Selling the Ford

It turns out that the whole journey of aging is something designed to lead us from thinking of ourselves as egos to knowing ourselves as souls. We're given opportunity after opportunity to practice letting go and to shift our perspective from ego to soul-view. However if aging doesn't do it for us, then the next stage, dying, certainly will. Because at death the ego ceases; the soul, on the other hand, goes on. The soul doesn't age the way the body ages, so aging and dying are trips of the ego and of the physical manifestation. The soul is merely watching: birth, existence, aging, death. In India they talk about dying as "dropping the body." Different image, right? "I'm dropping my body. See ya! Yep, selling the Ford."

Of course, there are people you love deeply. And some of them are going to die before you do. And you're going to grieve like hell; it will be fierce suffering, because you were in the habit of having that unique form of spirit there with you, and you're clinging to that. But after awhile, if you don't suppress your grief and if you allow yourself to go all the way through the process, you will come to a quiet moment when you can listen to your heart. And then you'll recognize that, because you have connected with that being in even a moment of love, the essence of that person is still there. You'll suddenly realize that you'd been so busy mourning what had died that you'd ignored what hadn't. At that moment, grief is turned into something else—it's turned into an incredible joy of intimacy.

As it becomes clearer and clearer that there are advantages to adopting a soul-perspective as part of our agenda for aging, the question becomes how to do it, and the process of discovering the answer to that question is the spiritual quest for each of us. There's no one-size-fits-all on the spiritual path. I think we have to look at what's presented to us, listen to our hearts, and go with whatever practices feel right.

-Ram Dass
Aging Body, Ageless Soul

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