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The 28th Conference,
March 17th -20th, 1994.
FRIDAY, March 18th, 1994.
1. Experts versus Self-Development.
2. Time frame for widening the diet.
3. Role of Enzymes and "Chi-movers".
4. Ayurvedic Medicine.
5. Different Ways of Meditating.
1. Mind - Body Connection; Macrobiotics and Spirituality.
2. Family Systems Therapy vs Macrobiotic Ideas.
3. Ginger Compress.
SATURDAY, March 19th, 1994.
1. Ginger Compress Demonstration.
2. Yin and Yang.
3. Nine Star Ki.
1. Aveline Kushi.
2. Self Diagnosis.
5. Earth Changes.
6. Purpose of Doing Macrobiotics.
Experts versus Self-Development.
Alexia Plass opened this session by asking what is the relationship beteween the expert and the beginner to macrobiotic practice. She mentioned a story of Herman Aihara's where a woman and her son came to him for counselling and seven years later he met her and asked how things were going, and her son had become very ill. It turned out that they had been eating the same diet he had given them seven years ago, not making any changes. This illustrates the problem that people are faced with when they begin a macrobiotic diet; namely, that they have to understand what is happening to them. Also she mentioned that although there are many experts in macrobiotic practice to whom we can turn to for advice,they do not have exactly the same understanding or perspective. She felt that the most important thing an expert can do is to offer support in addition to the valuable information they give. But the most important aspect is developing our own understanding and widening our knowledge as we continue our practice so that we no longer need the experts.
Another perspective, from Mel Molitor, is that you can start without seeing anyone; get the books, learn how to cook and just do it. Mel had a sarcoma on his knee and after six months of macrobiotic practice it was gone. He strongly feels that experts are of limited use in that they can get you started but really you have to do it yourself. David Jackson said that the whole of society is to a large extent conditioned to look to experts to give then answers for their problems, whereas macrobiotic practice is diametrically opposite; unfortunately he finds that many of the teachers and counsellors in macrobiotic practice see themselves as experts and codify their attitudes and behaviour as if they are experts, which is really strange to see. He said the PMC is about demystifying the whole idea of professionalism and expertese in macrobiotics, to engage in conversation and explain in detail what answers are needed to various questions more in the style of friends and fellow travellers relating experiences. He feels that this is one of the reasons many teachers and counsellors avoid coming to the PMC.
Cathy Albanese said it really depends on what state a person is in when they begin their macrobiotic practice. In her case, she was so confused and messed up that she felt she needed to go and see a counsellor; we need to realise where people are in their development and she feels that we need to acknowledge both sides of this question, that the expert is needed in those times when we feel we have lost direction, but we need to also take our own initiative to learn and understand more as we continue our practice. Pierre Rogers said the basic premise of macrobiotic practice is self-awareness and independence because we are ultimately responsible for our decision making, and that can be both frightening and self-empowering.
Kaare Bursell said that although theoretically it is definitely possible for anyone to pick up a macrobiotic book, and a cookbook, and begin doing their macrobiotic practice without seeing a counsellor/expert, and possibly many people do so today, his experience is that the culture as a whole has become less inclined to being self-reliant. Furthermore, in terms of information, when macrobiotic practice and teaching began in the US, no-one thought that food and nutrition had anything to do with health. He remembered seeing a report on nutrition and diet by CBS about ten years ago where the macrobiotic diet was brought up and a spokesperson for the AMA was asked whether he thought that diet had anything to do with with cancer and he responded by almost laughing himself off his chair at this dumb question. Whereas two years ago, when CBS had another report on diet and nutrition in relation to disease and another AMA spokesperson was asked this same question about diet and cancer, he replied in a much more muted fashion, that there may well be a possible connection between diet and cancer. In the last ten years there has been an exponential increase in the information available about food and nutrition in realation to disease and health. In Kaare's opinion most of this information is extremely confusing to people, because other than Ayuverda and macrobiotic practice, none of this information has any guiding principle behind it- it is all ad hoc and willy -nilly. So, these two factors taken together, on the one hand people being less inclined to self-reliance and getting more into a dependency mode, wanting all the answers laid out on a platter, and on the other, the burgeoning tidal wave of confusing and conflicting information available about diet and nutrition- how many diets are there out in the world? - have made counselling become more vitally important than it was fifteen years ago.
