By George A. Boyd © 2003
Human lives pass through seven stages, which are described below.
- Degenerate – lives marked by lack of conscience, cruelty, selfishness, harm to self, others and the community; criminal and barbaric lives
- Chaotic – lives marked by severe conflict, confusion, or madness, difficulty in sorting out inner priorities and interpersonal turmoil, often marked by dysfunctional family environment, struggle with addictions
- Thematic – lives relatively well adjusted to the ambient culture, but with repeating patterns of frustration, self-sabotage, and limitation with discrete issues
- Revelatory – lives devoted to pursuit of meaning, self discovery and overcoming limitation; these lives are growth-oriented, embrace experimental risk-taking to act and think in new ways, and achieve profound, life-transforming insights
- Steady effort – after several lifetimes of effort towards fulfilling Soul Ray purposes, these individuals enter with gifts and talents, which they steadily improve and earn their fortune and fame with these gifts
- Great achievement – these individuals are true luminaries, and leave lasting contributions to their culture and to humanity. These areas of achievement across the Rays are:
- First Ray – Political/military/legal or legislative achievement
- Second Ray – Teaching/counseling/psychotherapy achievement
- Third Ray – Philosophical/scholarship/business management achievement
- Fourth Ray – Artistic/musical/entertainment achievement
- Fifth Ray – Scientific/research/technological achievement
- Sixth Ray – Self-mastery/religious/spiritual achievement
- Seventh Ray – Understanding of principle or truth/application/dissemination of their discovery through communication or marketing
- Avataric– lives of liberated, God-realized beings who incarnate Divine Love, Grace, and Power.
Degenerate lives are ego-polarized, unchecked by the Self or spiritual influence.
Examining these lives, it appears:
- Chaotic lives represent the transition between ego-polarization and more integrated self-directed lives.
- Once the Self gains ascendency over the ego, the individual enters thematic lives where he or she is confronted with patterns that keep repeating, over which volition has little or no control.
- After enduring and accepting these patterns, the individual may shift into the active questing of a revelatory life, that emphasizes overcoming these limiting patterns, and may result in profound realizations, through which they release these karmic issues and transcend them.
- With the freeing up of energy bound in self-defeating patterns, the individual is able to make steady progress in Soul Ray areas of development, moving ahead by learning academic knowledge, acquiring experiential skill, achieving cognitive insight and understanding through creative mastery of the subject matter.
- After several lives of progressing steadily along these lives, these individuals begin to develop refined talents and gifts of genius in these areas. This sets the stage for lives of steady effort, marked by expression of these talents and gifts. These individuals may become teachers, mentors, or coaches for others, assisting them to develop their own gifts and talents.
- Some of these individuals press on to reach the fulfillment of development along these lines, and we see the flowering of genius in lives that inspire and move the multitudes in lives of great achievement. In some of these profoundly gifted individuals, multiple trends of genius combine to create unique hybrid combinations, thus we may see twin trends of spirituality and art give rise to poet saints, like Kabir or Rumi, or the blended politics and spirituality of a Gandhi, and other combinations.
- When all tracks have been developed and all karmic issues worked out, the Avatar incarnates the infinite potentiality of humanity. This quickens the development of each individual and germinates new creativity within the collective mind of humanity. The reappearance of an Avatar lifts humanity onto a new plateau of cognition and ability; their perennial advent ensures that the course of growth and development of human lives will follow the overshadowing guidance of the Divine Plan.
Meditation upon these life trends will permit the disciple to identify the key strategies for maximizing the opportunities of his or her current human life. Understanding these patterns of human life will point out the subsequent work that is required to produce the fulfillment and full flowering of human life.
Thematic lives have special relevance to the work of a psychotherapist and we will explore them in greater depth here. It is these individuals suffering from personality disorders, neurotic relationship styles, and adjustment crises, when they appear in the therapist’s office are stubbornly resistant to change. The challenge for the psychotherapist is to catalyze their movement through:
- Guiding them into reflective thinking
- Having them consider the life consequences of their behavior
- Helping them uproot their defenses that prevent insight and the emergence of painful feeling, which leads to gradual dismantling of these self-defeating patterns and their replacement by healthier patterns of thinking, acting, and relating to others.
