Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Is Aging Reversible?
I find myself to be a kind of strange observer of my own life as it hurtles, like a car without brakes, toward certain death. I don't want to die. I absolutely adore life and I have been exceptionally privileged to live such a wonderful and extraordinary life in this lifetime. Yes, I believe in reincarnation of the soul - into different physical and spiritual "bodies" or space-time "points" of matter. My lifelong search into the world of the paranormal has been a search for answers about the meaning of life and death.
Why am I thinking about death? Well, not so much death. Just aging. Well, maybe not so much aging, as a reflection of this ironically long yet short journey I have been on since I was born. Most people don't talk much about how their ideas change over a lifetime, preferring instead to talk about the physical changes.
Once a person reaches young adulthood, the human body doesn't seem to change much. This is very comforting. After all the trials and tribulations of being a morphing child and then a spurting teenager, achieving physical stasis is very reassuring. This continues on for a long time and one begins to get quite comfortable in one's physical body. We begin to take it for granted. We begin to think our adult body is synonymous with our identity. Wrong! Just when we start to feel like we know ourselves and our bodies, we change.
One of the good things about getting older is that my dreams are really, really interesting now that I have the background knowledge of history, technology, psychology, politics, analysis and life experience. My dreams are really entertaining now. When I was a child (I remember my first dream was a 5 years old), my dreams were simple and a bit stupid. The component parts were not well-developed.
On the downside of aging, I remember watching the skin on my hands change. I could see tiny little - almost imperceptible - diamond, snakeskin-like patterns slowly appear on the surface. At first, it was only when I tried to wrinkle my skin. Then it occurred all by itself. Over time, the skin slowly began to have the appearance of crepe paper - thinner, more paper-like, just like a real old person! As I have watched the skin sink slightly below the blue veins on the back of my hands over recent years, losing the smooth fatty tissue, I constantly have the feeling of watching a movie - a play about someone else, not me. I feel helplessly trapped inside this old person's body. Other times, I am simply fascinated. For some reason, I never anticipated that my young adult physical body would ever change. I thought it had stabilized.
I have watched all my contemporaries get old. Sometimes when I look at my friends I think they are in my parent's generation. I get confused. When did we all go bald and wrinkly?
I have been blessed, to great degree, with some excellent genes. I was very pleased when I went into the nail salon this weekend and announced my age for some reason and the Korean woman doing my nails (and everyone else working in the salon) stopped working, stared hard at me, and kept shaking her head, saying, "No! No! I don't believe it! Skin is so good!" Knowing full well that Occidental types tend to show their age a lot faster in their skin than Asian people, I was deeply flattered. True, many people assume I am much younger than my true age.
Recently, on Facebook, I have been indulging in a bunch of silly online quizzes. Strange, but they seem to be revealing something true about me. The first one was "What is Your True Age?" Turns out, according to this quiz, I am a young, single black woman in my early 20's who enjoys going out to eat, going to nightclubs, and has a pet. My next quiz was "What is Your Best Hair Color"? Turns out, my best hair color is not blonde, brown, red or black (and I have tried all of them except black) - but rather electric blue! The blurb said something about my unique and adventurous personality. The next quiz was "What Was Your High School Type"? My answer - "The Stoner."
What does this all mean? Clearly, I am not reflecting my true age! These quizzes seem to indicate that I am "young at heart." I have young energy inside a chronologically older body. Since I believe in the Mind-Body connection in all matters of physical, emotional and spiritual existence, this makes sense to me.
What is young? It is the willingness, coupled with joyous curiosity and sense of adventure, to want to explore something new every day. I actually force myself to do at least one new thing every day.
The physically "old" body is still influenced by the young energy of the mind.
I have watched every American president turn grey after a few years on the most stressful job on earth. Grey hair is a sign of age. However, grey hair is reversible. A friend of mine is a Tai-Chi Master. His teacher, a great venerated old Chinese Tai-Chi Master who died in his late 80's, taught his students some amazing secrets of life. According to my friend, his teacher had grey hair. Strangely, his hair began to turn black again in his mid-80's. When my friend inquired about this, his teacher said he was doing this with the power of his mind. So, age is, to some extent, reversible! As odd as that may sound! Can we control the physical body even after death? Perhaps. There are recorded reports and photos of some yogis to halt the process of decomposition of the physical body after their death!
What is "old"? In my opinion, it is - energetically speaking - a desire to maintain status quo or to stay the same. Actually, that is also the definition of death.