I pulled away from my work life in my Mid 50’s. I made art, was available to assist my family and began to pursue a daily meditation practice. I felt compelled to do this.
My husband passed away and I gave a bit of a try at dating but it did not really feel right. I understand that being in a solo state has afforded me valuable time for self-reflection, contemplation and personal growth. In relationships you grow – this Solo Practice is good too.
Ancient Hindu teachings have terms for 4 stages of life. I believe I have been practicing a modern version of Vanaprastha– stage 3 and that the concept is helpful to frame the time of life where you become aware that you have an expiry date.
The Ancient Hindu were direct about how to be in Vanaprastha. You were to go live simply in a nearby forest, contemplate and be available to teach others. Be a Sage for others while coming to terms with your own mortal nature.
I think I am doing a North American, female, 21C – version of this. I live simply, I have been clearing my home of unnecessary items. I share my ideas and resources with my family and whoever else wants to discuss life with me. I meditate daily and get into nature as much as possible. This feels right for where I am at now.
I am definitely grieving my many loves and passions gone. I often feel a sweet sadness for things past that few people now share with me. The trick is to not get stuck in these states of emotion and mind. To realize that this time, this day has great value in it’s own right.
I actually feel deep gratitude throughout each day that my life is abundant enough for me to have time to meditate and contemplate. I still socialize with family and friends but I take considerable time each day to embrace my own soul. How lucky I am to have this opportunity!
This time of slow down, contemplation and rest – it just feels right.
In a culture that understood we have stages of life – each as valid as the next I could answer people who ask questions about relationship and ambitions with – I am good. I am practicing Vanaprastha. Looking towards Moksha. Modern Cultures the world over should discuss this more. Clarifying that I am a spirit being – not a spirit doing with one word would be great!