When we imagine someone breaking the normal bounds of long life, the most that our mind can possibly imagine is living beyond a century. However, what is most surprising to discover is that an individual has actually disregarded this accepted assumption and gone further to leave the whole world in surprise.
Li Ching-Yuen, the man who lived to be 256 years old, has set a new record for longest life lived. Evidence was first reported by a New York Times articles in 1930, in which a professor of the Chengdu University, Wu Chung-chieh, came across old records of Imperial Chinese government in the year, 1827, in which they congratulated Ching-Yuen on his 150th birthday; later during 1877, other documents had records of recognition for reaching the 200 years’ milestone. If this sounds astounding, there is yet more to come. Apparently, old men living in Li’s neighborhood professed that their grandfathers were acquaintances of this spectacular man while they were still in their boyhood, according to the statements of a New York Times correspondent, in 1928.
Beginning of the journey that lasted for more than two centuries
While many may well be imagining a slightly unorthodox way for Li’s early years, he actually started out as an herbalist, beginning as early as when he was ten years of age. His primary role was to collect various herbs from the mountains and to find out about their effectiveness for longevity. This stage of his career went on for a long time, almost 40 years, during which his chief diet consisted of a collection of herbs including lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shoo wu, gotu kola and rice wine. Transition in his life came in 1749, when he became a teacher of martial arts in the Chinese army and during this time he served quite devotedly.
While many would have gradually found Li to be intimidating, he was actually quite popular with many in his community, earning respect of young and elders alike. During his lifetime, he not only married twenty-three times but he also went on to father more than two hundred children.
Panacea for a long, healthy life
When Li was inquired about his secret to living such a long and robust life by the Warlord, Wu Pei-fu, his answer, contrary to what most would have expected, was: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”
Many would still argue that the diet of Li had a major role in earning him this recognition. However, throughout his life, he maintained that internal calm and a peaceful mind, when combined with certain effective breathing techniques, led to the much sought after longevity.
Indeed, we may not be able to agree on one ultimate Holy Grail for extending our lives, but it will do us good enough to take a leaf out of Li’s book and start building our mind and body toward betterment.