Is Spirituality the Fountain of Youth? by T. Riggs Eckelberry
What is it about spirituality that makes people look younger?
Ten years ago, I stepped out of an elevator at the Scientology church where I was studying, and ran into Maggie, a co-worker from back in the seventies. Chronologically, she was in her late sixties. But today, she looked stunningly young.
“Maggie, you look amazing,” I said.
“Yup,” she said, “what I just completed … it’s the fountain of youth!”
A friend of mine runs a busy healing center and has written a well-known book on achieving sanity through spiritual healing. She has five children, the eldest of which is nearly 30 years old. And she has her share of major challenges: she recently had to close her fashion business for good, because of the 2020 lockdown. But still, my friend looks half her age.
Spiritual practices make people younger. There’s even a study that looked at the brain of a Buddhist monk and concluded that it appears eight years younger than the brains of a 105-person control group. His “meditative practice may be associated with slowed biological aging,” the researchers wrote in the case study, published online Feb. 26 in the journal Neurocase.
Studies show that stress is the critical factor in aging and illness; and something about spiritual study reduces stress. I rely on a few minutes of it each day to keep me from being beaten down by the sometimes-amazing challenges of my work.
Rob Lowe said “My issue isn’t about physical aging; my issue is about wanting to remain vigorous and youthful in my spirit.” This is why even skeptics should study spirituality. You don’t have to believe in it to practice it.
And there’s something about thinking beyond the immediacy of a fight with your friend or spouse, trying to pay rent, saving your business: “We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think,” said Gautama Siddhartha, known as the Buddha.
How can you put a little spirituality in your life? One idea is to look at who in your circle is serene and looks younger than their chronological age. What are they studying or practicing? That’s a great place to start.
Conversely, you may find that people who argue a lot, find fault, are beaten down in life, don’t have that spiritual dimension.
Now when I say “spirituality,” I don’t mean “dogma.” In his non-religious code of ethics The Way To Happiness, L. Ron Hubbard said, “what is true is what is true for you.”
When I say “spirituality,” I also mean “knowledge,” and “culture.” As L. Ron Hubbard said in 1957, “Buddhism was the only thing which gave widespread knowledge to the world and Buddhism is probably basically responsible for the greater part of Man’s civilization and civilized ideas. And that upsurge of civilization which took place in a rather barbaric and cruel Asia did bring to Asia a very high level of culture.”
Being spiritual is being knowledgeable and civilized. And it is also about achieving happiness, relief from stress and yes, staying younger. So, pursue spiritual study, and be sure to pursue only the study that makes sense to you.