At the age of 97, Dr Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world’s longest serving Physicians and Educators. Since 1941, he has been healing patients at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St Luke’s college of nursing. He has published around 150 books including ‘Living Long, Living Good‘ which has sold more than 1.2 million copies. His teaching encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the good doctor himself.
This is the message from Dr Hinohara -
Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. We should all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. We can keep that attitude as adults too. It is best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunch time and bed time. All people who live long regardless of nationality, race or gender share one thing in common: none are overweight. For breakfast I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for arteries and keeps my skin healthy. Lunch is milk and a few cookies or nothing when I have no time to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work. Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice and twice a week 100 gms of lean meat.
Always plan ahead. My schedule book is already full until 2014, with lectures and the usual hospital work. In 2016 I will have some fun, though: I plan to attend the Tokyo Olympics!
There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. Share what you know. I give 150 lectures a year, some for 100 elementary school children, others for 4,500 business people. I usually speak for 60 to 90 minutes, standing to stay strong.
When a doctor recommends you to take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can’t cure very one. So why cause unnecessary pain with surgery. I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.
To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. I take two stairs at a time to get my muscles moving. My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler’. My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.
Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has toothache and you start playing a game together, she or he immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic needs of patients: we all want to have fun. At St Luke’s we have music and animal therapies and art classes. Don’t be crazy about amassing material things. Remember you don’t know when your number is up, and you can’t take it with you to the next place. Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.
It is wonderful to live long. Until one is 60 years old, it is easy to work for one’s family and to achieve one’s goal. But in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society. Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer. I still put in 18 hours seven days a week, and love every minute of it.
And Dr Hinohara’s great journey continues even today in the same place he has created for himself, always available to the needy, serving mankind the best way he can, always willing to try new things. Today he serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the Hospital and Nursing School.
To be born as a human being is a great gift and to live as a human being, serving and supporting mankind while enjoying every moment is a greater gift. It calls for a very special attitude, clear vision, direction and purposeful sustained efforts to reach ones goal. It is possible and all we need are role models like Dr Hinohara to inspire us, and we can achieve greater things, surpassing our role model. Live life enjoying every moment and when you are happy and smiling you will make everyone around you happy.
Our life styles are changing as we attempt to adopt and change ourselves to be in tune with
technology and science. In the process, unknowingly or knowingly, we are neglecting our health.
Issues are often caused by sedentary life styles, imbalanced diet, limited exercise or no time allotted for one’s self. This is a concern now for all age groups from school-going youngsters to senior citizens. Stress, tension and the pressures of daily existence can be remedied with allopath pain relievers instantly, though the problems can surface again after a few days or sometimes can lie hidden to surface later in life.
Pranic healing and yoga have emerged successfully in our search for an effective alternative with no
side effects and can provide lasting cures. Pranic healing is an ancient science and art that utilises
the prana of life energy to heal the whole of the physical body. It involves manipulation of prana
and the bio plasma matter of the patient’s body. The life energy, or prana, is utilised to accelerate
the healing process by increasing the rate of bio chemical reactions involved in the natural healing
process. The benefits are many. It can help to give relief from headaches, gas problems, toothache,
muscle and joint pains, cough, cold, loose bowl movements and so on. Cures can be obtained in
matter of a few minutes.
After a course in pranic healing the patient is taught the practices of yoga to sustain the benefits
over a long time. We are equipped and prepared to face the rigours of the day. Yoga is based on
the belief that the body and breathing are intimately connected with the mind. It balances and
harmonises the body, mind and emotions. It is used as a tool to withdraw from the chaos of the
world to find total peace and quietitude.It reduces the recovery time from illness and helps to
develop a stress free mind which is calm and composed all the time. The benefits include increased
flexibility and energy, better coordination and a reduction of fatigue, to give a cheerful healthy life.
Dr Chandra Swaminathan realised the benefits and potentials of these two practices to provide
basic self-support to all in need and has equipped herself with the knowledge and practice over the
last two decades. She has helped many to recover from acute and sub acute problems. Chandra
provides one to one sessions, in most cases teaching the students in her centre at Chennai. As a
nutrition expert she modifies diet patterns to support a speedy recovery from illness. Chandra
says ‘Starving is no solution, but balanced foods are the answer”. She also recommends fresh fruits
and plenty of vegetables in balanced proportions in addition to small quantities of dry nuts like
almonds, badam, peanuts and walnuts every day. She emphasises to maintain correct fluid balances
with a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water every day in addition to fresh fruit juices.
