Hi Jack,
My name is Shelly and I've recently transferred to the MPH program at WVU from another school. I previously was in a Rehab Counseling program with a specialization in working with the elderly. I have carried this interest in aging issues into the MPH program. I also have taught yoga to senior citizens and I've run across a common characteristic quite a bit. It seems as though (and this is not meant to classify everyone in the same category) quite often elderly people are not receptive to looking at things from a different perspective. Do you have any suggestions for teaching the principles to the elderly who may be resistent to change? I know an awareness has to come from within, but it almost feels as if alot of elderly have given up...
I also feel as if sometimes they cling to life because they have fear and guilt....and I'm wondering if knowledge of the principles could help to ease some of the fear of dying?
I know these are odd questions but they are something that I keep thinking about...
Thanks so much for your time and I really enjoyed the course and the book.
Shelly

Hi Shelly,
Just as they did in Modello with people who were initially highly resistant, the idea is to 1. be in and maintain your own health when with them, 2. gain rapport as your primary initial focus, and see their health and innocence, 3. deeply listen to them. Just doing those three things will do the most to open them up to the possibility of new learning. In fact, if those three things are not in place, you may as well save your breath in terms of teaching them anything because they won’t be able to hear it anyway. It would be wise of all of us to get it out of our heads that it’s our responsibility to change anyone or even that we can change anyone. All we’re doing is offering the opportunity, if people want it, to see where our experience of life really comes from. If they see that seeing things in a different, healthier way might be of benefit to their lives, they’ll take it, and if they don’t they won’t. Does that sound hard-hearted on my part? I don’t believe it is, because I believe that everyone has the opportunity to see new and could see new at any moment, and I will bend over backwards to attempt to help them see it. But if they don’t want it or see its value for themselves, far be it from me to tell them they have to.


I also feel as if sometimes they cling to life because they have fear and guilt....and I'm wondering if knowledge of the principles could help to ease some of the fear of dying?


Most people are ruled by fear, unfortunately, and that may even include you and me. Lots of people live with guilt, not only the elderly. The idea is to see that the fear and guilt are things that we have created by our own use of the three principles. We’ve made it up! Not on purpose, but that’s what we do because we have egos that we try to protect. That’s the human condition. I know what helps me deal with the idea of death (whether it be someone who is close to me or the possibility of my own—and I’m getting pretty close to being considered elderly myself now that I’ve passed 61)—is seeing Mind as Oneness. If everything is made up of this formless, intelligent energy, then there really isn’t anywhere else to go. If I die I just merge with this Infiniteness and become part of it, which I already am anyway. Who says it’s the end? We don’t know. I’m banking on the fact that it isn’t. And if I’m wrong I won’t know anyway : ).

I know these are odd questions but they are something that I keep thinking about. Thanks so much for your time and I really enjoyed the course and the book.
Shelly
... They’re not odd questions at all. They’re beautiful questions. Thank you!