MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP Page Created 04 30 09
Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
Reflections in My Old Age- 4 Decades After
My Nirvikalpa Samadhi Experience
Im growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
Id rather die while Im living than live while Im dead
[Jimmy Buffett 1980]
Key words: nirvikalpa samadhi, spiritual aging, gerotranscendence, cultural gerontology, cosmic transcendence, purpose old age, purusartha, ashrama, varna, moksha, nirvana, rumi
Growing Old with Samadhi
A heuristic witnessing of how my nirvikalpa samadhi experience becomes increasingly poignant and provides purpose as in my old age I approach death with gratitude for its gracing.
Having survived to 04_30_13- I am now 85 years old, born the same year as Mickey Mouse- 1928 the start of the Great Depression. I was blessed to be part of the full blooming of the American Golden Age- post World War II to 2009- when portents of economic crises and political uncertainty suddenly arose. It will be a year short of the 40th anniversary of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi. I will have exceeded the life expectancy for American males and made the transition (as in punctuated evolution) from what the American Society of Aging (ASA) has defined as young old age (65-80) to old or advanced old age (81-plus). The bible says: The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (Psalms:90) but I attribute my longevity beyond sheer good luck to postmodern education about smoking, vitamins and exercise plus divine grace that allows me to pursue my mission from God to keep building this website. End Update
I now live alone- tend to be solitary and asocial but am not lonely- have casual interpersonal interaction as webmaster for our county chapter of The National Audubon Society. I'm divorced from wife and ex-girlfriends for many years and have but one true friend (and his wife) who drop by every so often. Although I have a loving relationship with my two sisters, Lola- a year older and Marilyn- six years older, we have lived thousands of miles apart over the past 50 years or more. Aside from that sibling affection and my compassion for nature, I increasingly look to my samadhi chronicles to find my old age purposeful. A core belief arisen from my non dual journey is that samadhi is graced to fulfill God's desire to be known. Accordingly I've assumed my "mission from God" is to convey as coherent an account of my extraordinary samadhi revelation as I am capable of and apply its unique perspective to the diverse and often conflicting canons of theist, atheist, dual and non dual traditions as well as to emergent new science paradigms and to promote a distinction between its transcendent nature from the magisteria of the psychic occult.
Update 07/17/2013: For some perspective on my concept that "God desires to be known" see:
The Riddle of Desire Introduction Mark Matousek; Working With Desire: Three approaches Matthieu Ricard; You Can't Always Get What You Want Ken McLeod; For A Mouthful Of Grass Shantideva; Drink and a Man Joan Duncan Oliver; Making Room For Desire Tara Brach; Sex-Loving Monk Ikkyu; The Merry-Go-Round of Desire: Interview with Mark Epstein; Immeasurable Depths: The love poems of the Sixth Dalai Lama; Six Small Meditations on Desire by Jane Hirshfield - Must the experience of desire, of preference, even of the recognition of beauty, be identical to the experience of attachment? A monk asks, "The great wind blows everywhere. Why, teacher, do you use your fan?" The master continues fanning. That fanning is an answer that comes from the world as it is. It is also the monk?s question, going on in the world as it is. End Update
I suppose the cosmic reality paradigm that is described in the following definition for Panendeism is as close to my belief system as any ontology- except that I believe some metaphors in the Upanishads describe real dynamics of how our soul becomes transformed into Brahman nonduality during temporary samadhi or our physical death.
Panendeism Defined: Panendeism is a sub-category of Deism. It is based on the speculation that the universe is a part of god, but not all of god and literally means "all in god". Some panendeists have established numerous additional beliefs, some of which are quite detailed, and use more specialized terminology to describe their beliefs. However, any deist who believes that the universe is a part (but not the whole) of god, can be considered a panendeist. It is true that both panendeists and pantheists share the view that the universe and every natural thing in it is pervaded by divinity. However, since Panendeism postulates that the universe is contained within god and not god in the universe, Panendeists believe in a god who is present in everything but also extends beyond the universe. In other words, god is the universe but is also greater than the universe.
Although there is great diversity within the spiritual maths of Hinduism- beliefs in Vedanta regarding duties and stages of life are common to all.
Social Aging in a Delhi Neighborhood by John van Willigen and Narender K. Chadha, 1999. As individuals age, they experience a decrease in power resources to which they adapt through choice. This leads to a decrease in their social interaction. van Willigen and Chadha argue that exchange theory also explains why individuals decide to disengage themselves from the social world. Crucial to an understanding of social ageing in Hindu communities (and the authors worked chiefly with north Indian Hindus) are the institutions of purusartha (the aims of life) and asrama (the stages of life). The former is a theoretical delineation of what humans should do, the meaning of their existence, how they are different from animals (dharma), how they should reproduce their own kind and the society (kama and artha), and how they should ensure their permanent release from the incessant cycle of birth, death and rebirth (moksha). The theory of purusartha offers a fine coexistence of the ideas of materialism and spiritualism; in the hierarchy of aims, moksa occupies the highest place and kama (carnal satisfaction) the lowest.
