Living Beyond Time: Spiritual Practice and Longevity

Everyone is born into this life with a destiny. We all come here with a special purpose. We are born at a specific time on a particular day in a given year; we arrive in a certain city and are born to a set of parents—and we all have a time we will pass away. These are the circumstances of our lives on Earth. So when we speak about longevity, all of these elements come into play. From our individual vantage points we cannot see the greater Universal pattern; we only see our portion of it from our limited perspective on Earth.

Longevity refers to the length of a human life. For millennia Chinese medicine has understood that the lifespan of each individual is determined by the quantity and quality of his or her Inborn Qi. This is the part of your energy foundation that is inherited from your parents—half from your father and half from your mother. And therefore the quantity and quality of their Qi as well as the nature of your mother’s pregnancy and the factors surrounding your birth directly impact your Inborn Qi.

The Nei Jing, a classical Chinese medicine text, states that “Men are born on the Earth, but life itself (spirit) is held in the hands of Heaven. When the Qi of Heaven and Earth harmonize, it is called a human being.” So traditionally, Chinese medicine has held the belief that the length of your life is unchangeable.

This means your Inborn Qi—your energy foundation—cannot be changed. The life that you build upon your energy foundation depends on the quality of that foundation. Put another way, your energy foundation is like land you inherit from your parents. It may be two acres or two thousand; its soil may be incredibly fertile or dusty and full of stones. What you inherit you cannot change.

What you can work with is how you care for your legacy. This is totally under your control. The way you manage the time and health given to you is completely up to you. Do you ever stop and think about how you care for your gift of life? Are you maximizing it or living in a way that depletes it? These are the two basic roads you can travel. One conserves Inborn Qi and can make your life journey healthy and peaceful; the other runs through the legacy with illness, stress and unhappiness at its side.

Chinese medicine has thousands of years of experience treating a wide range of health problems. The essential framework of this ancient medicine is a holistic model of human health that includes body, mind, and spirit, and the understanding that we are inseparably connected to nature and we must follow the laws of nature to remain well.

Thousands of years before modern physicists made their discoveries about the fundamental nature of matter and the physical world—that everything at its core is energy—Chinese medicine was operating from this framework. It knew that in order to have good health and the potential for longevity within your particular fate, your energy must flow and your internal organs must work together in harmony—and you must be in harmony with nature. Acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal therapies have been effective “tools” to help build, balance, and maintain health and make the life journey a fulfilling one. Yet as powerful as Chinese medicine is at creating health and wellness, this is only one side of the total picture.

What is the other side? Spiritual practice—Qigong, meditation, Taiji—connects you with the Universal source, the unlimited, eternal energy source. Do you know what’s happening when you meditate or practice Qigong? The inside function of your body doesn’t age! A practice that generates longevity allows the cells in your body to continually grow and thrive. Aging isn’t about moving further and further into the future. It’s about the quality of the function of your interior environment—body, mind, and spirit—and harmony with all that is.

With his Theory of Relativity, Einstein changed how we think about time. No longer is it a constant measurement and independent of motion—time changes. As you get closer to the speed of light, the slower time becomes. This space-time continuum describes the workings of the entire universe. Time is not a steady movement along an imaginary timeline. Time is based on feeling; it’s related to perception.

Time—past, present, and future—is always connected. There is no past, no future—it’s all the same at any moment; it’s just a different dimension. If a moment is fast, if it passes quickly, you are still living in the past or the future. If you are truly in the moment, as you are when totally immersed in a spiritual practice, it passes slowly. Someone living in the moment can see everything. If you truly live moment to moment, you can reach enlightenment. This is using the Light to return to the Light—the spiritual pathway to agelessness and living beyond time.