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Growing Old is Not Growing Up

Growing Old is Not Growing Up

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 May 2019 11:49 AM GMT


Ma Prem Naina

In normal circumstances, we simply grow old; we don’t grow up. Growing old is one thing, growing up is totally different. All animals grow old; no animal, except man, can grow up. Growing old simply means we are coming close to our deaths, not much of an achievement. Growing up means we are coming to realize the deathless, the eternal which has no beginning and no end. All fear and paranoia disappears.

Everybody grows old but very few people grow up. Growing old is a horizontal process, just moving in a line. We may reach from the cradle to the grave but we have moved horizontally. We have become old, aged, but your inner being is as deep in darkness as it has always been. Unless we start growing vertically, upwards to the heights of consciousness, we are not growing up.

The process of growing up is going deeper into our roots. We have observed that the higher the tree, the deeper are the roots. A high tree cannot be supported by small roots; it will fall down. As is the height, so should be the depth. If we want to grow up, we should think of going deeper into our roots, and growing up will be a by-product of our growing more alert, more silent, more peaceful. The deeper we are at the centre of our beings; a tremendous transformation takes place. We start growing up to the ultimate heights of consciousness.

Growing old is not of any worth, every animal does it, it needs no intelligence. Growing up is a totally different experience. Growing old is horizontal; growing up is vertical, it leads us to heights and depths.

In old age also, if people have lived rightly they come back to the same innocence of a child. Unless an old man becomes again a child, he has missed the opportunity of growing in the spiritual dimension; he has wasted his life in trivia. He has been collecting only seashells and coloured stones on the sea beach, but he has not been able to discover the treasure of consciousness, awareness, and enlightenment.

It is very rare to find an old man who is wise. Dirty old men we can find many, but old wise men are very difficult to find, because the first necessity for wisdom is renouncing the past. Every day it has to be renounced, that is the counsel of the years gracefully surrendering the things of the past.

Growing in age is not growing up, that is only aging. Growing up happens only when we go on renouncing the past every day. Osho explains, “You will be surprised to know that time is horizontal. One moment passes, another moment comes, then another, all in a horizontal line. Time is horizontal and the mind is also horizontal. One thought is followed by another thought, and by another thought, but in a line, in a row, a procession, or just a traffic – but it is going in a horizontal way.

Meditation is vertical, it is going beyond mind and beyond time. Ultimately you will find that time and mind is equivalent, two names of the same phenomenon – the horizontal procession of thoughts, of moments. Meditation is to stop time and mind both, and suddenly you start rising up in eternity. Eternity is not part of time, and eternity is not a thought; it is an experience.”

A society where old people are still behaving like young fools is not a society worth calling cultured or civilized. Old people should become a light to those who are still young and are under biological infatuations and natural bondages. They can become guiding stars.

There is a great difference and people always remain confused about aging and becoming mature. People think that to age is to become mature, but aging belongs to the body. Everybody is ageing; everybody will become old, but not necessarily mature. Maturity is an inner growth.

Osho points out, “Ageing is nothing that you do; aging is something that happens physically. Every child born, when time passes, becomes old. Maturity is something that you bring to your life – it comes out of awareness. When a person ages with full awareness he becomes mature. Aging plus awareness, experiencing plus awareness, is maturity.”

There are two ways to live: one, to live in a deep sleep. Then we age, every moment we become old, every moment we go on dying, that’s all and our whole life consists of a long slow death. But if we bring awareness to our experiences – whatsoever we do, whatsoever happens to us, we are alert, watchful, mindful, savouring the experience from all the corners, trying to understand the meaning of it, trying to live it intensely and totally – then, it is not just a surface phenomenon. Deep down within us something is changing. We are becoming more alert. A mature person never commits the same mistakes again but a person who is just old goes on committing the same mistakes again and again. He lives in a circle. He never learns anything.

If we live an experience of anger totally, never again will we be angry. One experience will be enough to teach that it is foolish, that it is absurd, that it is simply stupid. Then we get mature. Tomorrow the situation may be repeated, but anger will not be repeated. A man who gains in maturity never decides that he will not be angry again. Because a matured man never decides or plans for the future. The maturity itself takes care of it. He simply lives today. That very living will decide how the tomorrow is going to be – it will come out of it.

Our understanding grows through every experience. One can live life as if in a hypnosis or he can live with intensity, awareness. If we live with awareness, we mature; otherwise we simply become old and to become old is not to become wise.

Osho observes, “Life can be lived in two ways. If you live unconsciously you simply die; if you live consciously, you attain to more and more life. Death will come, but it never comes to a mature man, it comes only to a man who has been aging and getting old. A mature one never dies, because he will learn even through death. Even death is going to be an experience to be intensely lived, and watched, allowed. Maturity is awareness, aging is just wasting yourself.”

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