Purusartha=aims of life (Purushartha) prescribes four pillars in the Vedanta equation for human life:
dharma=moral code and the continuum of reincarnation
Historically, the first three goals, dharma, artha and kama, were articulated first (Sanskrit: trivarga), and the fourth goal, moksha, later (Skt.: chaturvarga). The fifth of the common beliefs of Hinduism is the belief in the law of karma=moral causation- also shared by Buddhist.
Ashrama=stages of life:
The First Ashrama - Brahmacharya or the Student Stage
The Second Ashrama - Grihastha or the Householder Stage
The Third Ashrama - Vanaprastha or the Hermit Stage
The Fourth Ashrama - Sannyasa or the Wandering Ascetic Stage
For me to literally take on the lifestyle of either of the last two stages is entirely too challenging- and joining an ashram or monastary, too social and philosophically formatted. Vanaprastha is where one "goes to the forest" to attain realization but since I had my Nirvikalpa 40 years ago, I've been vaguely mentally drifting in Sannyasa ever since. I reside in a modest but comfortable condo in South Florida but my daily contemplations in the local library and Cyberspace could be viewed as a symbolic replication (some would say parody) of the fourth Ashrama- where one becomes "a Wandering Ascetic" and seldom stray further than I can go on my bicycle.
If there were regular kirtan events in my neighborhood I would be comfortable participating in a Bhakti celebration- although would mentally convert whatever specific Hindu deities like Krishna or Kali were featured in the Sanskrit chants, to an ecumenical Gaian or Cosmic consciousness.
In my page Kirtan and Bhajan I describe an effort to organize (see neo-kirtan meetup) weekly kirtan sessions but so far it doesn't look like its going to grow a sufficient membership.
Update 02 15 2011: I sent an Email to the minister of our Treasure Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Stuart, FL inquiring whether there might be any interest in their membership to explore kirtan sessions but despite their hospitable sounding website, in about two-hours- received back a terse, rejection (invoking the royal "we" in an out-of-hand manner and tone I'd expect had I been proposing satanic rituals. Many UU churches around the USA have integrated even orthodox kirtan into their programs...so I imagine his unmediated response was a reflection of our community's conservative demographics- although I'd bet the membership never got a chance to consider my proposal. End Update
Update 07 31 2011: I am currently evolving a Primordial Rhythm Meditation page outlining a tentative model for an improvised bhakti yoga active meditation by which I can practice communion with my Panendeism God.
Primordial Rhythm Meditation Part 4 video on youtube where Kelsey demonstrates her beginning a practice of Primordial Rhythm Meditation.
Primordial Rhythm Meditation Part 5 - documentary youtube video. An update on three years of practicing Primordial Rhythm Meditation that features the optimum drumming tempo for evoking the voice of the water - that I associate with communion with my ancestors and supreme spirit.
Update 03 14 2017: Primordial Rhythm
Meditation Update - An update over a year later that shows some variations in my drumming modality and attaining more authentic states of mindlessness - in my continuing evolution.
Update 01 03 2014: I've added a Recumbent Trike Safety Tips A youtube video illustrating my recent envolvement in riding a recumbent tricycle. When I turned 84 a couple of years ago, due to a couple of spills probably caused by my diminished awareness, I gave up riding bicycles that I'd been riding over the past 40 years. I've really missed my biking and over the past month acquired a used Sun EZ-3 SX delta recumbent tricycle which I retrofitted with some visual safety features and now can enjoy biking around my neighborhood with a renewed sense of freedom. I've even ventured over the high-rise Carey Bridge to peddle a sidewalk route to Jensen Beach, five miles north and can peddle out to my favorite supermarket in Stuart on a six-mile round trip.
Sure seems like a synchronicity that a Buddhist Journal has the name Tricycle. The name is a reference to the three main branches or "vehicles" of Buddhism - Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana and to the three "jewels" - Buddha, dharma and sangha. Tricycle's web site, features a primer on the basics of Buddhism with explanations of these and other terms. End Update
Update 02 05 2014: Recumbent Trike Safety Tips - Part 2 demonstrating additional visual safety features retrofitted to the Sun EZ-3 SX delta recumbent tricycle End Update
Update 02 27 2014: Recumbent Trike Safety Tips - Part 3
presenting Trike-Cam views of rider POV of daily ride on Sun EZ-3 SX to the library and shops in my neighborhood highlighting typical safety alerts. End Update
Update 03 04 2014: Recumbent Trike Safety Tips - Part 4 Evening meditation ride on Sun EZ-3 SX recumbent trike - nature - sunsets - night return - Trike-Cam POV. An integration of Primordial Rhythm Meditation and my recumbent tricycle journey.
Update 06 21 2014: Recumbent Trike Nature Meditation - Part 5 Converting recumbent trike from street safety to vehicle and platform for nature and wildlife videos - with scenes recorded over three-month period.
More Recumbent Trike Safety Tips Mechanics and function.
