Friday, July 06, 2007

The Seven Year Itch

"Reality is what you are not in control of -- or, to put it another way, what you must take account of. If spiritual growth is predictable and certain, then it's again probably just your ego expanding."
--Dr. Robert Godwin

Gagdad Bob says he read a book years ago entitled The Astrology of Personality:

The main thing I remember from it was his idea that our lives run along cycles of seven years, and that each seven year cycle is a fractal of the others. In other words, the cycles are self-similar on a deep level, so that, for example, we will encounter the same basic challenges and conflicts in each seven year cycle, only in a different "key," so to speak.

I remember charting out my life at the time, and sure enough, I could see that major transitions and upheavals had taken place in my 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th years (i.e., when I was 6, 13, 20 and 27). Rudhyar also mentioned that a compete cycle is 7 x 7, so that a 49 year cycle is a complete analogue of the seven year cycle. Thus, just as seven years marks a kind of birth/death, so too does the 49th year.

I am not big on any kind of numerology. However, when I examined my own life, I could see that it too exhibited some rather major changes that fit pretty neatly into seven year cycles.

For instance, I lived in the same house with my grandparents and mom until the age of seven when my mom remarried and she and I moved out and lived with my stepfather in Mountain View and then Los Altos. This turned out, I believe, to mark a climactic break with the life I had known.

I entered high school at age fourteen, which marked a significant break with life in elementary and junior high school.

I moved with my grandparents to Redwood City at age 21 and spent the next 30+ years there going through numerous ups and downs.

I returned to college at age 28, which occasioned some pretty big external and, more importantly, internal changes.

My latest cycle, from age 49 through the present, has been my most significant one. My grandmother died. My girlfriend moved out. I met my wife-to-be. I worked full time. I got married. We sold the house, bought a house here in Sacramento, and moved here. I finally made a trip to Thailand. I returned to school to study medical billing and coding. And now I am seeking a career in the health information field.

It is really quite interesting how my life can be divided so readily into these seven year cycles and how it virtually began anew around age 49. I am nearing the end of my eighth cycle now. I wonder what my ninth cycle will bring, especially now that I will be self-conscious of it.


ned said...

Hmmm, I'm also skeptical of numerology, but let's see...

At the age of 13 I had my first crush on a girl, which was my first major spiritual crisis as well (having been raised in the Sunni Muslim tradition which is not accepting of same-sex attraction). Unable to deal with this, I hid from it by becoming as religiously orthodox as I could. This worked for some time, but not for too long.

By 18 I was questioning religion and in the middle of another major spiritual crisis.

By 19 I was agnostic, by 20 I had come out, and by 22 I had had my first spiritual awakening experience. Hmmm. That unravelled rather fast! ;-)

I don't know, I do get the sense that there are cycles -- that you die and are reborn, and so on, but could it be that there is no fixed time period for each cycle? In fact, if there is a developmental and evolutionary telos, could it be that the cycles eventually get shorter and shorter, and start to converge toward something? After all, is it not the case, as reported by sages universally, that ultimately time emerges as just one Eternal moment, the moment of Grace?

In my view no-one can become a Muslim just once. He becomes a Muslim, then he becomes an unbeliever, then he becomes a Muslim, and each time something comes out of him. So it goes, until he becomes perfect.
– Shams of Tabrizi, teacher of the great Sufi poet Jalalludin Rumi, as quoted in Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i-Tabrizi

ned said...

After all, what is every teacher and every teaching telling us?

That we don't need anymore time. That enlightenment is now. The more we let go of the desire to possess, the more we start to realize this.