A Case for Immortality, Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at some of the experts in the field of anti-aging and heard what they have to say about aging.
Here in Part 2, we’re going to take a closer look at the field of gerontology (the study of aging) their theories about aging and some methods for slowing it down. And, we’ll investigate an entirely different approach to slowing and even reversing aging.
A Case for Immortality, Part 2
In the study of aging, gerontology, there are two main groups of thought. One group believes that aging is a natural process programmed in the body. Meanwhile, the other group believes aging is unnatural and it’s the result of cellular damage accumulated over time.
Those who believe that aging is a natural process and the body is programmed to age and die generally believe in one or a combination of the following theories. Of course, there are more theories, but these are the main ones:
• Hormonal Changes—The body’s many changes in the hormones levels are the key to its balance, and their eventual decline leads to aging and death.
• Immune System Decline—The immune system breaks down or deteriorates and that leaves people vulnerable to all kinds of pathogens and disease, which lead to death.
• Gene Determinant—The body’s cellular code holds certain aging genes that turn off and on at a specific time; essentially, aging and death are hard-wired into our DNA.
For those who believe aging is an unnatural process brought on by accumulated damage to the body’s systems, the reasons are not limited to, but include:
• Inertia or lack of movement can lead to blood and lymphatic fluid stagnation. The stagnation allows waste to accumulate leading to toxemia, and the lack of movement inhibits nutrients and oxygen from reaching the cells and tissues.
• Chronic destructive movement takes a toll. The body’s ability to continually repair the damage or degeneration hits a threshold or tipping point. At which point, general motion declines.
• Accumulated distress (mental, emotional, physical, and environmental) eventually destroys the reserve life-force or adaptive energy in the body. This depletion leads to disease, decay, and death. In essence, we lose our ability to adapt and survive.
• Free radical damage is the result of oxidative stress. Since oxidation is a part of metabolism, as the body degenerates it ability to manage the free radical damage declines.
• DNA damage is a dangerous reality with the impact technology has on the body. Cells malfunction because of genetic mutations, and the mutations take over the replication pattern.
• Toxemia is another theory that explains the body’s ability to keep up with metabolic waste and other toxins declines as we age, and eventually leads to death.
• Death Urge relates to beliefs about death where an individual has an unconscious urge to die due in part to some genetic basis and environmental conditions.
Regardless of the belief system, both groups agree that there are certain ways to slow and even reverse the signs of aging. Some of them are:
• Foods that are loaded in anti-oxidants can offset the damage done by free radicals in the oxidative process when eaten frequently.
• Mindful exercise practiced daily can slow down the muscle and bone loss and help to regulate hormone balance.
• Positive thinking has been shown to increase life span by as much as a decade.
• Placing ones’ self in a healthy environment can increase life span. This includes clean air, a peaceful setting, supportive relationships and a health-minded community.
• Hormone replacement therapy can help re-establish balance. Since our vital hormone secretions decline as we age, another way to offset the symptoms of aging is hormone replacement therapy. (A good resource for learning about this is Integrative Endocrinology; The Rhythms of Life, by Dr. Don Beans.)
• Dietary supplementation is emerging as a very popular approach. Utilizing products that include longevity herbs (adaptogens), vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients can have an impact. ( A new resource focused on this in part is No Age is the New Age, And action Plan to Ageless; A Longevity Guide for Men and Women 25 to 125, by Karen Norris and Eve Michaels.)
• Calorie Restricted Diets are very effective. Studies have shown that mice fed a calorie restricted diet (30 percent fewer calories per day) extended their lives up to 50 % longer than mice fed an ordinary diet.
My Take On It
While I believe it is much better to live a healthy lifestyle and make the above behaviors part of your overall routine, I do not believe that any of the above practices will extend your life beyond 120 years, particularly not in functional years. It makes complete sense, though, to live a healthy lifestyle, as promoted above, simply for better quality of life, if for nothing else.
Why do I believe the “healthy lifestyle” approach by itself will not solve the aging problem?
Let’s look at a modern example.
Ever hear of a man by the name of Jack LaLanne? If you’re over 40 or concerned with fitness or aging, the chances are you know exactly who he was. Jack Lalane was best known as one of the earliest fitness and nutrition gurus. As a chiropractor and fitness trainer, he was a wellness pioneer and promoted physical exercise and eating healthy fresh juiced vegetables and fruits. His late night infomercials promoting his juicer and the miracles of juicing were memorable. In fact, to prove his point, he staged incredible endurance and strength events. Most notable, he swam great distances while pulling multiple boats with a rope in his mouth and his hands bound. On January 23, 2011, however, this great health advocate passed at 96-years young. Let’s take a moment and give him a round of applause please. He lived his message and was in great condition until he passed.
