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Macrobiotic Morals - An ethical lifestyle Choice

Posted 12-18-2008 at 05:49 AM by deebeelicious
Macrobiotic Morals - An ethical lifestyle Choice

I recently had a brief chat with someone who has been a follower of the grain for many years. When I said that part of the reason I tried the macrobiotic diet was that I already try to eat organically and live sustainably, he said that macrobiotics wasn't about that, which surprised me.
We had other things to talk about so we left it, and I've been thinking about that brief conversation since.

Surely everyone understands that there is an 'ethical' standpoint to the macrobiotic lifestyle? No? I'm writing this blog as I'm interested in everyone's point of view on this, so please comment below.

Here's my view.

How to live: help others as you would hope to be helped yourself; wish for others what you wish for yourself.
Every other 'social law' or principle can be covered by these. Jealousy of somebody else's success or arrogance if you are fortunate to be the 'successful' one will 'eat' away at you, and ultimately destroy you.

I have also been brought up and have faith in (acknowledge) One God, The God, in arabic Al-Ilah, ie Allah (Arab-speaking Jews and Christians also use this word for whom in English we call 'God'). For me, the two (faith and how to live) go hand-in-hand but of course, you may believe differently.

I have read about George Ohsawa's views with great interest. This is from Jessica Porter's 'Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics'.
"First George Ohsawa called 'One Infinity' the 'infinite pure expansion'. This is not the space we're floating in right now, but the spaceless origin of space. It is the oneness from which everything arises and to which everything returns. In his inimitable way, George Oshawa liked to call it the 'beginningless beginning and the endless end'.
"... As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter the form or shape that this entity takes, as long as you acknowledge a source bigger than yourself. ... The purpose of this book is to help you sense and relate to the Infinite Universe by learning its laws and bringing your body back to its natural balance.
"... As the source of all things, it is both life-giving and life-withdrawing and it is always just, steadfast and crystal clear. As you learn, you will find that working with the Infinite Universe brings freedom and working against it brings suffering. By practicing macrobiotics you will polish your inner compass, which is your tool to align with the Infinite Universe, and the rest of your life is about buffing it to a shine and following its direction.'

"... Arrogance is basically ignoring or flouting the laws of nature. Until we harmonize with the yin and yang forces that are creating and uncreating us, we are basically packing more sludge, not even knowing that we're doing it. Or worse, we learn about sludge and reject the simple logic of it. This is the greatest arrogance of all. If you have read this far in this book and think it's all ridiculous, you are blind to your own spiritual sludge. ... There is a type of energetic sludge that is holding you back from your true freedom and deepest happiness.
"In what ways do you as an individual violate the order of the universe? Where are you packing sludge? Into your body? Into the environment? How much sludge can you pack into your life without feeling the effects? What do you realize you are currently 'getting away with'? Considering yang becomes yin at its extreme, what may you be setting yourself up for?
"... We don't get healthy just to sit around and feel good. We get healthy in order to live life thoroughly, and that vital energy we received from the Infinite Universe needs to move outward into the world in order to stay bright and sparkly. So it's only natural that we get to the question 'Where is your energy going'? In other words, how are you using your life force? Are you putting it into useful places, or is it being flushed down the energy toilet?"
I have also been studying yoga, in which 'Asanas' or Physical Poses is only one aspect out of 8 that one should follow if one is interested in this path. I would like to paste some of the aspects here, but this blog is already too long, so I won't but simply refer you to the link and to the Yama and Niyama sections.

From the description of the 8 limbs in that link, it is clear (to me!) that for one to find 'enlightenment' (or peace or harmony or bliss, whatever you want to call it), it is not enough just to do the Asanas or the Meditation if deceit, arrogance and lies lay in one's heart.

I think the same is true about macrobiotics, eg eating a perfectly balanced meal cooked on a wooden stove but then thinking how one can cheat the next gullible person who comes along, eg pyramid selling, to me just seems bizarre. Surely one understands that there is a fixed number of people / energy in this universe, and that if everyone signed up to a pyramid sale scheme, eventually the many at the bottom of the pyramid would suffer unfairly whilst those at the top would receive a lot for doing nothing?
What a waste such a meal would be - all that positive energy being converted (perverted?) into negative energy in the body?

