Laughing Heart and Your Later Years (50+)


How does Laughing Heart help us address the great challenges Aging?

Declining powers—even as our physical powers weaken, we can harvest new reservoirs of health, energy, strength, and vitality.

Vulnerability—when our heart opens, untapped inner resources become available. With the wisdom of our later years, we realize life has many colors and forms. By flowing with life, we are less vulnerable.

Relevance—Laughing Heart enables us to find new and useful applications for our special gifts and experience.

Meaning—By paying forward and bringing joy into the world, we discover new meaning in ordinary things.

Closing pathways—Some paths close with aging but others open. The wide world beckons for exploration and discovery.

Listlessness and Passivity—Laughing Heart can hold and sustain us when we feel listless and blocked by life.

Disengagement—When we are renewed, we have the energy to re-engage.

Loss of loved ones, of being cared for and caring—A Laughing Heart enables us to better bear the grief and sorrows of life and can nourish us in our darkest moments.

The End of the Story—Although there may be no definitive answers to our common story, we do have a fierce and courageous option: to leave this world with a great roaring Laughing Heart.

  1. There is a marvelous Zen koan ( that seems especially pregnant for our later years.

    A Zen master, Eno the sixth patriarch, observed to the monk, Emyo: “What is primordially Emyo (i.e., your true self), if you do not think this is good nor do you think this is evil?” And then later Eno inquired of him, “Show me your Original Face, the face you had before your parents were born.”

    A hint on working with koans. It is wise not to try to solve a koan. The preferred practice is simply to enjoy the process of hanging out with it. It is a bit like Dianne Fossey, and what she discovered in studying gorillas in Rwanda: at first she approached them, but they ran away. Soon she learned simply to hang out with them, and they being curious approached her. It is the same with koan practice.* You allow the koan to approach you. You become friends.

    I like this particular koan because it helps me to understand that original face is with us before and after death, and that is especially interesting as I have now passed my 74th year. But this is only a partial discovery. The really interesting path for me is to discover original face in what I am doing right here and now! How about you?

    *A fine introduction to koan practice is John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros (2004)

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