Are you destined to become a spiritual Elder?
In our world, spiritual elderhood is a rarity. Since birth we are conditioned to believe that money, power, fame and success will bring us happiness. But eventually we realize that this is a grand delusion. Even the richest, most respected people continue to suffer from emptiness, depression, drug abuse and meaninglessness.
Yet somehow, many of us still feel pressured to continue our soulless pursuits, always chasing for the next “fix” and next temporary stimulation to fill our inner voids.
On the other hand, those of us who have woken up have realized that something in our lives needs to change. We have stopped looking outside for our happiness and have begun to go on an inner quest within the realms of our minds, hearts and souls for answers.
Yet despite our spiritual awakening, many of us are left wondering, “WHAT NEXT?” In other words, after you have experienced a spiritual awakening, what are the next steps to take?
Inside you might have this vague feeling that the next steps involve some kind of self-examination, but with so many paths available, which one do you take?
Spiritual Elderhood and Inner Work
I’m not here to give you a path — whatever path you choose is uniquely up to you and your soul purpose.
Instead, I’m simply here to give you my message. In fact, all of the articles on this website reflect this one message:
The need for inner work.
Whatever path you choose, you will not get very far without listening to your soul. Wherever you go, you will not progress without letting your soul ripen and blossom into maturity.
Inner work is the core need of every path and every pursuit. Without it, our lives feel empty, dead, directionless and meaningless. Without it, we remain psychologically and spiritually immature. In other words, without inner work we can never ripen into our fullest potential.
Right now, you might be wondering what inner work is.
It’s simple: inner work is the process of working with your mind, heart, and soul. This is done through the active practices of self-discovery, acceptance and healing.
Only when we actively commit to inner work every day can we grow into what I refer to as the spiritual Elder.
As master Lao Tzu once said:
One who knows others is intelligent. One who knows himself is enlightened. (Tao Te Ching verse 33)
11 Traits of a Spiritual Elder
Many people have asked me whether being an Old Soul is the end of the spiritual journey. My response is no, it’s not.
You can be born as an old soul, you can be born sensitive, intelligent or with intuitive gifts, but does that make you spiritually mature? Or even wise? Not necessarily.
Spiritual maturity comes with practice, effort and dedication. It’s something mankind rarely cultivates — but we all have the potential to develop it. Unfortunately, only a rare few do. And that is why true spiritual Elders are scarce in our society.
How many spiritual Elders have you met in your lifetime? Likely, you haven’t met very many, because very few people have ever put in the effort, or have the deep thirst for illumination.
Thankfully, within us all lies the capacity to develop wisdom. This ability to cultivate wisdom is not only reserved for old men and women, but it’s also available to us right now no matter how young or old we are.
Below I’ve compiled a list of 11 traits of the spiritual Elder, both from my own experience and those I have encountered on my path:
1. They have no interest in condemning other people
Spiritual Elders have no interest in judging other people for how awakened/unawakened, spiritual/unspiritual, kind/unkind, they appear to be. Everything is as it’s 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 word. They realize that judging is more about the judger, than the one being judged.
As a famous quote says, “Once you awaken, you will have no interest in judging those who sleep.”
2. They have a deep respect for the earth and all of life
Elders honor and show compassion to the earth, its wisdom and every expression of Spirit. They are aware that they do not “own” or possess the earth, but are instead an equal participant. No living being is “superior” or “inferior” to another.
3. They are aware of the role of the ego
Elders are aware of the voice of the ego within them and its role in creating division and suffering. For this reason, their attachment to the ego is loose and their attachment to Spirit is much greater.
4. They are highly sensitive and empathetic without being reactive
Elders are highly sensitive to the thoughts, emotions and impulses both within themselves, and within other people. They are aware of the play of energy dynamics in different environments, and can easily put themselves in the shoes of others. However, Elders don’t suffer at the hands of their empathy or sensitivity because they have learned to establish boundaries, cultivate self-responsibility and non-resistance.
5. They are natural teachers
Elders have an innate desire to share their wisdom and they are the living embodiment of their teachings. No official position, degree or title is required for them to share the lessons of the soul.
6. They are able to embody unconditional love
… both for themselves and for others, even despite the worst circumstances. They realize that to love wholly is to attain Divinity.
7. They are aware of spiritual bypassing traps
Elders know how prevalent and pervasive spiritual bypassing is, and they can easily discern truth from illusion. As a result, they are easily able to identify tricks of the mind and ego traps which lead to stunted spiritual growth.
8. They have few attachments
Elders have learned the importance of losing attachment to promises, prestigious titles, money, property, relationships, beauty and even health, knowing that all of these things are passing. Instead, they have cultivated strength at the level of Spirit and Soul.
9. They know that peace is now
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. Consequently, Elders carry a boundless and changeless sense of peace that remains despite inner or outer circumstances.
10. They are happy both alone and with others
Elders have completed their solitary path of self-discovery as lone wolves, and have returned back to the pack with deep insight and understanding. They have learned to carry the peacefulness, wholeness and authenticity that they discovered in solitude in the company of others as well.
11. They have found wholeness
Finally, Elders have rediscovered the truth that they are already whole and complete at a core level – and the same applies to all human beings regardless of whether they know it or not. Consequently, Elders no longer feel the need to pursue happiness or contentment in anything outside of themselves. Life is seen to be perfect, just the way it is.
Can you imagine what would happen if we had more spiritual Elders within the fields of teaching, politics, science, medicine and religion? Imagine what the world would look like.
What are your thoughts about spiritual Elderhood?