For the purposes of this longevity discourse, the hard question at hand is, “did his approach work in regards to slowing or reversing the aging process and did he look younger than the average 96 year-old person?”
Surely, he lived beyond the national average life span, but in my opinion, he did not look any younger. He looked fit, a fit ninety-something-year-old man. Although he was still very active in his nineties, his body just wore out and he fell to pneumonia.
Before over-reacting or chastising me for saying such things, I want to be clear that I am not here to discredit old Jack. I love Jack. He was one of the reasons I became a fitness trainer and wellness counselor, and that was a major stepping stone for me in my journey into Holistic Medicine and the Human Potential Field. I owe Jack a lot. The point I am making is that no matter how much exercise and eating healthy foods someone does, the body will still wear out…unless you are able to become an exception.
Whether you’ve read about them in the Bible or in some ancient Taoist Text, history is full of stories about the individuals who lived well beyond a hundred years, the exceptions. Some people believe these stories are true, while others believe they are simply allegories with little historical accuracy. Regardless of your belief, let’s agree that they are stories revealing incredible possibilities for humanity.
The account of Ponce de Leon and his search for the Fountain of Youth in Florida is one such story. Mr. de Leon heard through the 1511-grapevine that a remote body of healing waters could cure aging. Though the tales of his search for this Fountain of Youth weren’t added to his exploration until after his death, many accounted that Ponce de Leon wanted to drink from this fountain to cure his old age and restore eternal youth.
This is a perfect example of allegory, a story or parable trying to reveal a greater divine truth. Yes, there is a fountain of youth, but it’s not in a land to be conquered. Rather, it is inside you.
Modern science has revealed that around the age of 12 years, or at puberty, our pineal gland begins to calcify. Once it calcifies the vital hormones, especially the ones that keep us youthful, vital, and healthy, begin to decline and decline rapidly. This is about the time the body cannot manage the rate of decay. At this point, the body is dying faster than it can repair the damage. In conjunction, this is the time when the body begins to stink, or leak metabolic waste through the lymphatic system, tissues and skin. At this time, dark circles under the eyes and lines on the forehead appear, and even the hairline begins to recede. This is the onset of the death process.
In my opinion, this happens because at that blossoming age the sex organs become highly active. Instead of the vital sexual or core energy circulating throughout the body and flowing upward to stimulate the pineal gland, it now flows outward. The sign of this happening in both genders is obvious—in males via the ejaculatory secretions and in females via the monthly passing of an egg. Of course, these functions are a part of the natural process of procreation; however, most of the vital core force that supports these functions is wasted on pursuits of the senses. Before sounding like an abstinence commercial, let me clarify. A waste of the vital core force varies according to our five senses. The visual expenditure could be due to watching too much television, playing video games or extended computer work; auditory expenditure can be due to listening to any sounds for extended periods that are too loud (voices, music, or machinery); the taste expenditure is simply too much food, rich or otherwise; olfactory expenditure could be due to toxic fumes, strong hygiene products or chemical gases; and the physical sense expenditure can be attributed to lack of touch, over-exercise, even lack of space, and yes excessive sexual activity.
What The Ancients Teach
Almost every religious doctrine and school of philosophy guards against the loss of this vital core force. Some teachings even instruct how to sublimate and redirect its flow for spiritual transformation. The Taoists and Qi Gong Masters teach Sexual Qi Kung, while some Yogis teach Tantric methods for this purpose. In Qi Gong, one of the main goals is to return to the state before puberty. This certainly reveals their deep knowledge of the pineal gland and its decline after puberty.
Once this powerful core force is redirected upward, it flows through several acupuncture meridians and through the center of the spine via the cerebral spinal fluid. At its apex, it reaches the pineal gland where, after some time, the energy dissolves the calcification and releases powerful healing hormones and secretions—a liquid. This “liquid” has been called many things for thousands of years. Some references are, “the manna from above that fed the Israelites in the desert.” The ancient Siddhi Physicians of India called it, “muppa,” and said it was, “the ultimate elixir that bestows immortality upon those who consumed it regularly.” Mystics referred to it as, “liquid light.” The early Christian Saints called it, “the blood of Christ,” “the anointing oil,” and “rivers of living water.” Ancient Yogis called it, “amrita—the food of the gods.” Even the early Catholics knew it to be the “true holy water” that would purify the mind, open the heart and heal the body. This fluid has been known for thousands of years by Naturalists as well as Spiritualists and Inner Alchemists as the powerful healing and transformative agent in spiritual development.
