Live longer with this mindset: our body is like a nation.
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I am passionate about reading holistic medicine literature and applying ancient knowledge of health to attain longevity.
Who came up with this “mindset?”
Book title: Baopuzi (抱朴子)
Translated as “One Who Embraces Simplicity” (It is also his pen name)
The author was a Daoist scholar of medicine and alchemy who lived during Eastern Jin dynasty (283-343 CE).
The book describes the law of attaining immortality according to Daoism, as well as politics and and society.
Translation of the text:
一人之身一國之象也 Each human body resembles a nation 胸腹之位 The position of chest and abdomen 猶宮室也 Is akin to a royal palace 四肢之別 The division of four limbs 猶郊境也 Is akin to outskirts (of the nation) 骨節之分, Demarcations of each joint 猶百官也. Is akin to all the government officials (in the nation) 神猶君也 The spirit is akin to a monarch 血猶臣也 The blood is akin to a statesman 氣猶民也 The energy is akin to a citizen 知治身則 Knowing how to govern one’s body 能治國矣 Enables one to govern a nation
In Oriental Holistic Medicine (OHM), the spirit resides in the heart (chest) and governs our consciousness.
夫愛其民, 所以安其國 Just as loving the citizens is the reason why a country is at ease 惜其氣所以全其身 Preserving the energy is the reason why the body is intact 民散則國亡, Just as the citizens fleeing leads to the nation’s collapse, 氣竭則身死 Energy depletion leads to the death of one’s body 死者不可生也, Just as the deceased cannot be brought back to life, 亡者不可全也 The collapsed nation cannot be intact 是以至人消未起之患 So, virtuous beings eliminate worries before they appear 治未病之疾 Treat illnesses before the pain 醫之於無事之前 Medicine is used prior to any harm 不追於旣逝之後. And they do not chase the behind of what has already left
Wise beings have no worries, no sickness, and no regrets.
Wise rulers prevent calamities and crises before they appear and do not dwell on past glory nor humiliation.
夫人難養 We find it difficult to nurture (ourselves) 而易危 But easily put ourselves in danger 氣難淸而易濁. Energy is difficult to be clear but easy to be turbid 故能審威德 Thus, being capable of examining one’s authority and virtue 所以保社稷 Is a reason why the nation is secure
It is hard to build up and easy to tear down.
We have to constantly assess our situation and values.
Preventing illnesses comes from knowing the status quo of our body.
Protecting a nation comes from knowing how to wield one’s power conscientiously.
割嗜慾 Cutting out one’s desires 所以固血氣 Is the reason why the blood and energy are firm 然後眞一存焉. Consequently, the true whole (= heart) is preserved 三一守焉. The trinity (= Essence, Energy, and Spirit) is maintained 百病却焉 All illnesses retreat 年壽延焉. Lifespan is lengthened.
Apparently, the ultimate benefit of stoic living is longevity.
In OHM, the feeling of joy that we get from receiving what we desire is governed by the heart. Too much of it will turn us into maniacs.
By abstaining from excessive pleasures, we take care of the royal palace where our Spirit resides; it remains genuine and complete.
So the trinity of Essence, Energy, and Spirit is another fundamental OHM concept.
Energy and Spirit sound straightforward, but Essence might be an unfamiliar term for some.
The Essence is a vital substance contained in the kidneys from birth and is replenished throughout life via nourishment from food, air, and environment.
It governs birth, growth, and reproduction (the essential activities) of human beings.
Someone with a strong Essence is akin to someone with healthy physical traits expressed by their genetics. They are the ones most likely to pass down their DNA successfully.
You’ll find the more you study OHM, the more you’ll connect to its numerology. I’m really enjoying it thus far.
Live Longer With This Mindset: Conclusion
The comparison of our body to a nation was a refreshing one for me.
We are the true masters of our health.
Strive for simplicity, and the Spirit inside our hearts will guide us:
Towards better management of our emotions, awareness of our body, and presence in the “now.”
Want less and live more.
Thank you for reading,
eternal student of life