Posts tagged ‘Well-being’

From a Book I Have Not Yet Written

Title: The Secret Of Long Life (is in this book)

Dedication: For my children and my childrens’ children

Increasing life is called Fortune
Mind controlling energy is called Power

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55

The physical body is just a moment of thought.
Master Nan Huai-Chin


I offer this book to you as a guide to living a good and long life. Having a good life also means having a good death, and this book has things to say about that, too.
This book is not just about ideas, concepts or theories about longevity but includes numerous practices that lead to health and well-being. The book is actually more about practices to do than ideas to think about, although I hope there will be plenty of those too.

The practices require time, discipline and will power, things that are sometimes in short supply in the busyness of 21st century life. But the practices, besides being beneficial, also help to create the discipline and will power that are needed. In this way the practices create a positive feedback system in which personal development and growth are encouraged. “What you sow, so you reap”. What you put in
– in time, energy and commitment – are repaid many times over. This is perhaps the best investment of a lifetime.

This book is in part a kit- a combination of a book to read, a series of videos to watch and follow, audios to listen to, and a workbook to record your own impressions, history and thoughts. I hope that the entire kit will be comprehensive and easy to understand. If it isn’t I’m sure you will let me know.

First of all, let me describe the intention of this project. It is to help you to attain maximum health so you can live out your complete life span (barring accidents). I do not claim that the ideas and practices on offer will extend your life span, only that they can help you to live out the life span that is allocated to you.

There are many ways to reduce life span, and most of us do things that do take years off our potential life. The most obvious of these are smoking, excessive drinking and taking drugs, and enduring stress. Added to these are not taking enough rest, eating poorly and so on. No surprises there. We can also reduce life span by living dangerously, taking unnecessary risks. We may decide that life would have little fun unless we indulged in all or some of these activities. That’s the trade-off that each of us needs to make. Do we value life by its extent, by how long we have it, or by its quality, how exciting or fulfilling it is. This is also an equation each of us must make for ourselves. No one can tell us how we should live. All that I can do is to tell you what I have learned about life and health. What you do with that information is your concern.

June 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

The Lagging Sheep

I recently did the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. This is a detailed questionnaire that reveals 24 different strengths rated from your strongest down to your weakest. Martin Seligman, who helped devise the survey, says that if you lived your life according to your top strengths that everything you did would be accomplished with ease and pleasure. One  example he gives is of one of his students who worked (unhappily) as a bagger in a supermarket. However, once she used her prime strength – Social Intelligence – in her work, she had a much better time of it. She turned the bagging of groceries into the high point of many a shopper’s day.  You can take the test at

There’s a story of Chuang Tsu’s which also looks at strengths and weaknesses, but unlike Martin Seligman’s point of using your strengths, Chuang Tsu recommends working on your weaknesses. Here is the story which I called The Lagging Sheep in my book, The Spiritual Teachings of The Tao:

Tien Kai Chih was talking with Duke Wei of Chou, who asked him, “I understand your Master Chu Hsien has studied life. What has he taught you about it?”

Tien Kai Chih replied, “While I am busy sweeping his courtyard, how can I hear my master’s teaching?”

Duke Wei said, ”Don’t evade the question, Mr. Tien. I’m very interested in what you’ve learned.”

Kai Chih said, ”I’ve heard my master say ‘One who skilfully nourishes life is like a shepherd, who rounds up the sheep that lag behind.’”

“What did he mean?”, asked the Duke.

Kai Chih replied, “In Lu there was a man named Shan Pao, who lived in the wilderness, and drank only water. He didn’t share anyone’s work or the benefits from it. Though he was seventy years old, he still had the complexion of a child. Unfortunately he encountered a fierce tiger, who killed him.

There was another man called Chang Yi, who spent all his time consorting with the wealthy and powerful, paying his respects. When he was only forty, he came down with a fever and died.

Of these two men, Shan Pao nourished his inner self, and a tiger attacked his outer, while Chang Yi nourished his outer self, and disease attacked his inner. According to my master both of them neglected to round up their lagging sheep.”

Maybe Chuang Tsu would say that your strengths will look after themselves, whereas your weaknesses need some attention. Keeping them in balance may be the way to have a centred approach to life.

December 8, 2011 at 12:44 am Leave a comment

The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.