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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January's Theme: "Health"
Volume 5 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265
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A Simple Formula to Recover "Youth"
by Alegria Imperial

How true! How true!

When age starts creeping before the mirror—because that's where it really does—panic attacks the beholder. This panic has been feeding a now obscenely fat industry that's been brewing no end of magic potions, creams, and pills, and now creating machines and contraptions to arrest aging. Some of that has been apparently successful; most remain a lie. In the end, all are lies.

Today's obsession with youthful looks though is nothing new. It has always been a universal malady which strikes as early as the day a boy or girl examines the image in the mirror. But as ancient as the illness is, so are the attempted cures. Who has not heard of Cleopatra's milk baths? (By the way, some spas have revived the ritual, and they also use goat milk.) Yet do any of the attempts to stop the body's cells from multiplying, transforming, regenerating, and then eventually degenerating make a difference? Not at all; it turns out this very process which sustains life is also what causes the ruinous process of aging.

What then is the source of our anguish? A stubborn mind and its insistence on arresting life's flow cannot but be the culprit. We grit our teeth and bang our fists, demanding answers as soon as we are struck by the thought we are getting old as if no one has attempted to explain why we age.

It does take time to understand the nuances of aging; dealing with signs the body puts up seems so much easier. Take this horrifying truth one sage once said, "Our death begins the moment we are born." It's the body that dies — we learn this not from the deluge of information we swim through but from the mirror. And it is when panic begins.

But is there a way out, out of the mirror that stares back at us? Can we actually shoo away the stranger who each day meets our eyes, droopy as the years wear on and eventually disappearing into the thick folds of slackening lids? Yes, there is.

The sages have had the answer long before we counted our days by the Christian calendar. Though their days, and thus age, could not have been as accurate to us now — because those men counted by the sun and the moon — by their count, they lived way past a hundred years and very much virile. We all know about Abraham who sired Isaac in his old age. And there is Samuel Belibeth who wandered in the desert searching for his death; we know from him that a youthful body does turn into a burden at 600 years old. Why then keep it?

Yes, why? The answer then does not lie in a youthful body; those biblical men actually longed to age their bodies. They worked to purge the body of its senses. You see, it is the senses which fool the mind; they cause the magical moments we want to keep, which as we do learn, we cannot. Once we accept the fact that constant flux is embedded in our nature, only then do we actually wizen and discover our youth!

Does the mind boggle at this thought? It sure does and that's why most of us elude to think about our essential nature as Man. It's quite complex but we really are the most complex of all creatures. We alone become aware of our aging and our dying as soon as we begin to live. Living and feeling young strangely enough do not mean looking young. The youth we long to keep is not of our bodies, but of ageless energy we breathe in, walk on, wake up to, and close our eyes on. But can we actually attain it?

We do if we forget the mirror and the image we daily see which turns into a superfluity as we age. Youth does not lie in the mirror, and neither is it in wonders we feel we have to unravel. Youth lies in what lies all around us, a universe which does not stare back with aged lines because it is without the anxieties of aging.

We are one with this universe but we don't know it or don't know how. Our minds, which petty concerns like lines which daily ruin that image on the mirror, can limit us indeed. But how do we free this mind? Religions and the saints have written volumes about it; to try to read and comprehend these come with something called grace. And we have to ask for it. Meanwhile, we can try to do this:

Take the first step — Wake up to a dawn and stare at the seamless sky. Be lost in the shifting light until day breaks into a blinding whiteness. Close your eyes and simply float in the blank space. Say to yourself, this is who I am and where I am going - a spirit as ageless as the universe.

Take the second step — Do this everyday. Even without a sun, light breaks through the sky at some point.

Step up to the third rung — Do this any time you sense a calming space from your window, in the park, by the bay, on top of a hill, on a pool, a lake, and passing by or standing before the ocean! Or in any space that's still.

You find yourself on the fourth rung when — Friends meet you and notice something new about you they can't quite say what it is: they have no word for it because "serene" does not quite mean young or beautiful; it's an aura and means so much more, much more than you could ever imagine seeing in your mirror.

A seeker of truth and peace after tangled pathways, I have also found a voice in my search. A retired journalist, I have since focused on poetry and fiction. I launched my first book in Manila before migrating to Vancouver last year and recently received two honourable mentions for poetry.

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