People come to her from various age groups. School going children come with common issues such
as problems of cold, cough, wheezing and lack of concentration over weight issues. Women of
middle age come with problems of tension and stress, body pain and blood pressure and vertigo.
IT professionals commonly have problems pain in the neck, shoulder and back, lack of sleep and
appetite issues. Senior citizens come with headaches, body pain, joint pain, poor coordination and
reduced appetite. Dr Chandra evaluates each case and prepares a program for relief and recovery.
The success rate is so high that her services are sought after by many. This has been possible
because of her commitment to the cause and her sincere dedicated efforts. Her weekly program has a minimum of 30 sessions with patients. Dr Chandra’s motto is to bring cheer and smiles back to patients’ lives and this she does extremely well. She advises a routine of early morning walks followed by a session of 30 minutes of yoga every day. She says start living for yourselves, take care of your body and the body will take care of you. Dr Chandra can reached through email here.
Rice, Wheat, Dhal, oils, sugar and kerosene are some of the items offered through ration shops operated by the government all over the state of Tamil Nadu for eligible ration card holders every month. Among these items Rice up to 20 Kilograms is offered free of cost, while the other items are on a subsidised price which is up to 20- 30 percent lower when compared to market prices. It is an immensely popular scheme among the strata of lower and middle income groups as the quality of the products are fairly good and we are not at the mercy of black marketers who hoard the items during short supply or jack up the prices as they please.
I have some very special reasons as to why I go and collect my ration every month even though it means some hard ships in commuting and waiting. It’s the happiness I get when I see joy and cheer in the faces of other ration receivers. The fact is a family of four can collect most of their food requirements by spending less than Rs 500 and they can get two square meals a day, not having to depend on anything else, the only other need being vegetables and cooking gas or kerosene stoves which they have. They collect their allotments happily and with the help of their family members and friends carry these full bags to their home. I see their children and sometimes working men coming along to assist the wives or elderly mother and fathers and there are no words to describe the feeling reflected in their faces.
I have evolved my own way of redistributing the goodies I get. While we keep only 25 percent of the rice and some dhal the rest is given away to the staff /maids/security of our apartment in rotation. I am happy that I am able to do this for them without their asking for the same. I believe firmly that we all have a responsibility to do all we can to bring cheer and joy in the lives of others around us, apart from our own family members. We have to give back to the society a percentage of all we have back to society which has helped us to earn it. The joy of giving without any fan fare or promotion is very special because it is this act which can give real inner peace and joy. Above all we have to be grateful to the Almighty who has empowered us to do these things. We should never ever forget all the have-nots who suffer wanting food, clothing and shelter and health. We should keep doing whatever we can within our capacity and ability, whenever we can where ever we are. I would go one step further and add all living forms-plants and animals also in this list, for we as human beings are the chosen ones who have this added responsibility also entrusted upon us. We will then be on the road to realise and experience a great treasure – the treasure of pure joy, happiness and peace unlimited. After all what is a life without a purpose and what is a purpose without your living and experiencing it. So go ahead for sky is the limit.
We have many birds who make their attendence every day from all three open directions in our flat.
In the kitchen window southern side we have kept few earthen pots for grains, cooked Rice, crunchies/Murukku and water. Crows and pigeons come for their fill. While crows prefer Rice, crunchies, Idli/Chappathi/Bread, it is Ragi/Thenai grains for pigeons. The male pigeons always manage to bring in one or two new girl friends and they all eat very systematically like a military drill and polish every grain. I also notice that they do a prayer and pradashanam to lord for their daily meal. A very good habbit!
The Mynas occupy the southern bedroom space above the Air Conditioner cover and below the concrete rain barrier. They bring in thier own food and all kinds of dry material for their nest which they build as a team of two with the males doing all the work, and the female bird ordering/making all the noise till she is satisfied.
