Citadel of a long & happy life
   Date :19-May-2024

One of the boons of the modern time is the increased longevity of human beings. Factors facilitating longevity are mainly better nutrition. advanced healthcare, sanitation, economic growth, poverty reduction, etc. Research suggests that one is relatively happier till the age of 30. The middle age is stressful because of work pressure, personal and professional responsibilities. Again after 50 the needle of happiness starts going up. Studies have found that in old age people become wiser due to their varied and long experiences of life. Their psychological intelligence also increases. Normally there are less aspirations and expectations in old age. Older people normally gain better ability to regulate their emotions. But at the same time old age brings numerous physical and neurological ailments. These diseases cause pain and suffering. In most of the cases a strong medical and social support system is needed to take care of such senior citizens. Such a support system varies from place to place. Physical and cognitive degeneration triggers old age problems. As a result, in most cases last years are painful and full of suffering. The Indian tradition has visualised four Ashramas or compartments of life.
In his world famous epic Raghuvansham Kalidas has described the life cycles of the kings of the descent of Lord Rama. In the childhood they used to acquire knowledge, in the youth they used to enjoy the worldly pleasure, in the old age they used to develop a sense of detachment and ultimately they used to leave the body through Yoga. The sense of detachment and practice of Yoga are equally relevant in the modern age also. Modern research has found that one of the important factors is that old age is happier because there are less aspirations and expectations. That is the sense of detachment. Secondly studies have found that practice of Asanas- Yogic postures, Pranayamas - breathing exercises and Dhyana - meditation are amongst the most important factors of a happy and long life. It is found that even the cognitive degeneration which is common in old age is controlled very effectively by the regular practice of meditation. Meditation is found to have reduced the rate of cellular aging. Some experts have called meditation the Inner Pharmacy. Meditation is a great antidote to stress which is the biggest factor in quickening the biological clock. Positivity and happiness are associated with meditational practices.
Hence old age becomes happier. Research has found that lots of nitric oxide is released during meditation. Nitric oxide is a happiness hormone. It is also called the Zen Molecule. It is found that regular practice of meditation ensures deep sleep. Meditation is a great facilitator of cerebral integration where both the emotional and rational brains work in harmony. A meditator has a sharp memory. In so many studies it is proved that meditational practices remove worries and anxieties. The practice of meditation anchors one in the present. Hence, the practitioner is always in the mental flow. The power of now has been found to be very helpful in regeneration of new neurons in the brain.As a result one lives a life of rejuvenation and restoration. Therefore, amongst the other things, the practice of meditation is required for a happy and long life. (The writer is Former DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra) ■