“If we want to be more fully alive, we must eschew simplistic spiritual and philosophical formulations that limit us to conventional understandings of happiness, including the stereotypes of what it means to age gracefully. Burst through to the world of old souls, and you will find what you’ve been searching for from the beginning without knowing it: an expanded awareness that leaves nothing out. Yes, you didn’t get everything you wanted as a child, and you will not as an adult; yes, it is scary to admit that some things are beyond your control—take the future, for instance — and, no matter how much therapy and meditation you do, you will still never be able to get everything to turn out the way you hope. You’ll lose those you care for. You’ll be misunderstood. You’ll be alone — sometimes. And you will die — for sure. Growing up spiritually doesn’t mean you no longer have your original wound, the ramifications of what remains of your unintended consequences and all the stories and emotions that you bundled up with it. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever again experience old, familiar places of sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, and despair. And when in the moment of reactivity you forget everything you’ve ever learned, it won’t be the last time you will ever turn against yourself. But when you do, you will know yourself well enough to trust that, while you may not be able to avoid visiting these lost places from time to time, you do not need to take up permanent residence.
“Here’s how Yogi Sri Aurobindo puts it, 'You get up, you take a step, you fall on your face, you get up, you look sheepishly at God, you brush yourself off, you take another step, you fall on your face, you get up, you look sheepishly at God, you brush yourself off, you take another step …' Having come this far, you now have the capacity to witness the cycle of reactivity with a heightened degree of consciousness, to see the part you are playing, and to use the tools of Conscious Aging to help you break out of it. This includes remembering that there are times when all you can do is give up trying and throw yourself on God’s mercy, begging for help.”