I recently saw a video put out by Lifehunters, that interviewed 3 people over 100 years old. Similar to the very old men and women I’ve interviewed, none of them were fanatic about their health. They had no real formula, or even knew how or why they lived so long. Most very old people simply shrug their shoulders and say they did nothing special. They never planned to be so old and were as surprised as anyone that they were still alive.
The factors that allow one to attain a century of life have yet to be measured by science or statistics, however, the very old have a certain inner quality that’s palpable to an observer. You could call it a lot of things: resilience, fortitude, positivism, or appreciation for life. But they have a joy about them, a level of peace, love, and gratitude that seems to be a supertonic to their health. I feel that their special inner state comes from an innate ability to receive. They may be completely unaware of what they’re doing, however the very old must be receiving from life. It’s obvious that they are being fed by something. Because they are receiving, they are less tied up in knots. Their nervous systems are less stressed, there is less hormonal output. Vital energy flows freely, and life force is conserved.
A man in China was said to have lived 250 years on a simple diet consisting mostly of small amounts of rice. When asked about his great secret of longevity he replied, “peace of mind.” Indeed, one of the most potent secrets of health. Yet peace of mind is not a philosophy; inner peace, like an open heart is more of a result.
Patanjali, the founder of yoga, showed that certain practices of yoga attenuate thought waves. Attenuate means to diminish the amplitude of a sine wave. Even thousands of years ago, Patanjali realized thoughts are waves. Strong thoughts have more height and breadth than less reactive ones, and causes more reaction in the nervous system. A busy mind is constantly bombarding the nervous system with high amplitude thought waves, which whip the nervous system into a frenzy of activity. There are hundreds of miles of nerves in the human body and they all tighten in reaction to fearful, stressful thoughts. A busy mind can also keep the nerves firing.
FEAR, STRESS, AND BUSYNESS: The Strangle Factor
Even a single thought can tighten the nerves. If the thought wave is powerful enough, it will dramatically tighten the nervous system. If you get fired, your husband wants a divorce, or there’s not enough money to pay the bills it can be as if getting squeezed in a visegrip. Chronic stressful thoughts clamp down on your inner circulation, and make you ill.
When I was in chiropractic school they’d post our grades on the wall of the administration building. Good grades meant a lot, and the build up to see how one performed in the examinations was unbelievably stressful. We used to call taking that short walk to the administration building: “walking death row”. One of my best friends was on academic probation. If he failed any classes he would’ve been expelled. When it came time to check our final grades a few of us took that five hundred yard walk to death row. Almost there, my friend stopped, clutched at his stomach and winced.
“What’s the matter,” I asked.
“I think there’s something wrong with me,” he said dropping to his knees.
I laughed, thinking he was joking. “Sure,” I said.
“No, I’m serious. There’s something really wrong with me,” he said still clutching his side.
It took a few minutes for him to get up and continue the walk to the wall where the grades were posted. As soon as he saw that he passed, the pain disappeared and was replaced by elation.