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Old Age

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Old Age

Appreciating Old Age as a Time of Completion, of Ripening

This interest continues for several days. I find my attention gravitating to old people on the street, in restaurants, stores, everywhere. I feel an empathy with them. I feel close to them, affectionate, even a kind of intimacy. I appreciate their slowness, their quiet, their wisdom. I am acutely aware of the effect of the years on them, their bodies and minds, and on their orientation and their concerns. Gradually, the understanding emerges that the interest in old age is an expression of appreciating it as a time of completion, of finishing with one’s life-projects, of ripening. I see old age as a time, or condition, of relaxation and settling, and of not wanting anything, not needing to do anything. It is a time of mental rest, of physical relaxation, of letting go of ambition. Desires have exhausted themselves, and plans have been either completed or abandoned. I feel a longing for this condition, which my mind associates with old age. This longing is accompanied by viewing life in a new light. I see life, with its excitement, projects and ambitions, as a wound-up spring which unwinds slowly. The excitement and ambition are expressions of the tension of this wound-up spring, impelling us, driving us, relentlessly and mercilessly. Old age means to me that the spring is all unwound; no more tension and no more drive, just a mellow settling. There is appreciation of this settling, of this mellowness. As the subtle process continues, each day brings new feelings, new realizations, new understanding. The longing reveals itself as a herald of an upcoming development. I find myself, at some point, in a period of feeling settled and contented. I live for weeks with a kind of quiet certainty that I have arrived. There is no more need for effort, no sense in continuing the search. This is not a conclusion, but a realization arising spontaneously from the depths, unbidden and free. 

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