Enjoy a long, healthy life!

Pause • Reflect • Sundays on Pianodao

An ancient Daoist text called “Principles of Nourishing Life and Cultivating Longevity (translated by Eva Wong, and included in her book “Being Taoist“) includes the following simple but profound advice:

“When you are young, don’t spend a lot of energy doing what everyone thinks is appropriate.
When you’ve reached maturity, don’t be too competitive.
When you’ve passed middle age, you should begin to find contentment.
When you are old, you should minimise desires.
Exercise the body gently to prevent it from stiffening, and entertain your mind leisurely to prevent it from deteriorating.
In this way you will enjoy a healthy and long life.”

There is no quick fix solution to avoid death, no elixir of life that will sustain us indefinitely, and we know that once our energy is gone, the end will come. Surely, our quality of life matters more than the inevitability of its passing.

The advice I have shared above is undoubtedly useful when thinking about our own approach and lifestyle. We could all do with questioning what steps we are taking to enjoy a healthier and longer life.

The Daoist sages suggest that we consider the different stages of life as seasons to be respected and embraced with deference.

Interestingly, though, there’s one striking consistency. Whatever our stage in life’s journey, we should reflect on our own pathway with self care, and not simply follow the crowd.

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based in Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.