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Michio Kushi on Government and the Judgment of People

January 16, 2017

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(Michio Kushi was a political science major who sought to create a world of lasting peace, happiness and freedom.  Early on in his studies he realized that world peace depends on people with sound body and mind. He, therefore, devoted the rest of his life to improving the health and consciousness of people through changes in diet and lifestyle known as Macrobiotics, never losing sight of his dream of creating One Peaceful World.  The following is an excerpt from a 1967 lecture by Michio Kushi as published in the “Order Of The Universe”, Volume 1, No. 6, November 1967)

Judgment

Our present form of government is based on the will of the masses. Since most people are governed by sensory and sentimental judgment, our society has become weak, unable to provide for the deepest needs of man. It answers for the superficial levels of desire but judgment must go farther than this if it is to build a lasting culture.   Originally, its purposes was noble.  The founders of our nation wanted to escape dictatorship, to find freedom. Their solution has brought the opposite result — as must always be the case with understanding that does not transcend the lower, relative worlds and achieve supreme judgment. Life is ever like this.  If you try to protect yourself, you will decline and die in misery.  This is the Order of the Universe.  Gain fame and you will carry a heavy burden which will rob you of your freedom.  This paradoxical movement is the key to life and those who do not understand it will always be disappointed to find that their actions will bring them the opposite of what they had intended.

If we master this Order, we can become free in the paradoxical, relative world.  The greater the momentary joy, the greater the depression that must follow.  Unless we understand this we can not know where real freedom is.  People who never learn this always become more and more unhappy, accusing others for their misfortune, and they always lie. Their lies are the cause of their misery.

Lying is the common, universal form of sickness.  We lie because we want profit, advantage, protection from fear, comfort.  The living principle of modern society is nothing more than this — “how to tell lies.”  Modern education is supposed to give us health and happiness, but no one has these things.  Religions are supposed to open the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, but its ministers don’t even know what it is.  All are the opposite of what they appear to be.  Those who claim they can give the truth cannot.  Our food stores are lined with beautiful foods, promised to be the cleanest, most nutritious, ever available to man — most of which will, sooner or later, rob us of our health.  In our society an honest man is regarded as a fool, while the clever one who sells out is rewarded.  And while this is going on we are told that our country is the happiest, smartest, strongest, wisest that ever lived.  A quick look at divorce rates and the percentage of people that live in mental institutions is enough to convince us otherwise…

– Michio Kushi, 1967

(To read more go here:  http://kushipublishing.com/?p=433 )

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Michio Kushi’s Insights into Macrobiotic “Nutrition” (1967)

January 11, 2017

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(The following is an excerpt from the “Order Of The Universe” magazine, Volume 1, No. 6,  based on Michio Kushi’s lectures from November 1967)

Calorie and Ki (Electro-magnetic force)

According to the modern theory, energy for human activity depends upon calories contained in our daily food which are supplied, mainly, by various forms of sugar and starch.  In this commonly accepted way of thinking, there is an increasing tendency to believe that increased consumption of calorie sources contribute positively to more energetic activity.  As a result, as the generations pass, the recommended caloric consumption for an individual increases.  At the present time, the prescribed amount of calories in the United States is as follows:

 

Age Weight Height Calories
Men 25 154 lbs 69 in. 3200
65 154 lbs 69 in. 2550
Women 25 128 lbs 64 in. 2300
65 128 lbs 64 in. 1800
(All with moderate physical activity.)

 

However, energy for human activity does not depend exclusively upon the amount of calories taken in.  As we experience daily, our human life has two aspects – – physical and mental.  It is undeniable that our physical activity owes much to the calories that we consume and burn within our body; but our daily experiences show us that our mental activity often decreases with more caloric consumption, and that often we think much more clearly when we decrease our intake of food.  Jesus, Buddha, and many others, have realized great spiritual attainment after a period of fasting.  It is a fact that, among many kinds of mental experiences, the most fundamental functions – – that of the intuitive judgment – – does not require any calories to be consumed.

These antagonistic factors of human activity – – our physical and mental functions – – should be well coordinated.  We should find the means to balance them, in each individual, without emphasizing or preferring one to another.  In order to solve this problem, we would like to offer the Oriental concept of Ki (or Chi), which, throughout the ages, has been considered the most important faculty for the exercise of both physical and mental development.  We wish to try to translate this word “Ki”, which represents invisible force working throughout the universe, including all being, our body included within it, into expression of electro-magnetic force for the time being.

This invisible, and therefore, immeasurable, force, is working in all of our human activities and in all of the changing phenomena of our universe.  We take this force into us as we need it, just as we take our daily food.  We can characterize it as a Yin factor, while food is Yang in comparison, due to its visible and measurable nature.

Because these two are antagonistic and complementary, we must find the proper quantity of food, as well as the proper quality, in order to draw this electro-magnetic force and let it flow at maximum efficiency.  Because quantity affects quality, this force can be more or less effectively absorbed and allowed to operate in our body.

 

Energy for human activity= food (matter, visible, Yang) + electromagnetic force (Ki, non-matter, invisible, Yin)

 

We believe that the present theory of nutrition and calories would become much more comprehensive and perfect when they come to include the invisible aspects of our human life, that is, mental and spiritual operations.  When this has come to pass, we shall understand why most ancient religious and philosophical teachings had principles of nutrition which we similar to the one we have outlined — quite different from the present day theories — in order to achieve the highest capacity of man, to develop his mental and physical functions as a whole.

