Abandoning the new

When I was younger I tried to keep up with what was “in”.  Well, you know, as much as a nerd-ish person who marches to a different drum can be “in”.  I kept up with the latest music and read some of the latest books.  Fortunately as a hippie I didn’t have to keep up with the latest Parisian fashion, as long as I wore the approved hippie garb.  Actually the basic style I adopted then is still pretty much my style.  Regardless of what the fashion world is doing…

English: Young girl dressed in hippie fashions...

hippie fashions of 1969 Wikipedia

In the 90’s I started realizing that I didn’t know about the current music — hadn’t for a while. Though I’d kept up with anything new from my old favorites, I no longer knew which bands headed the charts.  Strains of Miles Davis or Les McCann were more likely to waft from my radio than rock ‘n roll.  By the early 90’s my taste shifted to meditative music.  At that time I knew all the major names in New Age music.

Too many years of school with too many books to read cut into my ability to keep up with anything new.  Again, by the late 80’s I jumped into reading metaphysics and for some years I knew the latest and greatest by all the big names in spirituality of that era.

Then in the “aughts” I realized I didn’t know any more who wrote the latest.  Whose album should be grabbed from the shelves immediately.  Here and there I picked up a book someone recommended.  The late KKSF introduced me to new music occasionally.  A friend turned me on to Jai Uttal.  But I was out of it.  All aspirations to cool, out the window.  Not that I ever ranked on any kind of cool meter. But now I’d officially become hopeless.

Not that I cared.  Somewhere in there I realized that all that I needed to know or learn about walking a spiritual path existed in the collection of books I already owned.  Doing practices brought more insight than reading.  And with every stage of growth I could re-read one of those old books and it became new as understanding deepened.  I even found myself sorry I’d underlined or marked anything because those passages rarely seemed key when I went back with new eyes.

After collecting records, tapes and CDs for over 40 years I owned more music than I could listen to.  Whatever I felt in the mood for from French pop (anybody else love Julien Clerc?)

Julien Clerc

Cover of Julien Clerc

to jazz to classical to 60’s, 70’s or 80’s rock I could hear.  Though I expanded my collection of soft, meditative type music — mostly to keep from going mad listening to the same stuff in my yoga classes — I couldn’t see the point in buying another and another just because they were new.

Age is part of it.   But age doesn’t automatically end the desire to be cool — witness all the 40+ Hollywood types who look like mutants thanks to their pursuit of youth and coolness.  I think three decades of meditation, yoga, contemplation, etc. helped me to put coolness in perspective.  Just doesn’t matter.  Being up on the newest and the most in this or that…  doesn’t matter.  I don’t know who the hot new artists are or what book I “should” be reading.  Don’t know, don’t care.  And what a relief it is.