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Everyone SAYS they want to live a long, long life. The truth is, people want to live a FULL life, which means different things for everybody. What do you want?
- Money or security?
- Easy retirement or a healthy body?
- Years or quality of life?
- Family or solitude?
- Success or liberation?
Everyone describes their fullness in different ways, and what it means to them to find “happiness.” And part of that equation, everyone assumes (naturally), is Longevity. Herein I am going to reveal some hardcore, in-your-face secrets about longevity and aging. What you choose to do with this information, I will not judge you.
[separator headline=”h1″ title=”Destiny vs. Fate; Heaven’s Mandate”]
The first thing a person needs to understand through and through is that not everyone will reach their Destiny. Destiny is this potential to accomplish found within every person. Unfortuantely, whether it is karmic or simply bad luck, not everyone is given the same opportunity or resources. Truth is everyone gets opportunities. Think about this, if you could just find the pathway, you are just 5-7 steps away from knowing Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, who could easily finance your life if they knew how great you really are, and how you deserve it. What keeps you from this? We shall return to the idea of the 7 gates later.*
Now, Fate is that which history tells after you’re gone. It isn’t written in stone, the world is full of chaos. People are always saddened when they see that Fate short-changed a person of their Destiny. But it happens. Let’s not get morbid, but seriously good people don’t make it sometimes and sometimes people full of hatred outlive all others. Actually, this is considered in Eastern philosophy to be in itself a reward and punishment, respectively. But enough of religion.
Heaven’s Mandate is not per say a religious concept, it is an expression of Birth. It is like a contract held between your soul, mind, and body, the three triple-expressions of the Triple-World (Samsara) that is the Spirit, Mind, and Material. You are a three-fold person. Often your pains and sicknesses come not from your body but the mind or spirit level and are visibly expressed on your person, in your thoughts, actions, emotions, or in your karma (behaviors). Breast Cancer often comes from liver Qi not moving through the gallbladder channel, and as it accumulates so do cysts, nodules, and tumors over time. It wasn’t per say that the cancer patient was bad, that isn’t how it is. They just did not circulate the Qi.
So Heaven’s Mandate is a sanctity of balance between all three layers. It can be held by good, virtuous people a lot easier than those who are unscrupulous and wicked, but it can be lost just as quickly or quicker. A man who has built himself up as a hero, such as Lance Armstrong, can lose the Way and seem to fall farther in the world than others, merely because mountains and skyscrapers are higher than houses and hills. The Tao favors filling up the empty (like oceans fill canyons), and reducing the excess (did you know the Rockies were once three times their current height?).
The fact is we are born to age, and destined to die. What dies, however, is only 4/5 of what we are. And the 1/5 that survives is the best part of us to begin with. All this flesh is merely like clay. If your spirit was not in it, it would not move, being subject to the laws of physics, “An object at rest will tend to stay at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force.” That force is your mind, the perfect sublimation and child of your soul (three-phase spirit), and your essence, which is to say the material realm which belongs to you (such as DNA and atoms and cells). Essence is a large subject which will be partially covered in this article.
So, the bottom line is, anything that is born and can die has the Heaven’s Mandate. When that is lost, it dies, and yin and yang separate. The yang aspect returns to void-potential (Heaven), and the yin-essence aspect returns to the material universe. Any marriage, child, career, art project, pet, plant, business, the galaxies, planets, stars, and even black holes all have a limited time span. So long as the Mandate (Tianming) is retained, they survive.
So have no fear. To fulfill your Destiny and be Fated to have a long, full life, you just need to retain what you already have: Heaven’s Mandate. If you had lost it, you’d be dead already.
[separator headline=”h1″ title=”The Body is the Kingdom”]
In Chinese Medicine, the internal structure of the body is likened to an entire empire. The heart-mind is the emperor, where the basic nature or spirit resides. The lungs are the prime minister. The liver is the general, and gallbladder is the lieutenant. Etc…
The basic idea is that the you I am writing to, is the emperor or empress, and you simply must choose between actionless action, or action guided by the Way/God/Universe (whatever your beliefs), and those of your ego, which science has revealed to be nothing more than consciousness arising from complexity of many cells. They have their own desires and needs, and they press you to fulfill them, hence we sleep, eat, drink, mate, and abuse ourselves to fulfill all sorts of ambitions despite perhaps even our secret-most desires to achieve. Ever wonder why it is so hard to quit smoking for some and not others? It is all due to the amount of control they have given to the Discriminating Consciousness (ego) to run the Kingdom. It does, after all, usually suit our purposes.