–  Michio Kushi, November 1967

_____________________________________________________

An Ancient Philosopher on Arrogance

Yang Chu had a friend by the name of Chi Liang.  One day Chi Liang fell ill, and after seven days he became very serious.  His sons wept by his bedside, and asked for three doctors.  One’s name was called, Chiao, the second was called, Yu, and the third was called, Lu.  And the physician Chiao said to Chi Lang:

“You do not live properly.  Your sickness comes from hunger and overeating and sexual indulgence.  Your spirit is distracted.  This is not due to heaven or to evil spirits.  Although the case is serious it can be cured.”  Chi Lang said, “He is a common doctor,” and sent him away.

The doctor Yu said, “You are suffering from a weak constitution and you were not properly nursed at infancy.  It’s not a mater of days, but years.  It cannot be cured.”  Chi Lang said, “He is a good doctor.  Feed him.”

The doctor Lu said, “Your sickness comes neither from heaven, nor from men, nor from evil spirits.  There was one who controlled it, when you were first conceived in your mother’s womb, and there was one who knew about it.  What;s the use of medicine?”  Chi Lang said, “He is a divine doctor,” and sent him away with costly presents.

And Chi Lang soon got well by himself.

–  Lieh Tzu

To read more from this issue of the “Order Of The Universe” magazine go here:

http://kushipublishing.com/?p=423

 

 

“Infinity’s Geometry” by Michio Kushi

January 9, 2017

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The following is an excerpt from a 1967 lecture by Michio Kushi as published in the “Order Of The Universe” magazine, Volume 1, No. 5, October, 1967.

Infinity’s Geometry

What is the shortest distance between two points? The usual answer is automatic, immediate; a straight line. A little over half a century ago this answer began to be questioned, for it was realized that a straight line can exist only on a plane surface. What, it was argued, if space were curved? Many forms of geometry were devised, many conflicting theories arose, and the problem continues even today. What do you think?

Listen to our answer. We say that the Universe is constructed like a spiral. We do not live on a plane or a curved surface but in many complex dimensions. Each point is the center of a spiral which returns to infinity; each spiral, each point, is within infinity.

Once we understand this then the answer becomes simple. When two people try to understand each other, they do not take the quickest route, which we can express as a straight line drawn between the centers of two spirals. Understanding must go beyond this – – away from the most relative things, which we find at the center, and return to the common origin of both spirals, which is infinity. Judging a person by his education, clothes, thought, will not make for understanding; if we pick a mate by looks alone we are bound to be disappointed.

By remembering the spiralic construction of every individual, however, we will not be deceived by appearances. Everyone returns to infinity, is infinity; they are grain, vibrations, their origin is clearly indicated by the spiralic pattern of hair that marks each of us as a child of the Kingdom of Heaven.

For A to understand B he must return to infinity and come in on B’s spiral. Without this there is no understanding; with this journey, however, it is possible for us to know each other, because our origin is the same. In infinity we are one. With this judgment, which the highest in the universe, we can see another person as a totality, beyond relative understanding, and with this vision we can become free and happy.

The shortest distance between two points is infinity.

–  Michio Kushi,  October 1967, from “Order Of The Universe” magazine, Volume 1, No. 5.

To read more go here:  http://kushipublishing.com/?p=417

“You Are Infinity” – Michio Kushi

January 7, 2017


The following is an excerpt from a Michio Kushi lecture as published in the “Order Of The Universe” magazine, Volume 1, No. 4 from August-September of 1967.

You Are Infinity…

So many people think that body and spirit are separate; this is complete schizophrenia. The relative life is manifested as a small spiral in the ocean of spirit; at the most dense, inmost point within the spiral a visible form appears, our body, and it disappears into invisibility – – that is spirit. Body and spirit are the same thing. as you know, many people ignore the health of the body – – that means they are ignoring the spirit also. And many people, who are ignoring the spirit, and thinking only of visible property, visible happiness – – they, too, are schizophrenic. We have to see both as one continuity. You can call this bodily spiral as the small “i” and you can call this invisible infinity the large “i” – – the small “i” is our body and the large “I” is our food, our field of activity, thinking, feeling, imagination and all spiritual activities.

– Michio Kushi

Read more here…

http://kushipublishing.com/?p=413

Expanding Pathways – an excerpt of Michio Kushi’s lecture from 1967

January 6, 2017
Michio lecturing in Boston in the early 1970s. Photo by Seth Levine

Michio lecturing in Boston in the early 1970s. Photo by Seth Levine

 

The following is an excerpt from “Order Of The Universe” magazine based on Michio’s lectures from 1967  (A link follows where you can read the full magazine):

 
PATHS
 
For man there are two paths. As you know, we come from Infinity on our spirallic way. A person and B person are taking a completely different course. A person is still going toward the center of the spiral. B person has passed the center and is going toward infinity on an expanding pathway. For A person, in order to reach the center, the proper thing to do is to become heavier and heavier. So, he should eat more and more, and he should gather many materials – money, property, decorations, titles, authority, honors.  Then he becomes very heavy and very proud of his heavy weight. Then he can go down as quickly as possible. The other type of people have already passed the center. For them, somewhere in their memory, they remember having had those honors, or billions of dollars, or property, or authority, or power – and they feel those things are trifles, valueless because they have memory, they’ve been to the bottom. In other words, they have memory of having fully enjoyed material richness and emotional richness, some a very long time ago. And so they say, “Whatever I have, I have, and I don’t want to spend my life for money only, for material only, for titles only. Rather, I want to seek more for truth, for justice, for invisible things.” They have already turned their direction from the center, and they already can see ahead on their course, Infinity itself.
 
