Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Times of India, New Delhi | December 10, 2013
In the USA in 2008, a series of research projects under the heading of Progress in Brain Research, were conducted under the patronage of Yale University. Its findings were reported in the New York Times, with the meaningful title Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain on May 20 the same year. The investigation reveals that old age is not any kind of curse on us; rather, it is a blessing.
In essence, old age is the advanced stage of one’s intellectual development and of one’s intellectual journey. It is a symptom of maturity, increased experience and wisdom. The well-known saying, ‘Old is Gold’ expresses this perfectly.
While the health of the physical body depends on how many calories we are taking in, the brain needs additional nutrients by way of good thoughts. Therefore, our mental health depends entirely on positive thinking. If you maintain your positivity in pre-old age, then you will enjoy mental health in the period of old age, even if your body is deteriorating. All those who reach an advanced age are potentially cases of the kind mentioned above. The only condition is that you must maintain your positivity.
Advanced age does create some problems but it is quite possible to take this as normal and protect you from negative thinking. By awakening your mind, you can live with a positive outlook. Indeed, old age is the best phase of one’s life. Old age means having more experience, more learning and greater sincerity, wisdom and maturity. All these qualities are enough to make one a great person. According to his situation, the mature individual can do worthwhile things, like founding an NGO, writing his memoirs or opening a counselling centre. An aged person is better placed to give society or humanity precious gifts that it was not possible for him to give in his youth. One must recognise this opportunity given by nature, and utilise it.
For people, old age all too frequently becomes a source of liability for themselves and others. An ageing person tends to think that he is no longer of any use. This phenomenon is not due to ageing. It is due rather to people becoming negative in their old age and failing to turn negative into positive thinking. It is an intellectual problem rather than a physical one. I know many elderly people who are capable of performing useful tasks but, because of their negative thinking, they have failed to avail of this opportunity.
I am a writer, now in my late-eighties. Those who read my articles say that the articles that I write now are clearer and more profound than my earlier writings. According to my assessment, the only reason is that I always try to live as a tension-free person. I face all those same problems in life that make people negative, but I have learnt the art of negativity management. This is the only reason I am living with a totally positive mind, even in this old age.
In my experience, most problems are imaginary rather than real. If you are able to differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary, you will soon discover that what you had been considering to be a real problem was, in fact, a non-real problem.
Learn to sort things out and you will be able to live in a state of normalcy and positivity till you breathe your last.