I love Franciscan friar Richard Rohr. He said in an interview with Krista Tippett, “Some people grow older and wiser, and some people just grow older.”
Contemplate if you are using the gift of advancing from age to age for your growth and development. Are you taking advantage of your time in life to learn something new, challenge stale ways of thinking, strive to better yourself to the higher ideals of humanity by way of compassion, empathy, and humility? The time for pause and reflection is now. It won’t help to get to the end of life and then take stock of how you are living up to your highest ideals; obviously by then your chances for growth and change will have severe time constraints.
This contemplation of life progress is particularly relevant for me right now, as I recently hit the 40-year milestone. Looking back 10 years, I can appreciate who I was at 30. I was holding my own with a growing family (just one child by that time), a career, and of course all the regular householder duties. But in these last 10 years I have grown and changed a lot. I added another child into the mix, took up running, lived in Italy for 4 years, subsequently learned a new language, deepened my spiritual knowledge, switched careers, dealt with loses and near-misses of loved ones, and so many other things that have been causes of great shifts within me. I expect that in 10 more years I will look back at this time and feel some wistful innocence for where I am now versus all that is to come before I reach the next decade.
It’s really important that we open ourselves up to change. Wise is the one who accepts that the only constant in life is change. Without change, we can’t grow, and that is what we are here to do! Allow yourself to consider new ideas or teachings. Don’t get stuck in your paradigms; if your current way of thinking is bulletproof, then wading into unfamiliar territory can only reaffirm what you already know. However, it is more likely you will learn something new which will add clarity and depth to your knowledge, beliefs, and/or habits.
Meditation is an invaluable tool to shepherd yourself into these spaces of development. Meditation gives you the room within for introspection, which can you lead to contemplation and expansion to your greatest possibilities.
What can you do outside of meditation to facilitate your growth? It can be as easy as bringing in new ideas through books, podcasts, documentaries, to taking a class which gets you using a new part of your brain or a new expression of your creativity, to learning a new language, to traveling to a place that goes beyond your comfort zone, to using your time in more productive ways (i.e. consciously cut down on the number of times you reach for your phone to fill your bursts of downtime), and myriad of other options that get you out of your habitual patterns and into growth territory. In future blogs I will go into each of these example ideas in a bit more depth, but for now start looking within yourself to see what you can do to till your soil within, churn it up, loosen it, and get it ready for planting new ideas to work towards the growth of you in body, mind, and spirit.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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