Trike Asylum Comprehensive FAQ about advanced recumbent trike (tadpole) riding and equipment.
Retrofitting a seat cover over my badly worn trike seat after 2.5 years
Ordered online from Niagra Cycle
Travelers, it is late. Life's sun is going to set. During these brief days you have strength, be quick and spare no effort of your wings. ~ Rumi from Rumi: Daylight
The following links feature various perspectives, philosophies or strategies that address purposefulness in the last stage of one's life starting with two currently popular inspirational works- the first founded in Christianity- a theistic, prophetic religion and the second in the dual/non dual theistic/atheistic traditions.
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren An evangelical perspective that says the starting place Must be with a Christian God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God's purposes for putting us on earth. (mg: I am always put off by any "MUST" imperative in any spiritual tenant as in the dictim of strict Christianity that Jesus proclaimed that salvation is attained "ONLY through me" rather than "through me" - that would leave open other ecumenical options...the later being the position that any truly enlightened being like Jesus would take.) Instead- I am convinced- those wanting to consolodate power, inserted the "ONLY" to use as a threat to dupe converts into believing this was the single option for their souls to be saved.) Of course virtualy all religious traditions use such tactics to establish the exclusiveness of their path to Godhead - the prophetic religions simply the most conspicuous.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tollee At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness.
Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, and Sweet's "New Light" Leaders by Warren Smith (from A "Wonderful" Deception) 2009. Abstract: While some Christian leaders are issuing warnings about New Age figures such as Oprah, Leonard Sweet, Eckhart Tolle, and A Course in Miracles, this same new (age) spirituality (under a "Christian" disguise) is being promoted and embraced right in the Christian church by these popular Christian teachers and authors.
What Does It Mean to Grow Old By Thomas R. Cole, Sally A. Gadow - Contemplation versus activity in reflecting via the humanities on the philosophy and ethical questions concerning conduct and goals for the aged. Compares Hindu concepts of moksha as the ultimate goal of human life to that of Simone de Beuvoir in The Coming of Age where she warns about what must be done in order to escape the existential vacum of late life. "There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning--devotion to individuals, to groups or to causes, social, political, intellectual or creative work."
Old Age Across Cultures and Time - There is nothing inherently problematical about growing old. And yet in most nations of the world, old age is increasingly understood in "social problem" terms. As we all must age and eventually die, any cultural belief system that cannot provide security, meaning, and self-esteem for those who reach the conclusion of life's natural sequences will eventually have to change. Such is the case in the United States, where the cultural values of youth, vitality, competitiveness, and self-sufficiency are decreasingly relevant for an ever-increasing proportion of the population.
Cicero's On Old Age by Bill Long Though he was only 61 or 62 when he wrote it Cicero, he was committed to the proposition that old age was, in many respects, a condition superior to youth, and that those who found fault with it probably were the same people who grumbled about life when they were young. "There is no sudden breakage; it just slowly goes out. The third charge against old age is that it LACKS SENSUAL PLEASURES. What a splendid service does old age render, if it takes from us the greatest blot of youth!"
What Is Old Age For? by William Thomas. Old age is humanity's greatest invention, and on an even deeper level, it invented us. Old age transformed the way our most distant ancestors gave birth, reared their young, lived together, and fed themselves. Later it propelled the development of culture, language, and society.
Finding Wisdom in the Signs of Old Age by Merle Rubin - Jungian psychologist and author James Hillman offers the startling, genuinely radical suggestion that various traits we associate with old age, such as desiccation, sagging muscles, lined faces, crankiness, sentimentality, confusion, repetition and loss of short-term memory, may be viewed as signs of character formation.
One Last Chance to Save Mankind - interview with James Lovelock - With his 90th birthday in July, a trip into space scheduled for later in the year and a new book out next month, 2009 promises to be an exciting time for James Lovelock. But the originator of the Gaia theory, which describes Earth as a self-regulating planet, has a stark view of the future of humanity- but he's still looking forward to reaching 100.
Ching-an Rather weird topic extracted from Tao & Longevity: Mind-Body Transformation by Wen-Kuang Chu - regarding a transformation of saliva arising from a pre-samadhi stage of meditation. The sweet tasting hormone substance of ching-an should absolutely, be the major focus of anti-aging hormone research. Samadhi attainments are the only thing that can lead to a healthy quality-of-life longevity, and this is the major hormone (amongst several) which initiates the physical transformations of the chi and mai which enable this to happen. It is a cure for illness, aging and mental imbalance than hormones promoted by modern science- melatonin, estrogen, progesterone and other treatments for anti-aging purposes.
Sathya Sai Baba - Discourses - Karma Marga, Jnana Marga, Bhakti Marga - All lead to the same Destination - Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba May/June 1974 Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhwacharya the three great Acharyas were teaching three different aspects. Sankara was propounding Sayujya or identity with the Lord while Ramanuja was talking in terms of Sameepya or closeness to the Lord and Madhwa was preaching in terms of Salokya or living in the domain of the Lord- telling us about the three paths for the realisation of truth, namely the Jnana Marga, the Bhakti Marga and the Karma Marga but all these aspects must be treated as complimentary and not contradictory.
