The Spirituality of Age takes a different view about growing older.
Author: Robert L. Weber & Carol Orsborn
Title: The Spirituality Of Age: A Seeker’s Guide To Growing Older
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Park Street Press
Publishing Date: 1 Oct. 2015
Genre: Religion & Spirituality/Health
Reviewer: ‘Yomi ‘Segun Stephen
Review Rating: 4 (Good)
Old age is something we all, to some extent, pretend doesn’t exist. Because it is a natural precursor to death, growing old is not something we love to think about. Hence, like death, we push the issue to the back of our minds, ignoring it altogether until it peers into our faces… then we go into full panic mode.
It is not a new realisation that cosmetic companies (I won’t call them beauty companies) exploit this fear and cajole us into buying their products with the promise that they can make us look younger than we are. Our fear of growing old is so strong that if there is a small chance we could cheat death, almost everyone in this world would work towards buying that chance. Hence, this weakness causes us to be susceptible to the idea that old age can be deferred or it won’t hamper our enjoyment of life. Of course, we see old people around us every day and have a tiny insight into their struggles; thus, a part of us does not want to become like “that”.
The Spirituality of Age by Robert L. Weber and Carol Orsborn talk about three most popular choices that face many middle age people today, as they approach old age:
“The first, and the one that influences all the others, either consciously or unconsciously, is that it is our destiny to become increasingly marginalised and disengaged as we grow older…
“The second more popular stance regarding aging is complete denial: old age is simply an extension of a never-ending midlife. Turn to any magazine and you will see this in every antiaging tagline that promises ‘fifty is the new thirty.’ Don’t like the idea of aging? Just don’t do it.
“The third choice, a variation of denial, grows from seeds deeply rooted in contemporary academic theories about aging. This positive view of successful aging advocates old age as a time to be filled with activity and productivity. This is the vision of aging that drives everything from the reinvention movement to articles exalting ninety-year-old models for running marathons and starting new businesses. A romanticised version of this positive view of aging often dressed up in spiritual jargon, likewise whitewashes the shadow side of growing older, promising aging to be a time of wisdom, serenity, and peace.”
The Spirituality of Age takes a different view about growing older. It wants everyone to embrace all that old age has to offer and learn from it. The authors believe even the dark side of aging has something beneficial to teach us about life and ourselves. The authors write:
“…this new approach actually perceives aging as a spiritual path, in and of itself. This includes even what is conventionally described as the negative aspects of aging, such as diminishment of ego, increasing losses, even pain and suffering, as serving in the capacity of advancement of spiritual maturity.”
The authors exhort us not to be afraid of growing old, as there is a lot of benefit to be had. The book devotes most of pages to pointed questions about how past and present, as well as how we can use our latter years in a way that will make our lives more rich and fulfilling to ourselves and our Maker.
Learning about what being old entails dovetails into other books like Killing Lions by John Eldredge & Sam Eldredge, which teaches young men about what it means to be a man, and Kōhei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia, a manga that encourages people of any background to be the best of themselves regardless of popularity or acceptability.
The Spirituality of Age- A Seeker's Guide to growing Older is written by Robert L. Weber and Carol Orsborn and published by Park Street Press,U.S. (8 Oct. 2015 – amazonUK)
Many thanks to Park Street Press,U.S. for review copy. All images are © to their respective owners.
The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker's Guide to Growing Older: Robert L. Weber Ph.D., Carol Orsborn Ph.D.: 9781620555125: Books