The other aspect of this question is who decides who is an expert. In the case of macrobiotic practice that is determined by people saying so. Kaare does not feel he is a macrobiotic expert, and in fact the term is somewhat irritating because in macrobiotic philosophy we are supposed to be realising how ignorant we are, no matter how much we may think we know. If a person is placed in the role of being a counselor by their community, then the goal is to be able to let people we counsel know that they can indeed understand what they need to understand if they are going to do a macrobiotic practice, and that it is necessary for them to take the time and effort to understand yin and yang, Five Transformation Theory and how to cook in order to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity a macrobiotic practice affords to become free and independent. In other words, the goal of a macrobiotic counselor is to make themselves redundant.
Geoffrey Lee said people need to take responsibility for their own thinking and self-determination is fundamentally the result of learning how to think in this new way of yin and yang so that each individual finds their own path in macrobiotic practice. Mel said that another problem is that people have become conditioned, when they are ill, to go to a doctor, take some pills for a few days and be cured of their symptoms. What they need to realise is that natural healing takes time. Cathy said we need to rephrase the question in terms of teachers, where some teachers are people we go to to help us solve problems we may be having, and there are teachers that are inner voices, and we need both.
It was also mentioned that Bernie Siegal stated an interesting statitistic in one of his books that if a person decides to take charge of their health and asks the expert why they are wanting to to this, or why they are recommending that; that is, someone who wants to know and understand, they have an eighty percent chance of recovery. Whereas those who are passive and meekly follow orders from the expert or experts they go to only have a twenty percent chance of recovery.
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Time frame for widening the diet.
Alexia introduced this topic by saying that a condition takes time to heal and we can get the feeling our condition is healed and we start to eat more widely and after two weeks of doing so, all our old symptoms come back. She said she wanted to learn from everybody's experience and was interested if there are any basic mistakes that people make.
Mel made the distinction between minor and moderate deviations from the diet and bingeing, where we pig out on a particular food. He said that it is probably, at least for him, healthy to have moderate excursions into raw foods, or fruit or a cake once in a while but if he indulged himself in a particular food, say peanut butter, then he developed symptoms from it.
Betty Holm said she is secure in the knowledge the body has enormous recuperative powers. She said it was important to relax and allow the body to go through its healing process and also to study. She has been doing a macrobiotic practice for ten years and she is only now in the last year or so she has really begun to study.
Kaare said there is a general rule of thumb for how long to eat strictly, as far as our condition alows, because there really is no such thing as a "macrobiotic diet"; the dietary recommendations are modified according to our condition. If we are very sick when we start the diet, then we need to be more strict and circumspect with our dietary intake than if we are in condition of mild or minor sickness. The rule of thumb is that we eat strictly a diet we have either put together ourselves from reading books and taking cooking classes, or gotten from a counsellor, for as many months as we are old when we start our dietary practice. For example, if we are fifty years old, we eat strictly for 50 months, if 20 years old, for 20 months, up to a maximum of 84 months(7 years) of eating strictly.
Then the question is, how do we know when to start widening. Kaare's way of interpreting this is, if we have been eating strictly for several months and we decide that we have had enough of eating this strict diet, we are going to eat a chocolate cake, or pizza or hamburger or whatever, then if we eat that and we get sick the next day, then we are not ready to widen the diet. However if we eat a slice of pizza and a piece of chocolate cake and the next day we feel fine, then we can say we are ready to widen the diet; of course, this does not mean that we eat pizza and chocolate cake every day. We always should eat cooked whole grains and vegetables as our daily staple food, but we can also eat anything else in moderation and occasionally, eat out at ethnic restaurants and socially occasionally, once we have gotten through the 'healing phase' of our macrobiotic practice, which in most people's case will mean eating strictly for three to four years, before we can start experimenting with widening the diet.
