Monday, 10 September 2012

Getting old

We all live in two planes all the time, physical and mental.  In the physical plane we have no option; we have to live in the present.  However much we want, we will not to be able to reverse our body makeup to the past, or forward it to the future. The millions of cells in the body constantly undergo change executing their dance of creation and destruction faster at young age, pace slowing down as the body gets old.  At a certain stage the destruction is at a greater rate than creation, a clear forerunner of what is in store for the body as a whole. So in the physical plane one is compulsorily forced to live in present. 

But in the mental plane, it is a different story. Here we have the option to stay in the present or wander in the past or fly into the future. Most of the time we either live in the past or in the future, to escape from the present or due to the mind’s fickle nature, thus compensating for the body’s inability as well. Mind moving in the past brings in worries, regrets and guilt feeling to the present and moving in the future brings fear and anxieties to the present. One may ask: Do we not relive happy moments of the past? Do we not have pleasant expectations of the future? Yes, we do at times feel happy recollecting past moments of joy or bask in future expectations of happiness. But if we carefully analyse these moments, we will discover our nostalgia for the past is tinged with regrets and visions of future happiness laced with fear of possible pitfalls in the path to future. So negative emotions are inescapable when our mind stays in the past or runs into the future.  Not only that.  Our negative emotions in the present like anger and hate get fuelled by our thoughts from the past. This tendency to live in the past gets more pronounced as one gets old. 

As one gets old, one finds one is losing control over the body, with each part declaring its independence one by one or sometimes collectively. Some lose their functions partially/ totally. As for future, more helplessness and afflictions, not to speak of exit stare at one. One tends to feel lonely and neglected as one feels one has lot to offer by way of advice but there is no one to listen to it, nor has anybody time to listen.  So to escape from all that one takes refuge in the thoughts of past. This in turn leads to depression and to self pity.  Unless one comes to terms with advancing age and learn to accept the present with all its drawbacks, one will find life miserable and in turn make life miserable for others as well who want to help.

To accept and live in the present:
Keep yourself happy always.  When you feel really happy, your heart is full and there is no room for negative emotions.  Even if you cannot feel happy, fake it to make it. For whenever you feel happy, you are very much in the present, with neither past haunting you nor future threatening you.

   Keep yourself engaged to discover the divinity in yourself, which Sri Vivekananda declares as end and aim of human life.  Study, reflection and Satsang are three important aids in this regard.  Study of sastras namely Gita and Upanishads with the help of a good commentary or by listening to a good teacher, reflection on the sastraic teachings, getting the doubts cleared through discussion with the likeminded peers or by referring to the teacher and satsang or association with people who have the same tastes in sastraic study will help one to get focused in discovering one’s links with divinity and also stay focused in the present.

   Stay tuned to the presence of God in all things, while maintaining through prayer your links with God, God as Karmaphaladhata who can give you the strength of mind to bear the strong adverse Karmaphalas and minimize or mitigate the weak adverse Karmaphalas. Let not the frailities of the body affect your mind by remembering that old age is another role you are playing in the stage of the world as childhood, youth, and middle age, in the past, and all these roles do not really affect your real Self, Athma, your link with divinity

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