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Excerpted from Grow Younger, Live Longer by Deepak Chopra. Copyright © 2001 by Deepak Chopra. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Leonardo da Vinci was drawing sketches in his sixties, Leo Tolstoy was writing novels into his seventies, and Michelangelo was sculpting in his eighties."

  Deepak Chopra, Grow Younger, Live Longer, Part 6

A good example of this is a friend of ours who was diagnosed with AIDS over fifteen years ago. He was close to death when he made the choice to change his life. He started meditating, began eating a healthy diet, and made the commitment to eliminate toxins from his life. Fifteen years later he is feeling completely well and has undetectable levels of the HIV virus in his blood. When we first met him, he was an anomaly, but now we know many more people like him. Our theory of consciousness predicts that if we reach a critical mass of people who have the same experience, then it will become true for everyone.

We believe that these same principles apply to human aging. If we look at recent historical times we see that the average life expectancy has shifted remarkably. The average life span of a human being during the Roman Empire was twenty-eight years. The average life span of a human being born in the Western world at the beginning of the twentieth century was forty-nine years. Although in the past, high rates of infant mortality influenced human life expectancy, the fastest-growing segment of the American population today is over the age of ninety years.

A baby girl born in America today is expected to live just less than eighty years; an infant boy has a life expectancy of almost seventy-four. Historically, there are many people who have lived to ripe old ages and have made major contributions to civilization. Leonardo da Vinci was drawing sketches in his sixties, Leo Tolstoy was writing novels into his seventies, and Michelangelo was sculpting in his eighties. Winston Churchill, with his fondness for cigars and Scotch, was active and productive until his death at age ninety. As our collective consciousness embraces the belief that we can have the biology of youth with the wisdom of experience, it will become the pervasive experience.

The Science of Aging

Recognizing that human beings do not age at the same rate, scientists have described three different ways to characterize a person's age. The first is chronological age, which is what your birth certificate says. Your chronological age measures the number of rotations Earth has performed on its axis and around the sun since you left your mother's womb. Your chronological age cannot be altered through mind/body approaches, but it has the least relevance to how you feel or function.

Biological age is a measurement of how well your physiological systems are functioning. It is the most important component of the aging process. Your biological age is calculated in reference to an average population of people who have the same chronological age that you have. Values for almost every biochemical and physiological process can be determined for different age groups. Known as the biological markers, or biomarkers, of aging, these include blood pressure, amount of body fat, auditory and visual thresholds, hormonal levels, immune function, temperature regulation, bone density, skin thickness, cholesterol levels, blood sugar tolerance, aerobic capacity, and metabolic rate (see the table on page 18). Once you know your results, you can compare them with the group average and see if your biomarkers are older or younger than your chronological peers. Your biological age can be very different from your chronological age. A fifty-year-old who takes good care of herself can have the biology of a thirty-five-year-old. Alternatively, a fifty-year-old who has not been attentive to his health may have the biology of men many years older. Whatever your biological age is today, we believe we can alter it by implementing the changes recommended in this book.

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