Mind & Body

6 Spiritual Keys to Longevity

In Eastern philosophical systems like Buddhism, Taoism, and the Vedic traditions of India, longevity is viewed as a meaningful goal in a spiritual life.

6 Spiritual Keys to Longevity
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Stay Supple
The yin to stability's yang is suppleness or flexibility in body and behavior. "When people are born, they are supple, and when they die they are stiff," the Tao Te Ching explains. "Stiffness is thus a companion of death, flexibility a companion of life." Snakelike movements from tai chi as well as yoga twists that bend the spine can keep you youthful and elastic.

Buddhist precepts like forgiveness, letting go, and maintaining an open mind are forms of flexibility that make you "more supple, less rigid, and less resistant" in your everyday encounters, according to Surya Das. "When we take fixed positions and hang on, we get swept away, as everything--from boulders to continents--eventually does. To get the full benefits of rebirth in this lifetime, we must learn to let go, to not get stuck or fixated on our ideas or concepts."

Acceptance is another form of suppleness, and Rose stresses the importance of accepting ourselves as imperfect: "Being in a state of judgment about any aspect of self damages our health because it keeps us focused on what we are not rather than rejoicing in what we are."

TRY THIS: VISUALIZE FORGIVENESS
To let go and forgive others, try this visualization exercise from Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
1. Visualize enlightened beings above and around you, shining compassionate blessings upon you. Imagine the person you want to forgive standing in front of you.
2. With the enlightened beings present, tell this person what you feel and why you want to forgive him or her.
3. Imagine this individual looking at you with empathy. Express your anger and regret as you radiate out all your love and compassion.
4. Know the person understands you and answers with love shining from the heart. Open your heart, and accept his or her love.

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