Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth – Part 1

Ancient Secret
of the
Fountain of Youth
Part One
Every man desires to live long;
but no man would be old.
— Jonathan Swift
One afternoon some years ago, I was sitting in the park reading the afternoon paper, when an elderly gentleman walked up and seated himself alongside me.  Appearing to be in his late sixties, he was gray and balding, his shoulders drooped, and he leaned on a cane as he walked.   Little did I know that from that moment, the whole course of my life would change forever.
It wasn’t long before the two of us were engaged in a fascinating conversation.  It turned out that the old man was a retired British Army officer, who had also served in the diplomatic corps for the Crown.  As a result, he had traveled at one time or another to virtually every corner of the globe.   And Colonel Bradford, as I shall call him though it is not his real name — held me spellbound with highly entertaining stories of his adventures.
When we parted, we agreed to meet again, and before long, a close friendship had developed between us.  Frequently, we got together at his place or mine for discussions and conversation that lasted late into the night.
On one of these occasions, it became clear to me that there was something of importance that Colonel Bradford wanted to talk about, but for some reason he was reluctant to do so.  I attempted to tactfully put him at ease, assuring him that if he wanted to tell me what was on his mind, I would keep it in strict confidence.  Slowly at first, and then with increasing trust, he began to talk.
While stationed in India some years ago, Colonel Bradford had from time to time come in contact with wandering natives from remote regions of the interior, and he had heard many fascinating stories of their life and customs.  One strange tale that particularly caught his interest was repeated quite a number of times, and always by the natives of a particular district.   Those from other districts seemed never to have heard of it.
It concerned a group of Lamas, or Tibetan priests who, according to the story, knew the secret of the “Fountain of Youth.”  For thousands of years, this extraordinary secret had been handed down by members of this particular sect.   And while they made no effort to conceal it, their monastery was so remote and isolated, they were virtually cut off from the outside world.
This monastery and its “Fountain of Youth” had become something of a legend to the natives who spoke of it.  They told stories of old men who mysteriously regained health, strength, and vigor after finding and entering the monastery.  But no one seemed to know the exact location of this strange and marvelous place.
Like so many other men, Colonel Bradford had become old at the age of 40, and since then had not been growing any younger.  The more he heard of this miraculous “Fountain of Youth,” the more he became convinced that such a place actually existed.  He began to gather information on directions, the character of the country, the climate, and other data that might help him locate the spot.  And once his investigation had begun, the Colonel became increasingly obsessed with a desire to find this “Fountain of Youth.”
The desire, he told me, had become so irresistible, he had decided to return to India and earnestly search for this retreat and its secret of lasting youth.  And Colonel Bradford asked me if I would join him in the search.
Normally, I would be the first to be skeptical of such an unlikely story.  But the Colonel was completely sincere.  And the more he told me of this “Fountain of Youth,” the more I became convinced that it could be true.  For a while, I was tempted to join the Colonel’s search.  But as I began to take practical matters into consideration, I finally sided with reason and decided against it.
As soon as Colonel Bradford had left, I began to doubt whether I had made the right decision.  To reassure myself, I reasoned that perhaps it is a mistake to want to conquer aging.  Perhaps we should all simply resign ourselves to growing old gracefully, and not ask more from life than others expect.
Yet in the back of my mind the haunting possibility remained: a “Fountain of Youth.”  What a thrilling idea!  For his sake, I hoped that the Colonel might find it.
Years passed, and in the press of everyday affairs Colonel Bradford and his “Shangri-La” grew dim in my memory.  Then, one evening on returning to my apartment, I found a letter in the Colonel’s own handwriting.  I quickly opened and read a message that appeared to have been written in joyous desperation.  The Colonel said that in spite of frustrating delays and setbacks, he believed that he was actually on the verge of finding “The Fountain of Youth.”  He gave no return address, but I was relieved to at least know that the Colonel was still alive.
 Many more months passed before I heard from him again.  When a second letter finally arrived, my hands almost trembled as I opened it.  For a moment I couldn’t believe its contents.  The news was better than I could possibly have hoped.  Not only had the Colonel found “The Fountain of Youth,” he was bringing it back to the states with him, and would arrive sometime within the next two months.