Thematic issues of life involve certain irrational or destructive behavior that continually repeat for an individual, so that he or she faces them again and again in different contexts.
These life themes range from pathological intensity, where they destroy relationships, sabotage career success, and dash hopes and dreams to simply annoying personality traits.
These annoying personality traits appear only occasionally, arising only in certain contexts that are novel or stressful, or where opportunities for indulgence of the trait exist.
More severe thematic issues appear as personality disorder, and severe adjustment issues to the clinician; however, few of these individuals recognize they have these character flaws.
When confronted about these flaws, individuals typically rationalize or justify them, or deny them out of shame.
These traits are often ego-syntonic, meaning that these individuals accept them as a characteristic of the personality without criticism or complaint.
It is only when the individual recognizes they cause problems and pain for self and others that he or she may begin to attempt to change them. This can spur the individual to enter a reformative lifestyle where he or she begins to work on changing the self.
On the other hand, when these patterns worsen and begin to consume the individual, they can lead him or her downward into chaotic and degenerate lifestyles. For example:
- The con-man may degrade into a thief and criminal
- The seductive person may become a prostitute or sexual addict
- The person with issues about assuming power may change into a dictator or tyrant
- Bully/victim dyads may degenerate into battering and abuse
- The immoderate user of alcohol and drugs may degenerate into a full-blown addict.
It may be noted these patterns occupy a good deal of an individual’s time and energy. While severe problems can consume up to 90% of a person’s active waking life, annoying personality traits may only be present as little as 10% of the time. To the degree that the individual exhibits these traits do they become disruptive and self-sabotaging, causing pain and misery for self and others.
Over 90%, these patterns typically transform into chaotic and degenerate expressions. Under 10%, they typically do not cause enough problems to warrant notice or correction, and tend to be situation-based and not persistent.
Meditating across the Rays, these 49 thematic issues are as follows:
- Superiority/inferiority issues; issues with attracting bully/victim dyads in relationships, at work, and other areas of life
- Warrior: pride/guilt issues over killing others while protecting one’s country
- Courage vs. fear in making life choices
- Accidental or unintentional injury to others/remorse and retribution
- Assumption of power issues, decisions that must harm others for the good of the community; the choice whether to enrich oneself by utilizing the privileges of power and misusing community funds
- Control vs. letting go issues in relationships, difficulties with trusting the partner to be responsible and reliable
- The will to conquer others/the pain of loss and failure when one loses a battle or does not win over others in competition
- Inability to learn certain subjects or skills
- Resisting influence of others to become individualized/integrity issues over following others advise instead of one’s own, may be overly dependent on the advice of others and become continually dependent
- Losing oneself in others (codependency) and neglecting one’s own needs (martyr)
- Issues with collective ignorance, racial or ethnic discrimination, prejudice, either as perpetrator or as victim
- Issues with incompletion of education or training, difficulty obtaining and keeping employment, leading to an impoverished lifestyle
- Promiscuity, patterns of infatuation then abandonment, difficulty in sustaining relationships, compulsive sexuality
- Fear of success/failure to complete goals and intentions
- Dogmatism, insistence that others believe the same as oneself
- Perfectionism, obsession with accuracy and detail
- Greed, loss of perspective in acquisition of wealth and possessions
- Infidelity, failure to keep commitments to others in relationships
- Lack of judgment or reality testing, eschewing of responsibility by taking refuge in reverie or fantasy
- Lack of discernment, extreme gullibility—becoming seduced by salesmen or con-men, buying things that one doesn’t really need due to wishes to please sales people
- Loss of freedom by involvement with charismatic individuals, embracing fanaticism and cultism
- Life is ruled by superstition and myths, lack of discernment or objective, empirical knowledge
- Grandiosity and narcissism, believing the world revolves around oneself
- Gender identity issues, issues with homosexuality [or alternative sexual identity] in a heterosexual culture
- Dedication of life to artistic pursuits, failure to achieve material security
- Insistence that art follow certain standards, criticism of others’ artistic efforts, tolerance of only certain fashions, designs, musical styles; may persecute others who express that deprecated form of art
- Obsession with achieving a certain look, sound, texture, quality that requires continual reworking and revision of artwork—one is never satisfied with one’s productions
- Failure to express or develop artistic talents because of fear, shame, necessity to earn a living; failure to express the Soul
- Rebellion, refusal to follow rules or procedures or obey authority, that leads to continual confrontation with others, leading to loss of jobs, fighting, even incarceration. Besides willful defiance and insubordination, this can also take the form of passive aggression.
