Are we ageing sooner than we were meant to?
The ancient scriptures would certainly seem to suggest so. The "Vedas", have referred to the earliest generation of humans as "sat-yug " or the generation where people lived up to a thousand years. Following that came the "dwi-yug" or the generation of the 500-year life span. This progressively declined and the present generation is called "kal-yug" or the 'generation of death' in which we do not hope to live even a 100 years.
So what has gone wrong?
Our body is made up of trillions of cells. Science proves that our cells regenerate every 7 years leading into an entirely new existence. Einstein said 98% of the intelligence and energy renews every year.
Then why do we age?
It has been seen that for some mysterious reason, the cells suddenly stop regenerating and then deterioration begins. For some people it happens very late so ageing is delayed while for others it happens relatively sooner.
To understand ageing, it must be understood that all that exists in this universe is MATTER and LIFE. And it is life that is responsible for holding the matter together. When there is no life, matter decays - just like in the case of a dead body. Body is nothing but matter. Life, in turn, is the outcome of thought.
Therefore, it follows that our body is the expression of thinking and the mind. Just like dreams are an outcome of thinking, so too is the body an expression of thought. If you have beautiful, young thoughts this will form an 'autosuggestion' to each body cell to mould itself accordingly. The cells collectively form the whole body and so the body gets moulded accordingly.
So, if we can condition our thoughts to be right, it follows that our body will be right.
Did you know that most diseases are born in the mind?
We are conditioned to think that as we reach a certain chronological age we can expect certain disorders such as cholesterol, heart ailments, loss of memory, enlarged prostate etc. This serves as autosuggestion to the clever mind. The mind, in turn, dictates this to the body, and the body responds accordingly and the disease actually occurs.
Does this sound simplistic or naïve? Read on…
The "age trap"
We are in fact caught in the "age trap". Right from the time we are born, the world reinforces in us our age. "C'mon Jim, you're nearing 60, you better take retirement". We are conditioned right from our birth about where we stand in the chronological chart and "assume" our life span to be about 80 years.
Sadly, health magazines perpetuate this with their statistics - "80% of the people over 50 showed signs of an abnormally increased prostate" and so on. This statistic reinforces to the mind at a subconscious level that the problem is likely to occur at that age. So when a man nears 50, his subconscious mind dictates this to the body, the ailment occurs and the statistic is "proved". Thus continues the vicious cycle. As is famously said, "thinking makes it so".
So the age trap is the chronological perspective of age that has been imposed upon us by the world. This conditions our mind to accept this fact. The mind, in turn, "auto suggests" this to the body which responds accordingly. This happening reinforces the society's view of age. In other words, Age becomes an expression of the collective consciousness of the world.
Just imagine, if you were faced with a situation where you had no idea of your chronological age. This is true of native villages in India that have zero education levels. The farmer who tills his soil has no idea of his day of birth. Ask him this, and he'll look at you quizzically in the face and mumble - "my aunt says it was a full moon night". It has been observed that such people "die with their boots on" - working up to the last minute with no apparent deterioration in their health.
Isn't that what we really seek? No pain, no suffering - just being young till the very last day.
The role of diet
Sadly, even our diet perpetrates this ageing process. Modern diet is cluttered with preserved foods. Natural but preserved - a big joke. There is NOTHING like preserved natural food.
It has been documented in the scriptures, that one must eat living, vegetarian food for a positive nutrition to the body AND mind. Preservatives can be equated to chemicals that are used to embalm a dead body. Just like embalming retains the outward appearance of the body but from within there is no life; similarly, preservatives retain ONLY the outward appearance but there is NO nutrition left in the food. "Eating dead food leads to a dead mind and a dead body".
I'll leave it here this week to give you time to ponder on these facts. Next week, I'll guide you on the right approach to lead a fuller, younger and longer life and how yoga can help you achieve that.