Ageless Mind Body

To be yourself and act fully in the moment is to be young.

We are born authentic, curious and engaged. Children are this way naturally but as we grow older, we absorb knowledge and the perceptions of others, we integrate life experience which translates into fear and insecurity. These things weigh heavy on the mind body. We can age crooked, tired and sick. Or, we can age gracefully. This is the topic of ageless mind body, thinking about how we can we preserve youthfulness and vitality as we grow older.

I am walking down a long, wide road. It’s early fall and I breathe in the cool crisp air. My gait is easy. I feel gentleness and a window opening. I’m both wise and adolescent simultaneously. I wander into a jewelry store and consider an item that has a secret meaning. My eyes moisten with memories of the past, but I am fully in the present and there is a future Self hovering over me. I’m standing at the intersection of time. I am ageless mind body.

I pass by an old toy store. I marvel at the puzzles and charming puppets. I want to go inside and touch the colorful figurines. I’m aware that my feelings about toy stores are changing. My children are no longer with me. I am now the old man behind the counter. I am nobody and somebody. There is timeless magic in an antique store filled with playful things.

We can prepare ourselves for a youthful, vital old age followed by a peaceful death. We can relax our face and body scars. We can heal old wounds and feel well. We can let go of excess weight. It is our nature to be authentic, curious and engaged—to be ageless, happy, light and free; to choose healthy, deeply satisfying activities that will have a positive impact on our mind body.

There is a man who has one shoulder lower than the other. Further down the path, a woman with a hump on her back. I think, these are medical abnormalities. On the other hand, I feel like it’s the burden they carry. In response to this scene, I watch my step and begin to walk mindfully. I feel each step aligned in weight and balance. To my right, a woman jogs with robust legs and she has laugh lines just like me. Beyond, there is an elderly couple holding hands and I estimate their age to be somewhere between seventy-nine and ninety. They are petite and lovely.

El Retiro, Madrid, 2021

When we break with routine and monotony, we are refreshed and exhilarated. When we change our environment our eyes open anew. These are small leaps into youthfulness and vitality; we become aware of different worlds that exist beyond our small world and that moves us beyond our daily suffering.

We become aware we are not our body, that our mind is a tool of perception. We learn that ageless mind body is a mindful feedback loop in which perception impacts behavior and behavior impacts perception and this sheds new light onto our bodies.

I engage with the butcher when I go to buy meat for dinner. I am aware that I am younger and more relaxed when I open up to him and share something beyond my order. Something relaxes in my face and eyes and I see this in his face and in his eyes. I become a magnet with my lips and with my eyes and with laughter. It’s not that I don’t see age, I do. I see wrinkles, I see folds on elbows and thinning hair. But there is something else there– humor, curiosity and irony. That is ageless mind body.

Creating Oasis

In the center of loud, bustling Madrid, I meditate on the meaning of oasis. I wonder how to find a peaceful spring in the middle of all this noise. I wonder if I’m capable enough to focus, to direct my antennae to receive whatever signal arises in the midst of so much change and static electricity.

There is a gut instinct to retreat.

I bought an expresso pot and discovered that with an induction stove top, the pot is heated by a magnetic field. There was curiosity at first about the materials I’d been given. Then, impatience when the pot didn’t brew correctly. My body yearned for a simple cup of coffee. My heart yearned for fire, pure and simple flames, the kind you can see. But nothing is simple now. Everything is new. I pause for a moment and feel silly. Then, I’m moved into a state of gratitude. I’m grateful for having any material at all and for having these kind of problems. Extravagant problems.

I’m in the center of the loud, bustling city of Madrid and I feel like an orphan child and the universe is providing me with a safe haven. I’m a child but when I look in the mirror I’m old. And I’m aware. I’m aware that I’m blessed and responsible. I know there are adult children orphans like me who are struggling, tired, thirsty. I don’t feel guilty. I feel curious about what I am here to do.

I move forward tinkering with my new coffee pot and magnetic field stove wondering about what it means to create an Oasis, a fertile space, a water spring in the middle of nowhere. Anywhere.

I lower the heat and wait. Gradually, the expresso streams out without a hitch. It’s delicious.

How Mind Works, How Love Works

My mind is empty and there is emptiness today. It’s one big void. I find pleasure in this emptiness because it’s rare and refreshing. Yet, I also feel sadness. Who am I and where am I going? So, I float wondering.

An empty mind is unusual. Often, the mind is filled up with words and images. That is the mind on the ordinary day. The world will stimulate the mind to keep working labeling everything. That’s how we try to make sense of things. This is the mind without meditation.

When the mind is filled with words and images life feels eventful and entertaining. It’s like having a movie on hand every day. It goes on by itself like an automatic tape. It can be a romance one day or a tragedy. I don’t like horror movies but sometimes the mind can be that terrifying. It can fill up with horrible words and ugly images and I’m afraid. Have you ever had the experience of being trapped in a horror movie? Most of us prefer a good sexy romance but even that can go astray when we fixate, doubt love or hallucinate.

Osho says that if you’re really in love then presence is felt and language is not. So when two lovers are in an intimate relationship, they become silent. He says when love is living, words are not because the very existence of love is so overwhelming, so penetrating, that the barrier is crossed, the barrier of language and words. Then he goes on to say that meditation is like that, it’s a love relationship with total existence, with all that surrounds you and when you are in this love situation, you are silent, the mind is still.

I have experienced love in this deep way with another human being, like a total penetration that goes beyond words and language. I’ve also felt something akin to this in meditation but its brief and there’s something different about it. I wonder if I will experience this overwhelming sense of love with existence more so over time.

I think maybe there’s a reason we focus our time and energy on love with other human beings. Maybe it’s because it seems to last longer. There’s also the possibility of love making and that’s a beautiful thing! Making love is the ultimate fusion. It’s profound depth, loving kindness and silence together penetrating the physical form. Maybe this is why we come to earth and reside in a human body to make love.

I’m not suggesting we don’t experience love in aloneness and meditation. I’m just thinking that perhaps we’re here precisely for the work of transmuting spiritual experience into the material world through our physical form, with less mind and fewer words.