The Sparrows build their nests in the bamboo sunshade we have put in the western balcony. They are very active between September and March. Very hard workers, keeping their beak sharply polished for use at all times. Protecive of their offsprings, they manage to get some food for them and feed them first and sing happily afterwards.
The Pigeons come on the northen side of my bed room window above the Air Conditioner. They create a racket with their kur kur kur in the wrong time of the afternoon when I try to get some shut eye. They manage to get all wooden pieces, straw and dry matter to build a tightly knitted nest. Like a good samaritan I permit then to a certain extent. What to do Geetha will not permit me to drive them away.
To live a spiritual life one need not run away from the world nor blindly follow unsolicited ritualistic suggestion, but we should learn the art of spiritual living. Every one irrespective of circumstances can acquire this valuable skill. Take small steps like regular prayer, meditation, reading, thinking positive and pure thoughts, working unselfishly for the good of others in addition to yourself, give a helping hand to the needy to bring a smile and cheer in to their lives, continuously upgrade your skills and knowledge can be some of the starters.
Start enjoying the beautiful and wonderful happenings that occur around you and realise you are also part of the same. Start your day with a smile thanking God for another chance given to you to live a beautiful day among his creations. Enjoy the rising early morning sun in all its glory, song of the birds and bees, fragrance of the blooms, freshness of growing plants and trees, the clean misty morning air – the list can be endless and it is given to you and up to you to experience all. And we pretend we have no time amidst our stereo typed routine, not realising that when we want to it may be too late.
Sri Ramakrishna said that we should make time for some solitude and analyse your mind and motives, fears and anxieties, try and develop firm faith in God and resolve to experience His presence everywhere and in all his creations. Occasional withdrawal from active life will reinvigorate and strength our deepest core and help us to live life effectively and purposefully. So long as the heart of a man is directed towards God, we can be lost in the midst of wealth, position, power and worldliness and they can not affect you. Peace and bliss is what we create within us and should not be subjected to external influences.
Start practicing and you will never regret, for you are on the road to realise peace, good health and lasting happiness. The best part of it is that it is all within your reach all the time and nothing can stop you. So why delay. Go full steam ahead.
We strive to find fulfillment in our lives as human beings, to lead a life filled with bliss. To achieve this we select the spiritual path. How ever as we go about it we are bound to face both favorable and unfavorable circumstances in the course of the journey. Should we abandon our pursuit because of that?
When circumstances start becoming favorable you, it shows you succeeded in this path a little bit. How ever if we start facing adversities, then take it as a sure sign that you need to double your efforts / tread/ this path with greater speed. When troubles and obstacles come our way, it perhaps God wants to establish us quickly in our divine nature of serenity. On the other hand if pleasures and comforts come our way, it might mean that God knows our weakness [that we are devoted to pleasures] and so he gives us these toys, His way of testing you.
How ever we should be very careful to accept the toys as they come, but don’t get carried away by them. The point is, take care that the toys do not take control over you, becoming the focal point of your life. Accept them as gifts from God, receive it as a Prasad, then do not eat it alone, but distribute to others as well
Similarly when you are blessed with competence or comforts, make good use of them in the service of God. Like wise when faced with obstacles or difficulties just tide over them, and get back to your serene nature. Such a devotee quickly succeeds in his spiritual endeavours.Do not become bloated in favorable circumstance, nor loose heart in adverse conditions. Both Happiness and sorrow will invariably pass way .Irrespective of the nature of the present situation, you must always reiterate in you mid that this too, will pass over. Keep telling your mind that, Even this too shall pass away” .This will quieten your mind and gradually eliminate your sense of attachment or hatred
Make your vision divine and see the world as an expression of divinity. Become aware that your wealth, power and property will not accompany you on your final journey. It is only your intrinsic nature that will accompany you after your death. Therefore always try to elevate your nature. let it touch the loftiest heights of sublimity ..Once the sun of knowledge rises on the horizon of your life, then the mind ,and the illusions will be destroyed.Affilictions like lust ,greed ,anger will dissipate and disappear
They alone, whom He loves/are by Him tried and put to test/the treaures of His benign grace/Does He shower on them under this pretext
When we reflect and look back, we may ask some candid questions like “is there such a thing called an ideal life? and if so, how does one attain it?”. If destiny is in our hands how does one logically explain the events that happen in our lives?
