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. The Eight Choices to Reducing Fear and Finding Contentment as You Age
Por Dr. Stephen Ruppenthal

fear of aging . We live in a world that is obsessed with looking beautiful and young, and maintaining perfect health well into our older years. . But youth is short. . As we gradually age, panic can set in as the increasingly inescapable loss of our physical beauty fills us with fear. . Once we pass our early thirties, most of us aren't as attractive as we may have once been and our vitality begins to slip away. . We realize how much less frequently people notice us and smile at us on the streets-and when they do look, it isn't with admiration or appreciation but with something else. . As the inevitable truth sets in and we are faced with this loss of youth, all of us a profound fear that we will be left behind.

. The aching loneliness and sense of loss that can set in as we age is accompanied by painful memories and regrets of what we did and what we have left undone. . Even when faced with happy memories and cherished friends from the past, we are often faced with an uncontrollable urge to resist the oncoming tide, to run from it in any way that seems to offer relief. . But ultimately, we become despondent and resigned to the idea that the best years of our lives are behind us rather than in front of us.

. What if you could change your entire perspective on aging? . What if you could bring back the joy that you felt in your youth? . What if you could see your life as something that continued to be full of possibilities, opportunities and adventure?

. Would you be at peace with aging if it meant you had more friends than you ever had before? . What if you could find fulfilling and meaningful ways to spend your time, contribute to the world and make a difference, and be valued by everyone you care about? . It is a radical shift from the current ideals we hold regarding 'old age'. . Often our preoccupation with the loss of our youth prevents us from welcoming the changes and mystery the journey ahead presents. . As Hugh Downs says, everyone wants to live a long life, but the only way to do that is to age, and hopefully to do so well. . Therefore, it is time we make a drastic and fundamental transformation towards embracing the gifts of aging. . Here are eight things to do for a positive and wonderful aging process.

. 1.Relationships
. The older we get, the more crucial it is that we matter to someone and feel a sense of connection to at least one important person in our life. . Whether they are family or friends, if you stay in regular contact with those you are close with, calling them regularly and hanging with them in tough times, they will relate not to how you look, which of course will change, but what you are deep inside. . Harsh experience will always hurt, but friends who stand by us shield us from the impact. . In their company, we find a place full of peace and love.

2. . Spirit
. We need to be in touch with more than just our day to day routines and reality. . As the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins says, "There lives the deepest freshness deep down things." We very much need constant contact with that freshness and life. . I have found that, aside from my practice of meditation, the best access to such wealth of spirit is to open up to my weaknesses and appeal for help with them. . People who can't admit failings are closed off to spirit. . If we can surrender our rigidity and egocentricity over to a greater force, it will lead to a place of healing deep within that we cannot invent or plan for. . Whether it is through meditation, prayer, or humbling personal experiences that show us how human we are, we can all find that sense of meaning in life that goes beyond ourselves and gives us an inner refuge and home.

3. . Make a Difference
. As Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to say, the world is hungry for our help and our love. . Animals, people, and the earth all need our service. . Choosing the field we can best help in, we tap into our inner power and act to make a difference in life.

4. Salud
. With a diet of healthy nutrients from all the food groups, our strengthened bodies will handle anything the outside thrusts upon us a whole lot better. . Moreover, vigorous exercise cleanses and renews the body and reinvigorates our life and feelings. . As the body moves with the natural rhythm it craves, we can relax in a vastness deeper than ourselves and not be brought down by what the years bring or by anything that is happening on the outside. . We feel well physically and emotionally, with a sense of connection to our well being.

5. . Intellect
. As we read widely and listen well, we will continue to relate widely to diverse peoples and opinions. . Our inner life will be richer as we better understand our past and, with curiosity and discipline, learn, accept, and build on new things.

6. . Creativity
. Nourishing a sense of connection to the beauty and goodness of the universe, we test our own powers of making new things and finding new solutions. . Whether it is in art, gardening, writing, or in our relationships, we feel that something greater fills us, passes through our minds, and makes the universe-and ourselves-richer and more beautiful.

. 7. . Nature
. As you walk, hike, or relax at the seashore, take the time to breathe deeply and take the beauty of forests, mountains, and lakes into your heart. . As the years pass, such connection with nature will give us all a sense of being grounded in something stable and yet magical, relaxing into nourishment and support from the greater universe

8. . Legacy
. When I think of how best to spend my time, I give greatest value to what will still be there when I am gone. . That's why with parents, I urge you to spend maximum time with your kids and give, give, and give more. . That way, the good in you will take root in them and live on. . And what else will? . Well, all of us have to work to make a living; but with every other minute we have, route your actions into what will outlast you and build your legacy. . It may be the trees you plant; or the art you paint, sculpt, write, or build, or the minds you enrich. . Age matters less when we pour ourselves into people and things that will in their own way continue us. . It is our job to search out just what will and put our efforts there. . If we do this, we may not even realize we are growing old.

Dr. Stephen Ruppenthal es el autor de La trayectoria de despertar directo: Pasos para la meditación . . él es también el co-autor de la edición de Eknath Easwaran del Dhammapada y del autor de Keats y de Zen. él ha enseñado la meditación y cursos en el shan de Han en la universidad de estado UC de Berkeley y de San Francisco. Dr. . Ruppenthal is an international workshop leader in passage meditation and in courses for those looking for end of life spiritual care and for the spiritual step component of twelve step programs. Trabajo de Stephen de la visita en www.directawakenings.com .

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