I have recently been obsessed — well maybe obsessed is too strong a word — preoccupied with frustration and sadness about the physical effects of getting older.
It has really hit me that this aging thing is happening. The face and body I had in my youth are gone forever, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I find myself looking in the mirror and thinking mean things about myself, like it’s my fault that I’m getting older. Maybe you can relate.
The other night, I listened to an interview with Oprah and Eckhart Tolle on appearance and the impermanence of physical beauty. Eckhart mentions, “It is the destiny of all form to dissolve,” and so we must learn to practice acceptance. With acceptance you create space around your suffering, find peace, and uncover a doorway to exploring the deeper dimensions of self without the attachment to the outward appearance.
As I listened to him speaking, I realized I could make a huge shift in my thinking. Rather than fear and resist aging, I could be grateful for it. I don’t say this blithely just to boost myself up or try to “see the glass half full.” I just began to view the flip side of getting older. I am free to be less attached to my physical form and worried about appearance. I can explore the “deeper dimensions” of myself, enjoy more inner peace, and acknowledge how profoundly grateful I am for so many things that will in time pass away.
There are constantly situations in life that frustrate us, make us angry, sad, or anxious. Some estimates suggest we have around 45,000 negative thoughts a day, which is about 80 percent of our total daily thoughts. Most of our thoughts are far from grateful. In truth, we spend a lot of time pissed off at life. When we’re steeped in negativity, it’s nearly impossible to see all of the blessings and beauty around us.