Aging seems to increasingly have become the elephant in the room that we want to avoid, but truly, what does aging actually mean? To most of us it is the chronological timeline from which we enter into this beautiful world to the time in which we leave. Why is it then, that at times you are walking down a street you see a 50 year old who looks 25 juxtaposed with a 25 year old that looks 50. How is that? Its because aging is not just the timeline of our existence, but there is also aging on a physiological level as well as a psychological level. The statement “you are only as young as you think” is highly applicable here. I think a big issue that first needs to be addressed is on a societal level. Western culture deeply fears getting old, envisioning our elder years to be ridden with arthritis, diabetes, heart conditions, and a decaying mind. We will literally do anything to avoid the fact the we are chronologically getting older and to not acknowledge yet another birthday that reminds us of our fleeting youth.
When you look at this last statement, where does age actually fit in? It is not the aging that we are terrified of, it is the conditions that come with it. If you think of all of your loved ones, all of the people you know of through your social network, who has truly died from pure old age? I’ll bet you not a single one, even those who have peacefully gone in their sleep have passed from physiological complications. I think when we realize this truth the act of getting a year older becomes less scary. We don’t have to age by the expectations society unconsciously places on us. This fact allows us to take control of our lives, our bodies and really enjoy all of the stages of our life instead of shying away from ourselves. We make room for total self love and care.
This draws us into the realm of physiological aging. We are an evolving species and are deeply resilient. Our bodies follow suit. Our ability to adapt is our greatest success, to change, evolve and transform. We have entirely new skin cells every 14 days, our liver cells regenerate every 300-500 days, even our heart cells replace at approximately 1% a year. We literally become a new physical being multiple times throughout our lifespan. Our bodies are beautiful miracles and the key is if we can maintain this we begin to create a satisfying life of longevity. The biggest component to maintaining health throughout our life is movement. Our bodies are literally built to move. A sedentary lifestyle produces stagnation and this stagnation creates grounds for many of those diseases we fear.
Our minds are powerful tools which can be used to our benefit or detriment. In Deepak Chopra’s “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” he poses ten basic assumptions which we have originally formed our conceptions of what aging means, and then offers a new view point which can bring us to the next level of transformation and not prescribe to a failing model.
Here are the ten points of his old paradigm:
1. There is an objective world independent of the observer, and our bodies are an aspect of this objective world.
2. The body is composed of clumps of matter separated from one another in time and space. 3. Mind and body are separate and independent from each other.
4. Materialism is primary, consciousness is secondary. In other words, we are physical machines that have learned to think.
5. Human awareness can be completely explained as the product of biochemistry. 6. As individuals, we are disconnected, self-contained entities.
7. Our perception of the world is automatic and gives us an accurate picture of how things really are.
8. Our true nature is totally defined by the body, ego, and personality. We are wisps of memories and desires enclosed in packages of flesh and bones.
9. Time exists as an absolute, and we are captives of that absolute. No one escapes the ravages of time.
10. Suffering is necessary—it is part of reality. We are inevitable victims of sickness, aging, and death.”
And here are ten new ways to Deepak’s approach to aging:
“1. The physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.
2. In their essential state, our bodies are composed of energy and information, not solid matter. This energy and information is an outcropping of infinite fields of energy and information spanning the universe.
3. The mind and body are inseparably one. The unity that is “me” separates into two streams of experience. I experience the subjective stream as thoughts, feelings, and desires. I experience the objective stream as my body. At a deeper level, however, the two streams meet at a single creative source. It is from this source that we are meant to live.
4. The biochemistry of the body is a product of awareness. Beliefs, thoughts, and emotions create the chemical reactions that uphold life in every cell. An aging cell is the end product of awareness that has forgotten how to remain new.
5. Perception appears to be automatic, but in fact it is a learned phenomenon. The world you live in, including the experience of your body, is completely dictated by how you learned to perceive it. If you change your perception, you change the experience of your body and your world.
6. Impulses of intelligence create your body in new forms every second. What you are is the sum total of these impulses, and by changing their patterns, you will change.
7. Although each person seems separate and independent, all of us are connected to patterns of intelligence that govern the whole cosmos. Our bodies are part of a universal body, our minds an aspect of a universal mind.
8. Time does not exist as an absolute, but only eternity. Time is quantified eternity, timelessness chopped up into bits and pieces (seconds, hours, days, years) by us. What we call linear time is a reflection of how we perceive change. If we could perceive the changeless, time would cease to exist as we know it. We can learn to start metabolizing non-change, eternity, the absolute. By doing that, we will be ready to create the physiology of immortality.
9. Each of us inhabits a reality lying beyond all change. Deep inside us, unknown to the five senses, is an innermost core of being, a field of non-change that creates personality, ego, and body. This being is our essential state—it is who we really are.
10. We are not victims of aging, sickness, and death. These are part of the scenery, not the seer, who is immune to any form of change. This seer is the spirit, the expression of eternal being.”
In conclusion aging cannot be approached on one basic level. We must explore all aspects of our being with a genuine state of curiosity and openness. When we change the structure of our mind, we create the foundation to change our physical body and in these two levels we step into timelessness.