Tag Archives: lifestyle

Longevity and Wellbeing

It continues to baffle me why so much emphasis is put on a long life.

Japan’s life expectancy fell to second place behind Hong Kong. The above BBC linked article is typical of this rhetoric.

Words and phrases like “fallen behind” and “topped the rankings” make longevity out as some kind of race and the those living longest are runners.

Are OCTOGENARIANS LONG DISTANCES ATHLETES?

Is this also why Westerners love to run, because they feel they will live longer by doing so?

Living longer does not make you happier. There are plenty of people who live to a ripe old age but miserably. Equally there are others who live shorter lives but happily.

The previous Dalai Lama quote should remind you of where you will find happiness, and it isn’t in a long life.

This life is limitless

This is a Dharma talk by my master, Harada Tangen Roshi. It is on the phrase “kono inochi kagiri nashi” which means roughly “this life is limitless”. Roshi sama (a title meaning ‘venerable teacher’) has used this phrase “this life” in many of not all his Dharma talks. Everything should focused upon this life we are living and none other. It doesn’t mean ‘think of what our goal is – enlightenment’, but often he means it to be this very moment and none other. For if one is living in the past or future one is not doing one’s utmost. This lies the essence of the Buddha’s Teaching.

The thing about inconveniences …

… is that it ultimately gives one a better perspective of the world.

Last night I posted on my Facebook Wall about the beauty of the stars in a clear sky. And this morning I continued the story with an update about how clear the morning night sky was again. This prompted a  friend of mine to comment how she wished she had the luxury of looking at the stars like me.

But what she and probably everyone else don’t realize was that I wasn’t actually delibrately going outside to look at the night sky but rather I was doing the mundane task of putting in the laundry into the washing machine in our creaky old country outhouse. I do it every night before I sleep at nine (put on a six-hour-later timer so that we use the off peak electricity, of course), collect and hang it up just after five in the morning. So all I had done was look up at the night sky as I made the trip there and back.

It isn’t the romantic country lifestyle as everyone seems to think. That is what is so great about darkness. They are like “alcohol goggles” (that is, being drunk): you can forget about reality and enjoy the sheer beauty of the dark clear night sky. But it all comes crashing back to earth when you enter your artificially lit home and see yourself in your run down PJs in the mirror.

As I said it isn’t a romantic lifestyle but it is an ideal one, one that makes me happy and feel closer to nature. And I wouldn’t give it up for the world. At least that is what I feel at the moment. Because if it wasn’t for this lack of convenience of not having space for a washine machine in our house I wouldn’t have seen that beautiful sky, or notice the natural rhythm – night after night – of the world that is beyond the psychological and physical walls which surround me.