It’s just been 3 days since I’ve turned into a hundred years young man, and here I am, already at my desk, reminiscing on my century of life. It’s not easy to find a man of this age living in the US. It’s probably as difficult to find a monk in the States. Well, I’m a Japanese monk who moved to southern California to preach Buddhism when I was in my 30s. In Japan, I wasn’t much into formal education. Right from childhood, martial arts caught my fancy. Bruce Lee was my role model.
My father was also a monk, and I followed in his footsteps. When I turned 20, I completed my studies as a monk. By then, I was also an expert practitioner of Kung-Fu, with a black belt. For the next ten years, I taught everything that I learned from my masters. I wanted to explore the world and contribute to the spread of Buddhism. And before long I hit upon the idea of moving to the United States. One of my old friends had recently started working for a monastery in Southern California, and after getting in touch with him, I decided to follow suit.
Well, that’s enough about me! Most of you are reading this to know the secrets to my longevity. So I’m going to get on with that.
The thing you need to understand is that most of the diseases which are the cause of deaths at a very young age are due to lifestyle. Always remember that a healthy lifestyle is the pathway to healthy living. Here are the some of the golden rules for a long life that I’ve learned over time.
First, be disciplined. The old proverb – early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, is a 100% on point! Being disciplined means giving a proper routine to your body. If you make sure that your biological rhythms are maintained, most lifestyle based diseases can be kept at bay.
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Second, just eat what’s natural. Commercialization has changed the way we eat and even what we eat. The global food industry is more focused on profits than on the health of their customers. A large chunk of the American population lives on a steady diet of fast food. These processed foods are very toxic. They are contributors to most lethal diseases, including diabetes, cancer etc. So if you want to stay fit, always opt for natural food over processed food. Try planting your own vegetables. You’ll get fresh oxygen as well as fresh and healthy food for daily consumption. That’s what I did, and needless to say, it’s paid tremendous dividends for my health!
Third, set aside time for exercise. Most of us are too busy with our daily lives to do this, particularly our professional lives. Well, having a successful career is great. But if its at the cost of your health, you might have to rethink how ‘successful’ it really is. Make it a point to work out for at least an hour a day. If you can devote even more time to fitness, it’s even better. I’m not suggesting becoming a Kung-Fu master (though speaking from personal experience, that’s not such a bad idea!) But do hit the gym once in awhile, or do some workouts at home. Apart from physical exercises, you should devote at least 15 minutes a day to Yoga. Yoga, when clubbed with meditation can do wonders for your body. Physical longevity is meaningless when it isn’t coupled with good mental mental health. Regular mediation can really help with that.
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I didn’t write this to celebrate my hundred years of existence on this planet (my 100th birthday party will be celebration enough!) My motive was to, in some small way, help others live long, healthy and fulfilled lives like I have. To that end, here’s my final golden rule for living a long life – just live in the moment. If you can take care of yourself in the present moment, and live it to the fullest, you’re well on your way to paving a healthy future for yourself.
So embrace every moment of your life with happiness. Be happy, and make others happy. In the end, that’s all that matters.