“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” Swedish proverb
At some juncture as we age the question “What’s the point?” will probably arise. Change is inevitable. Retirement from a career in which we yielded some power and control, children raised and moved on, spouse gone, friends no longer in touch, age-related health issues are all factors that make us feel un-wanted and useless. There seems to be no purpose left. There is a loss of illusion.
According to gerontology experts, we need to keep on with healthful eating habits, proper rest, staying fit, maintaining a social life, and exercising our minds. All very good advice, but not enough.
No one depends on us now. We are free to work on our souls. Contemplation and meditation are avenues for soul work. Contemplation in simple terms means thinking, but more than just thought. It is a savoring of that thought –really looking at it and taking it in. By being completely aware of our surroundings we become conscious of the “little graces” of daily life. Everything falls into place; smooth sailing, when we expected difficulties. A plant blooms after years of just sitting there. These things with full awareness contribute to the soul’s growth.
Clearing the mind for the jumble of the outside world in meditation reaches the soul. But it is not necessary to sit quietly, chant a mantra, and/or breathe properly to meditate. Living can be a meditation. Daily life is full of epiphanies. As keepers of home and garden, the spirit will move if we pay attention. Complete absorption in a task is meditation and lifts the soul.
There is a reason that we age. It is a time to take everything in stride, use it for soul work AND reap the benefits of that work.
On a practical level, it is well to remember that it is our responsibility to maintain our minds and bodies. Also, we must continue to create purposes for ourselves. But “Be willing to surrender a measure of rationality and control in return for the gifts of the soul”, according to Thomas Moore in his book “Care of the Soul”. This is an excellent book –highly recommended for those on the path.
Article contributed by Judy Struna