Four years had elapsed since I had last seen my old friend.  And I began to wonder how he might have changed in that period of time.  Had this “Fountain of Youth” enabled him to stop the clock on advancing age?  Would he look as he did when I last saw him, or would he appear to be only one year older instead of four?
Eventually the opportunity to answer these questions arrived.  While I was at home alone one evening, the house phone rang unexpectedly.  When I answered, the doorman announced, “Colonel Bradford is here to see you.”  A rush of excitement came over me as I said, “Send him right up.”  Shortly, the bell rang and I threw open the door.  But to my disappointment I saw before me not Colonel Bradford, but another much younger man.  Noting my surprise, the stranger said, “Weren’t you expecting me?”
“I thought it would be someone else,” I answered, a little puzzled and confused.
“I thought I would be receiving a more enthusiastic welcome,” said the visitor in a friendly voice.  “Look closely at my face.  Do I need to introduce myself?”
Confusion turned to bewilderment, and then amazed disbelief as I stared at the figure before me.  Slowly, I realized that the features of his face did indeed resemble those of Colonel Bradford.  But this man looked as the Colonel might have looked years ago in the prime of his life.  Instead of a stooping, sallow old man with a cane, I saw a tall, straight figure.  His face was robust, and he had a thick growth of dark hair with scarcely a trace of gray.
“It is indeed I,” said the Colonel, “and if you don’t ask me inside, I’ll think your manners badly lacking.”
In joyous relief I embraced the Colonel, and unable to contain my excitement, I ushered him in under a barrage of questions.
“Wait, wait,” he protested good naturedly.  “Allow yourself to catch your breath, and I’ll tell you everything that’s happened.”  And this he proceeded to do.
As soon as he arrived in India, the Colonel started directly for the district where the fabled “Fountain of Youth” allegedly existed.  Fortunately, he knew quite a bit of the native language, and he spent many months establishing contacts and befriending people.  Then he spent many months more putting together the pieces of the puzzle.  It was a long, slow process, but persistence finally won him the coveted prize.  After a long and perilous expedition into the remote reaches of the Himalayas, he finally found the monastery which, according to legend, held the secret of lasting youth and rejuvenation.
I only wish that time and space permitted me to record all of the things that Colonel Bradford experienced after being admitted to the monastery.  Perhaps it is better that I do not, for much of it sounds more like fantasy than fact.  The interesting practices of the Lamas, their culture, and their utter indifference to the outside world are hard for Western man to grasp and understand.
In the monastery, older men and women were nowhere to be seen.  The Lamas good naturedly referred to the Colonel as “The Ancient One,” for it had been a very long time since they had seen anyone who looked as old as he.  To them, he was a most novel sight.
“For the first two weeks after I arrived,” said the Colonel, “I was like a fish out of water.  I marveled at everything I saw, and at times could hardly believe what was before my eyes.  Soon, my health began to improve.  I was able to sleep soundly at night, and every morning I awoke feeling more and more refreshed and energetic.  Before long, I found that I needed my cane only when hiking in the mountains.
“One morning after I arrived, I got the biggest surprise of my life.  I had entered for the first time a large, well-ordered room in the monastery, one that was used as a kind of library for ancient manuscripts.  At one end of the room was a full-length mirror.  Because I had traveled for the past two years in this remote and primitive region, I had not in all that time seen my reflection in a mirror.  So, with some curiosity I stepped before the glass.
“I stared at the image in front of me with disbelief.  My physical appearance had changed so dramatically that I looked fully 15 years younger than my age.  For so many years I had dared hope that ‘The Fountain of Youth’ might truly exist.  Now, before my very eyes was physical proof of its reality.
“Words cannot describe the joy and elation which I felt.  In the weeks and months ahead, my appearance continued to improve, and the change became increasingly apparent to all who knew me.  Before long, my honorary title, ‘The Ancient One,’ was heard no more.”
At this point, the Colonel was interrupted by a knock at the door.  I opened it to admit a couple who, though they were good friends of mine, had picked this inopportune moment to visit.  Concealing my disappointment as best I could, I introduced them to the Colonel, and we all chatted together for a while.  Then, the Colonel rose and said, “I am sorry that I must leave so early, but I have another commitment this evening.  I hope I shall see all of you again soon.”  But at the door he turned to me, and said softly, “Could you have lunch with me tomorrow?  I promise, if you do, you’ll hear all about ‘The Fountain of Youth.”
