“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” Carl Gustav Jung
According to the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, there are 4 archetypes, 4 stages that we go through during our lifetime, and these stages are:
1. The ATHLETE Stage
At this stage, we are mostly preoccupied with our looks, with the way our body looks. During this stage we might stay for hours looking and admiring our reflection in the mirror. Our body, our looks are the most important thing to us, nothing else.
2. The WARRIOR stage
During this period, this 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 warriors do, and act like 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 so we can feel better because we have achieved more, because we are the warriors, the brave ones.
3. The STATEMENT stage
At this time, this stage in your life, 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. You now realize what you chased after until now, money, power, possessions etc. will keep on appearing in your life but you no longer attribute them the same value as before, you no longer are attached to those things because you are now in a different stage of your life, where you know there is more to life than that. You receive them, you accept them and you are grateful, but you are ready to let go of them at any time. You are looking for ways to stop thinking only about yourself, of ways to receive and start focusing on living a life of service. All you want to do in this stage is give. You now know that giving is receiving and it is time for you to stop being selfish, egotistical and self-centered and think of ways to help those in need, to leave this world better than it was when you arrived.
4. The Stage of the SPIRIT
According to Jung, this will be the last stage of our life, a stage where we realize that none of those 3 stages are really who and what we are. 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 to step out of our own mind, out of our own body and understand who we really are, to see things the way they are. We become the observer of our lives. We realize that we are not that which we notice but, the observer of what we notice.
2500 years ago, Lao Tzu (BCE) was trying to teach us just that, was trying to teach us how to get to this last stage of life, this spiritual stage: “Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”
What are your thoughts regarding these 4 stages of life and in which one do you think you’re in? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below.