In our world, spiritual elderhood is rare. From birth, we are conditioned to believe that money, power, fame, and success will bring us happiness. But ultimately, we realize that this is a great illusion.
Those of us who have woken up have realized that something in our life has to change. We have stopped looking outside for our happiness and have started looking inward in the realms of our minds, hearts, and souls for answers.
Yet despite our spiritual awakening, many of us wonder: “What comes next?” Inside, you might have this vague feeling that the next steps involve some sort of self-examination, but with so many avenues available, which one do you take?
Whichever path you choose, you will not go very far without listening to your soul. Wherever you go, you will not progress without letting your soul mature and flourish to maturity.
It is only when we actively engage in soul work every day that we can become what I call the Spiritual Elder. As Master Lao Tzu once said:
He who knows others is intelligent. He who knows himself is enlightened.
~ Tao Te Ching, verse 33
Spiritual maturity requires practice, effort, and dedication. This is something that humanity rarely cultivates but we all have the potential to develop it. Unfortunately, only a few do. And that is why true spiritual Elders are rare in our society.
Fortunately, in us, everything lies in the ability to develop wisdom. This ability to cultivate wisdom is not only reserved for the elderly, but it is also available to us, regardless of our age.
Below, we have compiled a list of 11 traits of the Spiritual Elder, both from our own experience and from those we have encountered along the way. Read on to find out if you are one of them:
1. You don’t like judging people:
Spiritual Elders have no interest in judging others for their level of awakening/unawakened, spiritual/non-spiritual, kind/mean. Everything is as it is supposed to be in the grand scheme of things.
They are aware that at one point they were in the same place and that there is always a painful story behind every action and every word.
They realize that judging is more about the judge than the one being judged. As a famous quote says: “Once awakened, you will have no interest in judging those who are still asleep.”
2. You respect Earth and all life in it:
The spiritual elders honor and show compassion for the Earth, its wisdom, and every expression of the spirit.
They are aware that they do not “own” the land, but rather are equal participants. No living being is “superior” or “inferior” to another.
3. You are aware of the role of the ego:
Elders are aware of the voice of the ego in themselves and of its role in creating division and suffering. For this reason, their attachment to the ego is loose and their attachment to the spirit is much greater.
4. You are empathetic and highly sensitive but not reactive:
Elders are very sensitive to thoughts, emotions, and impulses both in themselves and in others. They are aware of the play of energy dynamics in different environments and can easily put themselves in the place of others.
However, elders do not suffer from empathy or sensitivity because they have learned to set boundaries, to cultivate personal responsibility and non-resistance.
5. You are a natural teacher:
Elders have an innate desire to share their wisdom and are the living embodiment of their teachings. No position, diploma, or official title is required to share the lessons of the soul.
Recommended: 5 Ways to Know if You Are Growing Spiritually.
6. You can embody unconditional love:
Both for themselves and for others, even in the worst circumstances. They realize that to love completely is to attain divinity.
7. You know about spiritual bypassing traps:
Elders know how widespread and pervasive spiritual bypassing is, and they can easily discern the truth from the illusion.
As a result, they are easily able to identify the twists of the mind and the traps of the ego that lead to slower spiritual growth.
8. You have few attachments:
Elders learned the importance of losing attachment to promises, prestigious titles, money, goods, relationships, beauty, and even health, knowing that all of these things are happening. Instead, they cultivated strength in the mind and soul.
9. You know peace is in the present moment:
Long ago, elders learned that the pursuit of happiness is an endless quest that perpetuates unhappiness. As a result, they are aware that the only true peace and joy that can be found is in the present moment.
As a result, elders carry a sense of limitless, unchanging peace that remains despite internal or external circumstances.
10. You are happy both alone and with others:
Elders completed their lonely path of self-discovery as lone wolves and returned to the pack with deep insight and understanding.
They learned to wear tranquility, completeness, and authenticity which they discovered in solitude in the company of others too.
11. You have found wholeness:
Finally, elders have rediscovered the truth that they are already whole and complete on a fundamental level and the same applies to all human beings, whether they know it or not.
Consequently, they no longer feel the need to seek happiness or contentment in everything that is outside of themselves. Life is perceived to be perfect.