The Emperor asked Master Qibo: “I’ve heard that people in ancient times could live to about one hundred years without decline in action, but today I see people doddering much earlier from the age of fifty! Is it due to the change in era or the loss of health cultivation?”
Qibo answered: “People in ancient times knew the way to cultivate their health and followed the rules of Yin and Yang; they kept fit with exercises, moderate eating and drinking, led a routine daily life, and avoided overstrain or sexual intemperance. Thus, this helped them integrate their soul and body and enjoy a natural life span and meet their peaceful end at the age of about one hundred.”
No matter if this conversation between the yellow emperor and his minster did take place or not, if it was subject of someone’s imagination or inspiration, it is apparent that have lost our way in finding harmony. As the world around us becomes more frantic and speedier, we endeavour to become less panicky. Judging from what we experience in our daily lives, we are not doing so well.
How come we have lost our ability and drive for virtuous living? Why have we forgotten the ancient way of preservation and integration but continue to increase our anxiety, stress levels and unhealthy habits?
Somewhere along the way, the focus changed. The values changed, we got caught up in drama and fragmentation and lost touch with who we are. Knowing well, that the answers are all there at all times. It’s really just a matter of re-connecting and to not let anything stop us from doing so. Being blessed with free choices it’s up to us to inspire virtuosity not only in ourselves but everyone around us. A simple decision is all that’s needed. Once we have embraced it ourselves, we embody the perfect role model. And one by one, we can make our society and communities a better place to be part of.
To start the day in a virtuous way, it’s best to start early on, just as the world around us awakens. The morning routine might involve a form of prayer or devotion. It doesn’t have to be religious; it can be whatever works for you. And it can be as simple as repeating to yourself “I am going to have a great day and nothing will change that”. The power of the mind is magnificent.
As we are exposed to the frantic world around us, we make the simple decision in every moment of time, “this will not affect me in any way, shape or form and nothing will steal my calm”. So, there is no need to feel despondent. The power is within us to change our lives, the circumstances that we live in and to thrive. To start the day on the ‘right’ foot is important; setting a tone for the entire day and to not let anything change that. Start early in your day, when there peace and calm and the universe is ready to listen. We make our days right from the start of it.
During the day, we nourish our bodies with wholesome food and hydrate with fresh water. As practitioners we know how important it is to have a good balance between physical activity and rest. So, whenever we feel stuck and stagnant, we know that a little bit of moment will free us up and bring vitality back. Knowledge and skills have never been so widespread and accessible, literally at our fingertips from anywhere at any time. So, if you are out of ideas to get you moving, look something up. Just do it.
As much as our bodies require nourishing and moving, so does our mind. To fill it up with drama, gossip and negative thought will not cultivate our mind garden. In fact, it will do the complete opposite; agitate and disturb. Nurturing our mind and heart with sensible thoughts, positive images and a continuous stream of wisdom nectar is what we are after.
In this way, we focus on positivity. It’s much more conducive to clarity than the fogs of harmful and destructive thoughts. A clear mind will make thoughtful decisions and cause mindful actions. The world around us will naturally respond to mindful actions and create better environments for us to live and work in. Together, we can build resilience and exchange in a heartfelt and optimistic way.
And that’s how we change our immediate environments and inspire honesty and fairness among others. Someone has to start! Why not you, today, right now? We all have it in us. All it requires is one simple decision to embrace it. Once that ball starts rolling, we establish a new habit by repeating it, every day: Constant dropping wears away the stone.
Virtuous living is achievable, especially in the 21st century. The secret is to start it today and not wait for a better time, because it might never arrive. Or the person that is supposed to teach you might not come your way until much later. All it requires is strength and focus and practice. Some days will be better, others will be modest. Just don’t forget what you are aiming at, you are looking for a more meaningful existence. We all have to do it ourselves as they are individual choices.
Don’t give up. Start early in the day, so no opportunity is not missed to embrace the changes that you want to see in your life. Remember that integration of body and soul is important and requires constant attention. The more proficient you become, the richer your life will be and the more abundance you can spread. Our planet is in dire need of conscious changes to see us achieve happiness, purpose and a sense of contentedness. It starts with your decision to become virtuous.