Finding Inner Calm and Deeper Wisdom

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Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

Prison or Paradise?

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I live day-to-day inside a paradise or a prison—depending upon what day it is. And/or what conditions I’m living in at the time.

The body can be a wonderful place. Its joys and pleasures are the subject of much of the world’s music and art. Eating a delicious meal, being intimate with a lover, spending time in nature—I could fill up the rest of this page with the joys of living life.

The body also can be a torture chamber. It is subject to sickness and diseases that inflict horrible pain and suffering. As soon as you reach adulthood, the body has already begun breaking down from aging. Its various failures begin to limit the joys and pleasures you otherwise might enjoy. Organs and limbs no longer work like they once did. You can’t eat this or that, and you can’t do many things you used to do. If you’re fortunate, your slowly deteriorating body gives you good days and bad days. Your chief focus is to get through the bad days and taste the joys—as much as possible—of the good days.

It gets worse. The older you get, the more bad days you have, and the fewer good days. Dammit, old age sucks. On some of the baddest of the bad days, you think about how nice it might be to be released from your body. To be free of your bodily pain and limitations. How wonderful it might be to move on to whatever comes after this. Of course, you don’t know for sure what comes afterward—if anything. But the chances are good that you would at least be released from this bodily torture.

So now, after all this whining and complaining, what am I offering you in return for reading my blathering? I always feel compelled to offer something useful—something positive—in return for reading my stuff. Okay, here it is: It’s Zen.

More specifically, it’s the Original Zen that was taught by Bodhidharma.

So here’s a question: What if I had to make a choice between all the pain meds and anti-inflammatories the doctor could give me—versus my Zen practice? Which would I choose? If you’ve read much of my stuff, you know the answer to that.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

August 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Getting Older Makes Me More Spiritual

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Why is that? It’s not something I’m necessarily trying to do—it just seems to be a natural progression. Apparently, there’s some part of me that must know my spirit is getting closer to departing from my body. Of course, I don’t know when that departure will be; perhaps I’m too healthy to worry about that.

It’s Sunday morning as I write this. This is a day when I usually get to think more—and think deeper—about what my life is about and why I’m here. I get to sleep late on Sundays, and I’m usually a lot more relaxed than other days. That’s mostly because I don’t have to get out of bed and go off to some church so I can go through all the motions of worshiping imaginary deities—or demonstrating to other people that I’m worshiping. I declared myself free from all that long ago.

Thus, I have more time and opportunity than almost everybody I know to go within. And if there is truly a “god,” that is where it is to be found.

Alas, I digress. So why does getting older make me more spiritual? Part of the answer may be that, as I age, I notice my body breaking down more and more. Muscles and joints ache more, I’m weaker and have less stamina, my memory isn’t as good as it was, and I need more rest. At my age and the present rate of decline, how many years do I have left? I’m seventy-five and every day I read about people much younger than me dropping left and right.

My body is shoving its mortality right in my face. I can see the time coming when this old body will no longer be capable of hosting its spiritual being. One of my reactions to that is the realization that my mind is voluntarily withdrawing from the physical world—albeit at a slow and comfortable pace. Thus, I’m living more and more on the inside. On the deep inside. Living in the Zen state. Which I also know as the spiritual state.

To be frank, it feels pretty damn good.