D has been struggling a lot lately with the quality of older wiser leaders in his life. There are elders around him who are divorced, depressed and desperate.
The truth is we no longer know how to age gracefully. Our culture values the qualities of youth to the point where we don't prepare our people for what's to come. Ayurveda divides life into four stages. The first are the formative years, where we may be excused for hedonism and over-curiosity. Next comes the householder stage where we must sacrifice some of our own desires in order to serve and support our families. The third stage involves simplifying our needs, handing on our wealth and business and taking on the role of elder. At this age we are qualified to give spiritual and practical advice to those who ask. Finally we must prepare ourselves for death, and this stage of renunciation is given an equal quarter of our lives which demonstrates it's importance. During this time we practice yoga, meditation and observe spiritual disciplines for example.
Of course, many people are born straight into renunciation, whilst others never get past their teens. But this natural process, like the seasons in a year, gives purpose and value to stage of physical decay that naturally accompanies ageing. Contrary to modern society, where beauty, strength, wealth and sex reign supreme, Ayurveda strongly encourages us to relinquish these powers in due time in order to lead a full and satisfying life.