I'd like to share this excerpt from my book, I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation, because I believe it outlines what you need for a long and happy life.
"To provide for your own health, happiness, and peace, you need to train your physical power, heart power, and brain power. Physical power is a cornerstone for happiness and health in old age. Developing physical power is also a shortcut for developing heart power and brain power. If you don’t know where or how to begin designing your old age, try starting with physical power. When your body develops strength, your ambition naturally grows along with it, and you find that you have new ideas and new things you want to try. It’s a good idea to find a concrete physical goal for the level of physical power you want to reach or an ideal model you can imitate.
Your heart power grows when you have core values that guide your life. You choose words and actions in keeping with your soul and conscience, you try to reveal fully the positive character qualities within you, and you have mature sentiments.
Like your physical power, the more you use the power of your heart, the greater it grows. Heart power is a strength that develops through relationships. The tolerance, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and consideration within us grow when we train them, just as we train to increase our physical power. Close personal relationships such as those with family and friends and the communities to which we belong are excellent training grounds for heart power.
The core of brain power is creativity. Having lots of knowledge does not mean that you have strong brain power. Brain power uses insight and wisdom to create something that contributes to ourselves and to the world. 'Necessity is the mother of invention,' the saying goes. This expresses very well how creativity, a characteristic of the brain, is manifested.
Creativity comes from curiosity, from interest in and love for ourselves and the world. If you carefully examine yourself and what’s around you with affection, then ideas on how to fix and improve things are bound to come to mind. Acting on these ideas with will and focus leads to creation.
A life of completion [(a life fully completed without regret)] begins with providing for your own health, happiness, and peace by developing physical power, heart power, and brain power. This is consistent with the process for developing the body’s energy system to achieve spiritual completion in Korea’s Sundo tradition. When the lower dahnjon in the belly is sufficiently developed, it becomes the source of reliable physical power, and the body’s vital energy is strengthened. When the middle dahnjon in the heart is developed, heart power grows, and virtues such as love, tolerance, and empathy are expressed. When the upper dahnjon in the head is developed, brain power grows, and insight, understanding, and wisdom develop."
A complete life is on in which physical power, heart power, and brain power are fully developed, and the power to do so lies inherently within yourself. Simple methods for strengthening these three powers can be found in I've Decided to Live 120 Years.
You were born with life energy, and with it, the right to use that energy. That right was given only to you, until you die. You’re the only one who can decide how to use it. Your life energy is waiting to be used, and it doesn’t want to be wasted meaninglessly.
A new year has come, and at this time, we tend to reflect on what we’ve done and what we want to do. What if you thought ahead to your final day with life energy? What can you do now so that on that day, you could look back on your life without regret?
No one can answer that except for you, but there is a way to find the answer—it’s in your heart. Think of the things you want, and focus on your heart. Do you feel joy and satisfaction filling it? Then those are the things that will let you live and die without regret. You can even ask yourself every day, “If I knew that today was the last day of my life, would I go ahead with what I had planned for the day?” If you think you would, then what you are doing now is clearly meaningful.
When you live this way, you add to the energy of your soul in your heart. As it expands, your soul grows and matures. If you keep growing your soul until the moment of your death, you can meet your death confidently and peacefully. You cannot feel such satisfaction and peace if you have only spent your life satisfying the desires and selfishness of the ego. Then, many regrets will remain.
This applies to the big choices in life, as well as the small ones. If you find the kind of work you will never regret doing, but would regret never having done, then you can live with passion and excitement, even in your later years. Passion revives when the energy of your soul fills your heart. Find the work and life that will fill your heart with passion. This is essential in order to be healthier, happier, and more peaceful.
I have often found that what satisfies the soul is good for you and good for others. If you help people to become healthier, happier, and more peaceful, then you, too, will become healthier, happier, and more peaceful. The energy of joy in your heart doubles in power when you make other people smile. The energy of love in your heart wants to be given and shared.
In contrast, if you don’t ask your heart what it values, what will bring it joy, you may fall into trying to feed it with material things, entertainment, and other distractions. However, since these things can’t fill up your heart, you may end up overconsuming them, like a sugary drink that leaves you hungry and unsatisfied. You can get lost in a cycle of need and greed, going through the motions without really living. There is no change or growth in this.
