Thursday, June 20, 2013
courage without enemies
In Hinduism, a spiritual persuasion, a human life is encouraged to go through four stages: The student stage (up to around 25), the householder stage (up to around 50), the hermit stage and the ascetic stage. Since Hinduism is a spiritual persuasion, the final stages relate to a deepening devotion to God.
Of course no (wo)man's life actually has such things as stages. There are no freshly-painted doors that lead from one room to the next. Stages are conversational conveniences used to fiddle with what is a single piece of cloth -- this life. Still, for conversation purposes, you can sort of see what the Hindus are getting at ... so, OK, let it ride.
This morning I found myself disagreeing, a conversational pastime that can be a lot of fun.
Youth is the best time for religious activities, it crossed my mind. Like sex, religion stirs a pot that requires no stirring. The sweaty and sometimes delightful confusions of religion require an energy best reserved to the young. Be a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Jain, a Jew, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian.... Go get 'em, tiger! Serious or superficial, go for the gold! ... Exercise and tussle and moan. Stick your fingers in the outlets of experience.
But what then of an advancing or advanced age? Is this an appropriate time for a devotion to God? I think not. God is a young (wo)man's sport. Everyone may want to be young forever, but the bathroom mirror and the collection of aches and pains tell a conflicting story. Advancing or advanced age is no longer convinced by egregious conflict, orgasmic bliss, or the gizmos of those ensorcelled by 'eternity.' Improvements, while laudable, deserve a second look and old age may be an appropriate time in which to take that look.
What then of the conversationally-convenient stage of old age? What raiment is most appropriate?
I don't honestly know, but my guess this morning is this:
What is appropriate to old age is a courage that no longer requires enemies.
That ... and perhaps a bit of sunshine.