The whole idea of “aging” is such an interesting concept. So let’s take a look at what the idea of “aging” actually means. This is a good thing to do, especially if the idea is bothering you or if you feel like you’re getting older. Bnecause in reality, the whole idea of “aging” is a belief system. In other words, it is a set of ideas that most of us automatically believe in because that’s what we’ve been taught or brought up to believe in. Or you could say the “aging” story is what we’ve been programmed to believe in. It’s one of our collective belief systems that almost everyone believes in, more or less. If you don’t believe me, just listen to people talk.
But before you automatically accept all the ideas you hear floating around about “aging”, I’d like to suggest you join me in looking at the whole idea of aging for a moment so that we can ask ourselves what this idea actually means – and if it has anything to do with reality.
First of all, let’s define the aging belief. Basically, it is the idea or belief that as the years go by, everyone gets “older”, which translates into decline, decay, weakening of the physical body, and finally the death of the physical body. That’s the aging belief in a nutshell.And when we believe these ideas, how do they make us feel and act? Probably not so good, right?
So let’s stop up and first look at the physical body – and ask ourselves what is it about the physical body that actually ages? It’s hard to answer this question when we know that science has proved that our cells are constantly renewing themselves and that every organ is basically completely new after a few weeks or months. “The skin replaces itself once a month, the stomach lining every five days, the liver every six weeks, and the skeleton every three months… by the end of a year, 98 percent of the atoms in your body will have been exchanged for new ones,” writes Deepak Chopra in his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind”. Somewhere else I read, “Roughly every 80 days our bodies produce a number of new cells roughly equal to the total number in the body. In the final tally, around 330 billion cells die and roughly the same number of new ones are born every day.” So what exactly is it that “ages”? Already here we can see that our “aging” belief doesn’t match reality.
And here’s another thing to consider: What if the real cause of the decline and/or illness of our physical bodies is not the passage of time but rather all the stress, difficulties, emotional trauma, resistance and strain we experience during the course of our lives? How else can we explain why some people are young and feisty at 60 while others are old and decrepit?
Or how about this: Try asking yourself – how old would you be if you didn’t know your age?
It’s an interesting thought to play with, isn’t it? Just think about it for a moment. How would you feel if you really didn’t know your age? Would you be 20, 17, 95 or 5?
This is confusing isn’t it because if you didn’t know your age, how would you know how to act? This is because every age has a belief system or set of rules as to how we “should” think, look and feel when we are a certain age. In short, we’ve all been taught to “act our age”. But if you didn’t know your age, you wouldn’t know how to act would you?
We all know that people who are 40 or 50 or 60 aren’t supposed to act like 17-year-olds. Or like 5-years-olds or like 95-year-olds. They’re supposed to act their age, they are supposed to act like “adults”. This means there are things we could do when we were 17 that we are not supposed to do when we are 40 or 50.
Once I was at a lecture with Wayne Dyer and he told this story. He was out running one day with his wife (he was 55 at the time) and there was a fence up ahead and as he started to jump over it, his wife shouted, “You can’t do that…” But it was too late and he jumped over the fence anyway. Afterwards his wife said, “Wayne, you can’t go jumping over fences like that… you’re 55.” And he said, “Oh, I forgot.”
It is interesting how the idea of “age” limits us and what we think we can do. And for most of us, this is something we are not even conscious of, but it’s happening just the same.
Here’s another question. How would you feel about me if you think I’m 42? Oh you’d probably think I’m an active woman with a husband and children and a career of my own.
And now what if I tell you I am 49? How do you feel about me now? A bit different right, because you are thinking that I am almost 50, which changes your perspective on me.
And what if I tell you that I’m really 59? Then your story about me changes again doesn’t it and you are probably thinking – my goodness, she really is old. Nearly 60, wow that changes everything doesn’t it? And what if I tell you I’m 62? Now you are thinking, this is pretty amazing, she is really keeping well. I wonder what her beauty secrets are! And if I tell you I am really 69, well then you will probably think my goodness, the woman is positively ancient.
And it was all in the numbers, right? Your story about me – about who I am and what I can do. All based on your perception of how old I am. It will even affect the way you read this article!
Which brings me to what I would really want to talk about! I’ve written many books about the power of the mind and the way the mind works. And in these books, I explore the various ways in which our thoughts and stories influence our experience of life. I have discovered that the way we think, the way we look at things, is what determines our experience in every now moment, including whether or not we are healthy, happy and thriving right now. It’s really a very simple mechanism, but unfortunately most people are unaware of the amazing power of their own minds.
In this connection, aging is the perfect example of how this mechanism works. Even though most people don’t notice what’s going on, it’s going on anyway! Which is why I asked you how would you act if you didn’t know your age? I asked you this because I wanted to point out the power of our minds and our stories about aging. I wanted you to notice how much your ideas about aging influence the way you feel and act. I wanted you to notice that if you didn’t know your age, you wouldn’t know how to act. I wanted you to notice that every age – 30 – 40 – 50 – 60 has its rules of behavior and I also wanted you to notice how much these rules of behavior influence the way you act and feel today. And also how much they influence the way you look at other people and judge them!
It’s really quite amazing.
As far as I can see, we need a new “script” when it comes to aging! We’ve made a prison out of the aging thought – and this is a pretty crazy thing to do – especially since every man, woman and child on earth wants to be free. Free to be whoever they are regardless of their sex, religion, color and age!
Isn’t that true of you too?
And according to my birth certificate, I am … Now what’s your story about me???
American-born Barbara Berger is the best-selling author of The Road to Power – Fast Food for the Soul (published in 30 languages), Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life (published in 21 languages), The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind, and Find and Follow Your Inner Compass. Barbara’s latest books include Healthy Models for Relationships – the Basic Principles Behind Good Relationships With Your Partner, Family, Parents, Children, Friends, Colleagues and All the Other People in Your Life and her autobiography entitled My Road to Power – Sex, Trauma & Higher Consciousness. Barbara works as coach and therapist, helping people around the globe come into alignment with their own true power. For more about Barbara see her Web site: http://www.beamteam.com