Working with the forces of biology, external consensus reality, ancestral, genetic forces
and other variables is a creative challenge for the cosmic entrepreneur!
The alternative is found in the growing movement of 'pro-aging' advocates, along with a long standing tradition of wise woman herbal apothecaries and self-help Crone wisdom devotees. That age and particularly women as they age, are undervalued (devalued) in this world would be an understatement. Yes, society values youth, speed, and instant gratification. It's all true. Yet to continually 'fight' this paradigm is in itself aging. To create a polar opposite reality is to continue enslavement within a particular system or paradigm. For in advocating for 'its opposite', we inherently validate the alternative. This is philosophy and spirituality 101.
Once again, we perhaps lock ourselves into two options. Many humans seem comfortable with this: Being given a menu from which to select one's entree. Others find their ego fulfilled or meaning and comfort found through 'belonging' to a group or tribe. Still others bask in a sort of righteous indignation, using their 'team's choice' as a means of self empowerment and superficial self esteem. Yet, longevity, youth and reverse-aging are not new quests; they are not products of an 'unhealthy, youth obsessed modern world'. In fact, cultures dating from thousands of years ago show evidence of therapies to promote beauty, sustain sexual drive and enhance bodily health, strength and vigor. And some of these cultures did succeed in providing an avenue for extended life periods, usually available to only the wealthy or spiritually learned (often one and the same).
Immortality itself is an age old inquiry. No one wants to die, as the saying goes. That is one assertion made about the seemingly innate human instinct to self preserve-that it's due to wanting to live forever, here and now, in this body, on this journey. But is that the whole story? These ancient traditions held longevity in high regard, to be sure. In fact, it was valued as a means to attain spiritual enlightenment. Awakening within a single lifetime required decades, and they needed to be healthy decades filled with stamina, willpower and clarity of thought/mind, freed from greed, attachment and neurosis.
Is this a contradiction? Is the quest for longevity and/or enlightenment an attachment or a neurosis? How about the quests for aging or anti aging? Perhaps any of these can be 'fought for'. Yet longevity, unique from the aging/anti aging continuum, can also be 'aspired to'. It is a middle path, walked in personal sovereignty, not with a manual or guidebook. It is chosen for personal reasons, rather than as a reaction to another's point of view. It is timeless. Which brings us to beauty. Beauty, as we've often said here at Lady of the Lotus, is not always superficial or vain, even in context of the physical body and seemingly superficial self-image. True beauty is healing, resonant and harmonizes the human form and mind, much like geometry, light and sound do. In fact, beauty is an expression of molecules of geometry, light and sound. It carries us, transports us to new understandings. Longevity and beauty make a great team, for each informs the other about potential, and promises the bearer inspiration and freedom.
crone (n.) late 14c., from Anglo-French carogne, from Old North French carogne, term of abuse for a cantankerous or withered woman, literally "carrion," from Vulgar Latin *caronia (see carrion)
crony (n.) 1660s, Cambridge student slang, probably from Greek khronios "long-lasting," from khronos "time" (see chrono-), and with a sense of "old friend," or "contemporary."
With etymology like this, do we really wish to assign new meaning? The words we use are a product of the current linear timeline. Interestingly, Chronos is the Greek God of time. And time is expressed in India as a male God, as well. Time is linear; it is yang. Timeless is yin. Sometimes described as the void, it is also that out of which all else arises. The seat and seed of creation is a Goddess. From this perspective, natural Intelligence flows, infinite with potential to be manifest via linear time. New forms and choices are available to all, not as mandated expressions but with leeway based on inner ripening & mastery of creative power.
'The primary cause of disorder within ourselves is the seeking of a reality promised by another.' -Krishnamurti
What does all of this have to do with botanicals and alchemy with nature's intelligence? Herbs, superfoods and botanicals have always accompanied "the ancients" on their quest for vitality and youthful glow: From embalming to beauty techniques and meditation aids, the natural world was their consort in longevity and beauty. And it is ours now. Nature's multi-layered gifts provide superficial and deep benefits, both short and long term. Short term pleasure, delight in physical forms of beauty and deeper healing and revelation of new meaning-a 'beauty consciousness', if you will-are among those benefits.
And just as we each experience nature's beauty and power in our own unique ways, the concepts (and reality) of beauty and longevity are likewise individual. One may choose to be 'pro aging', finding the aging process (as we traditionally know it) "beautiful". One may advocate for wise-women traditions, crones, graying hair and wrinkles as 'battle scars or stories'. And, ironically, this approach is increasingly being equated with an evolved consciousness, feminist psychology or the only means a women may age in sovereignty and without objectification. Limiting options based on theory or psychological construct? However, one may also choose to express and create without such commonly seen aging effects. The body is a personal creation of the will. It is your template, palette and canvas. The choice is yours alone. Simply stepping off the treadmill of 'either/or' is also a choice. This approach suggests a deeper understanding of time, cycles and linear time, as well as one's relationship to them.
Allowing others to determine the paradigm in which we live may provide security, but not freedom. Freedom to determine your own life's outcome and how *you* wish to create this, is at the heart of this approach. Biology to some may be an irrefutable fact. Or may be seen as requiring external technology (science, medicine) to manipulate and change outcomes. Yet, how has this been determined? Based on what we have 'seen' around us in the world? Surely, overriding these expected, observed and validated outcomes requires great inner fortitude, resolve and desire. Working with the forces of biology, external consensus reality, ancestral/genetic expressions and other variables is a creative challenge for the cosmic entrepreneur!
The bottom line is this: You decide. Pick a team. Or not. Or perhaps create your own team of 1 and inspire others! Beauty and longevity need not be mutually exclusive. Nor must they require accepting 'prescribed signs and symptoms'. 'Fighting' aging may be ungraceful. But accepting and living with commonly held beliefs, pains, aches, sufferings and outcomes is not particularly graceful, either. Somewhere along the line, we have been sold the concept that swallowing a bitter pill, accepting suffering, is somehow noble, dignified and above all, inevitable. While it may be with graciousness that we acknowledge our life struggles, this does not mean that suffering is the more spiritually evolved or morally righteous way to age. It is not necessarily more 'true' or authentic' than other ways. And the idea that aging includes decay and degeneration is not an indisputable fact-when viewed through a lens of possibility and latent human potential. From where do we come? Where do we go from here?