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Faith as We Age

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This presentation was created by Luba Rascheff, MDiv Harvard University, for InterChurch Health Ministries (ICHM) Canada.

Published in: Spiritual
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Faith as We Age

  1. 1. Faith As We Age
  2. 2. This presentation was created by Luba Rascheff for InterChurch Health Ministries (ICHM) Canada. 2016
  3. 3. What happens when we age?  We experience losses. Our eyesight diminishes. Our physical strength weakens.  We are not able to do certain things that we once took for granted.  Loved ones pass away.
  4. 4. Increased spirituality compensates for physical losses  There is seemingly an inverse relationship between spirituality and physicality. Jesus underscores this when teaching Nicodemus saying, 'Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit.‘ (John 3:6)
  5. 5. Jesus and Nicodemus by Crijn Hendricksz, 1616-1645 (public domain)
  6. 6.  The late Dr. Wayne Dyer explains the four stages of development in life as athlete, warrior, statesperson and spirit. Note how the progression is from primarily physical to primarily spiritual.
  7. 7. Dr. Wayne Dyer (free image)
  8. 8.  The First Noble Truth that Buddha taught includes old age as an unavoidable form of physical suffering.
  9. 9. Buddha teaching 4 Noble Truths. Sanskrit manuscript. Nalanda, Bihar, India. (public domain)
  10. 10. Midlife  At the root of the well-known midlife crisis is the realization of loss of youth and awareness of death. Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 12
  11. 11.  Hyperenergetic activity is a way by which we attempt to escape from 'gnawing fears of mortality' and to 'through repeated action ... stave off the anxiety of physical decline.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 14
  12. 12.  '[The] trauma of identity in [midlife] is a form of existential alienation that eastern religions regard as a necessary harbinger of a new level of spiritual integration.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 18
  13. 13.  'Middle-aged persons experience losses other than the physical decline .... They also encounter threatening challenges in the area of intimacy and family.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 31
  14. 14. Faith One way to approach the inevitable fact of aging is faith. '... to live by faith is to walk not necessarily against reason, but beyond it.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 41
  15. 15. ' ... the young are not naturally inclined toward inwardness.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 45
  16. 16. 'The new questionings of middle age provide a singular occasion to cultivate the meditative solitude that creates an ambience for reaching through and beyond the scientific mind-set....We allow our spiritual selves to flow unitively into nature and other persons.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 50
  17. 17. Mortality '...[C]ontemplative listening brings us into dialogue with the alluring, yet threating, mystery of death.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 51
  18. 18. Image title & credit: A1 | Luba Rascheff
  19. 19. A New Power 'Perhaps this is one of the great exchanges to which persons in midlife especially are invited: to substitute, for the power that promises to preserve the ego against adversity and death, a new power that, by releasing us from the all-consuming lust for survival and enhancement of the self, allows us joyful love of our deepest self and others.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 67
  20. 20. The 4 Outcomes of Faith as We Age 1. More Synchronicity 2. Substitution of Anxiety with Faith 3. Enhanced Creativity 4. An Increased Desire for Play
  21. 21. Faith & Synchronicity  'Faith may engender synchronicity which is defined by Bianchi as follows: '...an event that is paradoxical in that it is not the result of temporal causality, or ordinary before and after sequencing; thus it has the character of a chance, serendipitous happening, mysteriously related to other events in one's life.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | pp. 54-55
  22. 22. Faith versus Anxiety  'Without faith in some goodness beyond and superior to the self, the fear of one's own death may lead to active and passive forms of denial. The result is an inability to embrace the world in a life-giving way because the self is too preoccupied with its own survival.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 58
  23. 23. Faith & Creativity  'The middle-aged person who has become open to an inner journey of transformation experiences inward and outward forms of creativity that are especially difficult to measure.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 71
  24. 24. Faith & Play  'Play is another way of fulfilling some of the potentials of middle age. The ability to delight in nature and other persons can be especially fostered in midlife. ... Moreover, a heightened appreciation of the irony, tragedy, and paradoxical complexity of the human scene can instill a certain tolerance and even humor.' Aging as a Spiritual Journey | Eugene C. Bianchi | Crossroad | New York | p. 74
  25. 25. Cropped image credit: two-daloo.com
  26. 26. A New Understanding of Aging Elders as sages are:  Wisdom keepers  Pioneers in consciousness who practice contemplative arts from … spiritual traditions [e.g., Christianity]  Mentors  Learners From Age-ing to Sage-ing | Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller | Grand Central Publishing| New York Boston | pp. 13-15
  27. 27.  Pursuers of happiness and joy  Individuals who deserve respect Ibid.
  28. 28. To reach this level of understanding, ‘elders go through a process of conscious and deliberate growth, becoming sages who are capable of guiding their families and communities with hard-earned wisdom.’ From Age-ing to Sage-ing | Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller | Grand Central Publishing| New York Boston | p. 16
  29. 29. ‘… We can choose to face the challenges of aging head on. It’s not easy, but it has brought me the peace I could only dream about in my youth.’ Suzanne From Age-ing to Sage-ing | Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller | Grand Central Publishing| New York Boston | pp. 20-21
  30. 30. ‘If we viewed elderhood as the crowning achievement of our lives, we would open the door with reverence and anticipation. Prayerfully, we woud say, “Oh my soul, you are growing something special and good inside me. How can I give it the proper sunshine and nourishment to ensure that it grows to health and vigor?’ From Age-ing to Sage-ing | Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller | Grand Central Publishing| New York Boston | pp. 23-24
  31. 31. Bibliography Bianchi, Eugene C. Aging as a Spiritual Journey. New York: Crossroad, 1993. Print. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller. From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older. New York, Boston: Grand Central Publishing, 1997, Reissued: June 2014.
  32. 32. Photography Credit for background image: “Lines on Water” by Luba Rascheff.

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