Adolescence and The Development of Inner Character

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By: Donald W. Gill, Robert Zieve, M.D.

Adolescence is a very difficult period of life. Young people are less prepared than ever before to develop the inner character during this third seven-year cycle of life, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one. Let us look at why, perceiving the imbalances of this time of life and developing effective antidotes.

The message that comes through loud and clear from most contemporary institutions is for people to have children, even if you are not inwardly prepared. Most mothers and fathers today are not prepared to have children They are biologically ready at ever earlier ages. In­wardly, however, the masculine (Logos) and feminine (Eros) mysteries have not been put into place. They have not learned how to observe their own masculine and feminine shadows, and to transform them into mature expressions of their creative forces.

Many teenagers today are perceived as being rebellious and belligerent. By the time they reach the birth of the third seven-year cycle at puberty, most of them have no positive way of expressing their creative forces. And the problem and reason for this often has to do with parents and the societal pressures to get married and have children before being prepared. This pressure comes from all sides: fam­ily, religious institutions, politicians, and the economics of advertising in a con­sumer society.

In the first seven-year cycle of life, the child learns about the feminine prin­ciple through imitation. When the people around the child demonstrate actions worthy of imitating, actions imbued with moral integrity, then a child develops trust in the soul qualities of goodness. When this rightful imitation does not de­velop, then in its place we see habitual compulsive behavior that carries forth into future life phases, instead of creative behavior that everyone needs. This ha­bitual behavior is the person's desperate attempt at staying in the womb, attached to the mother, and deficient in a mature development of the feminine divine mother.

In the second phase of life, from seven to fourteen, a growing child needs to learn about, and incorporate, the mas­culine principle into his or her develop­ment. This masculine principle, or Logos, is expressed as authority. When lessons in school (the focus of growth during this second period), are taught with wonder and art, then a youngster develops a rev­erence for authority. The teacher and school are rightfully using authority in such a way as to support soul develop­ment, and the child instinctively knows this.

More commonly, when the school focuses upon one-sided intellectual accu­mulation of information, it abdicates this authority. Society that supports this en­courages the growth of children who lack reverence for authority. The youth who is now approaching adolescence then re­verts to the immature shadow aspects of the masculine archetype: aggression and clever intellect.

If the adolescent has traversed these two earlier phases in the imbalanced ways we commonly see, then he or she is not prepared for the opening of the second center, or astral body, at 13-14 years old. It is in this third cycle of life that the adolescent needs to be supported in inte­grating the feminine and masculine prin­ciples of the first two periods. More often, however, they become polarized as sexual development and abstract intellec­tual learning.

By this age, most youths today are quite imbalanced. Because they have been unable to touch in themselves the goodness of Eros, they then become too drawn down into the procreative sexual drives that spring forward at this time. Because they have been unable to feel a reverence for authority developed in art-centered education, they gravitate to ab­stract intellectualism. They have been split apart, with the middle being very weak or even absent. This middle is the life of feeling that is upheld through rhythmic living.

In adolescence the soul tries to turn towards the discovery of truth.

This forms the basis of character development. Yet because in earlier cycles they have not been supported in integrating the femi­nine and masculine principle, then at this critical time of life they are torn apart by opposing polarities.

It is the task of we who live in the period of the development of conscious­ness in this present consciousness soul cycle of history to integrate the opposites, and be the example for adolescents and for the adolescent in each of us. We need to observe how, too often, the wonder of childhood gets replaced by sloth and ava­rice in this patriarchal society. Youths are encouraged from many directions, obviously and subtly, to learn how to cleverly steal and become lazy. During their preadolescent years, young people are forced to ingest toxic foods, toxic television with its subtle manipulation of thought, and toxic speech and family en­vironments.

The idea behind this is to put people to sleep in consciousness. Few adoles­cents are then prepared to meet the return of the nodal cycle in the nineteenth year. This is the time in a person's life when the inspiration of birth and the purpose of incarnation can be re-experienced.

What we interpret as rebellion and antisocial behavior, and are so quick to judge and condemn, is the soul's effort to stay alive in the suppressed and fractured personality that has developed.

How do we support the development of adolescent life? How do we provide the soil for adolescents to heal these imbalances; in their search for truth; to learn how to discover and express their creative forces; to find answers to the question: Who am I? What do I want? What am I capable of?

The answer is through daily living rituals: learning by doing. Ten-to twelve year old accelerated adolescents commit suicide, become addicts, and join gangs because the value of learning about life has been lost. Real learning occurs with hands-on experience. For example: study a book and then do some painting for fifteen minutes. Interweave thought and action in artful ways throughout the day. This helps balance the hemispheres, to integrate masculine and feminine into the fabric of daily life. It supports one to organize what is ingested, so that this becomes a protective armor for the battle of life: the process of humankind devel­oping continuity of consciousness in self-creative expression; our individual right of becoming human unfolding coura­geously for all in Truth, Beauty, and Good­ness, with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in our hearts and minds.

Donald W. Gill is the director and a founding member of The Fashioners of Manas. He has worked in the music, enter­tainment and educational fields for thirty years. Mr. Gill has been a professional singer, and is an accomplished musician, composer, photographer, and lecturer.

Robert J. Zieve, M.D. has practiced homeopathy and integrative alternative medicine for twenty years, including many anthroposophical approaches into his work. He is a founding member of "The Fashioners of Manas." Dr. Zieve has authored a book on homeopathy, Rhythms in Time: The Homeopathic Future, and is currently preparing a second book that addresses the psychology of death in dis­ease.

The Fashioners of Manas, Inc. is a nonprofit educational foundation that sup­ports individuals and groups to create innovative approaches for the healing arts of the future. To this end the foundation seeks to create a synthesis between the creative arts and the healing arts. Phone: (520) 771-2979


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