Week 4: Going Forth

We are all different and our needs and circumstances are not the same. We all have to accept that and decide what we can do given where we are right now. The Buddha had some rather modern and far-reaching attitudes toward this transition into retirement:

Go forth for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction. Teach the Dharma which is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful at the end. Proclaim both the letter and the spirit of the holy life completely fulfilled and perfectly pure. —The Buddha, Mahavagga, Vinaya Pitaka.

Reinventing Yourself. I’m not trying to embrace this popular concept with bouncy enthusiasm.  I believe that it can set a person up for all sorts of self-judgement and frustration. However, there is a certain logic to reinventing the self when you realize you don’t have a self in the first place!


How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life:

Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

Aging, Loss and Dreaming with Patti Smith:


Some psychological insights that are important at any age:

The Happiness Ruse:

There is something profound here: we are conditioned to think we need to be happy all the time. This works great in our capitalist system, where enough is never enough, but it does terrible damage to our emotional well-being:


And this article looks at the idea of acceptance, which includes accepting your most difficult situations and emotions. Acceptance doesn’t mean make the best of a difficult situation, nor does it mean being resigned:


And, to make you feel a little less happy (and older):

OK Boomer:


Now, take a deep breath and don’t let it bug you too much:

The 8 Worldly Winds:


Finally, if you want to read and watch the following video, it’s very touching. Granted, we may be reaching a bit beyond retirement, but it resonated with me:

94 year old was ready to die

Here’s one way to end the class: a Beatles song. Thanks for meeting me on a part of this journey.

Zoom meeting: Nov 13, 2019 07:00 PM