No Aging in India By Lawrence Cohen 2002. Perspectives on cultural and religious traditions regarding old age in India. This chapter describes the sacred city of Varanasi and the sacred city of the Hindus- Kashi where the authors primary research was done.
Rumi's Poetry of Aging by Harry R. Moody. What Rumi understood is what may be called a transpersonal approach to sorrow. For Rumi, this approach is suggested by the technical distinction between the "ego" (nafs) and the "spirit" (ruh). The ego represents a limited dimension of selfhood and conceals a transpersonal spirit, which is much more vast.
Wei Wu Wei - Why Lazarus Laughed: The Essential Doctrine, Zen-Advaita-Tantra.
The great sage of Tantra, Sri Aurobindo viewed one tradition of Vedanta dharma as corrupt- the hierarchy of casts prescribed by Varnas- in which all Hindus were born and never escaped:
Varnas -as it evolved into a system of inherited caste:
Brahmin - "scholarly community," including teachers, doctors, and other scholars.
Kshatriya - "warriors and rulers or politicians community"
Vaishya - "mercantile and artisan community"
Shudra - "service-providing community"
Dalit - "untouchables, those without varna"
The first three varnas are called 'twice born'. They are allowed to study the Vedas.
As with purdah in Islam there are those habituated to the process that defend the caste system and maintain that it contributes positively to the self esteem of individuals and sustains a harmony within the culture.
Interpolations and combinations of thousands of soteriological features have resulted in a spectrum of spiritual philosophies from atheistic to theistic and hundreds of sub sects of Vedanta, Advaita, Dvaita, Tantra, Shaivism, Jainism, etc. Among the many Hindu schools there is a broad range of disparaties regarding the timing and disposition of moksha/mukti and the importance and effects of nirvikalpa and other samadhi.
Mukti/Moksha Mukti (Sanskrit: release) or
Moksha (Sanskrit: liberation) refer, in Indian religions, to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth and all the suffering and limitation entailed in embodied worldly existence. There is some dispute as to the relationship between Jivanmukta who have attained Moksha and continue to survive in non dual consciousness, those who experience Videhamukti (Sanskrit for disembodied liberation) in Parasiva- the realization of the self at the point of death and whether nirvikalpa samadhi or sahaja samadhi is an imperative that releases the soul from reincarnations.
Hypotheses for evolutionary advantage for human longevity:
Grandmother Hypothesis Elderly crucial to evolutionary success of humans, 2004 by Will Knight. Senior citizens played an important role in the dramatic spread of human civilisation some 30,000 years ago, a study of the human fossil record has shown.
Aging With The Story Engram: The Greatest Gift by Renée Fuller. Rather than the curse of old age, less preoccupation with minutiae allows us to see the big picture to be summarized into story engrams. Human history tells us of the wisdom of the matriarchs and the patriarchs of our ancient past. Their understandings helped their children and grandchildren lead successful lives.
One scriptural scenario sums up the various features of videhamukti saying: Blessed are those who are aware that departure, mahasamadhi, is drawing near. They settle all affairs, make amends and intensify personal sadhana. They seek the silver channel of sushumna which guides kundalini through the door of Brahman into the beyond of the beyond. They seek total renunciation as the day of transition looms strongly in their consciousness. Those who know that Lord Yama is ready to receive them, seek to merge with Siva. They seek nirvikalpa samadhi as the body and earthly life fall away. Those who succeed are the videhamuktas, honored as among those who will never be reborn. Hindu tradition allows for vows of renunciation, called atura sannyasa diksha, to be taken and the orange robe donned by the worthy sadhaka or householder in the days prior to death.
Samyag-Samadhi (Pure Realisation Or Liberation) - To look upon light and darkness, pleasure and pain, profit and loss, fame and censure with an equal mind is 'Samadhi.' Buddha termed this equal-mindedness as Nirvaana.
Spring Rain Sangha: The Basics of Buddhism - For the remainder of his life, the Buddha taught the dharma to others- men, women, and children; rich and poor; people from all walks of life and all levels of society- so that they, too, might attain awakening. He established a sangha, or community of monks and nuns, to maintain his teachings after his death. Then, one full moon night in May when he had reached the age of eighty, he lay down between two trees in a forest park and gave his last teachings to the assembled followers, counseling them to be heedful in completing their practice of the dharma. With that, he entered total nirvana.
With origins from the mist of time the diasporas of Hindu ontology have evolved practices that confuse superstition with religious rites but may still
survive on the fringes of various traditions. One of the more prevalent practices is jal samadhi=suicide by
drowning in the Ganges or other
sacred sites connected to rivers- still sometimes committed by sadhus. Recently Chaitanaya Brahmchari a holy man from Allahabad, site of the Kumbh Mela festival where millions of Hindus ritually bathe in the the river, has threatened jal samadhi to protest the severe pollution of the sacred water.
