In the face of death I

马晓山

We, as practitioners of life cultivation, are mostly retired and senior persons. Compared to younger people, death is more imminent for us. We tend to read about how other people of our age will face death. Here is a widely-circulated story about how Professor Chen faced her last days in life. The following article is an excerpt on what she had written before her death.

I think there are several stages in life, and each stage has a purpose. For example, the goal in childhood is to play, the goal in youth is to study, the goal in adulthood is to work to support a family.

So, what is the goal in old age?

We should have goals. Life without goals is very uncomfortable.

What are the goals of the elderly? I think there are two points for us to ponder:

First, we should try our best to reduce our pain and live a healthy and happy life.

Second, we must strive to be gone faster in the last stage of our life, not only to reduce our own pain, but also to avoid putting a burden on others as much as possible.

01 First goal: Live a healthy and happy life

It has been almost forty years since I retired from fifty-five to ninety-four this year. I have been in good health all these years. How do I do it?

马晓山

01 Gain Knowledge. Practice healthcare yourself

A person’s health is influenced by three factors. The first is heredity, which accounts for one-third, the second is exercise and life cultivation practice (health preservation, health wellness) and the third is living habits (lifestyles). For example, smoking, drinking, staying up late will damage a healthy body.

People are old after the age of seventy. The elderly must pay attention to learning and absorbing medical knowledge. Read health books and have a more comprehensive knowledge of human body structure and function, and about exercise, diet, living habits, health massage, mental health, etc.

In addition, you must fully understand your physical condition, comprehensively analyze what your problem is, and explore the rules. Think about ways and means to solve the problem. Once you realize what you should do, you must do it yourself, and once you realize what you should not do, you must restrain yourself from doing it. And you have to stick to it for a long time.

Some elderly people do not have the backbone of their own health, so they go to the doctor and take medicine indiscriminately. In fact, the doctor is just listening to your statement. Besides, each doctor can only treat the head and foot, and it is impossible for him to grasp your overall situation in the few minutes that he devotes to you. So you must rely on yourself, not blindly rely on the doctor.

Some old people are obsessed with relying on some famous doctor or some panacea to protect their health. They often go to the hospital, frequently change doctors, and change medicines. The result is always disappointing, because they do not know that they cannot get health by relying on doctors. The key is to use their own initiative.

For example, I once suffered from pruritus, which was so irritating that I could not sleep at night. I went to see the doctor, only to apply some ointment, no effect. Later, I read several books myself and realized that there are many types of pruritus. I analyzed my type, paid attention to changing my lifestyle, adopted an appropriate diet, kept my mind calm, and learned to massage the corresponding acupoints, and I gradually recovered.

One morning when I was about to get up, I suddenly found that my lower back was so painful that I could not move. At that time, I was the only one at home. I told myself to calm down, lie on the bed and massage some acupoints myself, and after a while I slowly got up.

If this had happened to someone else, she would have gone to the hospital right away. However, since I have some knowledge about treatment, I insisted on massaging the relevant acupoints by myself coupled with some appropriate waist activities. As a result, the low back pain never recurred.

As the saying goes, a long-illness patient becomes a doctor.

My experience is that the body is mine, and the best health care doctor can only be myself.

Only you know the pain and itching best, you can only rely on your own perseverance in exercise and fitness, and you can only adjust your mental health by yourself.
Any dream of relying on other people for the elderly will come to nothing, no matter how good a doctor is, how responsible a nanny is, or how filial a child is.

02 Have perseverance

Have perseverance. Do what you should do, not just do what you like to do.

I insist on taking care of myself. So far, I buy food, cook, wash dishes, take a walk, and wash small underwear by myself.

Of course I was also tired and inconvenient, so I could have the nanny do it for me. But if you do not do it the first time, you will not be able to do it again. I will not start to delegate work unless I have to. That is the reason why I am still able to hold on being independent until now.

马晓山
马晓山

03 Enrich spiritual realm and cultural life

Nowadays the elderly are too lonely and want their children to come home to visit. The country has a legal regulation urging the children to go home often (to visit the parents), but I do not need it. I care about current affairs and politics, and am interested in literature, philosophy, astronomy, geography, drama and sports. I have established my own study plan and life rules. I am busy every day, and my heart is calm and fulfilled.

A professor in the Department of Politics at Peking University passed away, and his wife was very lonely. I was asked if I could call her twice a week to console her. I agreed, and on second thought this was not the way to go. I could call for ten minutes or twenty minutes at a time. What will she do at other times? Instead I visited her in person and had a discussion with her.

I said I could call you, but that’s not the way to go. You cannot rely on external force to really solve the problem, only an internal force will do.

She said: What should I do?

You must have something you want to pursue.

She said: How do I have something to pursue?

Do what you like. Try to schedule your time as tight as possible. Then you would have plenty of your own things you want to do every day and even with unfinished tasks. You are so busy that you will not feel lonely anymore.

After I get up at 6:00–6:30 every day, I am busy with massage, exercise, watching TV news, and making breakfast. Be sure to finish breakfast by nine o’clock. After nine o’clock I start reading books and newspapers. I subscribe to several newspapers and magazines by myself, and I can’t read them every day without hurrying. When I see something I like, I excerpt or cut it. I have accumulated several large books now, and I often read and enjoy them.

I also love watching TV shows. I cry when I am sad, and laugh when I am happy. Sometimes I don’t understand why the writers do this. Then I tried to figure it out myself. If I were a screenwriter, what would I do with it?

I am still studying the Book of Changes, and I have written down a copy of my experience. You see, I usually have so many things to do and so much new knowledge to learn, how can I have time to be lonely?

In addition, I have a solution, that is, not to be too quiet at home. I always keep the TV on, as if someone is always talking to me and singing to me, and I won’t feel lonely.

I have three kids who come back to see me every week. My son is far away from me, I don’t want him to come every week, so I said to my daughter, you tell your brother, he does not have to come every week, just call and ask. He then came back every two weeks.

I usually live a full and happy life, and I don’t want others to interfere with me. The elderly should love life, be concerned about current affairs, be open-minded and feel at ease. This is how they can withstand any disease.

[More to come in next episode]

Call to Action

马晓山

Folks, that is all for now. If you think this article may be beneficial to your friends and loved-ones, feel free to forward this article to them. Life cultivation is mostly for older people with declining body health. If you are young and energetic, this may not be your cup of tea. However, if you have family members or friends who are middle-aged or older, they may want to practice life cultivation to maintain a life without pain or medication.

This is an extract of the full treatise published in the Mustang BodyWorks Series, a paid-subscription. You may buy this full treatise for the price of US$5.00-20.00, using your PayPal account.

The Art of Life Cultivation

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Stay tuned for the next episode. In the face of death part two.

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