Accept old people as they are By Sri Sri Ravishankar

Accept old people as they are By Sri Sri Ravishankar

Old people are no different from children. You should treat them like kids.
Like children, they are adamant and repeat the same things. They talk about
the same thing over and over again, without realising they have already said
it several times. When a pattern sets in them, you accept them as they are.
They are the best practical example for you to demonstrate that you have
followed the first principle of the Art of Living – “Accept people as they
are”. They come into your life and make you realise that. You cannot change
old people overnight, or even in a period of time. You need to accept them.

See, there is some wisdom in what they are saying. They speak from their own
experience, over the years. Understand that they have a different set of
experiences than yours. So don’t get upset if they don’t change. If you
accept them as they are, a miracle will happen. If you give them space, love
and compassion, they slowly start changing. But you need to have a lot of
patience. You will learn patience dealing with old people, with grannies,
who have certain patterns.

Also, don’t take their moods too seriously. If they’re upset, don’t take it
too seriously because then, you won’t be able to communicate with them.
Don’t try to convince them. Sometimes, they just want to pour out their
heart to you. If they are grumbling, they are just grumbling. They’re saying
it, but they don’t really mean it. If they say, “I’m so upset” – they may
say it, but they will still go and have their food, watch television and do
all their things – but when they see you, they say, “Oh, I’m so upset, I
never ate food, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that”. If you take all their
complaints seriously, you become miserable, and won’t be able to help them.
You should realise it’s only their way of communicating. People who are very
aged or sick just want to communicate with you, but what is it that they can
share? When people don’t have enthusiasm, they will only share their
grievances. That doesn’t mean that they are purely miserable. There is a
corner in them that is untouched by any amount of misery. Whether it is
extreme joy, happiness or misery, there is a part in every human being that
remains untouched.

It is the same with people who appear to be very miserable. In reality, they
are not that miserable, but they talk, talk, talk and talk. Especially when
you know that someone cares for you, you don’t always go to him (or her)
with a smile and with joy. You go to him (or her) with all your problems and
complaints. This is the normal course of things in the world. Isn’t that so?

There is a nice story. A man earned a lot of money and then gave all his
property to his son. When his son got everything, he built a small out-house
behind the main house for his parents and he told them, “Now you have to
stay there”. So the old couple stayed there, while their son and his family
started living in the big bungalow. One day, while playing, the grandchild
came into his grandfather’s home, where everything was old and in a very
poor, pathetic condition – old utensils, old chairs, all unwanted goods.
Things that could break at any time were kept in that house. So the
grandchild came and told his grandpa, “Grandpa, be careful with your plate
and your chair. Don’t break them!” When he asked why, the child said,
“Because tomorrow, my father needs all this.” The child’s father heard this
and was shocked. That little boy saying, “Grandpa don’t break it because
tomorrow, when I grow older, I’m also going to send my father here. So
better save this.”

One does not realise this fact. You are also going to be old one day and are
going to be like them. I tell you, if you’re on the path, in the knowledge,
and if you keep doing your meditation and the breathing exercises, your
ageing reverses. That enthusiasm to learn will exist and your alertness,
focus, attention – everything – increases in life. You will not become
cynical and senile as you advance in age.

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