Spirituality and Aging
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Do you find yourself asking the deeper-scarier-questions as you make your way through middle age and get closer to the last act? Well, you're not alone. But as a member of the baby boomer generation-the group that famously questioned authority-old-time religion might not be for you. So what does being spiritual mean?
Host Robert Lipsyte gives his personal definition of spirituality and then sits down with the experts. Susan McFadden, professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin and co-author of New Directions in the Study of Late-Life Religiousness and Spirituality, speaks out for the spiritual side of anti-establishment Boomers who may not be religious but do a lot of good. Rabbi Marc Disick of Temple Sinai in Stamford, Connecticut, agrees that religion aside, God is what happens between people in a community. The most spiritually supportive thing we can do for older people, he says, is make them feel that their wisdom and years count for something. Reverend Jim Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus at Riverside Church in Manhattan, adds that the vulnerability of old age can best be remedied with a community that truly values its older members. Reaching out to others is the real spirit in action, the panelists all agree.
Lipsyte next turns to a take on spirituality from the East. Though he's the blond-haired, blue-eyed dad of Uma Thurman, Columbia University Professor Robert Thurman is also an ordained Buddhist monk whose books include Inner Revolution and Infinite Life. But Lipstye wants to know, can you really teach "old dog" baby boomers the Buddhist "tricks" of patience and common sense?
Don't you dare call him spiritual! Air America radio host Lionel offers his distinctly non-holier-than-thou riff on all that sweet talk we use to avoid facing the sour facts about getting old.