The path we have travelled is evidence enough to show that destiny is not in one’s hand. It would seem that some super power was (and is) orchestrating each and every event in our lives. If you try to analyze and quantify how much of what happened was within your control then we can possibly see it clearly.
Many of our attempts and actions to change the course of things may not come through the way we would have wanted. We surrender and accept the presence of a higher power, unseen but existing. We accept that delay is not denial and patiently wait for the right time to come. Till this, we can at best accept the fact that a life of human birth is given to us to live a life of peace, compassion and a strong willingness to support and help the needy (human, animal and plant life).
When change happens we also see and realize that it makes an amazing, fantastic difference to our lives. The resultant satisfaction is immense and unimaginable. These things also happen at the least expected moments. What resulted ultimately may be beyond logic or rational thinking. Is it all then a matter of destiny? Answers to such questions can come when we search within ourselves. Peace and salvation can be our creation. Yoga and meditation help achieve these with single minded devotion and pursuit.
If material prosperity is considered as the only yardstick for happiness, then at some stage we will realize money alone does not provide all the answers. Whilst money and wealth are a necessity to support us and our family, the real satisfaction of having money comes only in the right earning and giving. We need to instill a quality to give a proportion of the earnings back to the pillars which supported you to achieve it. We are also duty bound to give back a portion back to the society which helped you to earn it. We then graduate to the next stage.
We need to accept the fact that there is a soul in every living form and all our offers of help and support should be extended with love and humility. We will then realize the true meaning and significance of charity. We then become thankful to the Almighty who has bestowed us with the ability and means to support the needy. Under these circumstances, de-linking all material achievements from happiness do not seem realistic or correct.
Going to pilgrimage and travelling to different places of worship, shrines and sacred locations does give one joy. We enjoy meeting, learning and knowing from several enlightened souls. Vibrant chanting of bajans can give us a freedom feeling and a sense of joy. We live and enjoy the moment and enjoy reflecting on it later.
There is nothing called total peace or salvation. It is a state of mind. It is said that in an average human mind over 50,000 thoughts and emotions come and go each day. Just let them be, do not engage them, especially the disturbing negative ones. Never recognise or get difficult with them. They will go just as they came. Look at the mind like an ocean, and the rise and fall of waves as the thoughts and emotions of the mind. The ocean is not disturbed by them. Similarly our mind can slip away from the thought faster than you have realised its departure. We take trouble to keep in shape with exercise and visits to the gym, spending considerable time and money so why not consider some time for the wellness of our minds too? An approach to tone both body and mind will be in everyone’s interest. Dedicate all the goodness that accrue from this to your dear and near ones, your teacher, your elderly and those to which you are indebted to in your life.
Peace, love and joy can be your creation to become part of you, for you and for others around you.
Confidence comes with knowledge. Confidence does not mean being rash and aggressive. It means being able to deal with situations and to be able to talk to people in a polite, assertive way. The following are some of the suggested tips to boost your confidence:
- Confidence begets confidence, meaning if you speak with confidence it instills confidence in people around you.
- If you are afraid to speak in public, practice in front of a mirror, learn a speech by heart and speak on every opportunity that comes your way
- Maybe some people will laugh at you initially but just continue, learn from your mistakes; soon you will become a confident speaker.
- Be comfortable with who you are and develop skills that you admire in other people. It could be an ability to organise events, the ability to write or to make people laugh. It is a rare gift.
- Remember the confident picture you see in people has been cultivated with care and definitely with hard work.
- Do not associate with people who pull you down. There are many such sorts who are ready to stop you and hinder your progress.
- We are surrounded by people with aptitude and attitude both. People who are ready to give you suggestions are ready to advise you too. The wise saying about free advice is to pass it on.
- You must heed wisdom, to people who are close to you and people who love you and care for you.
- Remember the saying “fools rush where angels fear to tread”, which means taking a step impulsively can be dangerous. Be confident but not fool hardy.
