pun intended!

      I spent my childhood in N.E. England, where I generally felt like a fish out of water (think: Geordie Shore).

  17. 40 Kathleen (Kathy) 23 May 2015 at 6:16 pm

    The more I read about mature souls the more I am convinced I am a mature soul maybe ready to evolve into an old soul. I certainly can relate to all the comments given by mature souls. I have not researched old souls but think maybe it is time I did. I am well versed in many things even though I have a 8th grade education and did well for myself. My husband calls me AKA, ask Kathy anything. It is my curious nature and desire to find myself and attempt to answer the questions why am I here and what’s it all about? Reincarnation answers both questions. As I said before I think I was born with the knowledge of reincarnation, I don’t remember other lives but dream of things that I believe was in another life. Point in question, years ago I woke up screaming my legs are on fire. I was dreaming of a women (me) who was tied to a pole of some sort. I wore a blue dress from another time. Just before I woke up I was about to be set on fire. I have had dreams of being a man which at first freaked me out until I realized I had been a man at some point maybe more often than not Once I put that into perspective dreaming of being a male was totally natural to me. In this life I am a girly, girl, totally female, loving all the girly things in life. Interestingly I gave birth to four sons, no daughters and in spite of or because of it I remained as I am, a total female. So much of what I read here pertains to me and my personality. It’s as if someone is writing about me. I would like to know what the numbers are all about determining what stage a person is in. As far as mature and old souls are concerned.

  18. 41 Kevin GiantsFan Smith 02 Jun 2015 at 11:08 am

    After reading this very interesting article, I believe I’m somewhere between mature and old soul. I always been told I was wise beyond my years, yet as I’ve grown, I feel very disconnected from my peers. Not better, just not on the same level. Relationships do mean a lot to me, especially with my kids (I’m a single dad of 3). Not so much with interpersonal, I don’t like feeling lonely, but am OK with being alone.

  19. 42 Livvy Kennah 20 Jun 2015 at 3:29 am

    i don’t want to sound strange but i think i have a ‘memory’ from when i died in a past life, and i think i know who i was. i have so many questions about all of this but at the same time feel afraid because all of this is so real to me. i can’t talk to anybody about it because i don’t know anybody else who believes in reincarnation, soul age etc. no one i know pays much attention to any of this as i’m 17 so everyone around me is only ever concerned with their iphones and things like that.
    it would be so lovely if someone could help me out.
    thank you
    – Livvy

    • 43 Kathy 20 Jun 2015 at 1:46 pm

      From what I have heard, the younger you are the more likely to have some memory of past lives, as you get older the memories fad. I have no real memories but have dreams of being someone else and the dreams seem to be at the end of that life and are very real to me. I am 69 and strongly believe in reincarnation and always have, at this stage of my life I could care less what other’s think but certainly did in my younger years. We are privileged to have this knowledge and insight.

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