paths
 
So, as you see, there are two kinds of people in this society. One person is running that way, and between them one says,”You are running the wrong way,” and the other says, “You are wrong because you are running that way.” Everyone’s direction is right. Even though one egocentrically and selfishly gaining, destroying other’s happiness, gaining only for himself and his own benefit – yet his course will change eventually, and he will be destroyed by the Order of the Universe – journey’s end, his adventure in this universe will end. Perhaps because he is overweight, or because of cancer, perhaps he will be destroyed by some envious competitor or so-called enemy. So, the Order of the Universe is very amusing and very wonderful.
If you know this whole Order of the Universe, then for you there is no enemy and no difficulties. Everything is your teacher…
 
Michio Kushi July 1967
 
Read the full “Order Of The Universe” magazine here:  http://kushipublishing.com/?p=407

Michio Kushi’s Spiral Of History

January 9, 2016

This blog post is the first of several select reproductions of articles from the “Order Of The Universe” magazine which published many lectures and articles by Michio Kushi and his students from 1967 to 1981.  The Order Of The Universe Magazine documented the immense scope of Michio’s teachings which laid out a vision and new understanding of our world that continues to unfold today.  His lectures covered an immense variety of topics from food and health, to medicine and healing, agriculture and industry, evolution and spirituality, ancient and future world, to understanding the cosmos and our bodies and ourselves.  By reproducing these articles it is my hope to inspire new readers to explore, for themselves, the vast extent to which the philosophical principles of macrobiotics, otherwise known as understanding the laws of change and the order of the universe, can be applied to all things as Michio had inspired a generation to pioneer the natural and organic food movement, the alternative health movement and to bring about greater awareness that we are profoundly connected to and inseparable from our food and environment.

The following article introduces Michio Kushi’s “Spiral of History” and was originally published in 1972 in Volume Four, Issue Three of the magazine “Order Of The Universe: The Way of Life In The Age Of Humanity” and was based on a previous lecture by him.   Michio further developed and updated his “Spiral of History” ideas and later published them in his semi-autobiographical book, “One Peaceful World.”  Volume Four was edited by Bruce Gardner.  The article was edited by Thomas Lloyd and the illustrations were done by William Painter.

Michio lecturing in Boston in the early 1970s. Photo by Seth Levine

Michio lecturing in Boston in the early 1970s. Photo by Seth Levine

The Progress of History, Past and Future

(Recreated from Vol. 4, Number 3, “Order Of the Universe: The Way Of Life In The Age Of Humanity” March 1972 based on a lecture by Michio Kushi)

The present era is a fast-paced, exciting time to be alive. An examination of the creative process of evolution can tell us much about what it means to be human, and our future may hold.

The process of life can expressed as a kind of distillation, a movement from expansion and dispersion to contraction and coagulation.  What is more, we find everywhere that the former elements (or yin forces) stand in a seven-to-one ratio from the later elements (or yang forces). Thus we can see most processes in terms of successive stages, increasing logarithmically in speed, compression and energy (all yang attributes).  This means that for each unit we move forward, we will see a multiplication of of yang characteristics, always increasing in a constant proportion.

For illustration of this principle we can look at the “Spiral Of Creation” (Diagram 1).  From the greatest expansion, the infinite universe, came the greatest contraction, living organisms evolving towards man.  The movement which accompanied this development was faster and faster moving, generating more and more energy.  Here we find a logarithmic relationship: stage one took seven times longer than stage two; likewise the ratio between stages two and three is seven-to-one.

Diagram 1

Diagram 1: The Spiral Of Creation

The gray blocks on the diagram indicate the periods of change from one stage to the next, because the transformations were not instantaneous.  For instance, electricity is known to be a “flow of electrons,” but the electron is a very elusive entity.  It is a substructure of the atom but must be described in terms of an “energy concentration.”  Thus, we can call the electron a borderline phenomena between the world of vibrations and the world of matter.

Likewise, the formation of the first simple life forms must be considered as a part of the elemental level of creation.  Solid was distinguished from liquid, thus, we had the primeval ocean and floating bits of crystallate matter.  Life entered here, inconspicously, as viruses.  These tiny cellular forms bear characteristics of living and non-living matter and can be considered another, “borderline phenomena.”

How did organic life spring from inanimate matter?  Scientists have recreated the primeval atmosphere of earth in a laboratory setting, introduced an electric discharge (in the natural world this would be provided by lightening) and found there newly created, simple amino acids. Such events in the early history of the earth carried forth the continuing “yangization.”  Life is the form of matter capable of self-movement and, eventually, (as in man) self-determination.  Here was the means for activity in the world of matter to be stepped up to a faster and faster pace.

These primitive, unicellular life forms were deathless and floating gently in the seas for millions of years.  As life progressed, the time-span of its individual forms decreased. Many of the lower forms of life can live to a great age, and die usually as a result of being eaten by natural enemies. We can see this happening with turtles and fish.