The ego (yi-po) is a program to run/protect/propagate the body. It is no different in that way than Windows OS is for running a computer (where, after all do you think we got the idea for software?). The problem is, the ego gets entangled in all sorts of habits, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions, and these paradigms are like having too many old programs on your computer. Slowing it down, aging it. Except the computer … is you.
Your body is your machine-warrior. It has 8 telemetry sensors which enable it to sense hot, cold, food, poison, dangers, mates, security, risk, reward, and all the rest of life. These 8 senses are best at locating accumulations of data in the matrix of the material realm (skandhas), and they do this for the same reason an amoeba has flagella… to consume. Don’t be embarassed. We have canines to eat meat, and molars to eat plants. We have opposable thumbs to grip weapons and tools, and we have an excessively pre-frontal cortex for the same reason computer geeks love over-clocking dual CPUs: power. After all, amoebas don’t pay bills but they get eaten without almost any control. Would you like to be the bacteria in your pan when you boil water? They have utterly no right to resist. This is just life.
Your machine is highly equipped, and not just for consumption and destruction, but for compassion, love, creation, and gathering knowledge and wisdom. [pullquote align=”right”]Wisdom=Knowledge+Experience+Application[/pullquote]
So, now that you are in possession of the knowledge of your vehicle. Let’s talk about your orientation.
Orientation is a matter of perspective. If you are in Australia, up does not go to the north star. If you are born poor, you will not see the problems of the first world the same way as someone born in the upper classes (castes). Rich people invariably see the problems are caused by poor masses, and the poor see them as caused by greedy rich people. Research shows most people everywhere think about the same. That’s why card tricks work. It takes a trained mind to see problems in a different light. Most people are just trying to get by and give their bodies and inner empires whatever they are demanding. Probably less than 30 minutes a day is what the average person gets to actually think on , and improve themselves. The rest of the time is spent in sleep (which is training, not rest), in memory, fantasy, wishfulness, in desire or hunger or ambition, or in dealing with fires they themselves set in moments previous. This is pretty standard, but not the way it HAS to be.
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Aging is merely the accumulation of memories and data that you carry with you. Your DNA is like a life-code. If you look at your life, it is like the sequencing of a DNA strand, with moments of clarity mixed with bad programming, mutations, and errors. How you manage to get through these bits of broken mind-DNA** really determines if you get to keep the mandate long, or short. As you go through life-events, or ceremonies, really, you age. When you graduate, get married, have kids, grandkids, get promoted, retire, etc… you are actually advertising to the Universe’s algorithms wherein your life purpose you are. You age accordingly, regardless of your real age. You might have great genes, but your life determines what your epigenes turn on or off. This is all that matters. If grandma lived to 96, that is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have earned or deserve to live to age 90. That requires work. Grandma might have lived that long because she had few events in her life that consume essence. She might have not even enjoyed it, if all her friends or even some family had long died. It’s something to think about.
If you are going to go for age, you need to learn the techniques of Alchemy, or at a minimum look at what science is saying (see video):
- Be spiritual
- Have friends
- Take a sabbath
- Stay active, don’t retire
- Eat mostly vegetables, but some meat
- Grow and learn all the time
- Stay positive
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In addition, there is the aspect of Essence which I will now briefly mention. This is the one thing there is nothing like in most people’s minds. Most people have heard of Qi or a life-force, and understand that at least a bio-chemical-electrical energy must circulate with blood and in nerves and muscles throughout the body. They may not know about the fact that Qi is a real substance, but that is OK.
