Eastern Eye (UK)
Remember your expiry date
OLD AGE WOULD BE A BLESSING ‘IF SOMETHING WITHIN YOU IS VIBRANT’
FOR most people, by the time they get a little wise about life, it is already over for them.
The experience of life leaves most people wounded, instead of wise. But, if people with so much experience behind them could make their life’s experience into wisdom, their wisdom could be useful for the world in so many different ways.
We would like to make retirement very productive. Different people retire at different stages, but, generally, there is such a thing called retirement because our body has reached a certain level of incapability. So you bring your work down to a lower level simply because if you push it beyond that, you may “retire” in a different way soon! Once you retire, there must be a shift of focus from economic and family concerns to something more spirituality oriented. The physical body has come with an expiry date. Once you are over a certain age, however well taken care of you are, you are still a fragile life. Tomorrow morning the whole equation of your life can change, physically. We hope it doesn’t come to you, but it is a possibility. Millions of people are going through it. Thinking it won’t happen to you is living in a fool’s paradise. Knowing the possibility and doing the right thing so that it doesn’t happen to you is the sensible thing.
So it is time you activate the other aspect which goes beyond this physical body. That is the spiritual part of you. For a person who knows only the body, old age is the greatest misery and fear. Everything becomes meaningless and burdensome when the body is threatened and begins to creak and groan. But, if you have tasted something beyond the physical body, old age will not be a problem, it will be a blessing. So once you reach a certain point in your life, you must allow at least a certain quota of your energy and life in that direction. If you put the whole of your life and energy in that direction there is nothing like it, but at least a little bit of your life should pursue that. You should have done it right from day one because if you are a keen observer of life, from the very first day you are born there is a reminder of your expiry date. If you are not such a keen observer, by the time you are fifty there are sufficient reminders. As the body becomes more fragile by the day, if you don’t take these reminders into consideration and look beyond the possibilities of being physical, it would be a foolish way to exist.
Old age just won’t matter if something within you is very vibrant. When the moment of death comes you can smile and go without any sense of loss because it is not a loss. If life happens, death is a natural process. Being afraid of a natural process is unnatural. This fear has come because of a certain sense of ignorance and unawareness. We are not in touch with reality and we have gotten deeply identified with this body. This has happened because we have not explored other dimensions. No matter what kind of teachings other people give you, whether somebody tells you that you are atman, paramatman or whatever else, if your experience is limited to the physical body, the fear of losing it is natural. If we had explored and established ourselves in other dimensions of experience, the body would not be such a big issue. It becomes an easy thing to handle. Life or death won’t make such a big difference.
■ Ranked among the 50 most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest civilian award, in 2017, for exceptional and distinguished service.