Several years ago a very ancient. primitive type of fish called a coelecanth was caught by scientists in very deep water off Madagascar. This fish had previously been known only through fossilized remains. Though the usual feeling was that somehow a few of these fish had survived and reproduced their kind, it is also possible that the captured fish was a survivor of ancient times, who had lived for millions of years at a depth where he was undisturbed by natural enemies.

The correlate of increasing cellular complexity was increased mortality. As life became more highly organized, taking on a higher energy potential (yang), it also became shorter (also yang). As can be seen in the diagram, the force of compression produced man. We are living in an expanding universe; scientists have found that all the galaxies are rushing away from each other. The more that yin, or centrifugal forces come to prevail in the physical universe, the more yang became the life within it.

THE SPIRAL OF HISTORY

When we take a close-up look at the final level of development, man, we can see another expression of this spiral of increasing yang force. The spiral of the historical development of man is shown in Diagram 2. Here we see that, as man progressed in the present age, development became ever more intense. In the ancient civilizations of China for instance, modes of life and Egypt, remained relatively unchanging over many generations. We see this today in some “undeveloped” nations. By contrast, we know that life in the U.S. is far different today than it was even twenty years ago.

Michio Kushi's Spiral of History

Diagram 2: Michio Kushi’s Spiral of History

The next thirty years will be the time of greatest yang force, the center part of the historical spiral. High pressure brings out:

  1. high speed
  2. high production
  3. high efficiency
  4. high-calorie, high-protein theories of the belief that we need large diet (i.e.,quantities of each in order to live)
  5. fast circulation of people and money, and of all movement

Under this pressure, many things are exceeding their levels of tolerance and are beginning to disintegrate: the family structure, the institutions of society, the mental stability of people, the cellular stability of bodies.

Men first learned to wear clothing approximately twenty-five million years ago, at the beginnings of civilization. Now that we are nearing the end of this cycle at the center point of compression, people are becoming overheated, and are starting to discard their clothing. First men learned modesty, now sex exploitation is increasing, reversing that trend.

People now strive towards complete openness, both physically and mentally. For instance, one of the most influential modern trends in psychology encourages complete candor, the baring of the inmost thoughts and feelings. Ideally, it is felt that one should express outwardly the most hidden parts of the individual ego. This reversal, the throwing open of all previously hidden things, marks the end of an era. People feel very frustrated: widespread meat-eating increases their body heat and aggressiveness, so they throw off their clothes and eat ice cream, but still feel hot.

All this activity is reflected in the work of the present-day thinkers. Basing his theory on the nearly intolerable strain of fast-moving change, which he calls “future shock,” Alvin Toffler foresees widespread mental breakdown if people cannot find a way to ‘unwind.” He proposes the inauguration of static environments which can be used as retreats, relieving the modern-day pressure. While this may seem a stop-gap solution at best, he quite penetratingly predicts a snowballing rate of changes and pressures on man.

POLLUTION

Thus far, we have seen many of the mental effects of life at this particular time in history. This cannot be separated, however, from the changes in the physical environment which are also progressing at an ever-increasing rate. Now becoming a center of public concern, pollution has far ranging effects, which extend deep into the natural world.

Water pollution has been with us for a longer time than air pollution, but with the latter we face really serious problems. If the air is clean, then it absorbs the evaporating water in a clean form. Even if the water was originally dirty, the pollution stays behind. The clean rain can then fall, washing and purifying. But if the air itself is dirty, then the rain brings more dirt and a vicious circle is set in motion. there being no possibility for renewal or refreshment.

Increasing atmospheric dust brings a number of other dangers. First, it brings about warmer weather: the thicker the atmosphere becomes, the more it acts as an insulating blanket. According to a leading scientific theory, solar heat radiation can penetrate this “blanket” but cannot escape again; the heat is held in. (Conversely, other forms of radiation may be shut out.)  The possible effects might include melting of the icecaps and extensive flooding of coastal areas. More important than this, however, is the effects of warmer winters on our food crops.

When the winter is cold, seed which will be planted in the spring becomes yangized, just as the cold weather makes people huddle in their coats, stimulating both bodies and thinking. When spring comes, the seed has a great capacity for yin, in this case water, which it thirstily absorbs. Thus the effect of becoming yang in the winter is the seed’s capacity for growth (yin) in the spring.

If winters become generally much warmer, the seeds will be always a little more yin, their capacity for water and growth somewhat eroded. When harvest time comes, many of the plants will still be immature. The result could be world-wide famine. Even if warm-weather crops were substituted, the problem would be great. To feed a world of increasing population we must look to grain, most of which thrives in the colder climates. Also, if we should eliminate this more yang vegetable-quality food (grains) from our diets, we would lose that force which has produced man, the most yang development of the universe. In the history of man, all advanced civilizations have cultivated cereal grains; likewise, the seat of advancement has been the temperate climates, as opposed to the extremes of tropical and polar life.

Another important effect of a denser atmosphere lies in the disruption of the system depicted in Diag. 3. The rock in the mantle is in a movable form; convection currents move through it. This movement in the earth is delicately balanced with air movements above the earth. Greater atmospheric heaviness could provoke greater earthquake incidence.

