“He's not concerned with yesterday
He knows constant change is here today
He's noble enough to know what's right
But weak enough not to choose it
He's wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it
He’s a new world man.”
My teacher and classmate, Master Paul B. Gallagher R.I.P., taught a two-day course called "9 Taoist Practices to Keep Spring Eternal." Eternal spring alludes to good health, abundant energy, and youthful vigor. I took this course twice in Boston and once in Western Massachusetts.
With Master Paul's passing, I've been thinking a lot about him and all the great lessons I had with him. As I was reminiscing about his 9 Practices, I remembered a talk we had in Asheville last year, where I told him about my ideas for some advice for young men in these rapidly changing times. He loved my ideas and encouraged me to write them down.
So, if you are a young man, with your whole life ahead of you, possessing abundant energy, with millions of dreams and visions, here are 9 pieces of advice I have to offer you.
1. Foundations of Health
Know how to take care of your S.E.L.F. Sleep good. Eat good. Live good. Feel good.
Sleep the right amount for your inner and outer health. Don't skip sleep or try to get by. Naps don't count! Eat good, organic, healthy food. You are what you eat! Live a good life, one that serves you and others. How you feel, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, is the determining factor about your daily life. If one of these doesn't feel good, fix it. The Tao Te Ching says to take care of a problem when it is small!
2. Let’s talk about sex
Learn Taoist and Tantic sexual practices so you can conserve your vital energy. Learn about your fundamental creative energy source, and how to nurture and cherish it. Learn how to give great pleasure to your lover, without depleting yourself. Learn to think first, not be led by your lusts and desires. Learn to master this wild running horse you are sitting on, one that is galloping at full speed with no saddle, reins, or riding crop!
3. Martial arts
Only if you are capable of great violence, yet discipline and restrain it, are you a peaceful person. A weak person is not peaceful, they are ineffectual. Martial arts helps you learn about power, your power, and how to manage power. Real martial arts teaches more than punching and kicking, it teaches discipline, morals, control, philosophy, patience, and social connection. Join a dojo, now!
Master money or it will master you. Read books on prosperity, anything by Napoleon Hill, Robert Kiyosaki, Randy Gage, or Tony Robbins to name a very few. Get an accountant. Save money. Invest in your future. Learn the basics of money, economics, taxes, and finances. Use money as energy and NOT the source of worth or pleasure. By land, they're not making anymore of it!
S.B.N.R. Spiritual but not religious. Whether you are in an organized religion or not, you need to pursue your spirituality. In the trinity of body, mind, and spirit, spirit is the part of you that's not thinking or moving. Soon you will realize you are going to die. Your spiritual quest, the holy grail quest, all of our spiritual seeking, is about answering three questions, and living the answers. Where did I come from? Where do I go when I die? What am I doing here now?
6. Healing and maintenance
A Chinese medical teaching says food and sleep without exercise leads to disease. Move it or lose it, motion is lotion, rest is rust! I really don't care what form of exercise you do, if you run, lift weights, swim, hike, do yoga, dance, or practice martial arts etc. Just do something!
Take care of your body both inside and outside. Wash regularly, groom, buy nice clothes. Invest in bodywork like massage, Thai yoga, hot stones, etc. Go to legitimate body workers and skip the "happy ending places," they'll just drain you of energy and money. Go to saunas, take cold showers, and bathe in hot springs. Try alternative, as well as conventional, medicine and healing if you are sick or injured. Remember, sleep, rest, and time are three doctors available to you!
7. Read a book
Pick up a physical book, read it, learn, and enjoy. Forget kindle, it only adds more light to your overtaxed pineal gland. Go to a library, or a bookstore, buy new or used books. Pass them on when you are done. Ask someone who you admire, respect, and imitate, what their three favorite books are, and read them! Read before bed, read before work, read at lunch, read on vacation, read man!
8. Purpose, passion, pursuit
Three super important P's! They give your life meaning and will get you through stagnation and dark days. Find out what you are passionate about. What turns you on? What are you obsessed with? What do you think about all the time? What is your purpose in life? You personally. Why are you here? What have you come to do, or learn, or change, or invent, or discover, or reveal, or, or, or...
When you find your passion, it becomes your purpose. Or when you find your purpose, it becomes your passion. Finally, pursue, chase, run after, woo, seduce, investigate, hunt, track, and reach for your goals, dreams, and desires! Live your purpose, passion, and pursuit daily, and you will not only have a full, productive, and rewarding life, you will inspire others too.
9. Mentors, masters, wizards, and guides
On the journey of the three P's, you will need a teacher or guide. Learn from those who have gone before you. Learn from their mistakes and get the lessons without the pain. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of pain in your own lessons! Living masters, dead masters, fictional masters are all at your fingertips to learn from. What, nobody learns from Yoda?!
Confucius said leaning and teaching are like a table cloth, The teacher holds one corner and the student holds the other three. Imitate your teacher, do what they say and do. Assimilate their lessons, understand their lessons and get them inside you. Innovate, break away from the master, become a rebel, and make your own way, which is a combination of their lessons, your experience, your insights, and your ability.
OK young man, I'll leave you with this thought. Life is time, time is life. When you read the dates on a tombstone, the birth year and the death year are not important. The dash between the years is what is truly important, it's your life. Don't waste time or you waste your life!Did I mention books? Here are five to start with.