Over the Age of 50 – November 18 2017

yogasthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhanamjaya
siddhyasiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga ucyate
 
Established in union, perform action, O Arjuna, giving up attachment and becoming balanced in both success and failure.
 
This is known as the science of uniting the individual consciousness 
with the Ultimate Consciousness.
[This is the way to find the bliss of union we feel to be lacking.]
The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, v. 48
 
One of the beautiful things about being over the age of 50 is that, by and large, you have tried every possible avenue for finding self-fulfillment and happiness outside the self. The list would include some or all of the following: money, fame, relationship, scholarship and erudition, recognition by society, recognition by one’s peers, physical comfort, etc. 
 
Some of us also have tried all the various avoidances of life available in this world as well, such as sex, gluttony, drugs and alcohol, tobacco, video games and other forms of mindless entertainment, sloth, ignorance, irony, self-centered fear, obsession, shame, sentimentality, religiosity, grandiosity, self-righteousness, checking your iPhone for messages while supposedly listening to a friend etc. 
 
By the age of 50, you have tried many of these things and have found them sorely lacking in their ability to give you what it is you are seeking. Peace. Comfort. Happiness. A quiet mind. 
 
Then you find meditation. Suddenly you have access to all the peace, comfort, happiness and quiet you could want. It’s all right here inside you, and all you need do is show up to the chair, twice a day, and experience it. Bliss. At your beck and call. Regardless of whether or not you got the role, lost the weight, made a killing in the market, fell in love. Bliss. As your natural state.
 
Of course there’s a bit more to it than that. There is the need to retrain the mind to recognize and pay attention to the bliss rather than all the worrying we’ve learned to do; to train our mind to see what’s right with our world in each moment, rather than what’s wrong; to train ourselves to choose to see the beauty of God’s plan in the unfolding of a moment, rather than to see how that moment is turning out differently than we had hoped.
 
These are a few of the things required to have a joyful life; but what makes that joyful life even possible is our continued commitment to meditation. Our insistence on spending a little bit of time each day paying attention to the place of Being within, rather than to the false promises of happiness without. 
 
Meditation connects us each day to the bedrock of life. Established in this field of Being, all that we do can matter. All that we do counts. There are no wasted minutes or hours or days, for each moment leads us forward toward wholeness and unity and the possibility always of transformation–of our self, of our problems, of our world. 
 
Happiness can happen in an instant. Established in Being, I am able to choose, more and more easily, to see the opportunity for it.
 
After 50 years, it becomes clear that this is what we’ve been looking for.
 
And the advantage of not being 50 plus? You simply can take my word for all this and avoid doing the unnecessary research listed above. 
 
But even if you choose to do the research yourself, please continue to meditate. Lend your attention each day to that place within so that you give a bit less power to the rest of it all. You’ll thank yourself one day for that gift.
 
Today I will meditate. Twice. Morning and evening. For about 20 minutes. And I will feel grateful for this tool of meditation and the opportunity to employ it.
Devil’s Hole Trail, Breitenbush Retreat Center, Oregon
All original material copyright © 2017 Jeff Kober