As you think about your New Year’s resolutions this year, put real thought into what you need to do for your growth and development, and how to live a life of joy and deep inner satisfaction.
While you live, you are the master of your life energy. Will you put it to good use as its true master, or will you be a spectator, standing by and watching with your arms folded? A life as a master or a spectator—you must choose between the two. Find and design what you really want to achieve so you’ll be free of regrets at the moment of death.
I want to cheer you on, hoping you will be able to discover something that fills you with excitement and passion, something you won’t regret though you die doing it, something you would gladly do even on the last day of your life. What you vividly dream becomes reality.
In the beginning of our lives, we learn many things to grow into capable adults who are successful in their careers and their social lives. We're very busy with this kind of self-development. But what happens when our careers have ended and our children have left home? On what should we base the last years of our lives? How should we develop ourselves?
I think self-development doesn't end when we reach a particular age. If we give our lives a purpose and meaning, self-development becomes an important part of life regardless of our age. I think the grander purpose or goal we should all strive for in our development is completion. By completion, I'm referring to the completion of our lives and of our soul's wishes. It is heartfelt satisfaction and fulfillment in the final moments of our lives, when we know that we have realized our highest values and we feel that we can leave this life in peace without regret.
When I've asked people what their wishes were, I've been given many answers. If you take a step back and look at all of them, you’ll notice the commonalities of wanting the feeling of loving and being loved, of their lives being precious and valuable, of living freely and independently, and of contributing to something larger than themselves. While the first half of our lives necessarily needs to be focused on material success, I think the second half can be devoted to these less tangible, more precious values.
How can we make these values manifest and achieve completion? Another word for completion is wholeness; it's becoming whole. People are always seeking wholeness, actually. They may look for it by connecting with other people and having a sense of belonging, or they may become well-rounded intellectually through education. While these are important, the wholeness I am speaking of comes from connecting to the divine, the Source of the cosmos, and feeling unity with it. From this connection, we feel unconditional love and value, and we want to share that with others. So to complete our lives, we need to develop habits that allow us to establish, maintain, and strengthen that connection. Then we need to be of service to others and make choices that benefit the whole in addition to ourselves—what in Korean is called Hongik.
This process, depending on our starting point, can involve a complete transformation, like that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. We need to change everything on the inside to the deepest part, as well as changing everything on the outside, so that it is in alignment with our highest values and life purpose.
The Brain Education methods I’ve developed and teach are designed to tap into that deepest part of ourselves and then connect to cosmic energy and cosmic consciousness. They can easily be shared with others to benefit them and help them transform their lives. Three simple exercises for completion that I write about in detail in my new book, I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation, are Longevity Walking, Belly Button Healing, and One-Minute Exercise. These exercises bring connection and completion into our ordinary, daily lives. They make self-development and growth a habit and give us a constitution that allows us to do the things that give us the most joy and satisfaction.
Continuous self-development and living with purpose can be a part of our lives at any age, but when we reach our later years, we have more time and attention to devote to them. That’s why I believe the second half of our lives, the last sixty if you live to 120, is our chance to ensure we complete our lives with satisfaction and joy.
I write more about how to live a complete and whole life and what that means for our current times in I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years.
Today, too, the sun and moon and stars appear as a new day begins.
We are born inside of time, journey through time, and disappear into time.
It is eternal Life inside of time and space.
That's what I am. That's what life is.
Every person's value is precious.
This one day that I've been given, today, will create my future,
and it will change the community around me and change society and humankind.
How should you live your day today?
Let's live with vision, wake up and set our spirit straight, and take pleasure in living.
Let's be grateful to be able to work.
This is the way to create health and happiness.
Let's create health and happiness through the vision for the future we have set.
If you have a purpose or a dream, large or small, it’s difficult to accomplish it unless you’re healthy. Health is the basic tool for anything you want to do, although people do the best they can in whatever condition they are in. At the foundation of your health—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual—is physical health. Although the power of the mind and heart can overcome physical limitations, when you are physically healthy, it’s easier for your mind to be clear and your emotions to be calm. You have mental and emotional space to focus on your spiritual development, and you have the energy and power to take on any task.
