The Inner-Outer Journey

Life is a two-way trip. That becomes more apparent as I age. On the one hand, I notice skin getting looser and muscles getting softer. My brain has to work harder to remember things and I must take care of joints to avoid unnecessary pain. At the same time, there are inner changes that are transforming the way I experience life.

While the outer may appear to be getting somewhat weaker, I sense something else within growing stronger. Clearer. More real every day. A sense that I am connected to something greater than myself. An awareness of a Presence that moves in and through everything. As my eyesight gets less sharp, my vision reveals an inner wisdom and guidance and my view of spiritual comfort grows sharper.

It’s like a dance going on between my physical body and my spiritual self. One fades as the other grows and dominates. Like the women in my research study, I realize that I am not my body. That awareness liberates me from too much concern as my body continues to change. This body, like a car, is simply a means of getting around. But who and what I am is not limited by it. What happens to it does not define my destiny.

This frees me from over-identifying with physical changes. Even as there seems to be more and more chaos in the world around me, there is deep within a growing sense of calm. A peace beyond understanding. And by simply slowing my breath, I can access it.

So aging is not a unidirectional journey. Whatever is happening to our bodies simply signals that we need to turn our attention to a deepening of the spirit. With each year my body accumulates, my faith in the interconnectedness of all of life grows. And I see evidence of this in my ability to heal. My inner journey restores and refreshes me for the outer challenges.

When we identify as our body, it’s too easy to panic at the first sign of pain or to become depressed with the loss of youthful appearance. But we can acknowledge those changes while holding steadfast to our inner selves. And that leads to finding gratitude and peace. We can glimpse greater possibilities. Most of us feel like we’re much younger inside. And we are. In fact, at our core, we’re timeless.

So when you hear disturbing news. When you see undesired changes. Rely on a greater reality, a larger truth. You are more than a body. And you are not alone. Those truths open the door to a richer experience of age. They enable you to move more easily through whatever you face. And they reveal an expanded future. Our journey is not simply a one-way street. What a terrific reason for thanksgiving!

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