Old Age: Journey into Simplicity (1987)
In this remarkably penetrative book, Helen Luke offers five essays on the spiritual possibilities of old age. Reflecting upon passages from four classics- The Odyssey, King Lear, The Tempest, and Four Quartets- Luke imagines old age not as a decline but a culminating stage of life. A fifth essay examines suffering as the redemptive fire that can incinerate the ego, releasing the phoenix of the real self.
> I know of no woman of our time who has made a richer and more significant contribution, in a truly contemporary way, to man's understanding of himself...her essays, particularly those on old age, are among the finest and most rounded things she has ever done." -Sir Laurens van der Post
> "I have been so much impressed by the essays on The Odyssey and The Tempest...a depth is revealed in them which I would never have expected." -Father Bede Griffiths
There are, then, two kinds of experiences which we call suffering-that which is totally unproductive, the neurotic state of meaningless depression, and that which is the essential condition of every step on the way to what C.J. Jung has called individuation.
Review: Old Age is a Crown Instead of a Curse in Helen Luke’s Beautiful Hands