True Love, True Person, Belly filled with food, Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching
"The True Person governs by emptying the heart of desire and filling the belly with food, weakening ambitions and strengthening bones." Lao Tzu founder author of Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).
Taoism ( pronounced Daoism) was a highly influential philosophy that evolved about 2,500 years ago in China. Its principle proponent was Lao Tsu (Lao Tzu) who was a contemporary of Confucius, the originator of another highly influential and differently-oriented philosophy.
The essence of Taoism was preserved in the writings attributed to Lao Tsu called the Tao Te Ching, written in 81 short chapters, with a total of about 5,000 characters. It has been said that there are more translations of the Tao Te Ching than any other book besides the Christian bible.
According to legend Lao Tzu was keeper of the archives at the imperial court. When he was eighty years old he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet, saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. At the border (Hank Pass), a guard, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), asked Lao Tsu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).
Chapter 24 of the Tao Te Ching goes like this-
"He who stands on tiptoe is not steady; he who strides cannot maintain the pace; he who makes a show is not enlightened; he who is self-righteous is not respected; he who boasts achieves nothing; he who brags will not endure.
According to followers of the Tao, 'these are extra food and unnecessary luggage.' They do not bring happiness, therefore followers of the Tao avoid them."
The Taoists began a course of experimenting with longevity-attaining methods. These included physical exercises (movement, breathing, specialized massage, etc.) that today are known as Qi Gong and Dao Yin; mental exercises such as meditation and visualization, dietary practices (consuming special essence-enhancing foods and herbs, and avoiding those which were thought to harm the essence)
These include taking antioxidants (that reduce accumulating damage of cellular components), a broad spectrum of nutrients (that are absent from the diet in sufficient amount, poorly absorbed, or needed in larger quantity to help assure long life), and hormone replacements (which help restore youthfulness and prevent deterioration of the bones, muscles, and brain), as well as following some of the basic practices that the Taoists recommended in a simplified form: getting regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, and avoiding activities that are harmful, such as smoking, eating too much, drinking too much alcohol, etc.
Researchers have shown over and over again the distinctive benefits to following Lao Tzu's insights on dietary and life style habits from 2500 years ago.These include:
- sleeping an appropriate amount of time (about 8 hours; too much or too little is associated with shorter life span)
- eating a healthful diet (mostly comprised of natural foods, especially vegetables, fruits, and fish), maintaining a normal body weight (too heavy or too thin is associated with shorter life span)
- getting regular exercise (prevents clogging of the arteries and deterioration of the bones.
Beyond the obvious, the master of the Tao Te Ching prescribed to us the vital importance of love in our lives. It is true love that manifests all blessings we have including good health.