Diagram 3

Diagram 3

The third effect of a dense atmosphere concerns our relationship with the rest of the cosmos. The growing complexity’ of cellular life through evolution has paralled the increasing clarity of the atmosphere, which has allowed more and more celestial influence to penetrate to the earth’s surface. In the article in this issue of The Order of the Universe entitled ‘ ‘Solar and Cosmic Influence on Life,” there is an examination of the importance of cosmic radiations in human life. The science of astrobiology is concerned with these effects, which must be more and more curtailed as the atmosphere becomes more and more strongly insulated.

A fourth factor of air pollution lies in its changing of the atmosphere’s electromagnetic potentials. This is closely allied with the effect of cosmic radiations, which also change the earth’s electromagnetic fields. Researchers concerned with biological rhythms are now beginning to demonstrate the direct effects of these fields on organic life. A derangement of natural electromagnetic balances and an isolation from celestial forces must bring about changes. Thus, the adaptation of life to the environment must go on inevitably; certain species must become extinct. and many births might show deformations, mutations, or puzzling new diseases.

The heaviness of the atmosphere, with its corresponding increase in heat and pressure, is a very important effect accompanying the contraction of the historical spiral. If we look again at Diagram 2, certain interesting paradoxes may present themselves. One is that, because the spiral is balanced between opposite tendencies (“midnight” and ‘midday’; power and ideological development), the point we now occupy is a time of decomposition, yet it occurs during a period of ideological development. So we might see two possible futures opening before us.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

We might expect an explosion: we reach the center point and most of mankind is wiped out by some cataclysm, perhaps self-inflicted. The only survivors would be, most probably, mountain dwellers and people living “primitively.” They would inherit a polluted earth and be forced to struggle for many years until the air and water again became clean.

There is another possibility, however. The smooth process of yangization could be reversed, becoming a gradual process of yinnization. The greatest influence determining the outcome rests with people who understand the order of the universe. The apocalyptic outcome would stem from a resistance to the harmony of the universe, with people continuing to destroy their world through greedy acquisition. The positive outcome would mean that people who do not fight the harmony of the natural order have prevailed. Instead of taking, these people will give and give. They will give to the world a harmonious way of life, and the inspiration that life is joy.

So the historical spiral can move smoothly through its major reversal, depending upon people with deep understanding, and all trends can start to move toward their opposites. What will the world be like at that time? One important thing is that the style of world leadership will change.

Present-day politicians present themselves in a very prideful way, saying, “Elect me! I am more suitable for this office than my opponent.” If they were people of high judgment they would say, “I am not worthy of such a position. I will try to the best of my abilities but I am not really suitable.”

Because of this kind of attitude, emperors of the ancient Golden Ages(1)  had to search far and wide for successors and advisers, because such people are yin, they are the thinkers, and they are hidden away.

The great defect of democracy with its party system, and of communism as well, is that it puts the leadership into the hands of people who are very yang. The philosophers stay hidden, they cannot participate in such a system. On the rare occasion that one does surface, he is either largely ignored or destroyed. Because all the world leaders have been yang, aggressive, men of action, the pattern of recent history has been war, self-aggrandizement, and turmoil.

In the future society, this will be reversed. More and more, the people in authority will be the philosophers, more humble people. The whole meaning of the word “authority’ will change: now it means being in front of, being the most powerful, handing out orders; ideally it should mean being behind, supporting. giving advice. In a spiral of history characterized by yin direction, there will be greater encouragement of self-reflection as a means of problem-solving, less government by fiat or struggle between opposing parties.

The society based on such ideas can have a long life: the yin force as we have seen is usually seven times that of yang, productive of peace instead of conflict. Thus, we might expect a golden era as long as, perhaps, ten thousand years. Of course this, too, must eventually come to an end near the point of greatest yin expansion; in fact, we might expect things to fall apart through sheer inertia at that time, through a lack of the yang binding force. By then, man will be once again ready for some more yang excitement.

What does the fast approaching change in historical currents mean to the life of individual men?

Basically, all this means that the internal spirals of people will have passed through the point of maximum yang, material orientation, and will be smoothly moving in a spiritual direction. The people living now who are helping to allow the birth of the new age, are people who personally have passed through this point. Internally, they are reflecting the future change.
MK/TL

1. Most of the ancient writings and myths contain references to a Golden Age of great antiquity when men lived in harmony with nature, and the leaders were the most spiritually developed men. One of the Golden Ages of recorded times, that of Emperor Asoka of India, bears many of the characteristics of such an era. On such memories, Plato based his system of philosopher-kings, found in The Republic.

The Passing Of Michio Kushi

December 29, 2015

Michio Kushi (May 17, 1926 - December 28, 2014)

It has been one year now since the passing of my father on December 28, 2014.  I wrote these words below shortly afterwards when my memory was fresh but chose not to publish them until now. During this past year I have mainly lived in quiet retreat allowing myself time to reflect on his life and impact. Michio inspired many to live and work toward a more healthier, happier and peaceful world and I have no doubt that his life will continue to influence many for years to come. As we all move forward toward realizing my father’s dream of world peace and to honor his life on the anniversary of his passing I share these words in his remembrance.

August 2014

“I quit smoking!” said Michio, the moment he saw my face when I opened the door and walked in. I was surprised and laughed.  I was about to congratulate my father but then he went on to add, “I also quit coffee too!  I am beating you!”

“Well, that’s absolutely wonderful!  It’s a competition that I am more than happy to be losing at!”, I said and gave him a bow to concede my defeat.  Everyone in the room burst out laughing.

