Getting older is inevitable, but aging well is a quest unto itself. Regardless of where you are on the time/life continuum have you stopped to consider if your life is satisfying? If you are like most, you have no idea or are too busy to consider the question.

In his book, The Way to Love, Anthony de Mello says, sometimes aging could make you “Become anxious and insecure, fearful, and unforgiving,” not to mention resentful of the aging process itself. Maybe you know your life is not the way you hoped it would be and would like to make a positive change. It’s not too late!

Discovering self-actualization could be one answer to aging well. How to find it? Some sage advice comes from the slim volume by Jesuit Priest, de Mello. And what follows are four steps to finding your authentic self inspired by his work.

Effort Does Not Lead to Growth

For ages, “doing” was the only way to success. Not so with spiritual endeavors. To become fully-realized, de Mello says, effort does not lead to growth, and effort in any form does not lead to change. It’s true. If you think about it, the effort will only lead you to Band-Aid your spiritual blocks at their core.

To change and to find true devotion, de Mello says, remember who it is you are in every moment. The way to do this, according to him, is to go within. To take steps toward aging well, take time to stop “doing” so much and instead spend time in prayer and meditation. The inward journey is the growth journey.

It’s Not About What You Do

De Mello tells us that life is not about currency or a prize to be won for concerted effort. Life is about what posture you are in and are exhibiting; life is about your special grace and the unique energy you project into the world.

In short, aging well equates with becoming aware. Of awareness and observation, de Mello says to turn on your awareness “light,” observe your surroundings every moment, every day. He then calls you to see yourself reflected in this mirror of awareness. In his thinking, if you can view yourself accurately and observe this reflection without any judgment or condemnation, you would experience marvelous positive changes in your life.

You Are Not in Control

Said differently, get out of your own way! De Mello says you are not in control of the changes within or without nor will you be privy to them in advance or decide how and when events will take place. You cannot hear God’s will for you until you stop imposing your will on him, according to De Mello.

Self-awareness and positive growth are about a non-judgmental observation of your world, one that heals, one that changes, and one that makes you grow. Changes will happen in their own way and in their own time, de Mello says. What you must be aware of, he continues, are your reactions to your relationships. For example, when you are with others, it becomes your business to study these reactions; know what they are and where they originate. By doing so, you will move from moment to moment in a constant state of awareness and make peace with your own environment.

Awareness is the Way

All the ideas previously mentioned should lead you to become “aware.” Again, it is your business to become aware of your environment and surroundings in every moment, according to de Mello. The road to your salvation will come from this awareness. De Mello says: “It is enough to be watchful and awake.” And in this wakeful state, you naturally find your true self, which could transcend aging altogether. Although, according to de Mello, you will never know if you have “arrived” in full self-actualization. However, when you become aware in each moment and stand ready to exhibit your special grace when called: “Nothing else: security, life, belonging, beauty, power, holiness, nothing will matter anymore.”

Self-Actualization as a Means to Aging Well, In Conclusion:

According to Anthony de Mello, the quest for self-actualization is life-long and could lead you on a wild ride. But once you’ve found that there is something more than the norm, all of life becomes the search, the quest, and the fine-tuning of self to stay on that path. This journey transcends age and time.

It is unfortunate that many continue along life’s pathway unfulfilled and disappointed. Why not aim to reach for more? To move toward your destination positively, follow some sage guidance to create an experience that rises above the average life cycle. Give these steps to self-actualization a try and see what develops. You may find that it’s just what you’re looking for: profound self-awareness and a cure-all for your aging process!