‘Stay young’, I never really understood what it meant when my Professor told it to us in class repeatedly, emphasizing the two words, making an effort to help us understand the depth of this great secret which would enrich and transform our life in a way we never imagined or perceived. I came across a lady yesterday in an interactive discussion I attended. Though she was not more than 30, I found that she had already aged in her mind. Now what I mean by that? As she spoke I felt her mind was so full of thoughts, opinions, jargon, prejudice and stereotype that there was no place left in there to accept something new or to even consider possibilities which existed. I sensed that she saw the world and individuals around her through the same rusted mindset or outlook. She was unwilling to listen, be open to different perspectives and views, accept that if you look at the cube from different dimensions it will look different each time you see it. That things have multiple facets at times and just not one. Accept that grey is a combination of black and white. She was too filled to take in something new. As she continued displaying her biases with every single act and every word that she spoke, I began to think in the next twenty years I don’t want to be like her. I always want to keep my mind open to accept things that are unknown to me. I need not fear change or difference. I rather enjoy them.
One of my favourite shot from the movie 2012 is when a monk is sitting with his disciple and his disciple is too full of opinions and he also is filled with several doubts and is seeking answers to them. The monk begins to pour tea for his disciple in the cup and the cup overflows. The disciple says to him, “Wait! The cup is full! It cannot hold any more!” The monk says to the disciple, “This cup is like your mind. It is full of your own opinions. There is no room for anything else. You will never learn to have other opinions until you empty the cup first.” When we are young we are willing to experiment, to explore. We are not afraid of making mistakes. We do not fear consequences. We rather believe in learning from our mistakes. As we grow old we abandon this approach to life. We become bitter. We discourage the idea that there are voices apart from our own which are unique in their own way and which could also be right. We become so horribly trapped in our own biases that we miss out on learning so much that is completely new and can add so much value to our own life. In this manner, we age even before we actually have basked in the pleasant sunshine of youth.
And so it all comes back to me when I think of the Crazy Old Man telling us, “Stay young, won’t you?”