age, mind storms, and stillness


It's almost officially spring, and age issues are showing up in Yours Truly's mind blots, egged on by David Garrigues' writing about the 3 stages of Ashtanga practice;* Yoko Ono's rant against ageism;* and a book titled, "Spring Chicken."  Can't even get away from it in the title of this site, which was created in part to address (the lack of) writing about aging and Ashtanga. Are we not all charting new territory in life and in our yoga practice? What are our strengths and limitations relating to age and/or individual differences?

Planned to respond to the writings here but cannot. Overwhelmed by bright sun, newly arrived snow drops, a few croci, and a caroling cardinal. Energy to engage issues falls as the miraculous  sun rises!
Good will and evil have no self nature; Holy and unholy are empty names;
In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet;
Spring comes, grass grows by itself.     
 —Master Seung Sahn

early snowdrops know
even under mounds of snow
sun will have its way.
—Marya Roland

In the present moment of warmth and birdsong how could anything else matter? The inevitable in life happens; grass and snowdrops know that. (And we do too.)
The sun has peaked and after a walk, I see yet again how my mind chatter distorts, and I have a renewed desire to share. Here is (an approximation of) my first response to David Garrigues' essay.
No, no, no! I don't want to be told what I can and can't do in yoga or anything else. Don't tell me I'm this or that way because I'm a certain age. I will find out for myself, thank you!! (It's a milder version of Yoko's rant. See below.)
few days later, after the mind storm settled I finished reading David's essay. From a place of stillness, I had no difficulty recognizing his essential message: acceptance. (I will say—that when David reaches 50 or 60 and beyond, his ideas on this and other subjects may change—because he will be speaking from the individually unique but universally experienced state of being and growing older.)

The main problem I have, is with words themselves (as I write even!). We must be careful  because they are such inadequate expressions of truth. They are pointers, vague hints, at best and subject at the very least, to misinterpretation. The certainty that our own illusory understanding of words is solid and absolute is the cause of much of world and human suffering and trouble. 

As for Yoko's comments, they were so abrasively expressed that one Facebook commenter called her age-hating. Maybe. But I believe she and I both are simply exhausted and frustrated at being seen a certain way, one that denies who we are as individuals. 

I also think we can find harmony in recognizing that these blocks to true human connection—racism, sexism, ageism——exist and persist. They are going to be around whether we like it or not, and so we live with them. We accept —and we rant and/or work for change, knowing that these isms do not define us.
Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. Time is a concept that humans created.” 
- Yoko Ono 
 Finally, Indifferent to both youth and age, my beloved little Indian kitty and I don't need words, although we do speak a lot. 

With metta and gratitude for snowdrops and open hearts. May we all thrill in the innocence of spring. 
Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance. 
- Yoko Ono
How to calm the mind—is called yoga.

David's comments: http://davidgarrigues.com/blog/

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