According to yogic philosophy, a person’s consciousness evolves through a precise set of transitions every 7 years, 11 years, and 18 years. These are known as the Life Cycles—the 7-year Cycle of Consciousness, the 11-year Cycle of Intelligence, and the 18-year Cycle of Life Energy. Each cycle contains its own experiences and opportunities for expanding spiritual, mental, and physical strength.
The 7-year cycle is the most fundamental for our identity. It comprises the ways in which we judge the world, determine our values, discover our attractions and distractions, as well as understand our purpose.
From birth our brains grow, prune themselves, and home in on experiences that will serve our destiny and our life. The first 7-year cycle is pivotal because it sets the foundation for identity and consciousness. How we emerge from this lifecycle affects much of our future. This is one reason certain kriyas and meditations can be so helpful—they reset us and possess the capacity to free us from the constraints that are often established in the very first 7-year cycle.
This lifecycle emphasizes intelligence, or the ability to manifest our thoughts, the capacity to act on what we know, and the sharpness to evaluate the result of our choices.
In yogic numerology, the number 11 is associated with mastery of learning. It is the capacity to select a successful strategy from complex, competing factors. Between ages 11 and 22, new strategies are formed to approach groups and partnerships. From age 22 onward, the world becomes the challenge itself and the strategies that worked in the past will change yet again. The Cycle of Intelligence is one of learning, completing, expanding knowledge, and uncovering methods that reveal our purpose and path.
Through each 18-year revolution of this cycle, the human body gradually pivots from material or physical energy sources to more subtle and spiritual energy supplies, like prana. This shift is natural. If we do not move in rhythm with this change, we risk attempting to augment our life energy by other means, many of which can be unhealthy and counterproductive. If we make a habit of relying on stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks to artificially boost vitality, we may begin to show undesirable effects of stress on our work and relationships, and show them much sooner than we’d expect.
Alternatively, by the ages 54-72, or the third revolution of the Life Energy Cycle, nature allows us to subsist and thrive on the vitality we have created through our discipline and the relationship we have cultivated and built with our own spirit. Full maturation of this cycle moves us from instinct and impulse to intuition and wisdom.
There are practical ways to implement awareness of these cycles into your daily life. Of course, one excellent way is through a kundalini kriya. A perfect meditation for any and all lifecycles is Kirtan Kriya.
Furthermore, these three cycles represent opportunities for us to review milestones in our spiritual consciousness. They can guide the delicate balance between our awareness, our applied intelligence, and our physical structure. It’s through this understanding that we can age with grace, power, and dignity.