The first is that of the progress of the personality through its lifetime:
What follows is a general guideline of the progress of the personality through the Soul Ages up to a particular Soul’s current development level.
Just as individual children progress along somewhat different timelines, each personality develops at its own speed [as does each Soul, for that matter]. Still, these age-levels act as a broad baseline for the development of the personality within its individual lifetime.
The instinct to suck is, almost certainly, accessible to the infant personality unless the body is born so prematurely that even that resource is not available. In that case, if major medical intervention is not on hand, the body will die and absorption of the personality happens immediately.
Likewise, the aborted fetus’ personality is immediately absorbed as was the personality of an infant who was exposed in ancient times or any child who dies prior to or during birth. [This is assuming that a Soul had spoken for the body in the first place. In the case of abortion or exposure, no Soul may have taken on that particular body if it was understood that the body was not going to be used, anyhow.]
Furthermore, if the Soul decides to opt out of a given situation [which can happen till about 2 years of age via crib death, most likely] absorption occurs and the Soul simply tries again.
Furthermore, the ability to take in nurturing from the primary caregiver is crucial. Autism MAY be more common among Infants than other soul ages — I don’t know.
Sucking is certainly a basic skill necessary for survival. The ability to mimic is, apparently, helpful in this endeavor, as well—or why did it evolve? Whether autistics have this mimicking skill is anyone’s guess. _I_ certainly don’t know whether it is present or not.
If the Soul is experiencing the Infant Awareness Level, development stops here and the personality remains at the Infant Level throughout its lifetime as the Infant Soul continues learning survival skills.
The exception to this rule is the fact that the Soul can reach the end of a specific level or even Soul Age during a particular personality’s tenure and graduation to the next level of awareness can occur at that point during any personality’s lifetime.
At this stage the child is learning to get civilized. It’s a sponge, absorbing everything it can about ‘getting it right’. The personality is learning everything its caregivers are teaching it [and the Soul already knows unless it’s learning the Baby lessons, too] about germs, right and wrong, how best to be accepted by others, and the basics about living in a civilized society.
At this stage you can see the developmental level clearly. Watch any young child whose sense of justice has been crossed. You’re likely to witness a full-blown tantrum as the child voices its displeasure.
If the Soul is experiencing the Baby Soul Awareness Level, this is where the personality arrests and the process of the development of the Baby Soul takes over.
If the Soul has reached the Young Soul phase, the personality moves into this developmental stage at about 6-8 years of age. Stop by any playground and you’ll see this level of development being played out: “Watch me!” “Look! No hands!” “Tick, tock, game’s locked, nobody else can play.” “My daddy can beat up your daddy!”
Again, if the Soul is currently at the Young Soul Level, personality development stops here and the Young Soul starts its work of developing further.
The personality that is coupled with a Mature Soul begins asking the hard questions at about the time the individual completes high school and either heads off to college or begins moving out on its own, getting a job and building its own life: “What’s it all about?” “Why are we here?” “What’s the Big Picture?” “How come?” Lots of angst. Lots of emotion.
While personalities that have rested at the Infant, Baby and Young levels don’t become so embroiled, personalities whose Souls have reached the Mature Soul and Old Soul ages are the most likely to grapple with identity crises as young adults because they have the most access to the emotions that accompany such soul searching.
The personality’s relationships take on new and deeper meaning.
And the Mature Soul begins its work here to develop further.
And, if the Soul has progressed to the Old Soul level of development, the personality will enter that level between the ages of 32-40. Now, the Personality begins to slow down, to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
Spiritual matters push to the front of the personality’s consciousness and other needs recede. Ennui increases. The personality may begin to ask, “What was I so excited about before?” “What was the big deal back when I was [pushing to get ahead?] [agonizing over that relationship?] [worried about my health or my retirement finances holding out?] Everything is fleeting anyway — so why was I so apprehensive? It’ll all work out in the long run.”
At this point, the Old Soul takes over and continues development toward closure and graduation from the physical plane.
As I said at the beginning of this post—these age milestones are general guidelines and there are plenty of reasons why any given Soul will arrest at an earlier stage and not manifest its full developmental level:
For one thing, souls can get lazy and procrastinate. Even the most advanced soul can pull a “Scarlett O’Hara” during a lifetime or series of lifetimes, for that matter.
In fact, living as we are at the tail-end of the Young Soul era of the planet, we could all do with a refresher course along the line of, ‘Speed isn’t everything’. It’s not about how fast we get through the journey, anyhow. So, it’s perfectly all right to take it easy for one [or several] lifetime[s].
In fact, given how often the Soul DOESN’T manifest at its latest developmental level, it’s a good thing that it’s an OK thing to do. From what I’ve read, we generally manifest our full Soul Ages during about 1/2 to 2/3 of our lifetimes.
Alternatively, we may manifest our Soul Age in one area of development [relationships at the Mature Soul level, say] and not reach our full potential in another [emotions, for instance] during the same lifetime. This may occur out of procrastination [the soul finds relationships easier to handle than emotions] or because the Soul has decided to concentrate on relationships during the lifetime in question.
Another reason for stopping off at an earlier level is as a result of an agreement with another Soul.
One instance I’ve read about is the case of a Young Soul who was anxious about entering the Mature Soul level and had been hung up for several lifetimes at the end of the Young phase afraid to take the plunge. So, a friend who had developed to the Old Soul Age agreed to hang back at an early Mature Soul level. They returned together as father and daughter, Dad showing his daughter the ropes and teaching her that “Mature Can Be Fun.”
Still another reason could be related to karma. If an old karmic experience between two or more Souls needs to be played out at a previous level [suppose the original debt occurred at the Baby Soul level, for instance], anywhere from one to all of the souls involved may need to return to the Baby Soul level in order to complete the karma and close that chapter among themselves.
I'm not certain but it seems to me as if it would be possible to split the awarenesses in this situation: the souls may interact with the world-at-large at their respective Soul Ages while interacting with one another at the Baby Soul level at least until the karma is completed.
And then there's imprinting. If a Soul is born to someone who is younger than it is, it can take on the energy of the younger parent's Soul. Sometimes [though not always] the child's development may be arrested at the younger Soul Age.
I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons I’m not thinking of at the moment, but you get the idea—
Still, by and large, the Soul tends to advance based on the number of lifetimes lived and the intensity with which it approaches each lifetime. Intensity is the more important factor and, generally, progress toward closure and graduation from the physical plane moves inexorably forward as the necessary lessons become incorporated into the individual Soul.