Aging: What is it good for?

Aging, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh

We are exposed to it every single day, no matter how old or young we may be — by way of commercials, newspaper ads, insightful articles and the latest scientific breakthroughs. The message? Aging Sucks – and as a result it is the responsibility of everyone within earshot to delay, postpone, remove, cancel or cover up whatever signs of aging they might be going through. That includes wrinkles, sagging necklines, body aches, graying hair, diminishing eyesight, errant skin spots and various other sagging body parts. And let’s not forget about our seemingly zealous preoccupation with the pursuit of a constant and ‘fulfilling’ sex life by way of erectile boosters, naughty nite creams and tantalizing sex potions.

The Forbidden Topic

I’m sure I am not the first to discuss frankly the forbidden topic of aging in the post modern world, and certainly I won’t be the last. Everyone who enters such a phase is bound to reflect on how they got to a point of physical and mental degradation. At this stage many of us begin to heed those soul snatching commercials and take measures so as to not succumb to what generations before presented as ‘normal aging’. Remember the brillo hairdo and muu-muu cover-ups of grandmothers during the 50s, 60s and 70s? When today we have slender 70-year-old vixens in the form of Jane Fonda and others who clearly have access to the latest anti-ageing technology.  This has become our ideal. Denial is the best policy.

Rather than wander off on a rant about current boomer issues, I’d like to focus this article on the sacredness of entering and then successfully traversing what I like to call ‘the wisdom years’.

What’s so wise about aging?

The aging process is interesting, and weird. I, like so many others undergoing this transformation will tell you — we may look slightly or dramatically different, adopt a shifting perspective of what makes a person attractive and take an overall slower approach to life, but underneath it all — we still ‘feel’ the same. Peering out of the eyeballs of a 50, 60 or 70-something-year-old is the exact same someone who peered out of a thriving youth’s expectant face, only a few decades earlier. Some of us are lucky enough to have that same intense feeling of unchanging self-ness well into our 90s, perhaps beyond. So, regardless of appearances and evolving perspectives on what may or may not be important in life, fundamentally we remain the same essence of personhood as we were when we enthusiastically launched ourselves into this lifetime as infants.

So, what is the aging process good for exactly? Shouldn’t we take every opportunity to stay physically young, embrace youthful pursuits, and strive to keep our bodies performing at the same hormonal levels as they did when we were in our 20’s or 30’s? Really, what is the lesson of aging anyway, and why not keep reaching for that illusive fountain of youth, striving to forever live on in youthful splendor?

Contrary to what the beauty product (anti-aging) peddlers will tell you, aging is a sacred process. As the flesh of the body slowly morphs into a sagging, slow motion rendition of the former self, the spirit has the opportunity to awaken. As it becomes less and less easy for the personality to identify with the body or the reflection in the mirror, a consciousness of higher identity dawns and an awareness of the true self is born: a self that is beautiful, unchangeable, energetic and eternally optimistic.

Talk about over population!

It seems obvious to say that if everyone that was born on earth lived for more than their allotted 70 to a hundred years, this planet would collapse from the weight of never-dying populations. Already we are challenged to sustain our chosen way of existence thanks to life sustaining drugs and a zeal to have more babies than good sense should allow for. Can you imagine the extra burden 150-year-old plus ever-youthful populations would add to this already toxic mix? And with our apparently perverted need to constantly satisfy 20-year-old libidos with erectile enhancement drugs all of those long-lived geezers would doubtlessly believe they should also procreate at a rate consistent with their more youthful counterparts. Seriously, does this scenario make sense to anyone?

The better question might be; why do people think they should live forever? The answer is; we are afraid of death. In our industrialize consumer driven world, we have lost touch with the truth of who and what we are. Essentially we have become a race of spiritually confused beings. The vast majority of us are under-educated and over-stimulated. We have no relationship with nature and the true cycles of life and death on earth. We live almost exclusively indoors, buy our meat at the grocery store, have our children via C-section to avoid the inconveniences of childbirth and we give our dead over to an institution that preserves empty bodies in $10,000 never decaying coffins in growing cemeteries consuming acres and acres of land – all in an attempt to avoid having to look death in the face.

