The fear of aging continues to affect us today as individuals and as a society, as if the later years in life were but a testimony to uselessness and helplessness, and only youth and strength were to be valued.
For this reason, we bleach our teeth white, we color our hair blonde, we take male-enhancement pills to promote more vigorous sexuality, we turn away from all that reminds us, visibly, that our bodies are growing older.
Today as well as yesterday, the phenomenon of aging is seen with outer eyes only, focusing on the physical which is only the outer clothing for the soul - something that does not travel with us after death - and leaving out the most important part of aging which is the flowering of the spirit. This is a way in which society continues to depart from its sacred origins which give to each stage in life a particular sanctity and purpose. Deluded into thinking that the physical is all there is, society expresses this belief in the way that it relates to the human body.
Yet, despite its predominance today, this way of relating is not a necessary way. It is just the current way. If it were necessary that the teeth become yellow, and the hair turn gray, and the body become weaker, would that diminish in any way the strength of heart or of spirit that dwells within? Clearly, with what measure we measure things is a statement of what we give value to and what we diminish in importance. And equally clearly, we have the choice regarding the measure of a man or woman that we determine to use.
It is time for humanity to see, and know, and understand that the garment of the soul that is the body is sacred. It has come into this life with the soul to serve a sacred purpose, and after its service is performed, it prepares to be put aside. In the years leading up to this casting off of the body, what is lost on the outer level is often gained on the inner, and when this is not the case, it is often because the one who beholds their own physical weakening feels ashamed, and begins to identify more with their physical limitation than with what dwells inside. In this way, those who are aging are influenced by the opinions that we as a society hold about them, so that for many, it is almost inevitable that they come to hold such views about themselves.
Nevertheless, neither the fire of the heart nor the power of the spirit need become less because the body's youth and strength are diminished. One day we will know and feel this, and we will honor the aging body in its beauty and expressiveness that has provided a shelter for the spirit for so long. On that day, we will know that the only eyes worth seeing through to determine the value of anything are the inner eyes, for the inner eyes see the truth of the soul, not the covering for the soul. They see the sacred essence of another, not the state of their bodily parts.
Blessed shall be that day when mankind shall revere the aged and the aged shall revere themselves for having passed through the seasons of life and gleaned from this passage what it had to offer.
May all come to know this day that precedes the passing on out of physical existence. And may all come to cherish the process of life that is known as aging.