Kaare went on to say the problem of eating strictly for too long is exemplified by the case of Aveline Kushi, who, as we all know, developed cancer this past year, after being on a macrobiotic diet for four decades and who has often been held up as the example of someone who does not deviate from the diet ( Kaare also added here that diet does not explain everything about why a person develops a certain condition). She also had the habit of eating a particular kind of dish, a salty, long time cooked root vegetable dish during the entire course of the year. And macrobiotic thinking stresses the necessity of eating food cooked in different styles and seasonally throughout the year.
David said he had a couple of guidelines. First of all, as human beings we can eat anything, we have been designed to be able to eat anything, and we destroyed that ability, or at least severely reduced it, by eating unconsciously this highly processed, high animal protein, high fat, chemically laced modern diet for many years. In other words we damaged our body's capacity to transmute food appropriately so that it can maintain balance. So we have to eat strictly for so many years in order to allow the body to restore itself to its natural state of being able to transform and transmute food so that it always maintains its internal balance, which means it is healthy, and that means we can then eat anything as long as we do not overdo those foods that are extreme yin or extreme yang.
Keeping that in mind, and provided we have been through some healing crises, and allowed natural healing to occur there are a couple of points; one, if we are having cravings then it is useful to identify them and then apply some logic. For one, do not say, that this is the exact day when my 'as many months as I was old when I started' is over (Kaare interjected that he was 28 when he started practicing a strict macrobiotic diet but he didn't start widening his diet until 42 months had passed on the diet), and then go to Denny's because that is where Kaare and David go to have chocolate cake and coffee (much laughter here); use your judgment and be responsible. Maybe it is a craving and it comes from the past, like a favourite food. Also to be grateful for whatever food we put in our mouths.
Another point David made is, in his opinion, 95% of people coming into macrobiotic practice these days have a lot of excessive yin and excessive yang build up in their bodies, and if we go on a 60% heavy salty mineral rich macrobiotic diet then all these excesses tend to get trapped in the body; try to stay in the middle, not too yin or too yang; for example, somebody likes to eat shiitake mushrooms every day this is too yin; someone else is eating an umeboshi plum every day this is too yang. Vary the foods we eat, using little triggers to release these old stagnations, like a little lemon here and there, or ginger juice, or grated raw daikon.
Pierre Rogers said that eating the same strict diet for your whole life is a no-no; so once we have eaten strictly for a reasonable period of time then it is healthy to lighten up and be more relaxed about the diet. David said that it is also imperative to take into account where we are living; for the most part the macrobiotic books that are available are written by people who live in New England so they tend to be slanted to that area; the recommendations written will simply not work for Southern Arizona and even, to a large degree, for Northern Arizona. Like, in his last summer's newsletter he wrote about how to use tomato, potato and peppers in a macrobiotic diet for Arizona in the summer.
We had a fifteen minute break of Qi-jong exercises.
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Role of Enzymes and "Chi-movers".
Cathy Albanese introduced this topic by saying the idea of enzymes is, she thinks, related to moving chi, to get energy moving and part living is to find what can get chi moving. This can be done by exercising, for example, and enzymes play a role in this moving of chi. She said Marc Van Cauwenberghe., MD. a long time macrobiotic teacher and counsellor back east, talks about antibiotics being 'anti-life', whereas substances which promote life are called pro-biotics. Cathy first became aware of enzymes because of her cat and a vet in Ohio recommending a certain propriety mixture of minerals, vitamins and enzymes called "K-zyme" (or "Caison") which helped her cat get over Feline Panleucopenia. Then she recently heard Marc Van Cauwenberghe give his talk on enzymes. As a result Cathy started taking enzymes and the kind she was taking were very expensive, grown on brown rice and of vegetable origin. She also gave them to her cat who, now nineteen, had recently begun to lose weight, vomit occasionally and be lethargic. After taking the enzymes, she gained weight, stopped vomiting and regained vitality. She sends stool samples to her vet in Ohio, last March, when she was at her worst, last September after she started taking "Caison", and last December, after she started taking these very expensive enzymes, which Cathy is now taking. Her vet told her that last March the cat's carbohydrate digestion was still poor after two hrs ,after starting on the "Caison", her carbohydrate digestion fell within the normal range after 1 1/2 hrs, and after last December that her carbohydrate digestion was total and complete after 1 hr., and her fat digestion, which had always been poor, had improved considerably. The vet told Cathy that such results, after using the 'super' enzymes, for a cat of such advanced age, were remarkably good.
