The Secret to a Life of Radical Longevity
What would you say if someone said you could drastically alter your health and healing with your heart? If they told you that in the mountains of China and the monasteries of Tibet, people are routinely living well above 100s? If it was suggested that you could alter the course of your DNA by harmonizing your heart and brain? If someone had tried to tell me this 24 hours ago, my face would have gone blank and I would have thought they were certifiably crazy. Now, I’m not so sure.
Last night I watched an episode of Gregg Braden’s Missing Links on Triggering Self-Healing. If you don’t know Gregg he’s an accomplished author, geologist, researcher, and expert in radical longevity, and a commonly featured expert on Gaia, where FMTV now lives. In this episode he builds upon the evidence-based research presented so far in his series, discussing the heart-brain connection to bring about radical longevity.
We are told that our lifespan, on average, sits between 70-100 years. The Guinness Book of World Records even tells us that we would be hard-pressed to beat 112. But this is the way we have been taught about life; that it is limited and finite. There is a tangible amount that someday, near or far, will all be used up. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. But what if we took what we knew about self-healing and a positive mindset, similar to tactics of manifestation and visualization, and thought of life as a constant state of replenishing and rejuvenating for vitality and productivity? Lost in the science of it all? Don’t worry, I’ll come back to that shortly. Just trust that as a consequence of our thinking, we can begin to heal.
Traditional cultures are all about the heart, whereas modern cultures are all about the head. A lack of unity between the two has developed in our Western societies, and because of society’s belief in age as a finite resource, we begin to look older, and we age accordingly. Our skin wrinkles, our eyes sink into the sockets, our bodies give way on us… we become what we think, and longevity in life is limited. When Gregg walked into a monastery in remote Tibet some 15 years ago, he met a woman who neither looked nor acted her age (I question what this phrase even means anymore). The 120-year-old woman lived in a single room, walking to the river every morning, in a healthy, strong, and vital state. Her secret? Living with compassion in her heart.
This nun was not alone. A Palestinian woman made international headlines at 120-years-old, attributing her longevity to the love of her family and being needed around the house. I even discovered the fabled story of a Chinese high-altitude herbalist and martial artist, who according to his military records, lived to be 17ft, with 14 wives, 180 children, and 256 years under his belt. For him, longevity was about the heart; keeping a quiet heart. What’s common in these cases is the theme of feeling; love, compassion, a quiet heart… Longevity is attributed to a heart-based experience. So at this point, Gregg Braden didn’t start to sound too crazy…
Sure, these lives don’t sound too exciting when we consider the parameters of the modern world - meditating all day, living a humble, slow life. There’s a disengagement of our everyday world, but this comes with an opportunity to harmonize your heart and mind, and heal. So what if we could find a balance between the two?
The process begins in the chromosomes, our genetic make-up, and each time the cells divide the respective telomeres break off so we don’t lose our information. Telomeres are best thought of like the plastic bits on the end of a shoelace; protective, but damaged with age. During cell division, we lose the telomeres but not the information of the cell. Telomeres get smaller and smaller each time they divide, meaning there is only a finite amount of time before a cell eventually dies. This is called the Hayflick Limit, and numerous studies have shown this equates to roughly 120 years.
The question this poses is how can we increase this or are we bound to a limit? Telomere shortening is increased by stress, where it erodes and impairs the protective layer while we adjust how we interpret and deal with stress. In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three scientists who discovered the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that can help increase human longevity; in that, it can heal and repair telomeres on our DNA. But it’s not always engaged, so we have to find ways to harness it; one of these the biochemical reaction of harmonizing the heart-brain.
Peer-reviewed studies have specifically stated that the rate of telomere shortening increases due to lifestyle factors, such as stress. So through our day-to-day actions, we quite literally choose how long our cells live for. We choose how long we live. We decide our own longevity.
The technique of heart-brain harmony, which Gregg dives into in other episodes, serves to redefine stress in the human body. It signals we are in a safe place, where we can direct energy to heal rather than defend.
In 30 short minutes, one documentary took everything I knew about aging and turned it on its head. I learned the secret to living a life free from illness and fear of death and replacing it with a life of healing, rejuvenating, and radical longevity. I learned the way to embrace my innate state of being and live a healthy life, for longer.
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