We agreed to a time and place, and the Colonel departed.  As I returned to my friends, one of them remarked, “He certainly is a fascinating man, but he looks awfully young to be retired from army service.”
“How old do you think he is?” I asked.
“Well, he doesn’t look forty,” answered my guest, “but from the conversation I would gather he’s at least that old.”
“Yes, at least,” I said evasively.  And then I steered the conversation to another topic.  I wasn’t about to repeat the Colonel’s incredible story, at least not until he had fully explained everything.
The next day, after having lunch together, the Colonel and I went up to his room in a nearby hotel.  And there at last he told me the full details on “The Fountain of Youth.”
The first important thing I was taught after entering the monastery,” said the Colonel, “was this: the body has seven energy centers which in English could be called vortexes.  The Hindus call them chakras.  They are powerful electrical fields, invisible to the eye, but quite real nonetheless.  Each of these seven vortexes centers on one of the seven ductless glands in the body’s endocrine system, and it functions in stimulating the gland’s hormonal output.  It is these hormones which regulate all of the body’s functions, including the process of aging.
“The lowest, or first vortex centers on the reproductive glands.  The second vortex centers on the pancreas in the abdominal region.  The third centers on the adrenal gland in the solar plexus region.   The fourth vortex centers on the thymus gland in the chest or heart region.  The fifth centers on the thyroid gland in the neck.  The sixth centers on the pineal gland at the rear base of the brain.  And the seventh, highest vortex centers on the pituitary gland at the forward base of the brain.*
*While there are said to be many, perhaps even thousands of these chakras or vortexes throughout the body, the generally accepted view is that there are seven primary ones.  In the original edition of his book, Mr. Kelder asserts that one of these is located in the area of the knees.  He does not link the vortexes to the endocrine glands.  I have taken the liberty of changing this to conform to the more widely held view described here. — Editor

    The body’s seven vortexes are centered on the seven endocrine glands: (1) the reproductive glands, (2) the pancreas, (3) the adrenal gland, (4) the thymus gland, (5) the thyroid gland, (6) the pineal gland, and (7) the pituitary gland.
    These energy vortexes revolve at great speed.  When all are revolving at high speed, and at the same rate of speed, the body is in perfect health.  When one or more of them slow down, aging and physical deterioration set in.
“In a healthy body, each of these vortexes revolves at great speed, permitting vital life energy, also called ‘prana’ or ‘etheric energy,’ to flow upward through the endocrine system.  But if one or more of these vortexes begins to slow down, the flow of vital life energy is inhibited or blocked, and well, that’s just another name for aging and ill health.
“These spinning vortexes extend outward from the flesh in a healthy individual, but in the old, weak, and sickly they hardly reach the surface.  The quickest way to regain youth, health, and vitality is to start these energy centers spinning normally again.  There are five simple exercises that will accomplish this.  Any one of them alone is helpful, but all five are required to get the best results.  These five exercises are not really exercises at all.  The Lamas call them ‘rites,’ and so that is how I shall refer I to them too.”
“The first rite,” continued the Colonel, “is a simple one.  It is done for the express purpose of speeding up the vortexes.  Children do it all the time when they’re playing.
“All that you do is stand erect with arms outstretched, horizontal to the floor.  Now, spin around until you become slightly dizzy.  One thing is important: you must spin from left to right.  In other words, if you were to put a clock on the floor face-up, you would turn in the same direction as the clock’s hands.
“At first, most adults will be able to spin around only about half a dozen times before becoming quite dizzy.  As a beginner, you shouldn’t attempt to do more.  And if you feel like sitting or lying down to recover from the dizziness, then by all means you should do just that.  I certainly did at first.  To begin with, practice the rite only to the point of slight dizziness.  But with time, as you practice all five rites, you will be able to spin more and more times with less dizziness.