“What a greeting from Michio!” I thought to myself.  It was August, 2014, and we were in Becket, Massachusetts for the annual Kushi Institute Summer Conference. I hadn’t seen my father since the fall of 2010.

Kushi Family members with Michio at the Kushi Institute Summer Conference, August 2104 in Becket, Massachusetts

Kushi Family members with Michio at the Kushi Institute Summer Conference, August 2014 in Becket, Massachusetts

Michio, his wife, Midori, and Kushi Institute managers, Alex Jack and Ed Esko were sitting around the small conference table in Alex’s office. I had just arrived from Alaska where I had been living since 2010.  I opened my bag and pulled out a cedar gift box of wild Alaskan smoked salmon and gave it to Michio. He thanked me but then passed it along to the others.  He remarked that he also stopped eating animal food as well.  That was another welcome surprise.

Unless my father was ill or experimenting with his food he never changed his habits, especially smoking and coffee. For as long as I can remember there were four things he never changed and these were:

  1. His dark three piece suit.
  2. His smoking
  3. His love of coffee, coffee shops and restaurants.
  4. Never taking any vacations

In my college years and while on a summer break a friend and I were visiting my parent’s home in Brookline. Not really expecting him to join us, I invited Michio out to the beach on a hot summer’s day.  My mother thought it was a good idea and so he reluctantly relented and went up to his room to change.  We waited in the foyer for him in our t-shirts, shorts and sandals then down the stairs he came, unchanged, in his three piece suit.  “Where’s is your bathing suit?”, I asked.  He told me not  to worry.  My friend and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders and so, without questioning him any further, we all got in the car and headed to the beach.

I will never forget the image of my father traipsing across the hot sand at Crane’s beach in Ipswich, in his dress socks and shoes and black three piece suit. His outfit was as out of place as much as he was.  For Michio, taking any recreational time was completely out of the question.  Going to beaches, mountains or anywhere to unwind and relax was a waste of time, in his mind. So, to see him in his suit on the beach was a rare treat.

We found a spot to lay down our towels and my friend and I jumped in the ocean.   Meanwhile, Michio slowly surveyed the scene, smoked a cigarette and, at our beckoning, took off his suit and, lo and behold, he had on a pair of swimming trunks – in black, naturally.  He made his way into the water and splashed himself as if taking a bath and then, feeling completely refreshed, said, “OK! Now, let’s eat some fish!”  We all had a good laugh and later, a great fish dinner at a nearby restaurant.  It was clear that he enjoyed himself despite his own principles.

Though the color of his three piece suits may have varied slightly, my father never wore anything else.  He was dressed and prepared to meet anyone with dignity and respect regardless of who they were, be they a homeless person or a head of state.  He was on an mission for world peace and believed that everyone he encountered deserved equal and proper respect no matter who they were.  So ubiquitous was his outfit that one them now resides in the Smithsonian Institute as permanent artifact of the Kushi Family Collection.

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Michio, late 1960s, sitting on the floor in a typical pose

Despite pleas for him to stop from family members, Michio smoked. It was clear  to me that he used cigarettes and coffee, which he only drank black with no sweeteners, to help him concentrate and think. which he did constantly and therefore smoked constantly. When he was not lecturing or giving consultations Michio was always sitting down writing or reading or thinking about the problems of the world.

Once or twice daily, he enjoyed the anonymity of going to coffee shops and restaurants to relax, let his mind wander and to observe people. At times, he often ate what others did because he thought it was helpful to understand them. He mentioned in lectures that if you really wanted to understand and be like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Mohammed (or anyone else for that matter) then you need to eat exactly like they did.  He often joked with priests, monks and other devout Religious persons by pointing out to them that Jesus or Buddha never drank Coca-Cola or ate Ice Cream. There were times when he would fast or eat simple whole foods, but often he enjoyed going to local diners and eating normal fare without any concern.  However, as his life became increasingly busier, meeting demands that took to him to Europe, Japan and other places, his smoking, coffee, restaurants and not taking any personal time became routine, like his three piece suit, which sustained him on his mission for world health and peace.  It seemed that nothing could dissuade him from changing these habits.

After my mother’s passing in 2001 there was no one around to keep my father’s unhealthy habits in check and they finally caught up to him in the form of colon cancer in 2004. Thanks to the loving care of his second wife, Midori, he recovered and began to change his life-long habits and routines, including relaxing from his busy schedule.  Where my mother had failed to convince Michio to wear something else besides white shirts and three piece suits, Midori had succeeded in dressing him in jeans, plaid shirts and cardigans, which is what he was wearing on that August day in Becket while gleefully declaring that he stopped smoking and coffee.

Midori’s positive influence on Michio’s life was obvious. Beyond his new clothes and giving up unhealthy habits she provided him with the much needed rest, privacy and quiet that he deserved. As far as I can recall, my father never took any vacations. He felt they were a waste of his time.  He worked tirelessly for his dream, his mission and vision; constantly giving lectures, consultations and writing letters and books. He never declined any request and answered calls from clients, students and friends from all over the world at all hours of the day.  It was an extremely busy and unhealthy lifestyle. However, thanks to Midori and her vigilance to guard his privacy, my father was finally able to relax and live quietly and with that, he began to change his life long habits. So, with his cheerful and energetic greeting to me in August and despite his rather thin and weak appearance, I was optimistic about his future and left the Summer Conference with thoughts of organizing a 90th birthday celebration for Michio but fate would have other plans.

