There are many articles highlighting how to prevent aging using the latest technology or serum; however, have you thought about nurturing your mind in order to halt the signs of aging? Through my 37 years on this earth, I have finally come to terms that my life will end one day. Until that day occurs, I am going to nourish my mind, body and soul. Now, I don’t worry so much about the gray hairs that are popping up, but I do care about the sun spots and whether or not I get a good nights rest.
So, how am I managing to be so carefree about growing older? Well, today, you will grasp how to simplify your thoughts in order to welcome the aging process instead of living in fear or worry of it. I will walk you through:
- -Managing life obstacles
- -Non-excess, the 4th Yama of the Yoga Sutras
- -Positive quotes on aging gracefully
Managing life obstacles
My dad had it all figured out in terms of living life in balance. He managed to juggle multiple projects while still keeping up with his golf practice. Although I know stress was his arch-nemesis, he knew the secret to aging gracefully. It wasn’t even a product or tangible object! It was a phrase, an iconic phrase. Sir Paul McCartney wrote a song during his time with The Beatles. I learn later that Aretha Franklin actually released the song on her album This Girl’s In Love With You in 1970 and was the first to actually sing:
“Let it be”
For my dad, “Let It Be” meant letting go of whatever you cannot control. It is also a strong notion in yoga (i.e. surrendering to a pose or meditation practice) and an important concept I encourage you to take time to learn. For instance, as I was composing this entry, I kept getting distracted by my children making noises. At first, I was more concerned with them waking up their sister. I repeatedly got up to scold them when in reality, I should have been more present to realize that they were making happy noises. Why am I preventing them from being happy?! Sure, it would suck for Ophelia to wake up, but I should have tried to changed the situation OR… Let it be.
This song means so much more than simply letting things be as they are though. It also reflects on the world’s problems. I know that in 2020 we probably are having a hard time with this concept, especially with the upcoming presidential election and the pandemic, but in your daily life… If you let go of whatever is bothering you and live in the present moment, you’ll see that there are so many things distracting you and causing more grief and pain. Stress a little less.
With all this being said, I know there are some control freaks out there that cannot and will not let things be as they are. That is totally fine! Those who need to be in control 24/7 might have an overactive monkey mind that needs to be tamed by meditation.
To those people out there, let me ask you a question: Would you accept help? What if you cannot solve a problem, but someone else has a solution. Are you too stubborn to take the advice? I leave you with this-
“As we are the ultimate cause of our difficulties, we are also the solution. We cannot change the things that happen to us, but we can change our responses.” (2)
What the Yoga Sutras have to say
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was written nearly 2,000 years ago! It consists of 4 chapters and 196 verses. Patanjali developed the sutras as theories to be practiced as a system to reach Samadhi, complete absorption or enlightenment. Though it is uncertain as to who Patanjali really is (a person or a group of people), this document has become a popular guide on how to live life even in today’s society.
In Sutra 2.30, Patanjali presents the 5 Yamas or external disciplines:
- non stealing
To start, Brahmacharya (non-excess) is the Sanskrit word for the 4th Yama. It also can be interpreted as celibacy or abstinence from our desires whether they be sexual or materialistic. Deborah Adel explains Brahmacharya with this quote:
“It literally means walking with God and invites us into an awareness of the sacredness of all of life. This guideline is a call to leave greed and excess behind and walk in this world with wonder and awe, practicing non-excess and attending to each moment as holy.” (1)
There is an analogy that Deborah uses about having just enough in life. If we use this in reference to eating-
–Why is it that our eyes are always bigger than our stomach?
–When we are famished and decide to go shopping at the super market, why do we end up buying more than we need?
–Or lets take for instance a yoga class. We might be so tired from the work day and yet we feel the need to push ourselves to get into a bind or arm balance.
–Why can’t we think in terms of what’s just enough for ourselves at that moment in time?
In order to live simply, adopt non-excess, incorporate it into every thing you do and see how much of a difference it makes you feel. Sure, we tend to splurge here and there, but try to mindfully live with non-excess a large percentage of time. Little steps love!
From people that inspired me to age with grace
“I’ve decided not to buy into the idea that I want to stop aging. My wrinkles connect me to my family, to my ancestors and to my future. This is how my father looked when he was my age. I’ve got cellulite because it runs in my family. I’ve got gray hair because I won’t dye it.” – Ann Curry, Interview from Ladies Home Journal
“Age ain’t nothing but a number.” – Aaliyah
“Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.” -Ram Dass
“Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. . Time is a concept that humans created.” -Yuko Uno
“The medicine for anti-aging is lifelong learning.” – Pema Chodron
The undeniable truth is that we all age
Sure, La Mer, Retinol cream and Botox will help reduce the signs of aging (at a cost), but I invite you to accept the process. Welcome it with open arms. Why? Because it is free for one, and two… This leaves you one less thing to worry about. Check it off the to do list and carry on.
1.The Yamas & Niyamas By Deborah Adele
2. The Four Noble Truths- https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/four-noble-truths