Can a person really think they can cheat the 'Infinite Universe' / God / Fate / Karma (or whatever you want to call it)?
Can you pull the wool over Her Eyes?
Can you really justify eating red meat for every meal which costs 25 times as much carbon to produce than vegetables?
Can you justify excessive use of insecticide and fungicide spray on the crops you choose to buy?
Can you justify your 'carbon opulence' when others in this world are starving?

To me, the answer is a clear 'No'.

For me macrobiotics without morals is meaningless.
One should try to eat organically, buy fair trade, live sustainably (eg local foods in season) as far as one can.
Isn't it obvious that what goes around comes around?
Fate has a unique way of showing us who really is boss in our lives.
And that's why, to me, living a self-focused life without interest in other's wellbeing, just one's own, to me isn't macrobiotic.

And Dirk, that's what I meant when I said I came into macrobiotics as a natural progression from the organic/sustainable lifestyle philosophy, and why I can't 'do' macrobiotics without 'organic' and 'sustainable' in the same breadth.
Total Comments 5


  • Old Comment
    The philosophy of MB has been of great interest to me for some time. I definitely agree that we have to be responsible for our actions and realize how they affect others. At the same time, I am the erstwhile pessimist. I have more belief in bad luck than in a "universal entity", and expect misfortune as a matter of course. So my interest has been piqued by the idea of learning to see those misfortunes as opportunities. Of learning to be content within despite what happens without.

    I have only really begun to learn about the philosophy of MB and its more religious roots, so I can't speak with any authority. But what I have read seems to focus more on the "me" than the "us", in that, as with the dietary aspect, it's about making yourself healthy, in all ways. And that is more of an individual journey. So I'm not sure if there really could be called a "moral" side to MB, in the usual sense of the word. More like as we each become more healthy, in mind, body and spirit, society as a whole will become so.

    I'm not sure, frankly, if that agrees with your view or not. And as I say, I'm only starting to learn, so I may be all wet, too.
    Posted 12-18-2008 at 09:22 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    As for the way to live your life, I totally agree with you:

    How to live: help others as you would hope to be helped yourself; wish for others what you wish for yourself.

    And indeed:

    Can a person really think they can cheat the 'Infinite Universe' / God / Fate / Karma (or whatever you want to call it)?
    Can you pull the wool over Her Eyes?(Btw my favourite!)

    For me, the whole idea of 'getting away with stuff ', 'cutting a deal (at the cost of someone or something)', 'getting the upperhand', 'winning', 'taking revenge', 'getting even', etc. is a sort of escapism which stems from people's Ego.

    Someone told me a long time ago that:
    Ego is a good thing, as far as it makes sure that you eat when you need nourishment, that you get out of the way when something nearly hits you, but DO NOT let Ego be the director of the film that is called 'Your Life'. Just let it assist you, not take control. And IMHO he was right.

    Unfortunately, many people, if not most, have Ego still prominently sitting in the director's chair of their Life. And why is this? I think it has a lot to do with our materialistic view on life and on ourselves that we are separate entities, separate from God, Allah, the Universe etc. and separate from each other. In a material sense that appears to be the case. But can a raindrop be considered as a totally separate entity from the cloud it's falling from or from the sea its falling to? The shape may be different, but it's still water.

    George Ohsawa's ideas of 'One Infinity' come close to my own beliefs on this matter (btw I have no religious background, so it's mostly, if not all, the result of my own thoughts, studies and life experiences), but I would like to take it a step further. As everything in the Universe consists of energy which just manifests itself on many different frequencies, I believe that God, Allah, the Universe etc. can be considered as being of the highest energy frequency and everything material (like us) belonging to the lower frequencies. But we are all One (energywise). Therefore, we cannot pretend that our actions will have no consequences on others any longer, just think of the famous butterfy effect (chaos theory). On a global scale that is quite evident already, when looking at world pollution, climate change etc. What goes around, comes around, indeed.

    Since we, as humanity, are not all on the same page yet (and it's doubtful, that we ever will), all those Ego's, still believing in the illusion of getting away with it, are having a ball ....

    Now back to MB philosophy. Having said the above, I do not believe, you can 'enlighten' yourself by eating MB or doing yoga or even meditating, though it will certainly be helpful. In my view, however, there must have been a thought, an idea, a spark of consciousness, a certain experience in your life, a turning-point of some kind or even some sort of epiphany which has sort of opened your mind and urged you to explore other ways than the one that was no longer working for you. In other words: I believe in spirit over matter; so in my view first there was the opening of one's mind in some way, then along there came the guiding tools, like MB, yoga, meditation etc. But that's only my humble opinion.

