An Overview of the Seven Stages of Life

The first three stages of life are the stages of ordinary human growth from birth to adulthood. They are the stages of physical, emotional, and mental development, occurring in three periods of approximately seven years each (until approximately twenty-one years of age). Every individual who lives to an adult age inevitably adapts (although, in most cases, only partially) to the first three stages of life.

Stage One—Individuation: The first stage of life is the process of adapting to life as a separate individual no longer bound to the mother. Most important for the first stage child is the process of food-taking, and coming to accept sustenance from outside the mother’s body. In fact, this whole stage of life could be described as an ordeal of weaning, or individuation.

Tremendous physical growth occurs in the first stage of life (the first seven or so years) and an enormous amount of learning—one begins to manage bodily energies and begins to explore the physical world. Acquiring basic motor skills is a key aspect of the first stage of life—learning to hold a spoon and eat with it, learning to walk and talk and be responsible for excretion. If the first stage of life unfolds as it should, the separation from the mother completes itself in basic terms. But there is a tendency in us to struggle with this simple individuation, or to not accept the process fully. Every human being tends to associate individuation with a feeling of separation, a sense of disconnection from love and support. That reaction is the dramatization of egoity, or self-contraction, in its earliest form. And unless one enters profoundly into the process of Real-God-Realization, that reaction characterizes every individual for his or her entire life.