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Everyday Mindfulness - Signs of aging

The Exercise:

Become aware of signs of aging. It might be in yourself, in others, in animals or plants, or even in inanimate objects such as household goods.

How do we know when something is aging?

  • When we pay attention, we see signs of aging everywhere. We just need to look at food that spoils, a flower petal that discolours, cars that have rust spots or faded paintwork. After the age of 30 people often report that their bodies are not performing as well as they used to when they were younger!.

  • Even terminology shows aging, as we get called sir or madam, man or lady instead of boy or girl. The first sign of grey hair may appear. We often resist growing up!

  • From 40 or 50 people may start to ask questions about tasks and dreams. What they want to do in the future and what they failed to do from the past.

  • People often notice certain aspects of their appearance starting to change. When did your hands begin to age? It may be that we start of notice not having as much energy as we used to.

  • Our inner age may no longer match our body’s age. Some people’s inner age never move beyond 10 (no names are needed!)

The essence of the exercise is to become aware of impermanence. All things age. And start to fall apart.

The exercise is really difficult as we can see aging everywhere that we look – if we pay attention, and it can be frightening. This is exactly the point. Can we be with this sensation, thought, feeling?

What is the sensation that tells you your age? Is it touch, temperature, sight, sounds, taste? Maybe it’s difficult to notice the sensation of age without comparison. When you do not compare there is only sensation. Sight might not be as sharp as it was but that’s a comparison that only I can make by digging into the memory of the past. And in making this comparison I suffer and I mourn the loss.

It is about enjoying this moment just as it is – with no before and no after.


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