I have known Shepherd for a number of years and have enjoyed Michael readings. The following is one of the more interesting of his many teachings. Reproduced by permission.

Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin

September 12, 2010, BlogTalkRadio chat

Transcribed by Elisa Brock and Maggie Heinze

Soul age, in the Michael teachings, pinpoints the lessons a soul is focusing on in its developmental process throughout its lifetimes. It is similar and parallel to physical age during an individual lifetime, or you could compare it to one’s “grade” in physical plane “school.” Analogies are imperfect, but there are orderly, predictable stages: infant (newborns in day care), baby (toddlers in pre-school), young (youngsters in elementary school), mature (teens in high school), and old (young adults in college)

Soul age is an essence trait that functions as an overleaf (personality trait) on the physical plane. Like the other overleaves, it can change from lifetime to lifetime, although unlike them, it progresses in a linear fashion. It is the point of evolution of the outer layer of essence (one’s eternal nature) as it currently interfaces with the physical plane.

All overleaves highlight one aspect or interest of essence, and mostly filter out the others. Soul age focuses the personality on the latest level of soul development, just as, for example, a goal of growth focuses the personality on seeking new experiences as opposed to, say, practicing leadership, although both are ultimately of interest to essence.

Between lifetimes, the energy of older souls may appear more refined to other nonphysical souls, but functionally, it is not a very significant issue in their interactions, and age is only one factor in a soul’s energy. What manifests as soul age on the physical plane is evident on the astral, but more abstractly, with less specific ramifications than in physical plane interactions. It is like the difference between interacting with schoolmates in the classroom versus in extracurricular activities, where age differences are less significant. Another analogy is the way that adults of various ages socialize together; age per se doesn’t necessarily draw them together unless they are seeking a mate.

Soul age is not the same as spiritual advancement, although the two may go hand in hand. Of course, it depends on how you think of spiritual advancement. Probably a good way to define it is the ability one has to stay consciously connected to the whole while dealing with the transience of the physical plane, especially when negative things happen. The more you are able to allow love, truth, and beauty to continue to flow through you when that is not easy to do, the more spiritually advanced you might be said to be.

Everyone is a mixed bag in this regard. Probably no person is able to stay completely centered in every circumstance, and what pulls you off course may be different from what pulls someone else off course. However, the more practice one has in staying centered, the easier it is. Some souls have practiced this diligently over many lifetimes. Others have not paid that much attention to what might be called spiritual practice even if they are older souls. The main correlation between soul age and spiritual advancement is that over time, souls tend to get better at staying centered under increasingly adverse circumstances *if* they have chosen to practice that.

Spiritual practice, as it is normally understood, is not a requirement in the curriculum of being human, although many are drawn to it at some point, because spiritual skills can make your path easier.

Spiritual advancement suggests the development of traits such as kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, insight, integrity, and the desire to do the just and fair thing, even when it is personally “inconvenient.” These are all potentially part of what we have called “true personality,” qualities that allow essence to shine through personality. False personality consists of traits that block the manifestation of essence; they include egotism, s

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