December 2014

On December 22, 2014 I received a phone call from my brother, Haruo. He informed me that our father, Michio Kushi, was in serious condition in a hospital in Boston.  I had prepared myself to receive such a call but this came sooner than I expected. I saw Michio just five months before in August at the Annual Kushi Institute Summer  Conference and though frail it seemed to me that he had enough energy and spirit in him to last at least few more years.

I was in Alaska when the call came.  My brothers, Haruo and Hisao, flew to Boston as soon as they could.  I caught a Red-Eye out of Anchorage on the 26th and arrived in Boston around noon on Saturday, the 27th.  My oldest brother, Norio, arrived at Logan Airport 30 minutes before me and met me at my terminal. We got a taxi together and rode straight to the hospital.  Soon we were in the lobby of the hospital meeting with Haruo who filled us in with the situation.

The day we arrived Michio had already been in the hospital for ten days.  He had been ill for quite some time in December and progressively became worse and his wife, Midori, unable to do more, brought him into the hospital.  She had contacted no one except Michio’s brother and their close Japanese friend and business associate, who flew immediately from Japan to assist her. She also contacted my brother who then contacted all of us.  No one else outside of this circle of family and friends knew that Michio was in the hospital.

Haruo led Norio and me upstairs to Michio’s room and there he lay, thin and weak and clearly near the end of his life. All of his surviving children, we four sons, were present in the room together with his wife, Midori and the friend from Japan.  Michio was conscious and alert. He had not eaten for several days but was not hungry either.  He was on an IV glucose drip which gave him the energy needed to stay alert and be clear headed.  He had no pain, or at least denied that he did, and had refused any pain medications.

Norio stepped up to his bed side.  Michio had difficulty hearing so Norio spoke louder than normal when greeting him. In a paternal tone that was characteristic of Michio’s relationship with Norio, he insisted that my brother listen to his wife Midori, and heed her words as if they were his own.  He repeated this several times to us all and Norio reassured him with expressions of gratitude.

After Norio, I showed my face to Michio and gave him a big smile.  He looked at me a remarked how nice my teeth looked.  I had some dental work done recently and it showed. That was the first thing he said to me.  I studied his face and looked into his eyes and what I saw shocked me.  His eyes had turned blue!  His eyes were no longer brown but had become blue, as if the brown part had fallen away revealing a pale blue hue underneath.  I remarked, “Oh! Your eyes are blue!”  I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed this and Midori nodded her head. She had noticed this too. Michio did not respond to my remark and instead he reiterated his plea to pay attention to and heed Midori’s words.  Midori, told him not to worry about her.  Michio then asked for his feet to be massaged and so we all took turns doing this.

Michio enjoyed our company and felt relief as we took turns massaging his feet. I pulled out my laptop computer where I keep a collection of old photographs from Michio’s youth from as far back as 1929.  I loaded the photos into a slideshow and then showed them to Michio. He lay there on his bed as I held my laptop in front of him slowly advancing each photo.  With his mouth slightly open his eyes gazed carefully at each photograph intently and he let out an occasional remark and sigh. I couldn’t help but be amused by the image of him literally watching “his life flash before his own eyes”.  I looked at his face carefully and could see him going back in time as each photo flashed in front of him. It was a small moment of joy for me to know that I could provide him with memories of his youth at the end of his life.  After all this then Michio soon fell asleep.

In time, the Doctor showed up and explained the seriousness of Michio’s condition and that the IV drip was actually not helping him.  The only reason they kept the IV going was to help him to stay alert so that he could be present and alert to receive us all.  It was a thoughtful gesture on the Doctor’s part. We decided then that it would be best to remove the IV.  There was no telling how long Michio would last at this point.  It could be a day or two or another week and it all depended on whether he would regain his appetite or not.

Haruo read through Michio’s extensive medical records and discovered that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June of 2014.  He hadn’t mention this to any one including his wife, Midori. She was shocked and in disbelief when she found out.  Michio had always said to her that he was fine even during the Kushi Institute Summer Conference in August.  She and Michio had even traveled to Japan in November.  Had she known that he had cancer then she would have never had taken him to Japan.  Instead, he kept it to himself and allowed her and they to live his last days as if nothing was wrong. He knew what he was doing and chose not to have Midori worry over him. His silence on the matter was just another way of showing his love for Midori. She broke down and cried on realizing what he had done.

It dawned on me that for all that Michio had done and accomplished in his life that, in the end, he was a simple romantic man who had found, in Midori, the love of his life.  There were no last parting words of wisdom, no incredible revelations into the nature of the universe, no instructions on how to create One Peaceful World or to carry on his legacy. He gave countless lectures, wrote books and helped thousands of individuals over half a century. He said all he wanted to in that time and had nothing more to say. Whatever thoughts and work toward creating One Peaceful World was simply left up to us and to those who chose to carry on his legacy.   His last and final remarks were to simply encourage family harmony and to acknowledge, embrace and remember the value of true love that he found with Midroi.

The last decade of Michio’s long and illustrious life was nothing less than a glorious love story between him and Midori, the woman who stayed by his side to the very end.  I looked Michio straight in his blue eyes and told him, “Well, after all this time, it turns out that you are the greatest romantic person in the world!”.  I further added, “Yours and Midori’s relationship is like a “Boston Love Story” ( a reference to ‘Tokyo Love Story”, a popular Japanese Romantic TV Drama). Midori laughed and so did the friend from Japan who understood the reference right away.  They completely agreed with my insight.

