Question: As I am getting older, I am finding it harder and harder to accept my age. Can you say something that will allow me to better accept the fact?Sri Chinmoy: The moment you think of your old age, you destroy all your inspiration, aspiration, joy and enthusiasm. The moment you think of your old age, that very moment is your death. You have to feel that everything is a series of experiences. Do not take life and death as two separate things: this is life, that is death — no! Death is just a passage we are going through. There is life, and on the way we meet death. In the Eternal Life, there is life, then death, then again life. It is a game that is going on.
Do not think of your old age. Think of your life as a road that is twenty-six miles long — a marathon — and then divide it into four or five stages. In the beginning, say for twenty years, you were learning and learning and learning. Then, in the second stage, you were learning and at the same time you were sharing your wisdom. Now you are in the third or fourth stage. So you have to see what you could do at the age of twenty, what you could do at the age of fifty and what you can do at the age of sixty. Do not think that what you did at the age of twenty is infinitely more important than what you are doing at the age of sixty. When you were twenty years old, God experienced Himself in and through you as a great student. Then He experienced Himself as a budding professor. When you turned forty, God experienced something totally different in and through you. At the age of sixty, He is experiencing something else again.
It is a game. At this moment, God is playing a particular role in and through you. In a few years, in the same Cosmic Play, He can play another role. After another twenty years, He can play yet another role. We make a serious mistake by feeling that when we are fifty or sixty the role that God is playing through us is sometimes not as important as the role that He gave us to play at the age of twenty. We have to feel that whatever role God plays through us at the age of twenty, forty or sixty is equally important. For Him, sixty is not old age. After the age of eighty or even one hundred, when you go away to the other world, you will see that there He is still playing His role inside your soul.
Now we always see the physical. We talk about our physical age, but the truth is that the moment we take a physical body, death becomes an inevitability. We may die tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Again, inside the body, if you can be in touch with the soul, then you can take the body as a toy. You are playing with the toy, and then afterwards you are finished with the toy. This is always how it should be.
If you take it in that way, then the mind does not come into the picture. Use only your heart. Otherwise your mind will come forward and expect you to be able to do what you did at the age of twenty, to have the same youth and enthusiasm. But now that you are more advanced in years, wisdom is dawning in your life. When you are at the age of sixty, then you have the wisdom to say, "Over the years, I have not prayed enough to God. I came from Him; I will go back to Him. At that time, will I be able to show Him my physical capacity, my mental capacity or my vital capacity? God will say, 'Enough! I have seen your physical capacity, your vital capacity and your mental capacity. Now show Me your psychic capacity, your heart's capacity, your inner capacity. Let Me see how much you have really loved Me.'"
You are at the age of sixty, but you have to forget about being sixty. You are playing a new role; you have got a new task. How much are you ready to pray and meditate and lead the spiritual life? Do not think of all the mistakes that you have made as mistakes as such, but think that you have played a certain role and now it is over. If you start thinking of all your past mistakes, then it will only be an added burden for you. Instead just say, "I went there, and I had an experience." Now wisdom has to come to the fore, and you will not do the same thing again because you did not find your goal inside those experiences. Now that you are sixty, only think of spreading your wings. You are already flying, but you have to spread your wings. How? By loving God and serving Him inside mankind. You should not say, "I am old. I do not have the capacity I used to have." Instead you should say, "God does not want me to have my former capacity because God does not want to play that role in me any more. Now He wants me to dive deep within, as deep as possible. He wants me to have inner experiences to share with mankind." Is that not infinitely more important than what you did in your youth?
Again, everything has its own importance. The experiences that God gave you at the age of twenty or forty are also valuable. If a child does not have enthusiasm at the age of four or five, then will he get it at the age of fifty or sixty? Even if he gets it, it will not be the same because it is not coming slowly from a tender age. All of a sudden the tree is looking nice but while the tree was growing, when it was a tender plant, it did not look nice at all. So, every phase of life is equally important because our good qualities must develop slowly, slowly, slowly. If the seed does not germinate and become a tender plant, how can it become a huge banyan tree? Similarly, how can we think of becoming one with God if we have not prayed and meditated for many years? Before we took human incarnation, we were one with God. But He made us a tiny drop. Then He told us to expand, expand, expand and become the ocean. It is a continuous growth, a continuous expansion.
The mind is never to be used at any time. If the mind is used, then you are finished. When you are ten years old, the mind will make you feel that you are as old as ninety years! Only think that at this particular stage of life you are supposed to do something. Then after ten or fifteen years you are supposed to do something else. Continuously a new game is starting, a new part you have to play. Each time you are given a new role, you have to play it well. When you become a huge tree, at that time more responsibility comes. A tree has to give so much, so much. Under the tree at first only one pilgrim can stay. Later many individuals can come and stay. Finally, the tree has to feel the responsibility of giving shade, protection and shelter to all. The higher you go, the more shelter, protection and illumination you have to give to others. In terms of human age, you may be only sixty or seventy, but in terms of divine light and divine wisdom you will become hundreds and hundreds of years old.
When it is a matter of light, there are no earthly years involved. Light, delight, peace and so on do not belong to an earthly calendar. They came from Infinity, they remain in Infinity and they will always remain in Infinity. We have to consciously try to grow into that Infinity. Our life-river is flowing, flowing, flowing and entering into the ocean. Do not take the life-river as something that can be divided into years. It is a oneness-flow that is going towards the infinite Light. The important thing is not to use the mind when age is descending upon you. Only use the heart. Just say, "At this point I have to blossom in this way; at that time I had to blossom in a different way. A few years from now I will have to blossom in a totally different way." Each moment has its own most significant beauty. When the time comes, when your life-flower is fully blossomed, then it will be able to give much more joy and fragrance to mankind and be of more help to sincerely aspiring seekers.