A new age of old age? Gerotranscendence and the re-enchantment of aging (alteration of consciousness) by Hakan Jonson and Jan Arne Magnusson: Briefly put, gerotranscendence is a theoretical concept coined by Swedish gerontologist Lars Tornstam that describes an alteration of consciousness in old age. The development of gerotranscendence is seen as a "natural" process that has been obstructed by structures of modern Western societies. Tornstam asserts that gerotranscendence marks a paradigmatic shift from positivist to phenomenological gerontology. We force upon the elderly our own value-dependent theories, which at the same time means that deviations from the theoretical predictions are looked upon as being abnormal, pathological, or whatever term we decide to use. In order to explain the difference between the paradigms Tornstam uses a comparison between Zen Buddhist and Western consciousness
A Case for Self-Transcendence as a Purpose of Adult Education by V. Quinton Wacks Jr. - Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Gerontology Program, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN. Jung (1933) frequently spoke to the importance of the second half of life:
A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if his longevity had no meaning for the species to which he belonged. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life's morning. (p. 109) Part of this unique significance of life's second half is the transcendent function.
Gerotranscendence from young old age to old old age. Tornstam, L. (2003) Online publication from The Social Gerontology Group, Uppsala. Simply put, gerotranscendence is a shift in meta-perspective, from a materialistic and pragmatic view of the world to a more cosmic and transcendent one. According to a qualitative study (Tornstam, 1996 a, b), the gerotranscendent individual typically experiences a new understanding of fundamental existential questions - often a feeling of cosmic communion with the spirit of the universe, a redefinition of time, space, life and death, and a redefinition of the self and relationships to others. In this study, the three dimensions of gerotranscendence were approximated and operationalized in three measures: cosmic transcendence, coherence and need for solitude.
Against Transcendence By Jason Pontin, February 2005. When technology appropriates the transcendental it becomes science fiction. Most technologists believe in transcendence some of the time, and some technologists believe in it all the time. At those moments when they believe in it, they're crazy. When they believe in it completely, they've become trolls. Most responsible biogerontologists are more cautious about the applications of antiaging science.
Hypotheses for evolutionary advantage for human longevity:
Threescore and Ten
Natural History, Dec, 2000 by Jared Diamond. "...my New Guinean field associates...surprised me...to see their terror when I picked a campsite next to a big tree in the Bewani Mountains.
Grandmother Hypothesis Elderly crucial to evolutionary success of humans, 2004 by Will Knight. Senior citizens played an important role in the dramatic spread of human civilivation some 30,000 years ago, a study of the human fossil record has shown.
Why Men Matter: Mating Patterns Drive Evolution of Human Lifespan by Shripad D. Tuljapurkar, Cedric O. Puleston, and Michael D. Gurven. Male fertility can only result from mating with fertile females, and we present a range of data showing that males much older than 50 yrs have substantial realized fertility through matings with younger females, a pattern that was likely typical among early humans.
As an afterthought- my painting originally named "Lotus" could be re-entitled "Stages of Life" in that the bud of youth- the bloom of adulthood and the efflorescence of old age could be a visual symbolism for the potential for our latter years to present life's most poignant and fulfilling beauty through realization. In fact, this is only part of the symbolism entailed in the sacredness attributed to the lotus. For the past several mellennium the non dual traditions incorporated the seemingly magical appearance of lotus after their lake beds had been dried up for years of drought to the ressurection via reincarnation of the long departed souls. It is only recently that science has recognized the unique longevity for viability of seeds of lotus from specimens 1300 years old, gathered from a desert in China- that sprouted to life!
Lotus Symbolism and Botanical Distinction A comprehensive review of the symbolism the sacred lotus has provided Hinduism and Buddhism since antiquity as well as sorting out the confusion regarding the botanical identification distinguishing the Egyptian sacred "lotus" from the true lotus of India and southeastern Asia and its diverse iconography.
Aging and the Religious Dimension by L. Eugene Thomas, Susan A. Eisenhandler; Auburn House, 1994. For a variety of historical and intellectual reasons, religion has received scant attention in Western social science. Kant's distinction between "is" and "ought" has led to the sharp distinction between fact and value. This distinction has served as the basis for the ideal in the social sciences that research should remain "value free," and that it should be conducted in as "objective" a manner as possible. This in turn has led to the strong emphasis on quantitative techniques in all fields of the social sciences, which seek to eliminate as much as possible the subjective element. Gero-Transcendence: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration Lars Tornstam
Aging and the Meaning of Time By Susan H. McFadden, Robert C. Atchley 2006 The authors, from diverse disciplines in gerontology, act as guides in the exploration of the realms of time in later life and its meanings. As the authors examine how the study of time can give new meanings to aging, they also consider the religious and spiritual questions raised when human beings consider the temporal boundaries of life.
