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For some reason, maybe because of teaching some workshops on ‘How to Work with Older Students’, I seem to be preoccupied with ageing. It may be because I am, er… getting on myself.

A newsletter landed in my email today from my friend and colleague Maggi, who was writing about ‘Age and Attitude’. She says,

I have a bad attitude to ageing. In fact I really don’t know how to go about it.’

Well, who does know how, really?

One of the problems is when to declare when one is old or aged. It’s a cop-out to keep saying it’s sometime in the future.

The yogis have figured it out, though. Here’s what Satyananda Paramahamsa says about becoming old:

Things go on becoming old every moment but we call them old only after the end of the process….

We don’t know exactly when a child becomes a young man or when a young man becomes old. The moments that have ticked over to add up to a lifespan are distinct units, but when they overlap and move forward with acceleration, as they do, they give us the impression of continuity – that is time. We look at the whole process and divide it into Past, Present, and Future, but for the meditator, for one practising mindfulness, there is only this moment, this breath, this heartbeat.

Perhaps that is the key to ageing gracefully.

Krsana-pratiyogi parinama-apara-anta-nigrahyah kramah

Sequence [means that which is] correlative to the moment [of time], apprehensible at the terminal-point of a [particular] transformation.*

*The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Georg Feuerstein.