In the chakra system there is a division between the first three lower chakras and the four higher chakras located above the level of the solar plexus. The lower three chakras are associated with the human animal, which is controlled by the powerful instincts of human nature: survival, food, sex and power. The first half of life is generally dominated by the needs, demands, and passions associated with these lower chakras as we attempt to plant ourselves, find our way to survival, security, pleasure, and power in relation to ourselves, others, and the outer world at large.
By midlife, time, the ultimate devourer of all life, awakens us to the fact that we are at least halfway through our life’s journey on earth. We become increasingly confronted with the transitoriness of all material things, as well as with human relations, as those we have loved begin to end their sojourns in this world.
Our questions about the meaning of life and of life beyond physical life become paramount. This is the stage in India where the old yogi would leave the home and life with family to begin the spiritual journey, unattached to former material life and human relations.
In chakra terms, the kundalini energy that once innervated the lower chakras becomes more subtle as it awakens the heart chakra, the birthplace of the spiritual Self. The lower chakras were all about the birth, refinement, and fulfillment of the ego self, but with midlife the values and attachments that once satisfied life lose their compulsive hold as the search for greater meaning is initiated.
The four upper chakras depict an increasingly subtle energy progression, which ultimately results in the separation of soul, or energy body, through the crown chakra at the time of death. Thus, the second half of life is often initiated by a great depression, where one is confronted with the meaninglessness and transitoriness of all that one previously clung to and was passionately motivated by, and instead must go inward to find and cultivate the often hidden ethereal self with a whole new set of rules and intentions.
Of course, many seek rebirths and the fountain of youth in a younger mate or new career at midlife, but often life energy and the lower chakras refuse to fund these quests. So what happens to relationship at midlife if we choose to stay in it versus retreat into the monastery?
For relationship to remain vibrant and meaningful in midlife, we must first surrender our attachment to the roles and expectations that may have neatly served the first half of life. Time to stop mothering and fathering each other. Time to become peers with children and family. All become seekers, equally responsible for their own spiritual journeys, which no one can take for oneself, except oneself: only I can leave my physical body in my energy body when I die; that is a solo journey.
Food and sex continue to have relevance after midlife, but all must conform to energetic limitation. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico were careful to guide that energy was the only criteria for spiritual and sexual life. If one is modest in the expenditure of energy and maintains a sufficient reserve, one could pursue sex and spirit to the end of earthly life.
The key to enjoying fulfilling sex after midlife is dropping the performance expectations of the first half of life. This begins with a deepening spiritual connection that is no longer controlled by the powers of nature and ego that once ruled the lower chakras. The focus of union at the level of the upper chakras is energetic union at a deeply subtle level, which invites the body and lower chakras into complete spiritual/physical union. This is total union in human form, the merger of subtle and physical energy into pure energetic oneness. This is conscious spiritual/physical union.
Ironically, this kind of union may not ever require actual physical union with another, as union at subtle energy levels can happen and be experienced physically in a dream. Many dreamers have reported that their deepest sexual/spiritual experiences have occurred in dreams, as energy is freed to join at the most subtle level.
The sole criterion for true love in the afternoon of life is a shared quest for spiritual evolution between partners. And spiritual evolution requires that we detach from all the rules, roles, obligations, and demands of the lower chakra system that consumes the first half of life. And with that, we find ourselves free to love with abandon, an experience that transcends the ego’s ideal of love in the first half of life.
Love never ends, but physical life does. To refine love and take it forward, unattached, is a worthy journey for the second half of life, as it prepares us for our definitive journey in infinity. The maturing of love in the afternoon is one way to take the journey on the one-way journey we’re all taking together.
Refining and redefining love,