Buddha, Virgil, Aristotle and Mark Twain: intersection where health meets philosophy

For many, an inspirational quote can redirect our internal dialogues we hold within ourselves and advance us forward on the path of spiritual/physical wellness.

Today I am sharing inspirational wellness quotes I gathered from philosophers and poets from centuries past. Their words have been passed on for generations because of their truth and simplicity in describing concepts that are profoundly complex. The 3 concepts in these citations form a cornerstone of the Training Table precepts.

Staying on the path of wellness is not an easy trail to follow; even the 20 something year old leading yoga class, or the muscled-up personal trainer, or that perfect, pretty, petite mini-neighbor down the block; all struggle to stay on a path of wellness. Seeking out quotes and reflecting on them can help you every bit as much as the persuasive nudging of a personal trainer or coach.

I.                     I will start with Buddha whose teachings are profoundly embedded in my journey these 66 years.

                To keep the body in good health is a duty…
            Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and CLEAR-                   Gautama Buddha

I like the concept of wellness as a duty, a moral obligation to ourselves and to our loved ones rather than an optional choice.  Fitness and health are not only about one's vanity and quest for perfected attraction (although they are in fact a great by-product of this anti-aging path) but in the same way we feel a duty to protect our children and loved ones, we can only protect them if our mind is strong and clear. The pathway then,  is to work on our bodies so that we can in fact take care of them. We should consider tracking and honing our health as a serious, even honor-bound obligation.

II.                  The Greatest wealth is health – Virgil

We can stay happier on our path if we keep in mind Rome’s greatest poet-philosopher, Virgil.  Sometimes when I feel envious of my friends who married into greater wealth than I, or get house-envy when I visit friends and family, I come back to Virgil’s words of reverence and exaltation of the ideal man, the true leader who prizes health as the supreme wealth. I do realize and say to myself I have fantastic health and mobility, and I am grateful.  “I may not be rich but I’m a billionaire where it counts.” Intentional reminders of the value of health, help us stay on the path and appreciate the true wealth and power that good health affords us. I can wake up on any given day and it can be taken away from me in an instant. Health is wealth is a great mantra to internalize; appreciate the wealth while I have it. I need to remind myself daily. 

III.                We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit- Aristotle

I love this quote with its Aristotelian logical argument.  Aristotle, known as The Father of Western Philosophy in ancient Greece during the Classical period wrote frequently about logic, mathematics, metaphysics, biology, ethics, politics as well as the arts. While this is not a pointedly health or wellness quote, his logical argument is intrinsic in all that we do. 

Repetition and excellence

Whatever it is we choose to do (develop a healthy lifestyle such as The Training Table is dedicated to) we can not wake up and exert a great effort for a day, a week, a month; we have to do a few elements or steps and do them over and over until we build a level of excellence. Ultimately we have to keep the repetition routine in play until we no longer are physically able. Give me the basic tools and information, I will take those fundamentals and repeat and apply them every day that I can, therefore I will lead a life of excellence. 

Mark Twain

And finally, nobody says that leading a healthy life style is easy-or that we are perfect. I will end with a tongue-in -cheek quote that let's me laugh at my personal stumbles and setbacks along the path of leading a healthy and virtuous life. 

IV.                The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d 'druther not. -Mark Twain