By Guest Author John Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.
I have written about spiritual enlightenment for many years, exploring its remarkable nature, revelations and effects.
Called by countless names (like satori, mystical experience, or cosmic consciousness) depending on one's philosophy and theology, it's that unpredictable and timeless moment when the mind's chatter stops, perception and consciousness intensify incredibly, identity and ego boundaries may dissolve, and a divine and loving Presence seems to engulf or permeate everything, evoking a feeling of ecstasy and often providing profound insights about the spiritual nature of life.
What I never anticipated, however, was how the enlightenment experience would also creep up on me as I aged. I now believe that aging is enlightenment in slow motion, if we pay attention.
Subtle changes in consciousness appear naturally and spontaneously in the aging experience. Released from the tyranny of clock, calendar and career, we slow down to "smell the roses" and often notice fascinating shifts in awareness. See if you can identify some of these changes:
- A gradual fading of identity as if who you were or think you are is no longer very important or even that real.
- Unexpected experiences of a silent and thoughtless consciousness in which there is no sense of purpose, effort, agenda, point of view or even a thinker.
- Unusually intense and vivid sensory perceptions revealing the nearly indescribable beauty of the world around you.
- Moments of unexplained joy, wonder and childlike innocence.
- Loss of interest in or attachment to material things that once seemed so important.
- Feelings of unconditional love and compassion for the world and all living things.
- Subtle awareness of a larger consciousness all around you, as if consciousness were no longer in you but you were in it.
- Spontaneous spiritual insights that surprise you with their depth and significance.
These kinds of experiences may signal a growing awareness of enlightenment consciousness breaking into everyday life. What is their purpose? With the unprecedented longevity gifted us by science, medicine and nutrition, we boomers again have a chance to change the world - not by heroic means, but by a change in consciousness. As we integrate more awakened consciousness into our lives, values and activities, Enlightened Elders will subtly change the consciousness of humanity - away from the warrior model of western civilization to a more loving, inclusive, and enlightened way of life. Will join us?
Bio: John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min. is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, and the author of seven books on the interface of psychology and spirituality. His recent works include The Three Secrets of Aging, Bedtime Stories for Elders: What Fairy Tales Can Teach Us About the New Aging, and the forthcoming What Aging Men Want: Homer's Odyssey as a Parable of Male Aging. You can learn more about John at http://www.johnrobinson.org/