Macrobiotic Harmony – What is it?
“People think that the Spirit is within the Body but that is incorrect. It is the Body that is within the Spirit” – George Ohsawa
A few days ago I wrote a blog post entitled, “Misconceptions About Yin & Yang: The Goal Is Not Balance But Is Imbalance” explaining how everything in nature is asymmetrical. I know that for many it may be confusing, especially among those whom have studied macrobiotics and oriental philosophy. The obvious reason for this is that there has been much emphasis in macrobiotic teachings on the idea of balance and harmony. Now, if the goal of Yin & Yang is not balance then why has there been such an emphasis on balance and harmony? The answer is simple and obvious.
With macrobiotics “harmony” really is a goal, but the question is: “harmony with what?” and the answer to that is: “with everything else” – which is to say the universe minus you. The goal is not to create balance within one’s self, but to create balance in relation to everything else or the rest of the universe.
Everything is governed by the forces of nature such as the motion of the planets, the changing seasons, night and day and so forth. When the temperature is cold (yin) we make ourselves more yang by contracting and become more active and when it is hot (yang) then we relax and become slower. We can make ourselves more yang by eating more yang foods and more yin by eating more yin foods. If we eat yin foods during a yin time then we become sick and vice versa. Those who studied macrobiotic philosophy understand this well.
We can also strive to be in harmony with our social environment and our relationships with each other by becoming more open and expressive or more focused and attentive as changing situations and interactions with others require.
Life is always like a dance with our total environment. If we adopt Ohsawa’s view on Spirit and Body then our total environment is our Spirit which is none other than the entire universe: the cosmos, the movement of the planets, the changing seasons, day and night, all life on earth, all of humanity and all of our food. This is our Spirit and it is our source and is where we, what we call our bodies, came from. The Spirit, which is eternally flowing and changing creates our physical body which is ephemeral and comes and goes and is born and dies.
Macrobiotic harmony is the dynamic relationship between our body and our spirit or the universe. When we become healthier by eating simply for long periods of time then we begin to experience this relationship and we naturally strive to be and move in harmony with the ever-changing universe. Our physical bodies naturally seek to be in a peaceful and harmonious relationship with our spiritual body which is the universe itself.
But if we overeat and eat complicated, strange, and unnatural foods then we become pre-occupied with and consumed by smaller concerns such as material wealth, fame and power and we ignore our larger spirit. If we continue on this path for longer time periods then we forget our spirit and connection with everything. As everything naturally changes and flows then it appears to us as being separate and distinct from us and we become defensive, fearful, protective and we believe that our very existence is threatened. This is schizophrenia.
The only way to heal and recover ourselves from this schizophrenia is through the voluntary peaceful biological transformation of eating simpler foods and living a simpler life; one that allows us to observe, respond and react in harmony with the ebb and flow of the dynamic universe. By living this simpler life we create a greater polarity and harmony between our physical body (yang) which is infinitesimally small and ephemeral and our spiritual body (yin) which is infinitely large and eternally changing and is known as the universe. This is macrobiotic harmony.
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