“Also, in order to lessen dizziness, you can do what dancers and figure skaters do.  Before you begin to spin, focus your vision on a single point straight ahead.  As you begin to turn, continue holding your vision on that point as long as possible.  Eventually, you will have to let it leave your field of vision, so that your head can spin on around with the rest of your body.  As this happens, turn your head around very quickly, and refocus on your point as soon as you can.  This reference point enables you to become less disoriented and dizzy.
“When I was in India, it amazed me to see the Maulawiyah, or as they are more commonly known, the whirling dervishes, almost unceasingly spin around and around in a religious frenzy.  After being introduced to rite number one, I recalled two things in connection with this practice.  First, the whirling dervishes always spun in one direction, from left to right, or clockwise.  Second, the older dervishes were virile, strong, and robust.  Far more so than most men of their age.
“When I spoke to one of the Lamas about this, he informed me that this whirling movement of the dervishes did have a very beneficial effect, but also a devastating one.  He explained that their excessive spinning over-stimulates some of the vortexes, so that they are finally exhausted.  This has the effect of first accelerating the flow of vital life energy, and then blocking it.  This building up and tearing down action causes the dervishes to experience a kind of ‘psychic rush,’ which they mistake for something spiritual or religious.
“However,” continued the Colonel, “the Lamas do not carry the whirling to excess.  While the whirling dervishes may spin around hundreds of times, the Lamas do it only about a dozen times or so, just enough to stimulate the vortexes into action.”
“Following rite number one,” continued the Colonel, “is a second rite which further stimulates the seven vortexes.  It is even simpler to do.  In rite number two, one first lies flat on the floor, face up.  It’s best to lie on a thick carpet or some sort of padded surface.  The Lamas perform the rites on what Westerners call a prayer rug, about two feet wide and six feet long.  It’s fairly thick, and is made from wool and a kind of vegetable fiber.  It is solely for the purpose of insulating the body from the cold floor.  Nevertheless, religious significance is attached to everything the Lamas do, and hence the name ‘prayer rug.’
“Once you have stretched out flat on your back, fully extend your arms along your sides, and place the palms of your hands against the floor, keeping the fingers close together.  Then, raise your head off the floor, tucking the chin against the chest.  As you do this, lift your legs, knees straight, into a vertical position.  If possible, let the legs extend back over the body, toward the head; but do not let the knees bend.
“Then, slowly lower both the head and the legs, knees straight, to the floor.  Allow all of the muscles to relax, and then repeat the rite.
“With each repetition, establish a breathing rhythm: breathe in deeply as you lift the legs and head; breathe out fully as you lower them.  Between repetitions, while you’re allowing the muscles to relax, continue breathing in the same rhythm.  The more deeply you breathe, the better.
“If you are unable to keep the knees perfectly straight, then let them bend as much as necessary.  But as you continue to perform the rite, attempt to straighten them as much as you possibly can.
“One of the Lamas told me that when he first attempted to practice this simple rite, he was so old, weak, and decrepit that he couldn’t possibly lift his legs into a straight position.  So he started by lifting his legs in a bent position so that his knees were straight up and his feet were hanging down.  Little by little, he was able to straighten out his legs until at the end of three months he could raise them straight with perfect ease.
“I marveled at this particular Lama,’’ said the Colonel.  “When he told me this, he was the perfect picture of health and youth, although I knew he was many years older than I.  For the sheer joy of exerting himself, he used to carry a load of vegetables weighing fully a hundred pounds on his back from the garden to the monastery several hundred feet above.  He took his time, but never once stopped on the way up.  When he arrived, he didn’t seem to be in the least exhausted.  The first time that I attempted to follow him up the hill, I had to stop at least a dozen times to catch my breath.  Later, I was able to climb the hill as easily as he, and without my cane.  But that is another story.”
“The third rite should be practiced immediately after rite number two.  It too is a very simple one.  All that you need to do is kneel on the floor with the body erect.  The hands should be placed against the thigh muscles.
“Now, incline the head and neck forward, tucking the chin against the chest.  Then, throw the head and neck back as far as they will go, and at the same time lean backward, arching the spine.  As you arch, you will brace your arms and hands against the thighs for support.  After arching, return to the original position, and start the rite all over again.
“As with rite number two, you should establish a rhythmic breathing pattern.  Breathe in deeply as you arch the spine.  Breathe out as you return to an erect position.  Deep breathing is most beneficial, so take as much air into your lungs as you possibly can.