Now that sounds like a rant, so returning to my postulation that aging is a sacred process let’s see if we can get back on track. The process of living through the various changes of a declining body form jolts the psyche, offering a chance to reevaluate reality and the meaning of existence. Sadly, many people have become ensnared in the popularly accepted American culture – the never say ‘die’ crowd. These folks have been brought up without any relationship to nature, without any exposure to religious traditions (or over-exposure to warped religious traditions), have never stopped to hear themselves think and have never been exposed to mysticism, philosophy or transcendent examples — or for that matter, an accurate historical record. Since spirit never gives up on us, no matter how distracted we may have become due to our environment or the choices we have made — the process of aging is given to us as a gift. If undertaken with even the slightest amount of conscious detachment, it can be a way to break through cycles of denial and misinformation so that we may realize our truer nature and embrace a more Godly sense of ourselves.

Aging into a greater sense of Godliness

How are we Godly, you ask. We are Godly in the fact that the essence of our being is energy, vital energy; eternally alive, awake and aware on levels well beyond our 3-dimensional existence. Physicality is a more recent invention of our experience, and it was by no means created as a way to keep us trapped forever in human body form. The human condition is a temporary experience intended to be a learning device and a way to expand the divine definition of ourselves as beings of God-given essence. Through the process of being human we have collectively developed important new waves of consciousness that has transformed the way energy is distributed throughout the galaxy, and the universe. These waves of consciousness include notions of unconditional love, compassion and kindness and due to our somehow innate inability to accept only the good parts of our earthly experiences also forgiveness and the opportunity for transcendence.

At the core of our being is Light. That Light is defined to be greater now than it was before the earth was even a proverbial twinkle in God’s eye, thanks to all of the human (and nonhuman) lifetimes lived on this little blue globe floating in space. This Light is the light you see shining from a baby’s gaze. In fact, it is the energy that arrived with that new-born baby and it’s what you sense missing when a spirit leaves a dying body behind. It’s the light you see when you look into your lover’s eyes at the moment you realize that you are a lovable being, and you shine the same light back in return. This is also the light that keeps a person truly youthful and energized to live a full and complete lifetime, complete with wrinkles, sagging body parts and waning sexual appetites.

Bottom Line: Buy a muu-muu

So, what is aging good for? Personal reflection and spiritual renewal. Huh, yeah! Forget the cosmetic surgeries, expensive tightening creams, hair dye and urges to keep up with anti-aging ever-youthful pharmaceutics. Heck you might as well buy a muu-muu instead. Might be that our grandmothers knew a little something after all.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Koany says:

    Aging makes us feel like we are constantly moving forward. Aging is visible, obvious time passing. Without aging, I doubt there would be any impetus to do anything at all.

    1. Dhyana says:

      Pondering your comment I am filled with alternative notions of aging. I doubt that aging causes action, in particular — but it does cause us to reflect on how temporary and fleeting our lives are and perhaps therefore if there’s something we want to accomplish maybe we better get on it. But I also believe the opposite is true. For some of us (such as myself) aging is a reminder that nothing we do is truly lasting, as everything eventually falls away and few of us are really remembered once we’re gone. In this mindset one is caused to think about the impermanence of our earthly actions and more about being present where we are right now. I also wonder what it would be like if we aged in a world without mirrors or objects of physical reflection. Would we then be so concerned with the process? Might we then return to the ideal of honoring the aged as wisdom keepers rather than reminders of our own approaching decrepitude?

  2. Zen Presence says:

    Suzuki Roshi once said that we are so lucky that our lives are impermanent. They are so precious.

    1. Dhyana says:

      Exactly!

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