- Believe in yourself and in what you do. This will definitely lead you to success. When you are confident it will show in your words, expressions and mannerisms.
- When you start on a chosen path, you will have hundreds of people following you. Confidence is also humbling.
- Work on it and enjoy the difference, you have to experience it to believe it.
Every year, millions of devotees proceed on a yatra (pilgrimage) to Sabari Hills in Kerala during the months of November to January to worship Ayyappa.They practice a rigorous self cleansing program for 41 Days prior to the trip which is normally undertaken as group under the guidance of a senior member aptly called Guruswamy. A devotee takes a vow and prays either in a temple or at home to honor this commitment wearing the prescribed dress and mala (garland), going through both the mental and physical preparations during this period. It is a very special journey. The route is taken by walking through five hills for 4-5 days before reaching the base camp in the foot hills of Pamba. One climbs another 11 kilometres to reach the temple. The devotee then offers the Irumudi (offerings he has carried in a special bag) to the Lord whilst chanting his name Swamiyee Saranam Ayyappa (Prostrations to Swami Ayyappa).
During the preparatory phase all such devotees are called Ayyappas. A daily routine involves prayers both morning and evening, a visit to a temple close by, chanting of the sarana slogam and attending to group Bhajans (prayers) conducted in devotee houses in the neighborhood. The rules of vegetarian food, no smoking or alcohol, abstinence from sex, simple lifestyle, acceptance of your fellow human beings as equal and treating every living form of Gods with love and care are strictly followed. During such a self imposed programme one can feel genuine fellow feeling and empathy which is one of the greatest effects of the programme. A devotee attends to his other routines, such as his office work, as usual.
Ayyappa accepts all equally and expects all devotees to adhere to this belief. There is no difference or differentiation between people and therefore his temple accepts all. The special seasons are during Makara Jyothi and Makaravilakku, seasons in December and January. The temple is also kept open for a week every month. The lord is known by many names: Dharmasastha, Sabari Girisha, Sathgurunath, Manikanda. His yoga asana chinmudra posture confirms his protection, care and concern for all living beings in the universe. He is known to protect and come to the rescue of his devotees. During the yatra he is worshipped in five temples located at Achankovil, Aariyan Kavu, Kulathu Puzza, Khandamali and Sabarimalai.
The holy 18 steps leading to the temple is a great experience. His holy darsan remains in the mind of the devotee for a long time wanting and urging him to take another trip during the next season, so strong and powerful is the effect. This faith and belief helps in driving away negative thoughts and brings in positive vibrations to the betterment of all.
When working on computers for a long time, many of us may experience dizziness, headaches and strained eyes. We can also get shoulder aches, stiff joints and pain in the neck when we work on computers for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week, as in the case of IT professionals.
These signs should be recognised early. Precautions and preventive measures should be taken to counteract these problems. They will not cost you anything besides a few minutes of your time, but if you ignore the warnings of the body the chances of developing serious health problems are far greater later on. So the old adage that prevention is better than cure is really valid here.
A few healthy tips:
- Since long hours are spent in air-conditioned rooms we tend to get dehydrated. We tend to forget how needed it is to drink when the environment is cold. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
- Coffee, tea, soft drinks are no substitute for water. On the contrary, they are dehydrating and can put strain on the kidneys.
- Every 30 to 40 minutes take a walk around the office, so the back and eyes get some rest and the legs some circulation.
- Try to look at natural greenery outside the window or at something blue. Green and blue are soothing colors and will cool your eyes. Blink as often as you can.
- Make a cup out of your palm and cover your eyes
- Splash your eyes with cold water when you get up or when you feel the strain. With this simple step you can avoid irritation, redness and allergies.
- If you are using spectacles, wash them at least once a day
- Lift your shoulders and keep them up for 10 seconds, then bring them down for 10 seconds.
- Throw your head back for 10 seconds and bring it back up for 10 seconds.
- Bring your head sideways to the count of five and back straight to the count of five
- Rotate your shoulders 5 times clockwise and anti clockwise 5 times. You can do this with your wrists too.
- Periodically straighten your back for 10 seconds and relax it for 10 seconds.
These exercises encourage circulation in the joints and can remove stiffness and pain.