Lack of health, according to Asian medicine, ultimately comes from the flow of life energy in your body being blocked so that your natural healing power is prevented from working. Conditions causing most symptoms recover with time if you release blockages and restore good blood and energy circulation. Breathing and meditation help remove blockages from your body, but the best way to do it for your overall health is to move.
Moving can mean specific motions and postures, such as the ones found in meridian exercise, yoga, tai chi, and qigong. It can also mean weight training and aerobic exercises. But, it can even mean simply getting out of your seat.
It's widely known that habitually sitting for long periods of time has a negative effect on health. For example, the risk of dying from heart disease is reportedly six times higher in people who spend a lot of time sitting than in those who exercise daily. Some studies say that reducing the amount of time you spend sitting each day to less than three hours can extend your life expectancy two years.
However, it’s not just the overall amount of time you spend sitting that makes a difference to your health; it’s also the length of time you spend sitting at once. If you spend most of your time sitting, even if you exercise at a fitness center 4 to 5 times a week, you won’t get the same health benefits as when you take intermittent breaks from sitting and move your body. When you sit for hours on end, your body gets stiff and the blood, lymph, and energy in your body, even the food moving through your intestines, can’t circulate well. Your veins and lymph vessels don’t have an active force moving blood and lymph through them. They require muscle movement to push the fluid through. As a result, when you sit too much, blood and lymph can pool in the hands and legs, and then toxins aren’t flushed out, and immune cells, nutrients, and oxygen can’t get to where your body needs them.
So while going to the gym or starting an intense workout regimen is great, it’s not sufficient or sustainable for improving and maintaining your health if it’s something you’re not excited about. Instead, I suggest doing “opportunistic exercise.” Opportunistic exercise is a lifestyle approach in which you take advantage of ordinary, daily moments to do short periods of frequent exercise.
I realized the power of opportunistic exercise after I experienced physical decline in my mid-fifties. I gradually had less physical energy, muscle strength, and sharp reflexes, and I experienced depression and falling ambition. My eyesight grew worse, my gums were in bad shape, and I gained weight so that my body was heavy and my knees didn’t feel well.
That really got my attention. I heard a voice of awakening, telling me that I must change myself. The question was, how? Having to deal with a busy schedule of reading dozens of reports, meeting countless people, and giving lectures from dawn to dusk every day, I decided to start doing what I call One Minute Exercise.
For One Minute Exercise, each hour, you do one minute of moderate to vigorous exercises that can effectively work your muscles and raise your heart rate in a short period of time. You could do exercises like push-ups, squats, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jumping in place, and bear walking. It's good to set an alarm to go off every hour. Then you can do about one minute ten times a day.
I fit in these exercises wherever and whenever I can, not only once an hour. I do push-ups against the sink before washing my hands in the bathroom. I do chair push-ups when I’m sitting for a while working. Or I do bear walking, which is walking on all fours with your knees straight and your palms and feet flat.
Suddenly doing a moderate to high-intensity workout may cause muscle pain. If that happens, you should mix in gentle exercises like stretching or Belly Button Healing instead of strength training. And there's nothing that says you have to do just one minute of exercise. You can do it for five minutes or 10 minutes, or however long you’d like. When you have the time, doing several sets will double the effects.
You might wonder how effective doing short, simple exercises throughout your day could be, but, my own experience and the experience of people practicing One Minute Exercise around me have shown that these exercises really work. My body has become lighter, more agile, and more vigorous through this lifestyle. Even now, when I'm almost 70 years old, I do push-ups in a handstand against the wall every day. And, when I golf, I send the ball flying farther and more accurately than I did when I was in my forties.
Many changes will come if you do One Minute Exercise, even for just three months. You'll experience physicochemical changes in your body and emotional changes in your mind, and you'll find yourself developing a new lifestyle of moving your body no matter what. You can break free of distracting thoughts, stress, negativity, lethargy, and inertia and go right into things. Then you can make the most of the next hour by using it more productively and creatively. When you manage your physical condition, you end up managing your time, emotions, and goals—managing your life.