Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What are the main aspects of our lives that affect our longevity?
A: Longevity can be seen as an interaction of three systems working together to maintain health, promote growth, and induce graceful aging. Yes, we all age and we are all mortals. This does not have to mean that we spend the golden years of our lives confined to a hospital bed or a wheel chair, suffering instead of enjoying what should be the most emotionally and mentally rewarding period of our lives.
There are three “elements” that the ancient cultures around the world have attributed to health and wellness. These can be best translated as: genetics, environment, and intention, (Jing, Qi, and Shen).
Genetics, or Jing, is the golden chest of treasure that has been passed on to us by our ancestors. This gives us the foundation upon which to build our environmental life and it the account we draw upon when we are ill, or as a result of less than healthy habits, like excessive drinking, excessive sexual activity, overwork, or other negative habits.
The environmental element, or Qi, is what we do as a matter of living, what we eat, how well we take care of our body, our physical, mental and emotional states. This is where we have the most direct impact on our longevity. It is in our power to live our daily lives in a way that minimally impacts our “treasure chest of Qi” and continually build reserves to enhance our longevity and capacity for quality of life.
Intention, or Shen, is the esoteric spirit or guiding intention of our lives. This is where most humans today falter, because we are so engrossed in a material world, surrounded by trinkets and widgets that shine and twang, overwhelming our senses to a point of numbness. We cannot still our mind long enough to listen to the heart and create an inner peace where we can reconnect with our innermost truth and cultivate an intentional life based on compassion. We hear about rare cases of medical miracles in which the illness of person with well-established intent is reversed. And we all know of individuals that have such a wonderful disposition; these people generally go on to enjoy a long and healthy life.
These three elements, when in harmony, can create the necessary medium for a long, prosperous, and healthy life.
You may also try supplementing a healthy lifestyle with the “Enduring Youth”, “Five Elements of Health“, and “High Performance” herbal formulas by Traditions of Tao. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.