“All knowledge comes from experience everything else is just information” - Albert Einstein.
In a way the universe is kind as initially, probably between the age of 35 and 40, you get your first wrinkle or grey hair. At the sight of this wrinkle many people will run to the store to buy Oil of Olay or some type of wrinkle cream. This is due to our cultural program we inherited that says getting old is ugly or something not appealing. But here’s a kool experiment. Instead of going for the wrinkle cream take a deep breath and, on the exhale, let your feelings and thoughts about the wrinkle go. Soon you will notice something, you will notice the wrinkle didn’t hurt you. It may help you in the sense that it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
According to Einstein, your experience is your teacher, and your teacher has taught you the wrinkle didn’t hurt you, letting go didn’t hurt you. Now the 2nd wrinkle comes, and you let go a little easier because your experience has taught you the 1st wrinkle didn’t hurt you. This is called experiential knowledge; this is what Einstein was talking about. The knowledge you are gaining here is when you let go, nothing bad happens. As this knowledge is constantly reinforced through the changes you go through letting go becomes less and less difficult. Eventually one day it’s time for the big let go, it’s time to die yet we are not stressed or scared or at least much less so because we have been letting go throughout the entire aging process and our experience has taught us whenever we let go nothing bad happens. You are at peace!
The law of your life is “change”. Everything is always changing, and you cannot imagine anything that you will not have to say goodbye to. So, let’s practice saying goodbye to the things that are changing! Can you imagine that this is why the aging process is so gradual. It’s a kind universe giving you an opportunity to practice letting go so you are more prepared for the big let go!
The less able you are to let go of what was and embrace what is, the more you will suffer. According to yoga philosophy all human suffering has its origins in attachment. This attachment is also the precursor to stress. The foundation of mental stress is basically not being ok with what is. According to the AMA (American Medical Association) this stress is responsible for most disease. So, this understanding and practice is vital for health, wellbeing and aging gracefully, which means living gracefully.
Most people are so embedded in their cultural program and its perspective on aging that they don’t see the program and therefore have no opportunity to step out of it. This is why the goal of yoga is awareness (enlightenment). It allows us to see (yogis of old were called Seers) and seeing creates choice. The choice here is do I want to continue down my path (or perspective) or do I want to head in a different direction. Do I want to use the aging process as my teacher to help free me from my attachments or do I want to allow it to disturb my peace and strengthen my attachments? Yoga doesn’t really care which one you are choosing; it just cares that you are choosing!