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Winter 2024

What are your recommendations for avoiding concerns about aging, such as depression and even fear, and for approaching advanced age in a positive way?

Humans have a tendency to want to be older in every stage of life until they are older, and then they want to be younger. They’re so hard to satisfy.

First, I would say that a whole lot of the problem with aging has to do with the slow debilitation of the human system. But you don’t want to live forever in a human form, so it’s a good thing it does degenerate.

But the second thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Aging, as you know it, is more karma than it is genetics. Genetically, there is absolutely a component that says you’re likely to live this many decades and you are very likely to have these kinds of illnesses. It’s blueprint stuff. But really, if you have had a healthy, active life from your childhood—and I know a lot of young people have healthy, active lives, but then they give that up for thirty or forty years—but if you have had that all of your life, then at the end of life you would not be dealing with the karma of not taking care of the body very well.

The thing that really frustrates people is—as with so many things in life—you can smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for twenty years and when you quit, your body will rebuild. There are so many things like that. But a lifetime of abuse with diet and movement and the way you think and the environment you live in, all of that is going to create a very debilitating set of conditions. And it’s not like, well, when I’m fifty, I’ll clean everything up and it’ll be all right—which you perhaps could do with other things. So the guilt that comes with aging has a lot to do with regretting decisions made earlier. It stems from knowing what you have and have not done for yourself consistently throughout your life. There is a piece of you that says “Oops, bad decisions.” And that guilt creates even more negative consequences.

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