Getting old is something that most of us will experience; however, there are many who see aging and old age as a negative life experience. Sadhguru, yogi, mystic and the foremost authority on yoga, shares his insights on aging.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, although Americans have on average added 30-plus years to their life span, the prevalence of negative perceptions about old age has a deep impact on the physical and emotional health on that segment of the population.
On the other hand, according to a study at Yale University, older people who accept and embrace positive stereotypes about old age are more likely to enjoy better health. It appears that how we feel about old age has a profound effect on our experience of it. So, how can you cultivate the right attitude and embrace aging? Below, we share Sadhguru’s guidance on doing so:
Sadhguru: Old age need not be misery. In many ways, old age can be a great blessing because the whole experience of life is behind you. When you were a child everything was beautiful, but you were eager to grow up because you want to experience life. When you became youthful, your intelligence got hijacked by your hormones. Whatever you did, knowingly or unknowingly, it just pushed you in that direction. Very few people are capable of raising their intelligence beyond the hormonal hijack and looking at life with clarity. All others are trapped in it.
When you come to old age, all the longings are over, a whole experience of life is behind you and you are once again childlike, but you have the wisdom of experience of life. It can be a very fruitful and wonderful part of your life, but unfortunately most human beings suffer their old age simply because they don’t take care of their rejuvenation process properly. In ancient times in India, old age meant Vanaprastha ashrama [spiritual hermitage], where the old couple went back into the forest and lived there joyfully.
But today, old age means “hospital ashrama.”
If you take care of your rejuvenation process well, old age can be a miraculous part of your life, because it is invaluable to have a whole life’s experience behind you and to be once again childlike.
Everything is over, but very few old people can even smile, unfortunately. This is because the only thing that they knew in their life was the physical body. Once the body begins to recede, they become despondent. It might not have become diseased, no big cancer need to have come, but in every step that you take, age is telling you this is not forever. If you establish yourself in other [spiritual] dimensions of experience, the body becomes an easy thing to handle. Old age and even death can be a joyful experience.
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