However, Essence is not something people think about. If you can, imagine that essence is some kind of cooking strata, that you use with everything you cook. Like sugar, maybe. You derive your yang and yin essence from your parents, and it is this which empowers the production of Qi and blood and hormones. Yin essence is things like marrow, DNA, semen, ovum, milk, CSF, etc… Yang essence is however, more like your will-power and interest and something called Te (Duh), that is to say your moral power. A person strong in Te can sway public opinion or make sales, or at least get the attention of an entire room. People with weak essence have a hard time making their ideas and plans come to fruition. All the more reason to learn the methods of internal alchemy, but I digress. [pullquote align=”right”]1 The vital essence of all things: it is this that brings them to life. It generates the five grains below and becomes the constellated stars above. When flowing amid the heavens and the earth we call it ghostly and numinous. When stored within the chests of human beings, we call them sages. ~Nei Yeh I – Internal Cultivation[/pullquote]
When you go through life’s ceremonies, and when you participate in events, projects, careers, etc… giving birth to things (and for women, babies)… you use up some of your essence. It is far better to use up the physical essence first and the spiritual not at all. The death of many great people in their prime can be attributed to their using up their spiritual essence far too early and making some small mistake and losing the physical essence by default. Think Bruce Lee.
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Basically, longevity cultivation can be broken up into three categories:
- Yang Shen
- Dao-yin (spirit cultivation, see your own spiritual studies for this)***
- Feng Shui
Yang Shen or Nourishing Life/Destiny claims anything ranging from reading the right books to give you leverage and relief in your life, to exercises, to eating right, staying fit, and active, and being happy. Basically, it is building and moving Qi, and restoring used Essence.
There is pre-birth and post-birth essence division. You cannot change the former, but you can alter the latter. If you also manage your life correctly, you will utilize these things well. Think about this. Suppose you have two trees. Both twins of exactly the same DNA. If one habitually buds early and fails to drop leaves before the permafrost, makes excessive seeds, receives less sunlight and less water, etc… will it not likely struggle to “make ends meet”? Will it not like as not die early? And what if it were born in a tree-farm instead of a park? Or what if it decided to live on a rocky cliff below avalanche prone crags instead of in a bonzai pot like its twin? Which would YOU bet on?
Your life is also like this. Some things you can control, and some you cannot. But all things being equal, those who “set themselves up” by altering data will do better.
This is what Feng-shui’ing your life is about. Get rid of the friends that are just Qi-vampires, and don’t get toxic over family, if you can avoid it. Clean your body, mind, and home. Eat good foods more often than not good foods. Drink water, not soda. Etc… Feng Shui is just energy flow and control. You know it when you feel it.
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Basically you have two categories: yin-cultivating (building) and yang-activity (draining). The purpose of yang activities is to tone muscles and shed negative karma such as a bad day at work, or fights with spouses, etc… You literally sweat out the cortisol and adrenaline and toxins through your skin. Sweating is an ancient technique of longevity, and one of six ways to expel toxicity and waste (sweat, urine, feces, vomitus, snivel, and phlegm-mucus).
Yin-cultivating activities range from hiking and slow walks on the beach to yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and “hygenics” which is to say any exercise designed to improve the circulatory aspects of sense organs and glands. I highly recommend the 8 Brocades for anyone looking for these. For more Yoga with muscle toning I recommend the Yi Jin Jing or muscle-tendon changing yoga. Both of these are available and taught in my Tai Chi classes.
I have one more thing to say about exercising. There is such a thing as too much. It takes Qi to do it, and also there are favorable and unfavorable times to exercise, and postures, and all of that. Again, the more knowledge you have, the more you can leverage it to your advantage and age less quickly (lit: use less essence). Repeatedly pounding the street with bad posture in order to get a runner’s high has nothing to do with “heart health”, just mental health. And it has a trade-off: reduced essence in the form of cartilage and synovial fluid.
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Habits and lifestyle form – in most people – a series of what I like to call “leaky habits”. These are the first things that need to be changed with regards to Yang Shen and nourishing essence in general. After all, if you have a habit of driving your car like Richard Petty, you will, of course, wear it out faster than all the rest of people. Secondly, I think that many habits are a form of self-destructive or even self-abusive programming. The computer viruses and worms of our minds. These, obviously, must be altered if one is to even appreciate the ideas of longevity or care what is possible to be had. Up until that point, it will all sound like fancy, or flimsy theories. The logical mind will deride these ideas and find excuses for certain behaviors – like drinking 4 beers daily after work or two cups of coffee every morning. It may even find those excuses which fly in the face of even western medicine (for example caffeine is a well known cardio-aggravator, yet look how many athletes use it to train with!)