Age Differences in Mystical Experience by Jeffrey S. Levin, PhD, MPH, The Gerontologist, 1993. Age differences are examined in reports of deja vu, ESP, clairvoyance, spiritualism, and numinous experience. According to the 1988 General Social Survey, these mystical experiences are somewhat more common now than in 1973, and deja vu, clairvoyance, and a composite mysticism score have increased with successively younger age cohorts. Further, private and subjective religiosity are positively related to overall mystical experience, while organizational religiosity is inversely related. Dr. Norman Bradburn once commented at a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) staff seminar that "there are no other variables he knows of that correlate as strongly with psychological well-being as does frequent mystical experience" (Greeley, 1975; p. 7).
Will We Ever Arrive at the Good Death? by Robin Marantz Henig, NYTimes August 7, 2005. Article presents an in-depth examination of the evolution of hospice care as the palliative perspective is making inroads into hospital-based medicine. There is still something of a turf battle today between palliative medicine and hospice. Is hospice a subcategory of palliative care, or is it the other way around? Is it better to focus end-of-life care in the hospital or the home? Will palliative medicine put physicians back in charge of dying, remedicalizing the experience all over again? Will it turn suffering into just another disease to be cured? Chronology of some case histories provide realistic insight.
Epigenomics of Alzheimer's disease progression sciencedaily.com 2015 Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Our susceptibility to disease depends both on the genes that we inherit from our parents and on our lifetime experiences. These two components -- nature and nurture -- seem to affect very different processes in the context of Alzheimer's disease. A new study of epigenomic modifications reveals the immune basis of Alzheimer's disease. Manlis Kellis and his team at MIT were able to Identify both genetic and non-genetic (lifestyle) effects on human health from studying cells from people with Alzheimer's and a mouse version of the disease. Findings suggest that an immune disorder is partially responsible for the symptoms and while disruptions were coded in the cell's genetics, the changes in the brain cells appeared to be influenced by environmental inputs like diet, education, physical activity and age."We have an interplay between genetics and epigenetics - and you might not be able to do anything about the genetics but you might be able to do something about the epigenomic by - I don't know - maybe reading more books." (Or tackling some computer or Internet projects.)
The effects of religion on subjective aging in Singapore: An interreligious comparison by Xu Jianbina, Kalyani K. Mehtab, Department of Social Work and Psychology, National University of Singapore. Findings indicate that religion can play an integrative role that facilitates adjustment to the aging process. Also, they suggest that though there are fundamental, irreducible differences in terms of religious beliefs and practices between Buddhism and Christianity, there are far less differences in the ways they impact on the integrative aging process.
Existential and Spiritual Issues in Death Attitudes by Adrian Tomer, Grafton Eliason, Paul T. P. Wong. An in-depth examination of death attitudes, existentialism, and spirituality and their relationships; a review of the major theoretical models; clinical applications of these models to issues such as infertility, bereavement, anxiety, and suicide.
The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing- Edited by M. L. Johnson, V. L. Bengtson, P. G. Coleman and T. B. L. Kirkwood, Cambridge University Press, 2006. (book download) With 7 parts, 72 chapters, 110 contributors and 744 pages, this is a mighty tome. Thomas Kirkwood argues that, although there are no specific genes for ageing, a number of genes regulate the "durability" and "maintenance" of the soma. Ultimately, evolution has not prepared us well for ageing. Importantly, the scientists who see the big picture and who wish to work with the big picture must also recognise that the grand problems and solutions they envisage do not imply that all aspects of our well being necessarily pivot upon our science, or our capacity for "outsight". As described by Marcoen, the spiritual path- the path of insight- is a path towards self-realisation, where everything connected with the self/time, space, life and death, good and evil, the rational and irrational dimensions of the mind, and so on- crystallise in an ego-transcendent state. Here, a new sense of uniqueness, inspiration, creative receptivity and equilibrium between the internal and external worlds of experience opens and allows for a new ethic of compassion, of giving of oneself to others. (Michael Hogan, Department of Psychology, NUI, Galway, Ireland)
How My Old Age Routine Seems Analogous to the Ending of
the film 2001: A Space Odyssey
Near the end of Stanley Kubrick's 1998 film version (See ref. A Space Odyssey) of the Arthur C. Clarke novel, Keir Dullea's character- Dr. Dave Bowman finds himself ensconced in a neoclassical hotel room where he is magically provided all the essentials for survival as the remainder of his life unfolds as in a highly accelerated time lapse. As he approaches death, standing at the end of his bed, he raises a finger towards the final appearance of the monolith in a gesture that alludes to the Michelangelo painting of The Creation of Adam, with the monolith representing God. The last scene sees him encased in a placenta bubble (See source Mystic's Attic) transporting through space as a star child embryo.
