Reflections, Vol. 5: How Might We Grow Younger In Spirit?

This series poses life-questions for personal reflection.

My views are offered as a thought starter.

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How might we grow younger in spirit?

I recently read that Clint Eastwood is 91. (Hold on, I’m going to need a moment).

He’s working on a new movie, and a reporter asked him where he found the energy to remain so active. Clint replied, “When I wake up in the morning, I don’t let the old man in.”

I wonder if that would work on my knees?

Physical aging is inevitable; how we feel on the inside is a different matter. 

From time to time, we encounter people younger than their years. How do they accomplish that? 

My bias is the answer involves time, knowledge, and relationships.

Here’s what I mean:

Zen Master Norman Fisher explains: “There is no time, just the relation between mind and what it meets.” 

That sounds a little “out-there” until I watch our 18-month-old granddaughter. She’s always in the moment, sometimes happy, other times not, but time isn’t a factor.  

How many adults do you know that fit that description? 

Knowledge ages us as well. By the time we reach mid-life (or well before), we have firm opinions on everything. Often wrong, but never in doubt, as the saying goes. 

Young children have little know-how but an infinite appetite for learning. Without preconceptions, they’re open to most anything. Perhaps the formula for a youthful spirit is “Learn-how divided by know-how?” For most adults, the answer would be less than one.

Then there are relationships. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for young children to make friends? They’ll walk up to another kid on the playground and join in. Adults, on the other hand, are often lonely.

Based on these observations, a youthful spirit appears to involve four things:

1. Living in the moment

2. Focus on learning instead of knowing

3. Lack of preconceptions

4. Openness to join in with others.

We can use these components to create a personal plan to grow younger in spirit. Here’s my version:

1. Hit the “stop button” when I catch myself having troubling thoughts about the past or future.

2. Frequently try new things like different flavors of ice cream or new routes home.

3. Stop being self-conscious about what others may think.

4. Examine my dislikes from a new angle to see what I may be missing.

5. Be more curious, and ask more questions.

These are characteristics of a “beginner’s mind,” which I think is essential to growing young in spirit.

Anyway, that’s my take on it.

What actions might you take to grow younger in spirit?

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4 Replies to “Reflections, Vol. 5: How Might We Grow Younger In Spirit?”

  1. Amazing – love the personal plan idea above. When I was young a friend quoted a philosopher to me: “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” It cost me a new suspension on my car once, but otherwise has always helped me embrace the unexpected!

    Like

  2. Love it—— listen more and talk less—- everyone has a story so stop and listen to it and look for connections with your own story versus rejections !! take a daily 2+ mile walk and look and listen= you will feel better and younger.

    Like

  3. Enjoy being alive,observe, be happy, don’t think too much about it. Watch old John Hughes and Mel Brooks movies.
    Enjoy the outdoors. Have a campfire, swim, ski, make music …whatever.

    Like

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