- Problems controlling temper, raging at others when things don’t go one’s own way
- Overbearing jealousy, obsession with the behavior and whereabouts of one’s sexual partner
- Gossip and backbiting, absorption in the intimate affairs of others, talking negatively about others, spreading tales about others
- Destructive criticism of others, holding that only one’s own views and beliefs are correct
- Continual dissatisfaction with one’s appearance, housing, possessions, income, and success; envy of others who are doing better, with continual drive to emulate them; ‘keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome
- Forgetting important information resulting in accidents, poor performance on tests, inconvenience, and interpersonal embarrassment
- Inability to find a life mate or sexual partner, loneliness and lovelessness
- Vanity, overvaluing of one’s beauty and abilities, leading to rejection by others
- Issues of being continually ridiculed, put down, or embarrassed because of one’s looks or one’s behavior over which one has no control
- Isolation, fear and mistrust of others, becoming an eccentric recluse
- Obsession over weight and slimness, and over achieving an ideal body look; may also involve repeated plastic surgeries to retain an ideal youthful appearance
- Packrat syndrome, obsession with collecting information or possession, inability to let go of them
- Laziness and sloth, failure to motivate oneself to make constructive actions when opportunities exist; this may take the form of willful avoidance of effort
- Need for others’ approval and attention, show off syndrome, seeking to be flamboyant, sexy, daring with an aim to make others’ envious or jealous
- Not thinking through ideas for business enterprise, leading to continual business failure and loss of investment
- Con-man syndrome, using others gullibility or lack of knowledge to enrich oneself despite bringing pain and misery to others, rationalization of one’s acts
- Absorption in occult thinking and arcane symbols of pseudo sciences, use of astrological or scriptural predictions to guide all life decisions
- Using one’s beauty and seductiveness to get what one wants, thinking about oneself as a sexual object wanted or rejected by others, obsession with sexual performance and enhancing pleasure; for men, may appear as the Don Juan syndrome, using the seduction of women as a self-esteem booster
- Immoderate use of alcohol or drugs leading to difficulty in relationships and at work
- Thrill seeking, dangerous risk taking for excitement; may take the form of compulsive gambling or wagering, leading to repeated personal injury or loss of money
Therapists have been trained to recognize the clinically significant expressions of these 49 thematic patterns. Where a therapist truly begins to make a difference, I believe, is when he or she can help the individual shift from lives of mechanical repetition of these destructive patterns to lives of self awareness of the power to change and grow. If each therapist could catalyze 1,000 such individuals over the course of his or her career, the results would transform society.
More realistically though, these individuals typically resist all attempts at intervention and do their best to evade discovery and capture like wary insects. They are perhaps a therapist’s toughest challenge, yet when the therapist is able to succeed in catalyzing growth, it is probably one of the most rewarding experiences a therapist can have.
Those therapists who wish to learn more about the role of using meditation to catalyze insight and therapeutic movement, will like our book, “Meditation for Therapy: Theory and Application”. Those who wish to take a deeper dive into applying meditation in therapy will benefit from taking our Meditation for Therapists Practitioner Certification Course.