Somewhat analogous to Bowman's scenario, my lifestyle routine is as simplified as possible with not much more than essentials for my physical and mental well being as I pass through the remainder of my life. At home in my modest but comfortable condo I fix meals, sleep, watch TV and work on an off line computer. I can walk to the library or ride my bike to the Audubon House for computer Internet access. The rare occasions where I need to drive I have my reliable 1988 Toyota Camry. My testosterone has abated and I've always been rather asocial so I feel no loneliness for a life partner. I try to apply a Buddhist detachment to the many disturbing events that arise in the news of the world and as to the degree my nature allows patiently await my destiny. Rather than being reborn as a star child, I expect my consciousness will be transformed as a drop to dissolve into the Brahmic Ocean of light, bliss and love. Over the past 6 months I've found a stimulating a sense of communion with supreme spirit every morning, in my half-hour practice of Primordial Rhythm Drumming Meditation that is very spiritually fulfilling so seem to have adopted a credible integration for my final moksha.
Clues to Arthur C. Clarke's Views on Religion, Spirituality and the Paranormal
I get the impression that Clarke's had a keen appreciation of how spirituality and religion played in the human condition and was accepting of the potential of many psychic phenomena. His relationship with the numinous and transcendent however was exclusively intellectual and clinical and seemed never to break from the committed atheist position that religion offered nothing of value. I have the feeling his stating that he found Islam the most attractive of all established religions was based purely on a superficial intellectual bias of idealisim towards the relatively historical enlightened tradition of the early caliphate conquests that tended to encourage foreign arts, science and a brief period of ecumenical tolerance of other religious and philosophical traditions compared to the religious inquisitions and warfare of Chistianity's dark ages and again idealiszed some aspects of Buddhism which were essentially atheistic. In the end he seemed to imphatictally reject all things Ishvara in his pesonal belief system.
"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him." Arthur C. Clarke's autobiography in an April 1, 1997 profile in the New York Times Clarke speaks about his new book 3001, the latest and perhaps final in the series of books beginning with 2001. In the world of 3001 Clarke envisions for the story, the writer of the piece, John F. Burns, says: "Perhaps most controversially, religions of all kinds have fallen under a strict taboo, with the citizenry looking back on the religious beliefs and practices of earlier ages as products of ignorance that caused untold strife and bloodshed. But the concept of a God, known by the Latin word Deus, survives, a legacy of man's continuing wonder at the universe.
The Religious Affiliation of Leading Science Fiction Author Arthur C. Clarke. In a live interview on CNN on 31 December 1999, Arthur C. Clarke was asked if he felt people should do more to recognize God's hand in the creation of all things in the natural world. Clarke responded that he doesn't believe God controls or creates things, except at the very beginning of the universe. This is a Deist position. Many of Clarke's novels grapple with theological issues, and seem to present god-like forces or beings and life after death. Yet, in his autobiography, and in The Making of Kubrick's 2001, Clarke says that he is an atheist. Celebatheists.com refers to a reader's report that in a CNN interview when Clarke was asked if he believed in God, he replied, "I do not believe in God, but I do not disbelieve in her either."
Future State of Religion A review in the UK paper, The Daily Telegraph (29/3/97) of Arthur C. Clarke's latest book '3001: the Final Odyssey' said: " Meanwhile Dr Clarke makes several striking prophecies about life a millenium from now. One is about the state of religion. Everyone is either a "Deist" or a "Theist". Thiests believe there is not more than one God. Deists say there is not less than one God. And the distinction? Suffice it to say that someone used "surreal mathematics" to prove there is an infinite number of grades between Theism and Deism, and that is all we learn."
Secular Humanism.org Excerpts from an interview with Arthur C. Clarke
FI: Do you see any value at all in the various religions?
Clarke: Though I sometimes call myself a crypto-Buddhist, Buddhism is not a religion. Of those around at the moment, Islam is the only one that has any appeal to me. But, of course, Islam has been tainted by other influences. The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I'm afraid.
I don't rule out the possibility of all sorts of remarkable mental powers - there are even things like telekinesis and so forth. And I'm sure that there are many things we don't know about. But they've got to be examined skeptically before they're accepted.
An example is reincarnation, which everyone in Sri Lanka believes in. An American, Dr. Stevenson, has done a lot of papers on that, and has produced studies of about 50 cases that are hard to explain. But the problem with reincarnation is that it's hard to imagine what the storage medium for past lives would be. Not to mention the input-output device. I hesitate to rule it out completely, but I'd need pretty definite proof.
Star-Human Population Synchronicity
Reincarnation A video episode from the TV Series World of Strange Powers hosted by Arthur C. Clarke in which he seemed sympathetic to evidence for reincarnation in children in his adopted home of Shri Lanka as well as subjects undergoing hypnotic regression although somewhat explained by hypnomesia (details of material previously read- recalled under hypnosis).
Anti-Mysticism When a ABC "20/20" camera once captured the parade of the Buddha's tooth, the Perahera, Clarke observed to the reporter, "I'm anti-mysticism. I'm very anti the sort of lamebrains who accept anything fanciful, nonsensical like pyramid power, astrology, which is utter rubbish, much UFOlogy, flying saucers.
