Extending the lifespan to the eternal has been human beings' ideal and pursuit from the time when man had the self-consciousness. This fine ideal and desire is revealed and reflected in religious conceptions, literature and arts from every nationality all over the world.
China, the cradle of Taoism, is a nation with brilliant civilization and long history. Chinese nation, known for its emphasis on life, has longed for the long lifespan and immortality. Many people began to sedulously probe the secret for eternal life from the time of ancient Qin Dynasty. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Chinese people have created and invented various ways with different efficacy to extend the lifespan. The colorful regimen culture reveals the advanced sciences and outstanding intelligence of Chinese nation. The precious heredity of history and culture is worth exploring and utilizing by us.
Taoism is the native traditional religion of China, whose main features is pursuing long lifespan and practicing austerity. Taoism is also a kind of religion that loves life and abhors death. Taoism concerns most about the protecting and prolonging the life as well as longing for the eternal life.
During the founding period of Taoism, Book on Peace and Tranquility and other ancient books showed a tendency to pursue eternal life. The first volume of Taoist Deposits also reveals this kind of meaning. Taoism considers that human being is the noblest creature of all the creatures, and human being regards the life as the most precious. So owing to this concept, Taoism advocates that human being should spare no efforts to cherish the life and promise longevity. Taoism not only carries forward the good tradition of this culture but also puts it into his own creed and practice.
Taoism, consisting of two big parts, never-die belief and regimen ways, assuring "my life is up to me instead of God", has always been pursuing the ways leading to the eternal life. Just with the support of this positive attitude, numerous Taoists have probed the means severely for two thousand years. There are many regimen means in Taoism such as holding the breath, inhalation and exhalation, directing the obstructed place, massage, sex and so on, most of which do effect if they are done in proper way. Professionals and scholars in the fields of medicine and regimen home and abroad have acknowledged all of these regimens. So, if there was neither the firm belief of "my life is up to me instead of God", nor Taoist persevering practice, the heredity of Chinese culture could not have left such a special regimen idea and means. So Taoist regimen is not only occupying an important position in Chinese regimen, but also a treasure house to be exploited.
The real Taoists in the ancient times could control the heaven of the earth, understand the Yin and Yang and breathe the vigor of them, defend the Gods independently and always have muscle. So, they could live forever without end, this is why they could do that.
There are the best men in middle Ages, who knew all the material, were harmonious with Yin and Yang and followed the four times (i.e. following and adjusting the four times, nature regiment), above the common people, concentrated on all their mind, traveled between the sky and the earth, listened and saw around him and in the distance, which were good for health and longevity. (i.e. living in the seclusion to practise the three precious things of life- refinement, spirit and mind, so , practicing spirit and then refinement and spirit are both enough, practicing spirit to change into the mind and then spirit is enough and the mind is refreshed,. The good mind can bring about miraculous functions, until the longevity of will and live-forever), which should be owned to the real Taoists.
Besides, there is a sacred person who gets along very well with the nature and abides all the nature laws. He can moderate his hobby and desire. He has no vicious mind in Universe; meanwhile he never does things out of the world and never follows the others blindly. Outside he is not tired; inside he has no bothering things. Often he regards happiness as his task and self-satisfaction as his award. Then his body strength and strong mind never leave him, so he can live a long life.
Human being is called the child of the combination of the heaven and the earth, the production of Yin and Yang's change. He will die when his mind and spirit are used up. And spirit comes from mind, and idea comes from spirit. so, idea, mind and spirit are the arbiters of one's birth and death, success and failure. They are called the three precious things of life.
From the ancient to present, the people who understand the mystery and know the secret of nature in the world are innumerable. However, all nature laws come into one that it is not good to pay more attention to practice refinement. The nature regimen is one of the ancient regimen. And it follows the nature change law of four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and keeps on the practice of raw food as tonic, taking exercises to keep healthy, rest for refreshment and husbanding one's energy and so on. It complies with the regimen of fostering the three precious things, namely, life- refinement, spirit and mind. It is the gem of Taoist culture, also the ladder of the people who want to join the Taoism.
The three months in spring is time to renew. Everything in nature is full of energy. The energy in human body is also sprouting. So in Spring, one should put emphasis on"sprouting energy": regulate the life style, that is, go to bed when it is getting dark and get up early in the morning, have a walk in dawn and make every part of the body relaxed, in order to make oneself feel pleasant and in good spirits. One should be harmony with his surrounding and treat others honestly. This is what one should do in spring.
In summer, it is the time that everything is in blossom and flourishing, so the energy of human body becomes quite vigorous. One should conserve his growing energy. Go to bed when it gets dark and get up early in the morning; Try to keep a quiet mind and do not get cross easily; treat outside world with a heart full of love. In this way, "growing energy" can be considered.
The three months of autumn is time for harvest. It boasts good weather and pleasant mood. Everything is inclined to harvest, so it is the same with human energy. We should pay attention to maintaining harvesting energy, rest and getting up early . We had better regulate our living clock as the same as cocks, bear in mind to keep quiet and take in the energy; make sure that long energy is far from invasion.
In winter, it is time to hide. The weather gets colder and colder, and everything hides from being seen, so human energy should be hidden inward. So we should develop "hiding energy". Do not move in excess in case that Yang spirits are disturbed; sleep and get up early, pay attention to keep warm but do not sweat, otherwise it is easy to catch cold; keep a quiet mood and not to get wicked intentions ; be in a conscious state of satisfaction and happy.
In a word, "to conserve according to seasons" is an important way of cherishing and maintaining energy. Its aim is to make human body adapted to changes of four seasons. For example, on the day of the winter solstice, the sun is quite new. So one should make a bed against the northern wall of his bedroom in order to get in the energy of the sun. From the first day of the eighth month in lunar calendar, Yin gets stronger and one should warm his feet using mild fire in proper time and pay attention to keep the upper part of the body warm in case of catching cold. In this way, it can keep Yang behind and thin in the upper part of body so that it helps develop Yang and hide Yin. In cold winter, Yang is hidden inward, so one should not sweat in case that Yang leak out and do harm to health. The key point of maintaining energy is to protect Yang. If Yang is lost, longevity will be shorten and nothing can make up for it.
From above, we can see that: Yin and Yang of four seasons is the root of the myriad creatures in the world. Therefore, sacred people try to maintain Yang in spring and summer to comply with the regularity. Myriad creatures start from and end up with its growth. If the regularity is disobeyed, its root is destroyed and it will die. So, Yin Yang of the four seasons is the start and end of myriad creatures, the base of the life and death. If this is disobeyed, all disasters will come. While if it is obeyed, nothing can attack it, this is the very reason.
Thus sacred people cure the disease before they affect them the same as that they rule the society before it comes into disorder. The reason is that when one is already sick, then he gets treatment as the society is already in chaos, then get cured, they are just like to dig well to find water after one gets thirsty, and make the treatment only in great need, but all of them are too late. All the people should be cautious about this.