Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. 1 Funny but true. We normally assume that people mature with age, however, many just age and don’t mature. A couple of months ago, I wrote how maturity of the human soul is the object of life as everything we desire is somehow connected with that. Today when I was thinking about what to write on, I recalled a conversation I had with Kumar from Bangalore a few years ago (Dec 2016).
A part of the Bangalore core team, he was driving me to the event venue that day when I told him that maturity was one of the most important elements in making any personal relationship work. Sharing the opening quote, we had a good laugh (a much too common occurrence when I’m with the Bangalore team). When he asked what exactly I meant by maturity, I replied that it was to say yes to everything his wife said. Just kidding. I spent the next ten minutes speaking on maturity.
“Please share it in your writeup too, someday,” he said. “It’ll be helpful for many.”
So here I am with a summary of that conversation, only five years later. I feel maturity in any individual exists at four levels. As follows:
When I say physical maturity, I am not referring to the normal ageing process of our body but the fact that one day we realize that if our physical health is not in top shape, nothing else is worth much in life. As we age, our body starts to give up on us, asking, even forcing, us to slow down and give it the attention it requires. That moment when we understand that we must take care of our body and not abuse it is when we have actually matured physically. We arrive at the conclusion that without any exceptions, our physical health must be right at the top of our priority list. An ailing body equals an alien life.
One can be fit as a horse but of what use it is if they are still braying. In other words, just being physically mature is not enough for a fulfilling life. A bit more is required. By growing up mentally, I don’t mean that you ought to be determined, tenacious, and focused, etc. While such traits are essential for success, they are just that, traits. Mental maturity is a different ball game altogether. In my view, it is about courage. Specifically, the courage to admit when you are wrong and apologize. The courage to accept our faults so we may correct them. The courage to say “No” to things you don’t want to do or have in your life and the courage to say I don’t know. And, above all, the courage to pursue your dream.
The tipping point of emotional maturity is when you deeply absorb the most fundamental trait of eternal happiness. And that is, I alone am responsible for my feelings. The world doesn’t owe me a life or anything, much less honor, love, and a red carpet. If I don’t like what or how I am feeling about life, circumstances, and people around me, it is I who has to work towards change. If I don’t change, life won’t either. Stagnant thoughts and feelings obstruct the path of emotional maturity. It is impossible to be self-reliant and joyous without growing up emotionally.
While the above three will get you through life just fine, spiritual maturity is what helps you put everything in perspective. It is that flying carpet that gets you across the valleys and peaks, above water and in the sky, breezing through the deserts and forests, it will turn your life into an adventure worth living. At the heart of spiritual maturity is the firm understanding that nothing is permanent. In fact, not only that nothing will last forever, nothing is designed to last forever. We must embrace change or you just never know when the carpet may flip. It’s still flying, only you are not on it.
Mulla Nasrudin used to work at a sweet shop when he was let go. After many failed attempts to find another job, he setup his own cart selling baklava. A rich man would stop by every day, give him two dinars and not take anything in return. This went on for over a year.
“Excuse me, sir,” Mulla said to him one day as soon as the rich man gave him the money, “I appreciate your generosity but one packet costs four dinars now.”
So it is with life. It’s your Mulla Nasrudin. It’s indifferent to the fact that you are not taking the goods you are paying for. It sees that as a conscious choice on your part. And while it may appreciate that, the price will keep on going up. In such a scenario, you are not living your life but just getting by.
When you attain maturity is when you actually start living. Until then, you are simply battling with one thing or another. It’s like being a teenager with empty pockets but all the energy in the world. When we truly grow up, we realize that each one of us has our own life to live. We can’t live other people’s lives nor they ours. Even more beautifully, we don’t have to and we certainly don’t need to.
Your life is not a burden to bear but a bubbly co-traveller who is ever ready and willing to participate in everything you aspire to do. You want to roll the dice? It’ll play along. You just want to sleep? It will sing you a lullaby. It has the capacity to fill you with joy, bliss, and much more. In return, it wants your respect and attention. It wants to feel that you want it and value it.
Go on, make amends and make friends with your life. You will find it worth more than anything else.
P.S. My apologies for not announcing any live events. All my energy, time and resources have been invested into this thing I’ve been working on since Apr 2020. I don’t have the bandwidth to make live events happen at the moment. But I assure you of something beautiful (and worth waiting for) when I unveil my creation in Q1 2022.
|↟1||Quote by Tom Wilson.|