    Since there is no 'escape' from our actions and their consequences (that's just a mental illusion) why not act in the best and positive way we can? As we cannot change others, we have to start with ourselves, and like throwing pebbles in a pond, let's just hope our positive vibes will expand and expand ...
    Posted 12-19-2008 at 07:00 AM by asmay asmay is offline
    Updated 12-19-2008 at 03:54 PM by asmay
  • Old Comment
    There is a story in the bible like what Asmay is saying about "A Thought an idea a spark of conciousness, a certain experience in your life, a turning point of some kind or even some sort of epiphany which has sort of opened your mind"

    It is the parable of the seed and the sower that Jesus tells
    as follows: Bible, Luke chapter 8: 4-21: The Parable of the Seed
    "And when a great multitude were coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 'The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. And other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it out. And other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.'

    As He said these things, He would call out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' And His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable might be. And He said, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, in order that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND. "

    I was actually going to address chaos theory and the butterfly effect in my first thought of response to DeeBees blog. But Asmay as usual has led me astray. In other words, and this goes with my way of thinking. Some may hear about MB and not be ready for it. Some may discard it. And in some it may flourish. One of my catholic school theology teachers also said, that some may hear and it may take a long time, but eventually the idea will connect and flourish in their head (ie many paths to the same destination type idea)

    I think that it is fascinating that most major religions of the world have a way of eating associated with them. For Jewish it is Kosher, Islam has Halal, Catholics have eating rules of fasting / fish on fridays during lent, and strict hindus are vegetarians.

    Macrobiotics did not start with Oshawa. It is based on Daoist beliefs in terms of yin and yang and energies of all things. There were a group of men called the Sen-Nin or free men who developed all kinds of unusual abilities (The Do-In Way p25) This is where a lot of the macrobiotic practice comes from initially. The ancient way of being that is the Tao of Shin Sen involves diet, exercise, and who's purpose is to promote the physical, mental and spiritual development and produce the free man.

    The Macrobiotic diet was also very similar to the diet that Jesus ate according to biblical scripture. In fact there is a "Jesus diet" out there making the rounds that is very similar to MB but leaves out all the daoist aspects of MB.

    MB has a universal appeal without the yin yang aspect for exactly the principles that Deebee outlines. Mostly eating locally in a viable manner really helps the planet as deebee states, so there are many good logical reasons that have nothing to do with the Taoist principles of MB for still eating locally produced food. Eating a diet predominantly of whole grain is associated with spiritual development in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and of course daoism and buddism. So from this aspect it seems that no matter what religion you follow, practice or were raised in this makes sense. Being dependent on the vegetable kingdom and the grain kingdom makes more sense in general there is the old 100% 10% 1% rule that is basically when a cow eats grain it takes in 100% of the nutrients from that grain and produces meat that has 10% of the original amount of nutrient available, and then when we eat the meat, only 1% of the original nutrients that were available in the grain make it into our bodies and are digested. 99% of the original amount of nutrient in what the cow ate is then passed as waste by the cow and by us.

    So yes, if you eat meat all the time, in essence you are promoting the idea that it is okay to waste 99% of produced food on the planet. On the other hand if you eat the grain then 10% of that grain ends up in you , and you have essentially increased the available human food supply by 10% which is huge!!!! This could literally feed millions!!!!

    Albert Einstein said that “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

    So all of these aspects contribute toward a positive moral / ethical contribution made by converting to vegetarianism.

    Not having to feed animals as livestock would free up huge amounts of grain for human consumption.

    I agree with DeeBee in that I think it helps to understand daoism in order to understand why you are doing what you are doing on a macrobiotic diet, but there is a cavalcade of evidence from other religions, from experts, from respected scientists philosophers and the like that point to the idea of being fully vegetarian as being good for the body, good for the planet, and good for our fellow man.

    I think that the goals of daoism go much deeper than that. The original free men were trying to advance toward the 7th level of consciousness ( nirvana). There is recorded evidence through legend that these free men developed all kinds of unusual abilities. The diet the do-in exercises and the spiritual meditation all were important aspects of their lifestyle.

