In modern times, we are pretty good at keeping records and tracking the age of people. Yet, every once in a while, someone will make a claim of incredible longevity and we have no records to prove or disprove it. This is the case with Li Ching-Yuen, who, as International Inside wrote, “was widely reported to have lived 256 years.”
This, if true, is an incredible feat. There have recently been verified claims of people living well past 100, but two centuries is incredible. Let’s examine the facts.
There are two competing claims. One puts Li Ching-Yuen’s age at 256 and another at 197. Whichever one it was, both are still amazingly long for a human to live. How could he have lived this long? Is it even possible?
People from the time reported that Li was a well-known herbalist. His journey in search of the very best herbs took him as far as Thailand, hundreds of miles from his home in Qijiang Xian, China. It is thought that these herbs, which were a part of his special diet, provided a vitality that extended his life. He ate leafy greens, berries, and rice wine, according to The Vintage News. This provided him with lots of antioxidants and plenty of the vitamins and minerals that the human body needs.
Along with this, Li Ching-Yuen lived a very calm, stress-free life. He underwent a spiritual journey when he was younger and was able to learn the art of meditation and breathing. He continued to practice these disciplines throughout his life and is quoted as saying: “Retain a calm heart, sit like a turtle, walk swiftly like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog.” This was his formula for a long and healthy life.
Another practice that contributed to his incredible longevity was his practice of martial arts. This gave him the vital exercise needed to stay calm and maintain proper muscle and bone density.
Ultimately, Li Ching-Yuen lived a much simpler lifestyle than most of us do today. He ate clean, simple nutrients that nourished his body in the proper way. He exercised so that he could stay mobile, and he focused on living a life that was free of crippling stress and worry. His breathing and meditation practices allowed him to eliminate the anxieties of life and keep him centered on his own vitality.
He eventually died in 1933, having been celebrated by the Chinese government throughout his life. Many people uncovered documents about past birthday celebrations, and stories were spread about old men who knew him as a man when they were just boys themselves. His legacy grew and continues to live on today.
In this modern world, few people have the discipline or even the ability to live such a life. Surviving often requires working a tough job that brings lots of stress, and it can be difficult to get healthy, all-natural foods. Instead of exercising or moving, we often spend the entire day sitting behind our computer screens at work or at home.
So, is it true? Most people find it hard to believe that Li Ching-Yuen could live such a long and prosperous life. Parhlo World reports that he was content before he passed away and told those closest to him, “I have done all that I have to do in this world.” Few can say that now in good conscience. Surely, with his healthy, stress-free lifestyle, it is very possible that he lived such a long life.
Whether it is true or not, people today can certainly learn a lesson from Li Ching-Yuen. A simpler lifestyle filled with natural food and a dedication to living stress-free is transformative. This man was able to unlock a part of humanity’s capabilities, and he didn’t even have modern medicine to keep him going. Our bodies and lives are much more amazing than we can imagine, and Li Ching-Yuen will go down in history as a testament to that fact.