In my previous blog, we discussed Ageing with Intention.
It has occurred to me that we could misunderstand the true purpose of ageing with intention, ageing with consciousness or ageing with vitality.
The world is becoming a very challenging place in which to live. It has always been challenging of course, but life was much simpler and up until as recently as 100 years ago, life for most of us was within the boundaries of our physical locality.
Certainly, I can remember as a child just sixty years ago, thinking of the world outside as a dangerous and threatening place. I had not even visited London, which was just 250 miles away, until the age of 14.
Our biggest challenge in those days was to leave school and get a decent job. Our social life was the Saturday night out, usually at the local dance hall. These were the days of rock and roll, coffee bars and the cinema.
These days, we travel worldwide. On returning from holiday only last week, I remember remarking to my friend, “I’m worn out, and I have only travelled from Germany!” Only travelled from Germany? In one day, coach, plane and train! Even as I said it, I thought how ridiculous that remark was in the light of the progress humans have made in the last 72 years since I came to this planet.
During the days of the Baby Boomers, life has changed out of all recognition. Those of you reading this as Baby Boomers will know what I mean.
Ageing too has changed for the better.
We have cosmetic surgery, enlightened ways of eating, makeup, groups on Facebook about anti-ageing. Creams, supposedly to help avoid wrinkles, and so on.
But these things are only tackling ageing on the outside.
What about our inner beings? What about the spirit and soul?
There is a shift going on. It is difficult to pinpoint when this shift started. But people began to be disillusioned by the teachings and practice of the church.
They began to see that consumerism is not working. Things were not giving the satisfaction that they imagined it would.
During the 1960’s the notion of the power of love began to take hold. At the time it was seen by our parents as “way out”, or of the devil, it would never last. Drugs were involved, and so the love movement took on something that was evil, way out and needed to be nipped in the bud.
The consequence of this was that drugs took on a powerful means of money making, smuggling, murder and other dire consequences. Young people now live in a world where drugs are sold behind counters in pubs and clubs, as a means of having a good time. Drugs then lead to more crime, misery and death to ordinary people. Life took on a much bigger challenge for these young people.
But, there was another, a better consequence of the love movement.
Love is energy.
Young people began to go to places like India seeking out spiritual masters who taught about the meaning of love. John Lennon was famous for many songs, but the songs “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine” came from somewhere deep inside of him. He had been to India too and sat at the feet of a spiritual master.
Skip forward to the present day, and there are many teachers coming forward with inspirational teachings.
So, what has all this got to do with the fact that ageing with vitality is not all about “me”?
In my previous articles, I spoke about ageing with intention and being a wise elder.
When we make a mission out of ageing, with purpose, intention and in a conscious manner, we are doing our bit in our little corner of the world to make life more peaceful and joyous for those coming behind.
By example we can show them that although we have been through tough times, may even be ill, may be physically challenged, they can still expect to learn from us, that there is no room for bitterness and unforgiveness.
In my work with Elderly people, in homes and their own homes, I have seen the effect that people have on the carers and their families and themselves.
One old lady had lost one leg, her breasts and was blind. Yet we loved looking after her because she used to cheer us up. She used to joke that they would save money on her funeral because they would only be burying half of her.
On the other hand, one old chap used to swear and curse us, and we dreaded taking care of him. We learnt afterwards that he had been a man who had abused his family. The point is that it was he who needed to look within. Even though he was living in misery, we still gave him the care that he needed. We did not punish him; he was punishing himself.
Giving and receiving are the same energy.
So to sum up, the point of getting ourselves sorted out while we are still able to, is not just for ourselves, but for the sake of the world at large. We are part of the Universe. The Universe is one big, vast cosmos, everything in it is energy, and you too are made up of that same energy.
So can you see that ageing with intention or vitality in a conscious way, is our part of the whole plan?
It is not just about me.