We Need Abkhasia

Abkhasia was the place where the traditional concept of “old” never took root. The word was banished, and in its place the long-lived pursued an ageless lifestyle-they galloped their horses, worked under the sun, and sang in choirs in which the youngest member was 70 and the oldest was 110. Abkhasia proved that growing older can be a time of improvement. Abkhasians toasted one another with the words, “May you live as long as Moses,” and they venerated the long-living as people who were achieving an ideal.

By far the greatest advantage the long-living enjoyed was this: They trusted in their way of life. Abkhasians struck Western visitors as remarkably attuned to the rhythms of life, precisely what we have lost in this country.

One gets the sense of a people who have reached a natural balance. Rather than struggling to break unhealthy habits, their culture had woven good health into their overall view of life.

In his book The Methuselah Factors, American author and Abkhasia scholar Dan Georgakas wrote, “Vegetables were picked just before cooking or serving, and if meat was to be part of the menu, guests were shown the animal before it was slaughtered. Whatever the food served, all leftovers were discarded, because they were considered harmful to health. Such concern for freshness guaranteed that a minimal loss of nutrients took place between garden and table. Most food was consumed raw or boiled, with nothing fried.”

In every society, expectations rules outcome. In a culture where wealth is the highest goal, the entire society will focus on making money, prestige will accrue to those who make the most, and the poor will be regarded as failures. The Abkhasia, a great value was placed on longevity; therefore the entire society felt motivated to live up to that ideal. In America, the reverse I true; old age is not valued, much less exalted.

Huge differences divide the Americans and Abkhasian cultures. A lifetime of light eating and considerable physical activity is something we have to consciously learn again, but to fixate on those ingredients would cause one to miss the spirit of Abkhasia, which to me is far more inspiring as a motivation to survive to 100.

This country has recently experienced an unparalleled boom in centenarians. We have won the struggle for longevity and now face the challenge of becoming a land where the long-living are still young.


Adapted from The Essential Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2007).

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Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T.3 years ago

Great article, thank you..

heather g.
heather g.3 years ago

It is good to hear about a society that lives by such wonderful values.

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider3 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Gaby D.
Gaby D.3 years ago

Goodday Deepak! Lovely article...it, in my view, goes to prove that it's your mind that creates your 'conceptual reality'. As you believe you will act....and as you act will you live!
If you believe that left-overs are no longer 'fresh' and discard them....you believe that you should only eat fresh food to stay fresh - the belief and value here is 'freshness of living'.
The waste not want not concept that is so prevalent here in the West- is based on the belief that there is not enough to go around - adding worry to the eating of less fresh food - leading to our generally not so good health here in the West......so I suppose there is truth in this Abkahsian life style.
Together with the concept that growing older means you are 'over the hill and done with' that makes aging a less attractive concept than it is in the Caucasus - we are set up for less joy of living as we age. Hmm.....I will not buy into that even though my body clearly is starting (well starting?) to show the signs of time passed ......I will not become an 'old woman' - young at heart and soul, I will do the best I can to stay fit and healthy, emotionally balanced ....living and enjoying life to the max!
Here's to you all, may you live as long as Moses!!! Namaste!

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

It is true what ever the values of the society become the values of the individual.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 years ago

Wow, truly impressive people.
The life-style sounds fantastic!

Miranda Parkinson

They are a shinning light to us all! Long may we live!

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Well, there you have it.

Pamela H.
Pamela H.3 years ago

'Leftovers are discarded'? What a waste of food. Don't get me wrong it's not about money. I come from a WW2 era mother who always said 'Waste not, want not". I think that's a good adage to follow. It's more of a moral issue for me.