Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Like a treasure hidden in a cave, our True Self, the Center of Consciousness and the source of our life and of all love, energy and happiness is hidden inside of ourselves. But most people don't know it exists, Instead, we are infatuated with awareness of the surface of things, with objects in the world, with our sensual experiences, and with the color and shape of our body and skin. Because of this, we are missing out on the greatest treasure there is, and it is literally right under our noses.
Those of us who have become “seniors,” know that the body changes as we age. The aches and pains that increasingly come with age become our frequent companions and our strength and vigor diminish. We have to rest more and often have to curtail activities we loved at an earlier age. This is one of the most difficult parts of aging and for a long time I thought of it as a catastrophe. But it is really a blessing.
“How can this disaster possibly be a blessing?” you ask? It is a blessing because one needs to look beyond body and outer awareness if he or she is ever going to commune with the soul.
According to the meditative Traditions, the true Self abides within ourselves. If the body forever remained fit and young, one would likely never turn his attention inside. He'd just keep chasing outer mirages. But when the body loses its youthful glamor and he no longer can fulfill all his desires through it, he may, if he is fortunate, begin contemplative practices and search for fulfillment within.
Once it is understood that the body's disintegration has a purpose, then it becomes possible to enjoy ourselves once again instead of wasting time grieving over the body's decline. As we accept what is happening with the body, then it is possible to do as Swami Veda Bharati (my meditation teacher) said, "don't let body conditions become mind conditions." In other words, as you come to realize that you are more than your body, that your body is not you, then when your body is ill, you don't have to think you are ill. Just as you understand that you and your car are separate entities, so can you understand that you and your body are separate. Swami Veda Bharati was an excellent model of one with this perspective. Although his body was plagued by disease, including diabetes, severe heart disease and more, he consistently remained joyful, sweet and kind.
The decline of the body cannot be stopped, but you can still live a full and joyful life. One step in doing to is to come to see the decline of the body as a blessing.