This started her thinking about the power of theses enzymes, which she has been taking since July, and she has noticed has made an improvement in her. She notes enzymes are protein or protein-like substances that are very primitive. They are very yin substances, and she knows there is considerable contoversy amongst counsellors on the east coast. And Dr. Marc van Cauwenberghe is making money on the side because he is a distributor of these enzymes. She said enzymes come to us in natural forms in both raw or very lightly cooked food and fermented foods, eg. miso soup, good quality pickles. Heat destroys them so if we always eat cooked food, then we supposedly do not get enough enzymes.
So, although she is taking these'super' enzymes, and she has noticed an improvement in her condition, she does not necessarily like the idea of taking them and would like to find a more natural way to achieve having the proper enzymatic activity in her digestive tract. She has experienced the benefits of cooked foods and knows what happens to her when she eats raw foods more than just occasionally. So, there are apparently contradictions here and she is in a dilemma about it.
She does think the enzymes have somewhat of a 'transmuting' force, turning matter into energy, and they help to move energy where it is stagnant. She was asked how her her improvement had manifested itself. She said she had a really stuck pancreas which is painful, she wakes up in pain because of it and a lot of the pain is released in the form of gas and the other side of it is she can eat a little bit of something and she gets contractions and then diarrhoea. When she first started taking the enzymes they were subverting that process, and her body began behaving in the normal fashion and she had more energy. Cathy asked us what we thought about it all.
Kaare said that this illustrates what has become a big problem in the macrobiotic community, which is the lack of ability to think in terms of yin and yang. In her story, what where the symptoms she described more yin or more yang? They showed that there is a lot of yang stagnation in her body; so, are the enzyme preparations more yin or more yang? Cathy said they are more yin. Kaare said everybody, including a majority of macrobiotic counsellors, treat the human body as if it were a machine, and it is just a matter of finding the right combination of fuels, lubricants, additives etc., and everything is just going to be fine.
The macrobiotic understanding of the human organism is it is a manifestation of chi or life force, and that when the human organism is healthy, the digestive system forms its own enzymes; this is done by microflora in the intestines, and also, if the digestive lining, the mucous epithelial cells, are healthy and vital, it also produces enzymes. So, it comes down to the necessity or restoring our digestive integrity and this can only be done, in conjunction with an appropriate macrobiotic dietary practice, with doing ginger compresses.
Kaare went on to say that this "pro-biotics" is one of many such 'additives' that have excited the macrobiotic community over the past ten years or so, like green magma, Wachter's supplements, spirulina, super blue green algae and now enzymes. This is kind of like a red flag that should immediately start waving in your consciousness; as soon as we see people in macrobiotics start espousing these sorts of supplemental additives, then be on our toes. In the culture at large we would expect people to get excited about such things, because everybody is quite happy with the idea that we are machines functioning according to physical, chemical amd mechanical laws. Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of the spiral, helical form of DNA has just published a book called "The Astonishing Hypothesis" in which he says that all that we are in terms of our hopes and dreams, moral qualities, ideals, attitudes, world views; in short, all those soul activities that make us human beings, are simply the result of all the chemical and physical laws that work the 'machine body' that is thought to be the human body. Now, we would expect that from Francis Crick because he is a mechanic, but macrobiotic counsellors thinking that way means we have to immediately question their understanding of macrobiotic principles and concepts and ideas.
