“Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtue”
Verse 4, Chapter 59, Tao Te Ching
In the Tao of Longevity, you learned that your destiny is not predetermined and that you can and should be shaping your future that has a foundation in longevity. You learned that the complement of creation, Atrophy, is in constant motion taking back the life presence that you were given. You learned that Longevity is the battle to ward that off and keep staying present and experiencing life in the way that you planned.
In the chapter of, The Tao of Life and Death you learned that only one and ten people can be successful of longevity. And their skill and ability to rule over their life with successful results is called Sovereignty. You learned that through Sovereignty you can stay on the path and not let the ego distract you and lure you off the true path.
Longevity has been defined as the way of living a long successful life. This requires an actionable method of staying on the path that takes you closer to that success and not further away. Unity with the Tao means to be living in harmony with the natural order of the universe. That is the way. Being in disharmony with that order is to move against the creative flow of nature principles of how the universe works. What most people do not seem to know or care about is that they, you are already in the flow and every choice made is creating the future.
To unify with the flow of reality and life you must become aware of and pay attention to the principle of cause and effect, or Karma. Your choice today will have an effect somewhere in the future.
The Principle of Karma
Karma has many perspectives that vary from culture to culture. For our purposes here we can keep the concept simple, and you will quickly appreciate its direct effect on reality. You can begin with the simple view of cause and effect. More specifically you could say actions have consequences. If you can, filter out value judging by everything as either good or bad. Just observe that the creation is happening. Consider now, what initiated that creative force or action? What is the causation of the product that was created?
After you understand your role in initiating karmic actions then you value judge, by determining if your creative choice is good or bad. In the case of longevity, creating harmony is a causation that results in good consequences and life goes on in a pleasant way. However, if choice and karmic result is disharmony, then the creative results is atrophy (the way of death).
Karma is an active principle where we observe the Tao responding to our actions of thought word and deed. What goes out will return, what goes up will come down and of course, what goes around comes around. The way becomes clear that great care must be taken when dealing with karma. This book mentions over and over that all of us are on this path whether we realize it or not. Everyone is in a relationship with karma. Those who can wake up and be self-aware and Sovereign will benefit from karma. Those who cannot end up suffering and finally dead. Maybe it is why the ancient Chinese called karma “the great executioner”.
When you start becoming awake and aware and really trying to do the right thing in that moment of decision, you will find your ‘self’ wondering how to make the right choice. You sincerely want to know but may not be sure and you want to get it right. This is where the understanding of the power of virtue becomes a game changer.
Virtue (Because of)
When you read the common definition of virtue you find it having to do with behavior and morality. There is a deeper view. It is the ancient Chinese perspective that lies in its karmic affect. Choices made in alignment with virtue will result in positive consequences. When a virtue is applied to choices, karma responds in kind. Here is an example to see how this plays out. Like so many words or phrases we say each day, the phrase “because of” doesn’t seem to carry much weight. However, like so many seemingly obscure principles, once understood the importance becomes quite clear. It is as simple as looking at a result, good or bad, and considering how it came to be. When you consider something that resulted from cause and effect you simply state that it happened “because of” ______________.
“Because of her strong virtue of patience, she was able to not eat the cookie before mealtime. Eventually through this continued action she lost fifteen pounds.”
“Because of her strong virtue of sovereignty, she was able to remain detached from her cookie cravings and soon her diabetes got better.”
“Because of” your choices, you are experiencing your current situation or destiny. When considering your lifestyle, which is the methodology of how you live our life, think about how through cause and effect you have your current conditions. This principle is embedded in everything in your life from health to wealth. Through self-awareness (mindfulness) and self-discipline (Sovereignty), you can choose the actionable virtue to create the future condition that provides success. In every mindful moment you must consider which virtue/s to apply. There are many virtues to learn and become familiar with such as moderation and harmony. The challenge is to practice a virtue over and over in everyday life to the point that it becomes second nature. When you are automatically implementing a virtue all the time in everyway you will notice significant changes in your life situation. This is called “accumulating virtue”.
In the first at the beginning of the chapter the phrase submitting early is good advice to take up virtuous choice as soon as possible. The sooner one implements virtue the sooner they change their fortunes.
Lao Tzu and other Tao cultivators of his day had three virtues that they felt were important enough to call “treasures” because when they were used often, they created powerful successes. The three virtues that he discusses Chap 67 of the Tao Te Ching are: Conservation, Compassion and Humility, 
The Virtue of Conservation
As a term, conservation can be applied to many areas of life. To conserve is to protect and preserve, therefore it is easy to see how important it is when the focus is on quality of life. It is such an obvious wisdom that it would seem that everyone would practice taking care of resources and preserving a smooth existence. But as we have seen in our own lives and those of others living to excess is part of the American dream. The obvious question is why? The answer is simple, because of a lack of control of the self (ego). With a little Sovereignty (spiritual self-discipline) the wise person can stay on the path and preserve life by implementing the virtue of conservation.