“I have seen more than 200 Lamas perform this rite together.  In order to turn their attention within, they closed their eyes.  In this manner they eliminated distractions, and could focus themselves inwardly.
“Thousands of years ago, the Lamas discovered that all of the answers to life’s imponderable mysteries are found within.  They discovered that all of the things which go together to create our lives originate within the individual.  Western man has never been able to understand and comprehend this concept.  He thinks, as I did, that our lives are shaped by the uncontrollable forces of the material world.  For example, most Westerners think it is a law of nature that our bodies must grow old and deteriorate.  By looking within, the Lamas know this to be a self-fulfilling illusion.
“The Lamas, especially those at this particular monastery, are performing a great work for the world.  It is performed, however, on the astral plane.  From this plane, they assist mankind around the globe, for it is high above the vibrations of the physical world, and is a powerful focal point where much can be accomplished with little loss of effort.
“One day the world will awaken in amazement to see the result of great works performed by these Lamas and other unseen forces.  The time is fast approaching when a new age will dawn, and a new world will be seen.  It will be a time when man learns to liberate the powerful inner forces at his command to overcome war and pestilence, hatred and bitterness.
“So-called ‘civilized’ mankind is in truth living in the darkest of dark ages.  However, we are being prepared for better and more glorious things.  Each one of us who strives to raise his or her consciousness to higher levels helps to elevate the consciousness of mankind as a whole.  So, performing the five rites has an impact far beyond the physical benefits which they achieve.”
“The first time I performed rite number four,” said the Colonel, “it seemed very difficult.  But after a week, it was as simple to do as any of the others.
“First, sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet about 12 inches apart.  With the trunk of the body erect, place the palms of your hands on the floor alongside the buttocks.  Then, tuck the chin forward against the chest.
“Now, drop the head backward as far as it will go.  At the same time, raise your body so that the knees bend while the arms remain straight.  The trunk of the body will be in a straight line with the upper legs, horizontal to the floor.  And both the arms and lower legs will be straight up and down, perpendicular to the floor.   Then tense every muscle in the body.  Finally, relax your muscles as you return to the original sitting position, and rest before repeating the procedure.
“Again, breathing is important to this rite.   Breathe in deeply as you raise up the body.  Hold in your breath as you tense the muscles.  And breathe out completely as you come down.  Continue breathing in the same rhythm as long as you rest between repetitions.
“After leaving the monastery,” continued Colonel Bradford, “I went to a number of larger cities in India, and as an experiment I conducted classes for both English-speaking people and Indians.  I found that the older members of either group felt that unless they could perform this rite perfectly from the very start, no good could come of it.  It was extremely difficult to convince them that they were wrong.  Finally, I persuaded them to do the best they could just to see what might happen in a month’s time.  Once I got them to simply do their best in attempting the rites, the results in one month’s time were more than gratifying.
“I remember that in one city I had quite a few elderly people in one of my classes.  In attempting this particular rite number four, they could just barely get their bodies off the floor; they couldn’t come close to reaching a horizontal position.  In the same class, there were some much younger persons who had no difficulty performing the rite perfectly the very first day.  This so discouraged the older people that I had to separate the two groups.  I explained to the older group that when I first attempted this rite, I couldn’t perform it any better than they.  But, I told them, I can now perform 50 repetitions of the rite without feeling the slightest nervous or muscular strain.  And to prove it, I did it right before their eyes.  From then on, the older group broke all records for progress.
“The only difference between youth and vigor, and old age and poor health is simply the rate of speed at which the vortexes are spinning.  Normalize the rate of speed, and the old man becomes like new again.”
The Colonel went on, “When you perform the fifth rite, your body will be face down to the floor.  It will be supported by the hands, palms down against the floor, and the toes in a flexed position.  Throughout this rite, the hands and feet should each be spaced about two feet apart, and the arms and legs should be kept straight.
“Start with your arms perpendicular to the floor, and the spine arched, so that the body is in a sagging position.  Now, throw the head back as far as possible.  Then, bending at the hips, bring the body up into an inverted ‘V’.  At the same time, bring the chin forward, tucking it against the chest.  That’s all there is to it.  Return to the original position, and start the rite all over again.
