In Eastern philosophical systems like Buddhism, Taoism, and the Vedic traditions of India, longevity is viewed as a meaningful goal in a spiritual life.

by Frances Lefkowitz

Seek Peace
“Abiding joy comes to those who still the mind,” observes the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita, and quieting an overly busy brain with meditation is perhaps the most common path to peace.

The practice comes in many forms, including chanting or mantra techniques, moving meditations such as tai chi and yoga, slow walking, or just being still. “Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly in prayerfulness,” says Rose. “The method that you’ll practice is the one that’s best for you.”

The serenity and focus you learn in meditation don’t evaporate once your practice is over. Ideally, you’ll carry them with you, so that caring for a child, grocery shopping, or commuting can become forms of meditation. Eventually you’ll experience a deeper sense of calm and contentment.

Tibetan Buddhists have a tradition of chanting longevity prayers dedicated to revered figures, which can be recited like mantras. Saying the words aloud focuses mind and body; it also helps bring the devotional meaning into consciousness. This Long-Life Prayer is one of many composed for Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Once you feel centered, repeat the prayer aloud for a few minutes:

Gang Ri Ra We Kor Wai Zhing Kham Dir (In this pure realm, surrounded by snow mountains)

Pen Dang De Wa Ma Lu Jung Wai Ne (Is the source of complete happiness and benefit)

Chen Re Zig Wa Ten Dzin Gyam Tso Yi (All-seeing one, the Dalai Lama)

Zhab Pe Si Tai Bar Du Ten Gyur Chik (May you stand firm until the end of existence)