Monday, 11 May 2015

Letting go of youth

One of the little contradictions in my personality is that although I find the idea of using toxic chemicals on the earth or on my body irrational and self-destructive, I continue to dye my hair. I'm not ready to let go of the pretty brown hair of my youth. In the same way I mourn the desire to attend wild all night parties, even though I know I would no longer enjoy them.

Why is this so? It is because I've invested identity in these things; things that only last such a short time. My body is slowly becoming aged. My skin is no longer taut, my rhythms have become slower. My inner world develops differently, into greater clarity and consciousness, but my body decays.

How silly then to get so attached to the colour of my hair or how many admiring glances I get from those around me? Making these things important sets me up to struggle with myself. And this is a struggle I cannot win. Better to just let go and accept gracefully that impermanence is the nature of this life we are living.

It is helpful to realise that where ever you are attached you will feel a fixation. This is a very good indicator that we can look out for in our daily lives. You direct a lot of energy into thinking about and trying to procure that thing you want so much. Instead of doing something creative, all your energy is being used on something pointless. Meanwhile you feel more and more upset. How silly! 

When I hang onto my youth so desperately, I also fail to realise the wonderful gifts that growing old is bringing into my life...

You see I think when we're born it's like we're waking up from a sleep. We've transitioned from another state and so it takes a while to understand who and where we are, and how to use our faculties. So you stumble around awhile, in life, but after a while the horizon levels out and you can finally make out what is going on. We begin to become conscious.

But for me consciousness is like a radio station: it goes in and out of reception. When I am aware I see: Ah yeah! This is how reality is. Completely simple and free! And then I lose the station and all of a sudden I am worrying about money or whether the man who is beside me is the 'right one.' If I were conscious I would know the answer to those questions without any consideration.

As I've grown older I've found these periods of clarity becoming more frequent and of longer duration. I catch myself more quickly when I become attached to something. You know, those petty little attachments we pick up like ticks everyday, usually through interaction with other humans? I may carry these attachments around for a while but I'm getting better at noticing and letting go before they become too painful or burdensome.

That is the gift of maturity. It becomes easier and easier to let go!

Letting go of youth is something we all have to do eventually. Why not do it now?

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