    I think that there are a lot of people looking to "advance and evolve" in their humanity. Do I think that just eating macrobiotically will do that? I think it is definitely a part of it, but it isn't the whole picture.

    From my experience eating macrobiotically has definitely made me more honest. It has also allowed me a great deal of clarity that I did not have before. I have had great epiphanies since I started eating macrobiotically that have helped my life. I look at things differently. Is it the end all be all of going completely into the oneness of the infinite universe? In my mind no, but I see MB as one of the many locks in the door to the infinite universe. In other words if there were 10 doors to get to that level MB will open one of them. I am not saying there are 10 levels to get there or anything like that, just that MB is one piece of the puzzle.

    MB helps you understand with greater depth whatever else is going on. But I'm not evolved to the point where I am walking on water, or at least not yet..... but believe me if I get there you all will be the first to know and see the you tube video, but until then, yours in

    Peace, Love, Hope, Faith, brown rice, and bancha

    Posted 12-19-2008 at 09:38 PM by shastastar shastastar is offline
    Updated 12-19-2008 at 09:50 PM by shastastar
  • Old Comment
    There is an old saying in Dutch: "There are many paths that lead to Rome" (I don't know the English equivalent). And I agree with Shastastar that MB can be one of the keys or tools to ease our way to an increasing awareness and growing consciousness on our worldly path (maybe to enlightenment , who knows?).

    I attended a short but interesting lecture some time ago on the energy of food. There it was stated that the energy frequencies of vegetables, grain, fruit etc. (basically all natural grown foods) are higher than that of meat products (with, if I recall correctly, pork being the lowest frequency of meat, beef the one but lowest). With that lower energy frequency they meant lower than the human body, so when eating meat you literally eat something which will slow down and lower your own energy frequency. Grain, vegetables and fruit contain a much lighter and therefore higher energy which will raise your energy frequency. And so to speak literally lift your spirit. It was an interesting way to look at food and it made sense.

    Whether or not it works to uplift your energy frequency by supplying your body/earthly vehicle with natural and thus more efficient food/fuel, I don't know, since there has been no scientific research in this area yet I'm aware of. I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating; we just have to try for ourselves. At least, what we can be sure of when eating MB, vegan etc. is that it decreases the amount of 'sludge' intake, which will definitely lead to a clearer mind and a healthier body.
    Posted 12-20-2008 at 02:56 AM by asmay asmay is offline
  • Old Comment
    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Ostarella, the erstwhile pessimist - rather than think of it as 'bad luck', I think of it more as a 'game' - the very macabre game - that 'Life' plays with us. Actually I kind of think 'Life is sh*t, then you die' - so either I can choose to be grumpy about that, or decide 'F&&k it', I'm going to try to enjoy whatever small blessings/luck/fun I come across. :?

    Asmay - thank you - yes Ego is definitely the problem! That's why I've found Transactional Analysis a good psychological theory - 'I'm OK/ You're OK/ They're OK'! I've definitely found that eating certain foods, eg omega3, changes my thought patterns. If I'm feeling a bit down and my thoughts are starting to circulate, eating some omega3 for a few days helps me think up 'new' thoughts that helps to resolve the ideas I had. So I'm not surprised that some people find themselves contemplating the big life issues more on a MB diet or similar?
    I think the English saying is 'All roads lead to Rome'! Actually in Islam only God is eternal, so even if one becomes a 'guest' of Hell, it could never be 'eternal damnation' because only God exists eternally. Thus there would always be 'forgiveness' at some point, so everyone would eventually arrive in Heaven? Therefore in this case 'all paths lead to God' ?
    Energy vibrations? Well matter is just another form of energy (E = mc2, right!), so I guess I can handle that! Was Albert Einstein a veggie! ?

    Shastastar - I've not heard of the Jesus diet before, that's interesting, I'll try to look into that. Thanks too for that parable, I had forgotten it, but it is a good one to remember!
    There is definitely some info out there on the diet of Prophet Mohammad's family, very simple meals, mostly vegetarian, using barley and flat (unleavened) barley bread. Rice as a staple didn't reach Arabia until a few hundred years later, with the Persians!

    Energy vibrations? Well matter is just another form of energy (E = mc2, right!), so I guess I can handle that! Was Albert Einstein a veggie! ?
    Posted 12-22-2008 at 03:21 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
    Updated 12-22-2008 at 03:34 AM by deebeelicious
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