If we are experiencing these types of digestive problems, then of course miso and pickles and sourdough non-yeasted bread are important restoratives for the digestion, but if we do not remove the intestinal stagnation that is not in the cavity of the intestines but is actually embedded in the tissues of the walls of the intestines by doing a long term program of ginger compresses on the abdomen, then it is not possible to improve the digestive/assimilative/excretive functions of the digestive-metabolic system to the point where it becomes whole, dynamic and vital.
The problem, as Kaare sees it, is the erroneous assumption in the macrobiotic community that when we begin eating a macrobiotic diet that because we begin to experience wonderfully formed bowel movement in 4-5-10 weeks or whatever it happens to be our digestive system is fine. Speaking psychologically-spiritually, the chronic intestinal stagnation is where is gathered all the "stuckmess" in our lives, not only physical but also emotional, mental and spiritual and attitudinal and so forth. It is therefore acts a wall or barrier to any real progress in terms of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. People can experience remarkable improvement in their physical health for three or so years but after that, if these intestinal stagnations have not been removed, then we begin to feel stuck, devitalised, and various symptoms can arise-its very interesting to note that many, many people quit macrobiotic practice at around the three year period.
David said we need to take a large view and we were all existing before enzymes were discovered. And the scientific view has also discovered we create our own enzymes in the digestive tract. Whenever we take anything into our mouths and mix it with our saliva it is changed and the enzymes in the food is changed. The main problem as David sees it is that by taking in these enzymes from outside sources we compromise our body's ability to form those enzymes internally. Also fire is very important in macrobiotic practice, and fire is in itself a catalyst for change but if fire is overdone then it can be destructive; so knowing how to apply fire appropriately is very important in macrobiotic cooking.
Another point Kaare brought up is that any kind of supplemental, whether they be vitamins, trace elements or enzymes etc., is that their bioligical activities in the human organism, in regard of their energetic qualities having an accurate biological activity in the human organism, is dependent not only on their particular form, in scientific terms their molecular structure, it is also dependent on the matrix in which nature presents them in the kale, brown rice, squash etc. Kaare believes that if the human digestive system is healthy in the macrobiotic sense it will not allow these artificially produced supplementals to enter into the organism itself.
Now, if the digestive tract is unhealthy, the mucous lining, and the tissue of the walls of the intestines contain toxic mucous deposits and are stagnated, then those artificially produced(where artificially produced means the end product is taken in the form of a pill, powder, injection or potion) enzymes, vitamins, trace elements and minerals do enter into the organism, and in the doses people are recommended to ingest, then they compromise the immune functions of the body. That is one point.
The other point is that when we eat any food we are not only eating the physical food, we are also eating the vibrational quality and consciousness that went into preparing that food. If we eat foods that are produced mechanically then our consciousness becomes mechanical and also our body becomes weaker. In terms of what it is to be a human being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, when we habitually eat mechanically, factory produced supplements, which all of them are, then we are easily entrapped by the types of concepts of the human being that are now so widespread in our culture as to be very scary, which that we are nothing but genetic zombies, that our behaviour in all aspects of our lives are nothing but the result of our genetic make-up. For example, "I am an alcoholic because I have a gene which makes me alcoholic, or gay, or gives me colon cancer etc., etc.". Kaare thinks this mechanisation of mentality and consciousness has been to a great degree brought about by the industrialisation of food production.
David said he thinks its okay for people if they so choose to use enzymes as long as it is only done temporarily with the view to weaning ourselves off them; also use good cooking, chewing thoroughly, good quality fermented foods like miso, pickles, and preferably home made sourdough whole grain bread because the fermentation of the bread is unique to the place where we live.
Before we moved on to the next topic, David re-emphasised that the Pacific Macrobiotic Conference is not an endorsing or recommending body; all that is opined and aired at these meeting is simply to be taken as the opinions and understandings of the participants for all of us to take home, ponder on and digest and if they make sense to us, to put into practice or not, as the case may be.
