The way we think here is that life is a bell-shaped curve, up from being useless to becoming an energetic adult and working and being productive and active and always youthful and energetic, then aging, a steep downhill fall to being useless again.
[Here, picture that curve in red.]
We may not be aware of this picture in our minds, but we do, as a culture, think that way. It is a way that emphasizes "productivity," in terms of earning money and other benefits, like fame and power, which are seen as good, rather than something to be avoided.
But you can imagine the course of a human life differently. You can see life as a slow, gradual climb into wisdom and spiritual depth.
[Imagine that line as a pilgrimage, going gradually up toward light.]
You can think that at the same time as we grow in compassion and wisdom, our life unfolds into the world.
[Like so many colored strands of thread moving into the world like rivers, curling around, embracing it.]
That is a life of connecting and giving that can become richer in a peaceful old age.
|Offering birds bits of yarn in a suet feeder for their nests|