Golden Opportunities Shielding Money Clashes With Elders' Free Will By Charles Duhigg, December 24, 2007. Robert J. Pyle, 81, lost his home and his savings trying to help a single mother. He sued, claiming he wasn?t liable for his errors in judgment because of his age. In the eyes of the law, should the elderly be treated like adolescents, who are not entirely responsible for their poor decisions, but are also barred from making certain choices on their own? Or should they have autonomy, and therefore be accountable for their blunders?
Religion, Spirituality, and Older People by Alfons Marcoen (Chapter 4.11)
The experience of the transcendent is also the root of empathic compassion and altruism, idealistic commitment to the betterment of the world, and the awareness of the tragic character of human existence. The spiritually mature and ethically committed person has integrated diverse visions of life and humanity into a complex system of meaning in which there is tolerance for ambiguity and paradox. Transcendence (of ordinary consciousness, the self, and usual habits) in one form or another is always a component of a spirtual orientation to life.
Seagrape Spring Colors - Old leaves die and new ones emerge simultaneously - a symbolism for old and new life and the beauty that can arise in aging
Self and Identity in Advanced Old Age: validation of theory through longitudinal case analysis. by P.G. Coleman, C. Ivani-Chalian, M. Robinson - Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, England, United Kingdom, 1999. Case studies drawn from a 20-year longitudinal study of aging were examined for the support they provide to two theoretical viewpoints on the self in later life: one focusing on management of self-esteem, the other on development of identity as story. The five cases selected for scrutiny represented diverse trajectories of self-esteem. They furnished ample illustrations of certain key aspects of both theories, including assimilative processes of coping, depression related to absence of accommodation, maintenance of life story themes, and life review processes. They did not, however, give strong support to the dichotomy, drawn within both theoretical models, between younger and older old age. Examples of accommodation, disengagement, and self-transcendence, hypothesized to typify advanced old age, were relatively few in number and emerged only toward the very end of life. It is argued that examination of prototypical cases provides a useful approach to validating and developing theory. A conclusion drawn from this study is that more analysis should be carried out on the lives of persons who exemplify the theoretically ideal characteristics of advanced old age.
Mountain Climbers vs. Vegetables: Avoiding cliches in aging coverage - Lecture by Robert A. Rosenblatt, 2002
Aging Spiritual Nondual Google Book search - enter: aging+spiritual+nondual
Aging, Spirituality, and Religion: A Handbook By Melvin A. Kimble, Susan H. McFadden, James W. Ellor. This book examines the ways religion and spirituality are experienced by aging persons within an aging society. It aims to encompass the wholeness of the elder's life, including spiritual yearnings that are often shaped by religious faith and practice. Eminent contributors from a variety of disciplines explore this new terrain of an emerging interdisciplinary field.
Reflection and Discussion Guide A Unitarian Universalist Association program for a multidisciplinary vision of growing older By Rabi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald Miller From Age-ing to Sage-ing©, 1997. - invites participants to deepen their understanding of aging and elderhood. The model does more than restore the elder to a position of honor and dignity based on age and long life experience. It envisions the elder as an agent of evolution, attracted as much by the future of humanity's expanded brain-mind potential as by the wisdom of the past.
(m-g: After writing my Reflections on Old Age I discovered Zalman also features asrama in his elderhood model.)
The Church of Yahweh A paper by Rabi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi The Revealing Science of God has a three-fold purpose:
1. To look at many of Hinduism's fundamental tenets in terms of physics. I will be concerned only with Newtonian physics and the laws that govern our everyday world. Einstein's theories of relativity, of which Newton's laws of motion are a subset, are outside the scope of this discussion.
2.To use the laws of physics as a link between Hinduism and Christianity, as a basis for dialogue.
3.To apply the methods of scientific research to the quest for knowledge of God.
American Society on Aging- organization of multidisciplinary professionals in the field of aging whose resources, publications, and educational opportunities are geared to enhance the knowledge and skills of people working with older adults and their families. Aging Today ASA bimonthly newspaper
Trinity mega-perspectives on aging, dying and death.
Science Magazine's SAGE KE From October 2001 to June 2006, SAGE KE provided news, reviews, commentaries, disease case studies, databases, and other resources pertaining to aging-related research. Although SAGE KE has now ceased publication, we invite you to search and browse the article content on this archive site. Access is free with registration.
As of April 30, 2013 I'll have turned 85 and technically classified as an elderly senior. I'm hoping some younger writer who has a deist/philosophical turn of mind and finds my samadhi chronicles of value and ideologically compatible could continue to build the Maya-Gaia website in partnership with me until I go eternally non-dual and then have it as their own production. I have funded renewal of the annual fees for hosting my three angelfire websites that contain over 100 of my Maya-Gaia pages and the evolution-involution.org slideshow and other webpages, plus the domain name until 2020. Although my writings are exclusively from the perspective of my Samadhi revelations I feel they are a unique contribution to the body of evidence for the Brahman/Gaian Paradigm and should not be lost after I'm gone. Anyone interested can Email me at smalltownsATusaDOTcom and enter mayagaia as subject.
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