Misanthropester reviewed Ilchi Lee’s latest book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.
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Ilchi Lee has made a career of leading others in meditation and guiding them through his popular new age books on how to change their perspectives on health and aging. With I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years, readers encounter another self-help guide geared towards prompting like-minded people, those interested in holistic living and spirituality, to revise their notions of longevity. Lee patiently and convincingly speaks to his readers leading them to reorient themselves towards the idea of living beyond our out-dated cultural expectations.
It makes sense to re-think aging. We all live at a time where three to four generations are all vying for space and to be heard thanks to our modern standard of living having increased our longevity. Lee tasks us to stop thinking with a mid-20th century mindset of what is ‘old’ and how aging work so to embrace a 21st century understanding embracing the fact that many and most now live well beyond the age most retire, 65:
“bodies in their 50s and 60s are incomparably more youthful and stronger now than when our parents passed through those ages. Additionally, most of us retire in a much better that of health and finances than previous generations did.”
In fact, many will go on to live twenty to forty years beyond retirement, yet we lack the infrastructure let alone the mindset to accommodate this.
It is reorienting our mindset where Lee puts his focus. His questions are easy to ask but difficult to answer because they are deeply existential, ‘What if you had more time? Would it make a difference in how you lived?’ For Lee, answering these questions comes down to an exercise of will power to actively decide to improve and elongate one’s life to completion (Lee’s euphemism for death) as well a kind of self-reliance many libertarian minded Americans will find pleasing: “focus on your own self-care and to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on healthcare institutions. By using your own body to heal your body on a daily basis, you can reduce or eliminate your need for medical treatment.” This thinking, of course, abuts science-based the vast majority of us take to approach to health, but it is safe to say the audience for Lee’s book is of the evangelical spiritual sort thus rendering this objection moot.
The emphasis on the power of decision making and self-reliance leads adherents of Lee’s methodology and meditative practice to a greater sense of purpose. We see this in the personal anecdotes Lee shares of his followers and his own stories. Perhaps the most valuable aspect to Lee’s work is that it is sensitive to the need to have one’s body and mind working in unison rather than against each other or in competition:
“As long as we live, we should realize our creative nature through unending self-cultivation. We should work to renew ourselves every day until that final moment when our hearts and brains stop working.”
I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years is definitely inspirational literature, however it does offer some pragmatic advice individuals can take up and see practical results. Readers looking to expand their self-help, spirituality or inspirational library will certainly find this book an excellent addition. Readers who are interested in creating and nurturing a mind/body healthy consciousness using holistic methods will find Lee’s work compelling.