Here are a list of positive and negative habits to look at, I am especially a big fan of any kind of “vice-swapping” to aid in changing negative habits to positive ones:
- Coffee (or energy drink) addiction -> try switching to Tea
- Green/Black/Oolong tea addiction -> try switching to mint, white, jasmine, and ginger tea
- Liquor -> Beer
- Beer -> red wine
- Red wine -> white wine
- White wine -> fruit wines or champagnes
- Dairy -> alternative milks
- Alternative milks -> juices
- Juices -> water
- Smoking cigarettes -> herbs or other medication
- Marijuana and meds -> meditation
- Meditation -> Qi Gong/Yoga (prajnayana)
- Laziness and sloth ->Cardio
- Cardio burnout -> cardio friendly
- Cardio -> slow exercises (like Pilates or water classes)
- Slow exercises -> Tai Chi or Yoga (kriyana)
In general, habits that are considered positive or yang in nature should be promoted, and habits that are negative should be repulsed (like excessive or under eating, dehydration, drug abuse or addiction, gambling or porn addictions, excessive observation of violence or disastrous news/impending doom and gloom, etc…) It is up to each person to figure out which habits are serving them, and which are not. Driving with a wallet in your back pocket is a habit that serves laziness, but in sciatica patients, it needs to be curbed. This is but an example of how a small habit can make huge differences. As a lactose intolerant person myself, I can tell you the habit of liking cheese and dairy begins to take a toll. I have had to develop the habit of asking for no cheese. That is a habit, that to me, is worth it and saves me Qi later through comfort and also of course not continually draining the Qi of the gut via repairs.
Everyone has their own series of leaky habits and things to change, that is part of what Nourishing Life is all about and Feng Shui as well.
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Basically any kind of fad diet is a no-no for the majority of people, and if they work they work for the specific type of person. But dietary fads – one and all – are not the Way of eating.
Also, there is a mistaken belief out there that you can lose weight solely by cutting carbs. You can probably do this up to half a dozen times, but the leaky habit of not eating enough actually puts the body into a stress situation and causes Gluconeogenesis. That is very very bad for muscles and cholesterol levels and for the renin-angiotensin mechanism (blood pressure regulation). Aside from that, under-eaters under-hydrate as well. The pains that people pay me to treat… about 20% of them are purely about dryness leading to blood stagnation.
[separator headline=”h1″ title=”In Conclusion”]
There are myriad topics of longevity, things that you can study. Magnets, aromas, chemistry, supplementation, etc… but it is the philosophy that matters most. Bottom line is not everyone wants to make the sacrifices it takes to truly live to 100. That is OK, not everyone should. The Taoists believe that the first 60 years are for regular life. After that you are working on your “second life.” And that means growth all over again. Hence also why heart attacks and cancers peak in the 60 age range. An interesting thought.
There is something in Alchemy called “Reversing the Flow” and if one is a Qi practitioner, head on over to the Shifu Site, www.shifucareaga.com and read up on that. It has a lot to do with directly altering health destiny.
Thank you, and please direct your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org CO: Shifu subject: longevity.
* 7 gates is the idea that in any group, only about 5% know what is going on, and the rest are oblivious. After 7 gates, you get an idea of how many true knowledgeable people there are. So let’s say gurus. Out of 6.5 billion people * 0.05^7 = ~5 true gurus in the world right now. Some of them you know, Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Han, Sadhguru, … In between on each level are all sorts of knowledgeable people, for their gate. Once a person passes about the 5th gate, they are considered true teachers. As such there are ~2031 teachers of the true Way on the planet today. If you are wondering I belong to 2 gates below at ~812,500 people just as qualified or more so than me.
**Mind-DNA is not a real DNA. It is just a concept of how your mind works. Typically we see that kids have similar brain chemistry to their parents. A child acquires their ego or “Theory of Mind” at around age 2-5. Hence the “Terrible Twos”. The person they become is mostly based on the patterns of their parents, hence I call it “mind-DNA.”
*** The main point here is also found in a fairly secular book called the Secret of the Golden Flower. In my site I also go over this in “On Insight and Illumination” which is about use and abuse of the spirit energy. But as I said before, consult your own spiritual path with regards to cultivating spiritual energy.