Thought for the Day

Friday 22 July

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to us.

— Leon Trotsky

Eknath Easwaran's Commentary

When the first grey hair appears on our head, it is a critical juncture in life. We go to the mirror with a sinking feeling of dread and try to pluck out the evidence – one here, two there. But the more we pull out, the more seem to come in.

I tease my friends by asking which of them would like to relive their adolescence. It always brings a groan. Youth has a lot to offer, but so does the experience of age. In India we have a joke about a man going to a barber and asking, “Do you have anything for grey hair?” “Yes,” the barber says, “respect.” Just because we don’t have wrinkles or a grey hair, we are not necessarily alive in the fullest sense of the word. Real living comes from making a contribution to life.

This is the paradox of life: when we cling to the body, it loses its beauty. But when we do not cling to the body – and use it as an instrument given us to serve others – it glows with a special beauty, as we can see from the lives of many great saints and mystics. When our consciousness becomes pure, even the body begins to reflect its light.

The Thought for the Day is today's entry from Eknath Easwaran's Words to Live By.