Vedantic Wednesday: Growing and Ageing

There is a fundamental difference between ageing and growing. And it is important that we realise this not only for our 797px-Tired_20-year-old_catspiritual well-being but also for our worldly living.

Ageing in any living and non-living thing is an outcome of passing of time.  Unlike matter that is insentient, living things undergo a lot more changes because of ageing.  Ageing is something that you do not have control on (despite the claims made by various businesses around anti-ageing)

However Growing is a choice that you have. You can choose the pace and the direction of your growth. You can choose the manifestation of growth.  It is this that distinguishes a human being from all other living beings. This ability to make a conscious call on the nature of his own growth. Something that a lion, a lizard or the mango tree cannot! However many of us do not spend our time in making and working on this decision.

Due to which the ageing and the growth process become out of synch.  You age without growing. This means while your instrument of physical body ages, the mind and intellect remains way behind in development. This leads to a lot of issues at individual and social level.

Sometimes we age and grow. But as this growth is not conscious, there is a lag between our physical growth and our mental and intellectual capabilities. We do not learn as we ought to from having been in existence for a certain amount of time. Our experiences pass our lives either affecting it terribly or without causing any positive impact. We become mere puppets in the hands of time. And very often feel purposeless towards the later part of ageing.

Both these situation leads us to become unhappy, angry, frustrated and helpless. We complain of becoming old.

Those who plan their growth consciously, work with a different agenda. They approach life with a constant urge to learn from it. Every input that comes as an experience is analysed and used to mature the mind and the intellect. This maturity is ploughed in to make the subsequent experience with the world that much better.  This constant nourishment of experience and maturity on each other is what defines healthy growing. This is when we age gracefully.

And this requires first an awareness that growth is a conscious choice, second a deep desire to grow and third the commiserative effort to grow.

Are we prepared?

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