“By the end of the first week, the average person will find this rite one of the easiest to perform.  Once you become proficient at it, let the body drop from the raised position to a point almost, but not quite, touching the floor.  Tense the muscles for a moment both at the raised point, and at the low point.
“Follow the same deep breathing pattern used in the previous rites.  Breathe in deeply as you raise the body.  Breathe out fully as you lower it.
“Everywhere I go,” continued the Colonel, “people at first call these rites isometric exercises.  It’s true that the five rites are helpful in stretching stiff muscles and joints, and improving muscle tone.  But that is not their primary purpose.  The real benefit of the rites is to normalize the speed of the spinning vortexes.  It starts them spinning at a speed which is right for, say, a strong and healthy man or woman 25 years of age.
“In such a person,” the Colonel explained, “all of the vortexes are spinning at the same rate of speed.  On the other hand, if you could see the seven vortexes of the average middle-aged man or woman, you would notice right away that some of them had slowed down greatly.  All of them would be spinning at a different rate of speed, and none of them would be working together in harmony.  The slower ones would be causing that part of the body to deteriorate, while the faster ones would be causing nervousness, anxiety, and exhaustion.  So, it is the abnormal condition of the vortexes that produces abnormal health, deterioration, and old age.”
As the Colonel was describing the five rites, questions were popping into my mind.  And now that he was finished, I began to ask a few.
“How many times is each rite performed?” was my first question.
“To start with,” replied the Colonel, “I suggest that you practice each rite three times a day for the first week.  Then every week that follows, increase the daily repetitions by two, until you are performing each rite 21 times a day.  In other words, the second week, perform each rite five times; the third week, perform each rite seven times; the fourth week, perform each rite nine times daily, and so on.  In ten weeks’ time, you’ll be doing the full number of 21 rites per day.
“If you have difficulty practicing the first rite, the whirling one, as many times as you do the others, then simply do it as many times as you can without getting too dizzy.  Eventually you’ll be able to whirl around the full 21 times.
“I knew a man who performed the rites more than a year before he could spin around that many times.  He had no difficulty in performing the other four rites, so he increased the spinning very gradually, until he was doing the full 21.  And he got splendid results.
“There are a few people who find it difficult to spin around at all.  Usually, if they omit the spinning, and perform the other four rites for four to six months, they find that they can then start to handle the spinning too.”
“What time of day should the rites be performed?” was my next question to the Colonel.
“They can be performed either in the morning, or at night,” he answered, “whichever is more convenient.  I perform them both morning and night, but I would not advise so much stimulation for the beginner.  After you have been practicing the rites for about four months, you might start performing them the full number of times in the morning, and then at night perform just three repetitions of each rite.  Gradually increase these, as you did before, until you are performing the full 21.  But it isn’t necessary to perform the rites more than 21 times either morning or night, unless you are truly motivated to do so.”
“Is each of these rites equally important?” I asked next.
“The five rites work hand-in-hand with each other, and all are equally important,” said the Colonel.  “After performing the rites for a while, if you find that you are not able to do all of them the required number of times, try splitting the rites into two sessions, one in the morning, and one in the evening.  If you find it impossible to do one of the rites at all, omit it and do the other four.  Then, after a period of months, try the one you were having difficulty with again.  Results may come a little more slowly this way, but they will come nevertheless.
“Under no circumstances should you ever strain yourself.  That would be counterproductive.  Simply do as much as you can handle, and build up gradually.  And never be discouraged.  With time and patience there are very few people who cannot eventually perform all five rites 21 times a day.
“In attempting to overcome a difficulty with one of the rites, some people become very inventive.  An old fellow in India found it impossible to properly perform rite number four even once.  He wouldn’t be satisfied with just getting his body off the floor.  He was determined that his torso should reach a horizontal position such as I described earlier.  So he got a box about ten inches high, and padded the top of it.  Then, he lay down flat upon the box, placing his feet on the floor at one end, and his hands on the floor at the other.  From this position, he was able to raise his torso to a horizontal position quite nicely.
