Friday, August 24, 2012

Benefits of Mindfulness Practice for Aging Wisely

      While there are many benefits that result from routinely practicing concentration, another technique is needed to permit us to grow in using the wisdom to which we open as we age.  Such a means is essential for living a happier, more joyful life as a senior even as we’re serving others.  It helps us to witness the truth in our experiences, and it leads us to a certainty in aging and changing that meditative practice aids in seeing through our problems and difficulties to find new ways to solve them. Therefore, as we go through the stages of the aging process, from recognition to coming to terms to adaptation and appreciation, it’s possible to benefit from partnering concentration with mindfulness practice every step of the way.
      For example, this valuable method lets us pay attention to whatever we direct our mind to focus on, i.e., the body, the feelings, and the mind.  As we start to undergo the first phase of aging, it has often hit us as if with lightning.  This is where we begin to experience the real benefit of mindfulness practice, for it takes the initial shock, fear and worry and starts to transform them into peace and tranquility, whereby we observe without being lost in various mind states.  By the time we’ve passed into the adaptation stage, we may have seen mindfulness turn physical and mental pain into something tolerable.  We now know how to use this technique like a medicinal therapy to resolve other obstacles related to growing older.  It’s helped us to realize insights that are not only useful to us but also to those around us, showing how to let go of our attachment to impermanence (things, people, ideas, etc.), while staying in the here and now.    Finally, by the time we’ve moved into the final phase of growing older and wiser, we’re feeling a great deal of satisfaction for the journey we’ve had through life, we’re knowledgeable of how to rest in awareness and let go of the tentativeness of this identify as we make the final transition into death.  Oftentimes, many of us would not want to go back to our younger days, even if we could, due to the support of mindfulness in getting to where we are now.  We feel a vast amount of appreciation in life for the wisdom we’ve experienced and what we’ve accomplished in the service of others.
      On the other hand, many of us have seen and been part of the journeys experienced by seniors 50 and over failing to complete the stages of aging wisely.  This was, in large part, because of not knowing how to practice mindfulness but also choosing to deny its validity.  Instead, they went through a lot of unnecessary suffering.  For example, when they began to notice they were aging, they started complaining.  As they continued to age, their worries and fears persisted in accumulating, and many of them became quite depressed.  When they passed away, they often did so in desperate situations, crying out in loneliness and hopelessness, sometimes quite angry and horrible to family and others taking care of them.  It was not only tragic to those suffering but also to others who observed and wished for a better way to leave this life, fearing they might also have to endure what they were seeing.
     Therefore, as we’ve seen above, partnering concentration with mindfulness practice benefits our progress through the aging process.  It allows us to focus like a laser beam on what’s important, observe without getting lost in the presenting issue, and realize some peace and happiness while seeing the truth in the experience; on the other hand, seniors who don’t take advantage of using mindfulness sometimes fail to complete the stages of aging and die horribly.    As for those who have prepared themselves for getting older, they usually anticipate it with a frame of mind decidedly more positive than those who have not involved themselves with such meditative practice, one that is easily taken from the cushion or chair into daily living.  In conclusion, if one needs additional information to more seriously consider what is being said here, I suggest that he or she go to places where older people are suffering and contemplate the truth in their external circumstances and aging process.

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