In Rick Strassman’s work, The Spirit Molecule, he points out that DMT, a psychoactive brain chemical, is released from the pineal gland during meditation and near death experiences and that it increases the flow of other vital and youth-giving brain chemicals. He called it “the Spirit Molecule” and further explained that “Endogenous Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the naturally occurring chemical cousin of serotonin, is a widespread and essential brain neurotransmitter.” Rick Strassman proposed that the pineal gland is responsible for manufacturing DMT. The pineal gland has the highest levels of serotonin, as serotonin is the precursor to melatonin. Melatonin is the primary pineal hormone, but Strassman thinks that the gland also creates DMT. “Because it possesses the highest levels of the necessary enzymes and precursors, the pineal gland is the most reasonable place for DMT formation to occur,” page 67. He says DMT may be released during dreams, near-death, death, birth, and during meditation and mystical experiences.
“DMT increases all pituitary hormones and beta-endorphins, Vasopressin, Prolactin, Growth Hormone, and Corticotrophrin (cortisol). It is proposed that DMT induces a surge of beta-endorphins that creates the sense of euphoria. Serotonin receptors are activated by DMT and Serotonin receptors regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and pupil diameter. Apparently DMT is a small molecule not much larger than glucose and Strassman says that it is like brain food that is rapidly transported across the blood-brain barrier.”
Of course it will take modern science many more years to reaffirm the work of Rick Strassman, and in turn validate what the ancient Siddhi Physicians of India knew, that the vital hormones released during powerful meditative experiences have the ability to return a tired old body to a youthful state. If you want to wait for some guy in a lab coat to synthesize these brain chemicals into a pill, then go ahead. But, if you want learn how to release them naturally, the same way the Biblical Teachers, Qi Gong Masters, and Yogis taught, then please read on.
An ancient theory that works is awakening the Kundalini.
Over fifteen years ago the redirection of this powerful sexual force or core energy happened in my life along with the beginnings of the release of the youth-giving fluid. At the time, I was engaged in a lot of meditation and contemplation, plus I was living an incredibly disciplined lifestyle. I ate choice foods in the correct balance at the same time every day. I practiced mindful walking, mindful stretching and deep diaphragmatic breathing (as in Hatha Yoga), plus I got plenty of sound sleep. When those conditions were in balance, it happened, the redirection of the core energy force. Later when apprenticing under a Japanese Shinto Priest and Acupuncturist, I discovered this was a spontaneous awakening of the Kundalini. Kundalini literally means coiled, but the term describes an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force lies coiled at the base of the spine that rises up the spine like a serpent. The process of this energetic transformation led me into Chinese Medicine College and extensive studies into this bio-energetic phenomena.
In a nutshell, here are the basics of the Kundalini experience:
“During very deep meditation when awakened, the Kundalini Serpent (the sexual or core force) rises up the spine and associated acupuncture meridians. During this process the internal fires melt the conditioned tissues surrounding the heart leading to profound heart expansions and feelings of love-bliss. Additionally, the fires release the nervous system thus creating a lightness and flexibility in the body. As the Kundalini reaches it’s apex, the crown of the head, the pineal gland and other brain centers are stimulated to release a powerful liquid tonic into the bloodstream, which leaves one with the feeling of euphoria, mind expansion, a youthful appearance, and unlimited power and vitality.”
I have tasted this powerful secretion, moreover its power has increased over the years. It increased from what could be likened to an IV drip into a constant flow or fountain, like a fountain of youth, overflowing from the center of my skull. The liquid flows downward into the heart center and moves throughout my body leaving a euphoric or peaceful, easy feeling. As for its youth-giving properties, I’ll let you be the judge of that. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Here is a photo of yours truly. I am 40 years young in this photo.
Just awakening the Kundalini (redirecting the core force) is not enough. It must become stabilized from moment-to-moment. If not, then the “rejuvenating liquid” will not be released or at least not enough to turn back the clock. My program, Shen Life, The Foundational Practice, demonstrates exactly “how to” activate this process and “how to” stabilize the Kundalini so that the “fountain of youth” will flow constantly.
What makes me an expert?
Well, experience afforded me the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time. I was fortunate…fortunate to get locked up in prison. In there, my lifestyle became very disciplined. It was rigid enough to create the “right conditions” for this Awakening to begin, plus the duration, the length of my sentence, was long enough to fan the inner fires, so they kept on burning and stimulated the “fountain of youth.”
Of course, I don’t suggest anyone needs to go to prison in order to activate this process. Nor do I suggest anyone should move off in the woods or an ashram. It’s not necessary. All you have to do is create the “right conditions” wherever you are, whether it is in a busy city or in a remote rural area—you can do it!
In the words of another great, albeit fictional, super-centenarian, “live long and prosper!”