Have you ever heard someone being referred to as an "Old Soul"? We hear these words so often in casual conversation that many of us don’t really pause to ponder the true implications of that term. What does that mean, to be an Old Soul? Do our souls really have an age? And, are some of us older than others? What qualities do these so-called Old Souls possess? Does being old also mean that we are wise? What is the difference?
Typically, we refer to someone as being an “Old Soul” when we are looking to explain away certain behavior or qualities in someone that is unexplainable within the context of our current awareness of our existence. Or simply put, someone who seems to be a bit “older” than they should be, based on their biological age. Some of the best examples of this are found in young children, some of who can possess a skill or knowledge despite their inexperience and lack of accumulated years in their current lifetime.
This is apparent today in children who can paint, play music, speak foreign languages, and do mathematics, etc. with an advanced skill level at a very young age. We refer to this phenomenon as ‘child prodigies’, and this is actually more common than we might think. I recently read of a child who, at the age of 2, can correctly read a map of Europe, complete with the best routes to take topographically from one major city to another (but interestingly enough was not familiar with any of the borders that had changed since the early 1900’s). Mozart could both read and write music, and was also an accomplished keyboard and violin player before he was 5 years old. Pablo Picasso’s mother has said that his first word was “piz”, or a shortened form of lapiz, which is Spanish for pencil. His sketches as a toddler were detailed and showed a high level of skill and an innate understanding of form. Most people would refer to these children as Old Souls, in an attempt to explain this phenomenon.
Other times, I have heard people refer to a recognizable quality of a person that might be considered an Old Soul that seems to reside in their face, or specifically in their eyes (I have previously established that the eyes are the “windows to the soul”, and that gazing into a person’s eyes is the best way to recognize someone on a soul level, which has nothing to do with your physical body). One of my closest friends has a child who nearly everyone encounters him will remark jokingly that he seems to have the “eyes of a wise old man”. People refer to my friend’s son as an Old Soul because of this quality in his eyes, and most of us are familiar with both children and adults (or even pets) who have this mysterious, knowing quality.
Some people tell me that they just innately know that they are Old Souls. One of the most common reasons that I hear from my new clients for seeking an appointment with me is that they have just always felt that they were an Old Soul. This hunch is often validated for them when they uncover past life memories that span many centuries. They then have an opportunity to know what they had felt instinctively, that they had experience and knowledge inside of them that they did not accumulate in their current lifetime. We are actually very self-aware creatures, even if it is subconsciously.
So, how do you get to be an Old Soul? I am always somewhat amused when I hear people that I know to be reincarnation skeptics (or even complete non-believers) use that term, because to me the concept of an Old Soul directly implies that we have been here before. Meaning, that if it were possible to be in actuality an Old Soul we would have to have lived many other lifetimes that came before our current life in a different body (but with the same soul). Otherwise, how else could our souls ever possibly "age"?
Does this mean, then, that some of us are older than others? On the surface, the answer to this question seems to be yes. There does seem to be a reincarnation cycle that each of us are at a different point in, and there are definitely some who can remember past lives that do go back quite a bit further than others. I have encountered clients in my own office who have remembered past lives going back to what seemed to be the Stone Age, or even the dawn of early man.
What we now call the Stone Age actually refers to a rather ambiguous period of time in human history that spans from roughly 3 million years ago until about 10,000 BC. This is an enormous time gap in history that involved much more than what kind of tools and objects (made of stone, thus the name of the age) humans used. We also know that there was art, spirituality and religion, and even complex social structures during this time period. In fact, 99% of human history thus far took place during what we call the Stone Age. So yes, on a certain level it is definitely possible to be an old, or even an ancient soul because humans have been around for a very, very long time.
The beneath-the-surface answer to the question as to whether some of of us are older than others is a little more complicated. If it is truly possible to be “older” than another soul (and also implying a hierarchy of some sort), than that would have to mean that there is a specific point in time in which we began this process of incarnating. When were our souls born then? And how soon after our soul’s “birth” do we begin incarnating? And are there ever any New Souls? This is where this question gets tricky, and yes, more than a little deep.
My clients have told me under hypnosis (again, some of the wisest spiritual teachers I have ever encountered) that there is no beginning and no end to this process. I have also been told (again, by my clients in trance state) that our reincarnation process, if we were to draw it, would look less like a straight line moving ahead in time and more like a circle. No beginning and no end would also mean no real age, and perhaps some humble pie for those of us who might be feeling smug about having been around longer than others. So, then the better answer as to whether or not some of us have older souls than others is probably no. We are just at different points in our circle, rather than ahead or behind anyone else. There are no Old Souls nor any New Souls. There are only just souls.
If there is no beginning then, how is it possible that the earth is only about 4.5 billion years old and humans (meaning any creature within the homo genus) have only existed on earth for about 2.5 million years? I don’t know the specific answer to this question, but what I do know is that the universe is a very, very large place. Perhaps it is even an infinitely large place, and that the infinite nature of our soul’s journey works in a similar way and that we can have experiences in other forms, realms and dimensions. (For those of you who are paying attention, yes I did just imply that we could possibly be reincarnated on other planets and as other life forms.) Once you begin to question and expand your own definition of ‘life’, you might discover that there are limitless opportunities for our existence.
So, does being old then also mean that we are wise? Not a chance. In the same way that age does not guarantee wisdom within the context of one lifetime, we do not gather wisdom simply from time served. We can only truly grow wise by experience, but more specifically the experiences that we actually learn from. Just because we have experienced something does not guarantee that we learned from it, or even changed the way that we do, view or teach it. To me, this is what makes a wise person so. But, being older, (or rather, at a different point in this cycle) does certainly mean that we have had more opportunities in this particular realm to have gotten this whole life on earth thing down pat.
One man that I was working with recently began to chuckle during his regression when he suddenly realized that he was a “stubborn old soul” (his term), and then proceeded to chastise himself for it. When I asked him what that meant, he told me that some of the older souls sometimes start to feel like they are too advanced to really apply themselves to learning the lessons that they are presented with in their lifetimes. He said that this “know it all” attitude was holding him back from truly gaining the wisdom that he could from the myriad of life experiences specific to his current existence. Acknowledging that we can always grow more, and maintaining a certain humility and a willingness to learn seems to be necessary in this process.
So then, what is the real difference between an Old Soul (or rather, just A Soul) and a Wise Soul? It seems to me that it comes down to just how well we apply ourselves. Perhaps it is all in our approach, are we here just putting in our time? Or, are we maximizing each opportunity that we are presented with to further our growth and development? This shift in our perception could make all of the difference as we proceed through this life, as well as the next. Becoming wise is the goal here, age is simply irrelevant. And, to quote my grandmother: “I don’t care if I’m old, as long as I’m wise.” Well said.
By: Michelle Brock