“Now, this gimmick may not have enabled the old gentleman to perform the rite the full 21 times.  But it did make it possible for him to raise his body as high as much stronger men were able to.  And this had a positive psychological effect, which in itself was quite beneficial.  I do not particularly recommend his technique, but it could help others who think it’s impossible to make progress any other way.  If you have an inventive mind, you’ll be able to think of other ways and means to help yourself perform any rite that may be particularly difficult for you.”
Following up on my last question, I asked, “What if one of the rites were left out entirely?”
“These rites are so powerful,” said the Colonel, “that if one were left out while the other four were practiced regularly the full number of times, excellent results would still be experienced.  Even one rite alone will do wonders, as the whirling dervishes, whom I spoke of earlier, demonstrate.  The older dervishes, who did not spin around so excessively as the younger ones, were strong and virile — a good indication that just one rite can have powerful effects.  So, if you find that you simply cannot perform all of the rites, or that you cannot perform them the full 21 times, be assured that you will get good results from whatever you are able to do.”
I next asked, “Can the rites be performed in conjunction with other exercise programs, or would the two conflict?”
“By all means,” said the Colonel, “if you already have some kind of exercise program, continue it.  If you don’t, then think about starting one.  Any form of exercise, but especially cardiovascular exercise, helps the body maintain a youthful equilibrium.  In addition, the five rites will help to normalize the spinning vortexes so that the body becomes even more receptive to the benefits of exercise.”
“Does anything else go with the five rites,” I asked.
“There are two more things which would help.  I’ve already mentioned deep rhythmic breathing while resting between repetitions of the rites.  In addition, between each of the rites, it would be helpful to stand erect with your hands on your hips, breathing deeply and rhythmically several times.  As you breathe out, imagine that any tension which may be in your body is draining away, allowing you to feel quite relaxed and at ease.  As you breathe in, imagine that you are filling yourself with a sense of well-being and fulfillment.
“The other suggestion is to take either a tepid bath or a cool, but not a cold one after practicing the rites.  Going over the body quickly with a wet towel, and then with a dry one is probably even better.  One thing I must caution you against: you must never take a shower, tub, or wet towel bath which is cold enough to chill you internally.  If you do, you will have undone all of the good you have gained from performing the rites.”
I was excited at all the Colonel had told me, but deep down inside there must have been some lingering skepticism.  “Is it possible that the ‘Fountain of Youth’ is really as simple as what you have described to me?” I asked.
“All that is required,” answered the Colonel, “is to practice the five rites three times a day to begin with, and to gradually increase until you are performing each one 21 times a day.   That is the wonderfully simple secret that could benefit all the world if it were known.”
“Of course,” he added, “you must practice the rites every day in order to achieve real benefits.  You may skip one day a week, but never more than that.  And if you allow a business trip or some other commitment to interrupt this daily routine, your overall progress will suffer.
“Fortunately, most people who begin the five rites find it not only easy, but also enjoyable and rewarding to perform them every day, especially when they begin to see the benefits.  After all, it takes only twenty minutes or so to do all five.  And a physically fit person can perform the rites in ten minutes or less.  If you have trouble finding even that much spare time, then just get up a few minutes earlier in the morning, or go to bed a little later at night.
“The five rites are for the express purpose of restoring health and youthful vitality to the body.  Other factors help determine whether you will dramatically transform your physical appearance, as I have done.  Two of these are mental attitude and desire.
“You’ve noticed that some people look old at 40, while others look young at 60.  Mental attitude is what makes the difference.  If you are able to see yourself as young, in spite of your age, others will see you that way too.  Once I began practicing the rites, I made an effort to erase from my mind the image of myself as a feeble old man.  Instead, I fixed in my mind the image of myself when I was in the prime of life.  And I put energy in the form of very strong desire behind that image.  The result is what you see now.
“For many people this would be a difficult feat, because they find it impossible to change the way they see themselves.  They believe the body is programmed to sooner or later become old and feeble, and nothing will shake them from that view.  In spite of this, once they begin to practice the five rites they will begin to feel younger and more energetic.  This will help them to change the way they see themselves.  Little by little, they will begin to see themselves as younger.  And before long, others will be commenting that they have a younger appearance.
“There is one other extremely important factor for those who want to look dramatically younger.  There is an additional rite which I’ve intentionally been holding back on.  But rite number six is a subject which I’ll save for a later time.”