The Subtle Art of Superconscious Aging
Sep 05, 2015 03:03AM
● By Juliette Jones
“Superconscious aging” implies an alternative perspective on aging, or perhaps a vastly different way to negotiate the aging process. Is there a way to look at lifespan which lies beyond current, ordinary conscious perception? Does the mind of the spirit grasp the cycles of aging differently than the ego-mind? Further, is there a purpose for human longevity that is not yet well known or understood?
Most people want to live long, full lives. We know there are many ways to care for ourselves in support of the aging process and longevity – proper exercise, healthy nutrition, detoxification, reduction of stress, the company we keep, creative self-actualization, numerous “state-of-the-art” anti-aging technologies can be applied to the quest for lasting vitality.
Superconscious aging involves more subtle, esoteric ways to support ourselves as we move through time. These modalities are extremely powerful, but hidden or overlooked because they lie beneath our current cultural radar. In the Western world, we haven’t been exposed to the profound purpose and spiritually-conscious objective that fuels the drive for life extension held by Eastern masters of longevity.
Familial and cultural beliefs about the passage of time and aging become internalized and, therefore, affect the way we approach life cycles and enjoyment of life itself. We live in a culture that values youth, and this bespeaks of a healthy desire to be the best that we can be through vital living.
On the other hand, the process of aging has natural roots – youth passes…age happens. When truth is denied in ways that are out of balance or unconsciously destructive, the result is less than positive. If we fail to appreciate the deeper meaning inherent in each life cycle and willingly embrace the teachings which present themselves in each phase, we shortchange our life path in many important ways.
A quest for the Fountain of Youth is anything but new, but in today’s milieu of Western materialism and advancing science, aging is often viewed as a disability, and time itself as a destructive process. Larry Dossey, M.D., describes the prevailing Western temporal view as that of a two dimensional timeline on which we progress forward from past through present to future. Our existence in time becomes progressively more limited as forward movement occurs, and the older we get, the closer we get to the end of this line. Inevitably, we drop off the line and cease to exist. Dossey observes this construct as both stress producing and depressing.
Thus, the worldview of time and aging in the mainstream West is fundamentally based on perceptions of the ego. This perspective is finitude, and time is seen as a destructive process which leads to death of the mortal self. There is no expanded recognition of higher dimensional reality or even mention of the ever-present now – a recognition, I might add, which not only relieves stress, but expands our view of time and being.
In the West, we now combat this perspective with the relatively new appearance of anti-aging science and technology. The accepted definition of anti-aging has to do with the delay or termination of the aging process. At the vanguard of this movement, scientists like Aubrey de Grey work to achieve an “anti-aging escape velocity,” whereby “successive medical advances postpone aging and extend lifespan faster than the passage of time.” De Gray sees aging as a disease and “a barbaric phenomenon that shouldn’t be tolerated in polite society.” Of course, the so-called “cure for aging” would entail cultural-, social- and resource-related consequences.
The Dark Side
Are we in a war against aging? Is this good, bad thing or both? “Earth School,” as I refer to our time here on earth, features a curriculum where change is absolute and, at this time in history, “change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.” (R.D. Laing) Like it or not, we are rapidly moving into a very different future than we have previously known. At the moment, however, the phenomenon of aging is met with a significant amount of unprocessed fear and prejudice.
There is a tremendous push in cultural media to exacerbate this fear of aging. Every few minutes, commercials blast over the airwaves designed to create anxiety over the aging process, featuring messages like, “Time is a thief. One out of two women will get osteoporosis.” These fear-based messages are not aimed at health education or real solutions to challenges, but rather material profit. In a similar manner, this also applies to the induced fear of financial failure, loneliness and other social ills associated with aging.
Internalized fear-based messages about time and aging incubate negative expectations and affect enjoyment of life. Besides the practical challenges connected to aging in our society, there is added internal pressure for those who lose self-respect due to loss of social roles that allow them to be useful and productive. In a hyper-material, fast-paced culture, older people are often viewed as irrelevant or burdensome.
How cultures view and treat their elderly is closely linked to what is considered valuable or treasured. For example, the Koreans and Japanese hold great respect for the elderly and demonstrate this through special celebrations commemorating the accumulation of years as signposts on life’s journey. Latin cultures place great value on family life, often living together as extended family where generational tasks are understood. Breadwinners work outside the home, while the older generation watches over the young. The aged make an important contribution, are integrated into the family culture and, are valued in their role as elders.
The Spiritual Purpose of Longevity
There is evidence of an amazing culture in the East which prizes human longevity and boasts the longest lived people in the world. This culture is not based on ethnicity but the practice of yoga mastership, as described in The Lives and Teachings of the Yogi’s of India. Fate Magazine’s August 2007 issue referenced these individuals documented as living at least 240 years or, in one case, even longer. Moreover, quantity of years is not the endpoint of this extraordinary life extension. Instead, quality of life is primary.
In the fabric of this culture, the point of human longevity is spiritual in nature – to mature a physical vehicle capable of superconsciousness. The accumulation of years, therefore, appears to amplify an ability to develop subtle energies presently unknown to Western mainstream science. Accordingly, these yogis have learned to evolve a transpersonal, super-ordinary physiology – a kind of time machine for the purpose of evolution.
“None but those who see for themselves will ever believe, do what you may…But so long as men doubt, there will be curiosity and enquiry.”
– Anonymous Hindu Adept
Sri Aurobindo, in his practice of Integral Yoga, spoke of a science of spirit pointing to a new path of human evolution. “After attaining the final state of union with the supermind, a yogi begins a structural reorganization of the body at a molecular level and alters the cellular construction” (called the “Diamond Body”). This is the final stage of human development, to create a deathless vehicle for consciousness to operate free from the limitations of flesh. With the attainment of such a vehicle, the yogi is capable of miraculous phenomena.
This worldview of time and aging is based on the perceptions of higher mind. The perspective is infinitude. Aging is viewed as a privilege which lends advantage to spiritual development, and the body is not viewed as core identity. By nature, the human mind regards anything outside its commonly accepted framework as impossible. If our feet are only at the beginning of the path of truth, we may wish to consider that both Eastern and western paradigms of understanding are looking to discover the narrow way to the divine harbor for which all human ships are searching.
“There will come a day when science and religion will walk hand in hand.”Ernest Holmes