Sacred Cycles is one of the most original and practical non-fiction books of our time. Dr. Jay Stone weaves together the wisdom of psychology, philosophy and religion to explain how knowledge and learning are the products of eight basic cycles that he considers “sacred.” According to Dr. Stone, the eight sacred cycles are the cause and means of mental, emotional and spiritual development. As you discover, understand and participate in your sacred cycles, you may expect to reap the benefits.
Cycle of Time
Sigmund Freud said that to psychologically move forward we have to analyze the past. In principle Freud was right because part of our brain learns from life experiences. Gestalt psychologists and Zen masters encourage us to live in the present because if we are ruminating about our past or planning for our future we miss the most important moment: the here and now. Indeed, when we focus on the here and now, the increased activity of our brain reflects the increase in our mind’s present-moment awareness. Hypnotherapists and other professionals that practice creative visualization encourage us to imagine a future that is better than what we currently experience. The “forward thinking” part of the brain is active and dominant when we are visualizing a better future. Our natural tendency to vacillate among our past, present, and future creates our personal Cycle of Time.
Human Growth Cycle
The Human Growth Cycle evolved from the ideas of Abraham Maslow and the human potential movement. On the left side of the cycle, we have the actual, the person we are right now. On the right side lies our potential, the better person we may evolve into. The bottom arrow represents our natural instincts for self-improvement through the pursuit of our potential. The top arrow depicts the actualization of some of our potential. Everything we do, we have the potential to do better. We have the potential to be a better lover, listener, worker, driver, thinker, feeler, etc. Once we actualize some of our potential, the actual of who we are moves to a higher, better, or more advanced stage of development––and the human growth cycle starts anew.
Cycle of Self
We have our self for our ordinary activities and way of being, and then we have a higher self, a true self, our non-self for experiencing beauty and perfection in everyone and everything. It is absolutely essential for us to periodically lose ourselves in pleasurable activity, nature, music, service to others, etc. When our non-self dominates our experience, our self is no longer the center of our universe. The Far Eastern term for when the self is temporarily lost as a reference point is “ego death.” We also find the non-self revered in Judeo-Christian religions. Jesus said “Lose yourself so that you may find yourself later” for very good reasons. Once we return to our self after our ego has been fully submerged in the non-self, we feel happier, healthier, and better––and the next Cycle of Self begins.
Cycle of Being
The Cycle of Being expresses the relationship between man and God or woman and God. God is a co-creator or co-participant in all of our cycles of being. God is in our cycles of being to correct, educate, evolve, and guide us for the sole purpose of making us better human beings. Our true instincts that lead us to God also lead us to better choices, health, and spirits. At the end of each Cycle of Being, we don’t turn into God but rather become more fully human; we have more compassion and empathy for others; and we have more appreciation and understanding of ourselves. The bottom arrow represents our seeking God. When the first half of the Cycle of Being ends, God is revealed to us, and our spirit soars. The top arrow depicts God redeeming our flaws, mistakes, and imperfections or rewarding us for our good intentions and behavior. Either God’s redemption or God’s rewards elevate us to our next stage of human development. God doesn’t want us to remain stagnant, so once we complete our current cycle with God our next cycle begins.
Cycle of Will
Since the Middle Ages, theologians have debated whether or not humans have free will. One side of the debate says we have free will. Our will is free to make choices so that we our responsible and accountable for our actions. The other side says humans must bend to the will of God or suffer the consequences. If our only option is to embrace God’s will, then our human will isn’t free. Rather than choosing one side or the other, in the Cycle of Will we experience a will that is free during half the cycle and a will that is not free during the other half. In the first half of the Cycle of Will, we are free to choose the means that we employ to seek God (bottom arrow). Some people will take the high road of prayer, meditation, or service to find the true will of God. Others will take the low road of alcohol, drugs, etc. However, God does not shun those on a wayward path. The will of God is waiting at the bottom for lost souls as soon as they reach out to the Almighty. In the second half of the cycle, we must accept God’s will and act accordingly or God will send stronger or more painful messages in an effort to put our will to better use (top arrow). The assimilation of God’s Will into our own will is what elevates our will to an advanced or higher stage where better choices and actions naturally occur.
Cycle of Mind
We each have at least two minds, individual and collective, and our two minds communicate with one another like your mind communicates with your best friend’s mind. According to the great analyst Carl Jung, the collective mind contains archetypes, myths, and universals that guide and govern our behavior. The Cycle of Mind’s bottom arrow represents the individual mind’s instinct to seek the wisdom of the collective mind. Our innate desire to seek the collective mind’s universal knowledge is as basic as the instinct to eat and drink. Our mind needs ideas from an outside source to keep it fresh and alive. The collective mind’s knowledge is to our individual mind as food and water is to our bodies. The top arrow represents the collective mind bestowing an archetype, myth, or other wisdom to the individual mind. The wisdom from the collective mind enables the individual mind to mature and evolve. Once the collective mind elevates the individual mind to its next stage of development, a new cycle starts.
We say people are good-natured, friendly natured, kind-natured, etc. The word “natured” after the words good, friendly, and kind describe the essence of these people. Our personal human nature is an essence that makes us special. We also use the word nature to describe our environment and the force that controls everything. The Nature Cycle’s bottom arrow represents our instinct to unite as one with nature’s force that is controlling us and the universe. The top arrow depicts nature providing the sustenance that we need to survive. Nature bestows more than just our basic necessities of food, water, and air; nature provides us with what our mind and spirit need to stay sane and flourish. Perhaps physicist and author David Bohm said it best: “It takes mother nature to free our own nature.” At the end of each Nature Cycle, mother nature sets us free from our current stage of development and elevates our personal nature to a more advanced state, and the next cycle begins. According to the Nature Cycle, our personal evolution is dependent on our relationship with mother nature and mother nature’s periodic infusion of her nature into our own.
A cosmos is a world with order. There are two orderly worlds, not one, in the universe. One world is the microcosm, the other is the macrocosm. We correctly identify the world through size. Microcosm comes from the Greek words mikros and kosmos, which mean “little world,” and macrocosm comes from the Greek words makros and kosmos, which mean “large world.” Except for size, the micro and the macro worlds are identical twins: The microcosm is a small-scale copy of the large macrocosmic world. The macrocosm is a large-scale copy of the small microcosmic world. The bottom arrow of the Cosmic Cycle is the microcosm sending information to the macrocosm so the macrocosm can become a large-scale reproduction of the microcosm. The top Cosmic Cycle arrow is the macrocosm sending information to the microcosm so the microcosm can become a small-scale reproduction of the macrocosm. After the microcosm reproduces something it needs from the macrocosm, the microcosm moves to it’s next stage of development, and the small and large worlds start a new cycle. As with the seven previous cycles, in the Cosmic Cycle something greater and wiser acts as an invisible hand that guides our evolution.
Audio Collections: Sacred Cycles
You’ve read the book, here is a chance to listen to the author guide you through your sacred cycles. Get more from the cycles with a partner who is correcting, educating and guiding you. Balance the cognitive-emotional cycle, right-left human brain dominance cycle and the sympathetic-parasympathetic nervous system cycle to find inner peace and direction. While listening to this program, take the opportunity to attune your personal cycles to the great environmental cycles.