Live Now and Play

Sure Spock, everyone would like to live a long life but really what we should focus on is a healthy and prosperous present. Longevity is an illusion. The eternal now holds us in its bosom. That’s all there really is.

Of course we can plan for good health, but we plan as a way of pulling the past and future together in a moment. That’s the logical thing to do. I’m sure Spock would agree that it comes back to our ability or inability (or our propensity) to control our lives.

I am going off on a tangent now so bear with me.

A few months ago I met a bloke who put on 20kg (44lbs) after giving up smoking. He felt worse with all the extra weight as it rendered him a sloth. He wondered if he was better off smoking. Smoking for good health? I just smiled because I couldn’t give him any advice.

The simple fact is when you read about the results of a study that says drinking a glass of red wine every evening will improve your heart health — that’s not a personalised recommendation. But the way many studies are reported suggests that if you don’t drink red wine you are lacking resveratrol and are losing out — you will drop dead of a heart attack in the supermarket and they will have to come and bundle you out of your trolley.

We are bombarded with the latest dietary advice from studies but the conclusions are for public policy not necessarily for you as an individual. So to tell someone to give up smoking may not be the best advice, but to advise a population to do so is a good thing. The same notion applies to many other pieces of health advice going around.

We all have an innate sense of what is good for us. So how much control do we really have over our health?

We seem to have a lot but only up to a point. Our health is partly controlled by our genes and the choices our guardians made early on in our lives. As we get older, much of what we do is managing our current state of health and tweaking things to keep the show on the road.

A part of actually being healthy is understanding that we can’t truly control longevity no matter how many acai berries we gulp down. We definitely need to relax, have a bit of fun with our health choices and not take them so seriously.

Which was exactly the approach of the world famous Japanese doctor, Shigeaki Hinohara, who was credited with building the foundations of Japanese medicine.

He has ‘play’ firmly at the centre of his philosophy of life. While he also talked a lot about longevity, I see the Doc’s summary below as more about living in the eternal now rather than making it to 5 score plus 5:

At 105 years old he was still working so his advice is to not to retire too early. Contribute to humanity in some way. Stay active and get involved.

Eat to live don’t live to eat. Eat somewhat sparingly. You don’t need much.

Worry less about sleep and eating well and have fun. Don’t tire the body with too many rules about meal times. To stay focused on what is important using playfulness and your vocation. You can skip meals. No big deal.

Always take the stairs and your own belongings. The Doc said he liked to take two stairs at a time to stretch out.

Divest yourself of material burdens. Get rid of stuff that weighs you down — you can’t take it with you.

Don’t blindly follow what your practitioner says. Think carefully about the advice given.

2 replies

  1. My dear friend’s second-husband-named-John died yesterday age 96. He was a leprechaun, always joking, and very generous. He had nearly 50 years of sobriety. He only stopped joking and telling stories a couple of days ago.

  2. Excellent musings. I have a play deficit for certain. Too much of my life was about survival and work and facing one challenge after another. Still working of how to play.

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