(Secretos de salud) The search for the fountain of youth goes on… like something new will be discovered. Maybe it will, but the truth is that several very effective fountains of youth have already been discovered. These cannot stop the passing of time, but they turn a train wreck (typical aging) into an elegant work of art that improves each year, adding grace and beauty with the brush strokes of time.
Compared to what aging is experienced as today, one might get the idea that the results of these techniques actually stop the aging process, or even reverse it, but no, it is just that these fountains of youth take the “old” out of “old age.”
In societies where people die in relatively good health at very advanced ages, there are a few things that are always present. One of these is the belief that one does not get “old,” rather one adds years to life. A life with accumulated years is considered a goldmine. Separate from all other sense of accomplishment, achievement or perceived success in life, there is innate value to a life with more years in it.
This is more than a mere proverb to be forgotten except for special occasions, rather this is an actual day to day experience, witnessed in the behaviors of all people in that culture.
This, more than any other single element can change the process of aging. Trying to apply this to our society can be hit and miss, but a few hits versus none at all is pretty good.
The second element of timeless youth and adding years to life is the attitude around food. Notice, I said attitude around food, not the food itself. Food choices enter in here, but only secondary to attitude. Actually, it is a cause and effect relationship in which the food choices are better because of a different attitude around food.
This is one of the greatest understandings of all time as it relates to health and diet:
In societies where life is long and comparatively healthy, food is treated with gratitude. In our society (and I am very sad to report that every good and brilliant book that gets written about diet seems to make this situation grow worse) food is an enemy.
Even when the purest of raw food diets is chosen, it is a wrestle, and the person must wrestle with others to maintain that standard. Foods avoided are seen as enemies. This is made worse by the disagreement that is present in leading diet programs. Rarely is food treated with peace and gratitude.
In societies where healthy longevity is enjoyed, food is eaten in a certain meditative state. One has gratitude, si, and also ideas about how any particular food would best do to serve him or her. The person believes, very intuitively, that benefits will come from eating and nourishing his or her body.
In those societies, eating becomes restrictive by virtue of the fact that some foods only exist for gluttony — for indulging taste buds or filling the belly and have none of the authentic flavors of life.
Because of the Americanizing and Westernizing of the world, these societies are a dying breed. Around the world, advertisement and addiction invite hamburgers, processed meats and macaroni and cheese that are always eaten in haste.
Aún así, where this element of life has been preserved, even the advent of relatively toxic chemicals and foodstuffs has had almost no health impact. The use of MSG in Asia is one example of this. Every third person in the U.S. gets a headache or diarrhea or some such symptom from eating MSG, but in some parts of Asia, where they eat five times as much as we do, it causes no symptoms at all.
Someone sent me an email a year or so ago that listed several different cultures that have very low cancer rates and pointed out that many of them absolutely contradicted each other in their dietary choices. Finalmente, this humorous email concluded that living in the U.S. was what caused cancer, so you might as well eat whatever you want!
While I disagree that we should eat whatever we want, I agree with the other sentiments of this email. It is true, there is no food or drink or miracle supplement that explains longevity. These things can be helpful, but ultimately fruitless in a loveless society that eats in fear and haste without gratitude or clear intention.
A healthy, peaceful attitude at meals is something that is vital, and yet it is poorly understood. It is something that comes after one has worked at cultivating him or her self for a while.
Personal cultivation is the art of developing in one’s self the harmonious attributes of the microcosm, macrocosm and the very best of humanity. It is the art of becoming the change you wish to see, as Gandhi put it. It is the art of becoming health, abundance, paz, goodness, harmony, free energy or whatever.
The most basic form of cultivation is done with food. There are many ways to do it, but they all involve restriction and discipline of some sort. The rewards are immediate, but deceptive… deceptive because the real rewards come when you have cultivated yourself to a point that you can eat whatever you want in peace and it does you nothing but good. Por supuesto, you tend to only choose foods that are whole and harmonious in nature.
Indeed, any dietary program, any health program, any healing program, any living conditions on the planet, or that could be invented for this planet would be faulty and ultimately pointless unless personal cultivation is embraced and wholly followed.
When it is followed, all the rewards possible to imagine are found in it. They cannot be taken from it — like when you go and work a job so you can take money away; but they are found in it — like when you go climbing because you love to climb but find treasures of heart and hearth along the way.
Before we leave diet, let me just say that Traci’s Transformational Health Principles is one of the best books of its kind ever written, largely because it teaches idealism without instructing anyone to be rigidly idealistic. It allows for eating in gratitude what you are ready for and feel best about. It allows you to make very good, whole food choices joyfully, easily and while still maintaining a standard that is comfortable for you, whether you are a raw foodist or whether you ate fast food earlier today.
This article is the first in a two part series addressing how we can make growing up and growing older an experience to anticipate with joy and experience with reverence.