As we welcome a new season of the year, this issue of our Digest centers upon age as initiating a new phase in our lives. Celebrating all of life, may we stand with Ram Dass who now relishes being told his years are showing. Quoting Ram Dass: “Wow, you’ve done it, you’ve grown old, how great!’”
Marking another turn of the seasons, between now and April 15, subscribers to Fierce with Age are invited to download two of my most recent books, a memoir and a novella, for free. This is the last time these books will be available prior to their publication in 2018. For information, click HERE.
“For a couple of years leading up to retirement, I was frightened by the yawning chasm that seemed to be on the other side. But, with time, I began to feel that there was some other, great phase of life that I wanted to give myself to. A time to explore my place on earth, the meaning of my life.
This brings me back to the theme of wisdom. I don’t expect to achieve wisdom, certainly not as a steady state, a dependable calm, far above the concerns and slights of everyday life. But I hope to touch its shores. I think I know the secret sauce, too. It has to do with saying farewell to being more—more charming, more intelligent, more lovable, more successful—more than myself. More than my self. It is time to find the freedom in just being who I am in a universe I do not control.”
“In the second half of life, heroism is no longer the goal or concern. Now the goal is something that we can no longer manufacture, control or even possess as our own: holinesss. Holiness is given and received; it is utterly but quietly transforming…
This holiness has to do with being in God, whereas the early heroic journey has more to do with doing and achieving a self.”
“…From nursing home to a dark and solitary end of life. Where were the role models for living in joy, rather than despair? Medical science had extended my years; how could I be more joyous in those years?
In my early life, I had role models, mentors and encouragers. Now what? Who? I had no manual to guide me in finding best ways of growing old. There seemed to be no set rules to follow, and no advice on growing old gracefully.
I realized that I had to release a phase of my life that I had outgrown. From this realization, I consciously read more books, went to informative meetings focused on aging and creativity. (These helped me) to increase confidence and optimism while facing the challenges of growing older.
The lead character of the novel Independence Day, plummeting through midlife, muses about his troubled teenaged son:
“He tries to maintain continuous monitorship of all his thoughts as a way of ‘understanding’ himself and being under control and therefore making life better (though by doing so, of course, he threatens to drive himself nuts.)
In a way, his ‘problem’ is simple: he has become compelled to figure out life and how to live it far too early, long before he’s seen a sufficient number of unfixable crises cruise past him like damaged boats and realized that fixing one in six is a damn good average and the rest you have to let go.”
“In 1862, one of The Atlantic’s founders, Ralph Waldo Emerson acknowledged that ‘the creed of the street is, Old Age is not disgraceful, but immensely disadvantageous.’ Emerson set out to explain the upsides of senescence. A common theme is the sense of serenity that comes with age and experience:
‘Youth suffers not only from ungratified desires, but from powers untried, and from a picture in his mind of a career which has, as yet, no outward reality. He is tormented with the want of correspondence between things and thoughts. … Every faculty new to each man thus goads him and drives him out into doleful deserts, until it finds proper vent. …
One by one, day after day, he learns to coin his wishes into facts. He has his calling, homestead, social connection, and personal power, and thus, at the end of fifty years, his soul is appeased by seeing some sort of correspondence between his wish and his possession. This makes the value of age, the satisfaction it slowly offers to every craving. He is serene who does not feel himself pinched and wronged, but whose condition, in particular and in general, allows the utterance of his mind.’”
“I’m going to present the essential elements of the Mystical Experience and the Divine Human but you have to work on experiencing them. You have to experience these ideas directly for them to become real for you…
Are you willing to temporarily suspend your core reality and religious beliefs in order to experience the divine? You have to choose between belief and conscious experience.
Are you willing to release who you think you are and where you think you are in order to experience yourself as a Divine Human in a Divine World? As long as you defend conventional and consensual reality beliefs, you won’t get there.
What if you begin to experience God’s consciousness looking out your eyes, hearing with your ears, moving through your body, speaking with your voice, would you be ok with that? Does that possibility trouble or excite you?
And the ultimate question is this: Are you ready to experience your consciousness as God’s consciousness and your being as God’s being, because that’s where we’re going?
On a five point scale, where 1 = ‘Yea!’ and 5 = ‘No Way!’ how ready are to you move from your beliefs to first hand mystical experience?”
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FIERCE WITH AGE, The Online Digest of Wisdom, Inspiration, and Spirituality is a free digest featuring periodic summaries and excerpts of the best writing about spirituality and aging for Boomers.
Editor-in-chief Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., a conscious aging expert with a doctorate in religion and author of 30 books, celebrates the increasing visibility of spiritual content on Boomer, aging and spirituality websites, classic sources as well as newly published books and articles.
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