Maturity

Elders speak about everyone, but they do not ask to spoken about. They see everyone, but do not ask to be seen. The self is sacrificed, put to one side.

As we mature our gaze gradually turns away from the self and out towards others. We see more and become responsible for more. The less we look at the self, the more we see of our surroundings.

We begin to speak less in terms of "I" and "me" and more in terms of "we" and "us." We recognize our connectedness and become communalized.

For an elder to ask to be seen or spoken about is a perversity, and goes against the natural order. Just as water flows downhill, our gaze should also flow downwards, so that we see and speak about all those beneath us - less mature than us - and are in turn seen and spoken about by those above us. And as we wouldn't expect water to flow uphill - and would be engaging in a fruitless activity if we were attempt to make it - we shouldn't expect to be seen or spoken about by those beneath us. As we become older the self should become less important, and should not need to be stroked as much as when we were younger.


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This is one of the reasons why it is so disturbing when we meet an older person who is still consumed by selfishness and vanity, and who demands that we see and hear them, rather than the other way around. They may be older than us, but through such behaviour we see that they are no more mature. Often in cases like this, we must become the adult, sacrificing our self so that theirs is satisfied. An old person like this has ducked their duties and cannot rightly be seen as an elder. They are frozen in time, perpetually immature.

How can we hope for a mature and wise society if our grown-ups refuse to grow up?

"I will speak about others, but I will not expect or demand to be spoken about."

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In many indigenous cultures, elders are accorded great respect.

To be an elder is more than being old; it means being a person who has learned some wisdom from their life experiences, including their mistakes. An elder may be someone who has lived a blameless life of complete integrity, or a recovering alcoholic who knows from personal experience how hard it is to struggle with an addiction, and so can guide others.

Not everyone old is wise. For some people, aging can simply rigidify longstanding patterns of dysfunction. 

And some "elders" may be young, blessed with good judgment, compassion and sound sense from an early age.

Groups need elders: people who put the needs of the group first and help keep its balance. 



We may become elders and gain social power in many constructive ways:


- By Taking on Responsibility and Fulfilling It

- By Helping the Group Function Smoothly

- By Good Judgment

- By Making Mistakes and Acknowledging Them so They Become Part of Group Learning

- By Showing Compassion and Forgiveness

- By Integrity and Upholding Values

- By Bringing Experience, Skills and Training to the Service of the Group

- By Mentoring and Being Mentored

- By Commitment and Time

- By Modeling Good Self-Care



[Starhawk]
http://www.realitysandwich.com/developing_elders

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Related posts:-
The Mature Individual
[Anonymous]
Forget Your Self 
Firm Foundations
Know Your Place
Lost Tribe
A Mature Society? 
Full Spectrum
Giving and Receiving
Growing Down


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