Midori and Michio (in relaxed clothing) April, 2008

Midori and Michio (in relaxed clothing) April, 2008

At some point during the day we brothers grabbed a quick bite to eat in the hospital cafe. The four of us sat at a table together. There was an amusing moment when my younger brother, Hisao, picked up a packet of salt and opened it only to find out that it was mislabeled and contained pepper instead. We all looked at each other and remarked at how that could  have happened and what the consequences of that error might lead to.  Hisao, the lawyer, immediately began thinking of the liabilities and potential lawsuits, while Norio, the trucker, immediately thought that it must have been a shipping error, while Haruo, the nutritional researcher, thought about the health consequences of people mistakenly putting the wrong condiment on their food, and me, I just remarked and laughed at them all pointing out where each of them had gone with their thoughts.  It was a brief amusing moment and, despite our differences, there was family harmony between us. It was as if Michio had brought us together to remind us of the love we have for each other.

Given his energy and clarity earlier in the day it seemed that Michio would still be around at least a few days more.  It was getting late and thinking that Michio would still be around the next few days we brothers decided to go out and enjoy meal at a restaurant that Michio frequented. It felt great to spend time with each other as we actually hadn’t been all together since Michio’s 80th birthday. During our meal, Midori called Haruo saying that Michio was cold and was complaining about the air conditioning.  Haruo decided to go back to the Hospital to help Midori and the rest of us split up to where we each had arranged to stay.

I arranged to stay with my own grandchildren which was a good 40 minute subway ride north of Boston.  It was just before midnight by the time I arrived there. I put my bags away and had begun to settle in when I received that final call from Haruo.  Michio passed away, quietly, peacefully and without complaint shortly after midnight on the very early morning of December 28th. Without hesitation I told my brother that I would come to the hospital right away. The Boston subways were still running though less often and mostly empty.  The hospital and nurse’s station were quiet also with many of the lights out.  It was peaceful.  Midori was in mourning. Haruo decided to take off to get some much needed rest while I stayed the night in the hospital with Michio’s remains, Midori and the friend from Japan.  It was the quiet and peaceful calm before the storm of activities that would soon follow.

Kushi Family members gather for a private ceremony for Michio on January 5, 2015 in Boston

Kushi Family members gather for a private ceremony for Michio on January 5, 2015 in Boston

Thank you, Michio

In reflecting back on that evening and the following months, I can say that there was never any sadness or grief on my part for the passing of my father. Every time I think of him and our relationship I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and peace.  Michio had lived his life the way he wanted even in his death.  He accomplished many great things and will be remembered by those who knew him well for his charm, his wit, his manners, his scholarly intelligence and his uncanny insights into many aspects of our world and universe.  He dedicated his life to his dream and tirelessly faced and overcame many challenges and difficulties. In his last years, he found inner peace in the comfort of the woman he loved and whom loved him. He lived a full and grand life. He lived a macrobiotic life.  There were no regrets. His life was complete.  All is peaceful and I have nothing but gratitude to him for the life he gave me.

January 2015 – The Memorial Service

In his welcome speech to the several hundred attendants of Michio’s Memorial Service on January 31, 2015, my brother, Haruo, said, “We consider all of you to be a part of our extended family.”  This welcome statement from my brother describes what is, perhaps, the greatest gift that my father gave to me (aside from giving me life)  and to us all: a network of friends around the world who share the same ideas, values, food and dreams. This is something that I will forever be grateful to my parents, especially my father.  Below is a video fo the full 2-hour Memorial Service held on January 31, 2015 at the Arlington Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

From the mid 1960s my parents opened our family home to anyone interested in learning from them.  Some stayed for a brief period of a month or less while others stayed for several years.  All in all, there was always  a constant stream of 10 to 20 other persons living in our home throughout the years. Sometime in the 1980s my sister, Lily, put together a list of individuals that she could recall who lived in our home.  The list took several months to create and in the end the total count of individuals who graced our home was over 10,000.  The list did not include the larger number of students who attended any of the countless lectures, cooking classes and consultations my parents did nor did it include students of the Kushi Institute which has been in continuous operation since 1978.   The 10,000 figure was only those whom lived in our home at one point or another and today, these individuals are spread around the globe.  Regardless of where they are now and what they are doing all of them are family to us.

Adding to this amazing gift of friends around the world are my parents teachings, wisdom, and endless dream of one peaceful world which, through their students, continues to help many thousands more every year.  To say that I feel blessed to be their son, is truly an understatement. By simply being born to them, I have been given a priceless fortune that I cannot ever hope to repay in this life time and in many more life times to come.

Michio lived a full life and by the time he passed away he had accomplished more than I could ever hope to achieve in several lifetimes.  His legacy was to leave behind a network of friends around the world all of whom are making a conscious effort to create peace, health and harmony in their own lives and with others.  With his passing there is nothing for me to be sad about.  There is nothing for me to grieve about. His spirit continues to live on and I am reminded of him every time I hear another story of someone finding a new awareness about how their food effects their health and how we are all connected and can make a difference by simply choosing to eat and live in closer harmony with our natural environment.  With the advent of email and Social Media I am able to hear and read these stories every day.  So every day, I am reminded of my father and the work of my parents and I have nothing but gratitude.  Thank you, Michio.