Conservation applies to everything in life. When we look at what our important resources are, the obvious ones come to mind first. Financial resources are important to thrive, so using them up frivolously in pursuit of ego desire is a bad move. When thinking about Longevity, one must consider preservation of health. Most of us are born healthy with everything we need to live a long life free of self-caused disease. Yet instead of preserving our original health, our original Qi, we mindlessly destroy it through lifestyle choices such as diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to harmful elements in the environment. So conservation of health is another important aspect of conservation for longevity. The most important realm to practice conservation is in spirituality. Because wisdom is sourced from the true-self, Spirit, it becomes clear that one must preserve self-awareness and Sovereignty so that the ego can be reigned in. Conservation begins within, then extends outward through the moment-by-moment choices we make in every hour of everyday.
With inner harmony, it becomes possible to conserve the other important areas of life in each moment. Think about your life and how well you are practicing conservation of some personal resources. You will benefit from occasionally noticing how much waste you have of time, energy, natural resources such as water, finances, inner peace and especially your good health.
Don’t forget to use the “because of” principle to see clearly about the virtue of conservation.
Example: Because of his practice of conservation of financial resources he had plenty of money to pay his medical bills brought on by the pandemic.
Example: Because he was mindful of his emotions, he was able to avoid and not get caught up in unnecessary drama at work which led to a more calm and peaceful life.
For Longevity, you must learn to be present and preserve your life through conservation practices on all levels beginning with spirit.
The Virtue of Compassion
Compassion is defined as having care and concern for others. In Eastern Philosophy, it is taught that all people are connected to each other in many ways. So that when you take care of a neighbor or others in your community or even the world, you are helping to take care of yourself too.
When you add Karma (cause and effect) to this insight, you will find that the old saying, what goes around, comes around is a fundamental truth. How you interact and treat others will create your social well-being. The ego is self-serving and narcissistic which is always noticed by others. When the time comes for a helping hand, people will remember how they were treated in the past. Even if people don’t remember, Karma does, so it might be payback time. Do you know someone in our life that seems to always be compassionate? How do people respond to them? Think abut parents, teachers, bosses, and leaders and you feel about the ones who were compassionate and the ones who were not. I can almost guarantee that at some time in your life you will need to rely on the compassion of others which can directly affect your longevity and quality of life.
But compassion for others is just one side of the coin. What self-compassion? Part of self-destruction comes from those moments that we abuse ourselves through the coping and desire of ego. Virtue arises from spirit; indifference rise from ego. Self-abuse through over-indulgence directly affects longevity. About 85% of older adults have a chronic disease, while 60% of seniors have two or more.  The most common reasons for Chronic Disease in the United States are:
Lack of Physical Activity
Excessive Alcohol and Drug use
All of these are lifestyle choices that are self-abusive and the perfect reflection for self-compassion. Why do we do these things to ourselves. If you read my bio, you will see that I suffer from two diseases: Heart Disease and Cancer, both of which I did to myself through a lack of self-compassion. Fortunately, through Tao practice and the discipline of Sovereignty, I have been able to reverses these and buy more time. Which is a good place to look at the “because of”.
Because I was able to learn mindfulness and sovereignty, I was able to reverse two self-caused deadly diseases and restore a sense of well-being and contentment.
Because she was so caring and compassionate for others, the community rallied around her and helped her get back on her feet when her house caught fire and burned down.
Don’t underestimate the power of compassion and remember that NO ONE escapes karma. Compassion or the lack of is a big factor in longevity.
The Virtue of Humility
last virtue of the three treasures is Humility. The simplest definition for humility is to not put yourself first. It is to avoid taking on a role of self-importance. Humility is the opposite of ego which is self-serving. It may not readily appear how self-importance plays a role in longevity, that is, until you consider the principle of karma.
The cause and effect plays out in several different ways that initiate the destiny creating force of karma.
First of self-importance is an ego trait that comes with another negative virtue (sin) which is a since of entitlement and deserving.
Accumulating Virtue. In the Tao Te Ching verse at the top of this chapter Lao Tzu says, “submitting early is the emphasis of accumulating virtue”. Submitting early means to transcend the ego and find oneness with the Tao (the way). When you become awakened and self-aware wisdom, not ego, chooses virtue as a means of resolving life’s challenges and problems. Through cause and effect of karmic action, the results are being in unity with the Tao and success at life. Success in life means to live longer, better, with more contentment and satisfaction. The power of virtue is realized in all levels of life and is always employed right here, right now. The Tao cultivator is one who accumulates virtue. That means to keep practicing using them in your choices until it becomes second nature. As you accumulate more virtue you will notice how life begins to flow in a lot smoother fashion. Life becomes simpler and less complicated. Eventually your lifestyle become integrated with virtuous choices and the feeling of contentment increases. This is the Tao of Virtue.
 For more on karma, virtue, and other sovereignty, please consider my book: Sovereignty, The Tao Principle of Self Discipline which can be found the Tao of Longevity Website: https://thetaooflongevity.com/books
 NCOA National Council on Aging