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Betty Holm brought up this subject by saying she had listened to tapes by Deepak Chopra, and the subject had come up there and she was curious about it. Kaare said that it is an ancient Indian system of medicine which George Ohsawa has called the "Father of Macrobiotics". It uses a three fold system of classification which are essentially "hot", "neutral" and "cold". They use this in medicine by determining what a person is in terms of their bodily make up in respect of these three designations and then they have dietary recommendations for these three different types. It is very sound, based on a deep wisdom. Kaare's only caveat with it is that he thinks it is very culture bound with regard to some of the foods they recommend, especially herbs and spices, and also in terms of preparations of certain foods, like ghee, which Kaare does not think are appropriate for people living in America.
For example, at one of these conferences we had in San Diego at David's old center, we discussed this topic in the context of a woman at the meeting having breast cancer who had been doing macrobiotic practice for a couple of years and the breast cancer had not shown much improvement. So she went to an ayurvedic practitioner who recommended doing ghee enemas with the result that her breast cancer rapidly grew.
Kaare said a very common phenomena in macrobiotic circles is people doing the dietary practice for one or two years without making much headway with healing their condition, and they take up another health modality along with continuing doing their macrobiotic dietary practice. This signifies to Kaare they have not examined their macrobiotic practice with much self-reflection. A macrobiotic life does not only mean eating certain foods in a certain way; it also means examining our lives from our emotions to our relationships to our jobs, our attitudes, the whole gamut, to find out what is negative, unhealthy, and retrogressive in those areas which may be and probably our more significant contributors to our inability to heal our condition than our dietary practice.
Betty said the overriding message she got from the tapes was that if you believe in anything strongly enough, it will work for you. Kaare said that he did not think that is the case because there are both natural laws and spiritual laws operating and if our belief systems fly in the face of those laws then we are going to end up in deep trouble, which is of course what is happening in the world. David said that Deepak Chopra has changed and he is teaching something completely different; he is a follower of TM.
In actual fact, the oldest and continuing bedrock of all traditional medicines is macrobiotic theory and practice. If we study the ancient sacred texts of any major culture we find that when they talk about food they talk aboout whole grains and vegetables.
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Different Ways of Meditating.
This topic David discussed by suggesting people try Zazen meditation and it came up that there are other ways to meditate. The problem is we start meditating we start by becoming fidgety and uncomfortable and we lose concentration. The technique is to persist through the difficulties. Of course there are other forms of meditation such as walking meditation, chewing meditation, breathing meditation, cooking meditation. A book recommended is "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Yoshi Suzuki.
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Mind - Body Connection; Macrobiotics and Spirituality.
This was brought up by Pierre Rogers who mentioned there has been a lot of work being done in this field which has been showing how our thoughts influence our body functions. He mentioned one recent study where mice were being fed a high cholesterol diet and among the various groups of mice being studied, one group were doing very well; they were not experiencing the problems of high blood pressure etc., that the other groups of mice were showing. The researchers found it was because the person responsible for feeding this group of mice was not only feeding them, he was nurturing them by holding them and petting them and being affectionate to them. This suggested to Pierre that there is more than just food that nurtures us; he thinks the state of mind is just as strong, if not stronger, than food in having an influence upon the functions of the organs and tissues of the body.
He recently read a book written by the person who put out "A Course in Miracles" called "Healing is through God", published in 1993. Pierre went on to quote from this book in reference to weight loss where the author recounts how, once having accepted the concept of the primacy of the "God-Mind", and thinking differently about food and weight has not gained any of the weight he had lost at the beginning of his change of thought, now eight years, even though he eats anything and everything with no restrictions. He goes on to say that in order for us to change any diseased condition we may have, we have to first change our mind about our relationship to the disease. Pierre feels eating macrobiotically gives a person a big advantage since eating in this manner facilitates healing on the emotional, mental and spiritual levels, if we pursue any discipline which is designed to help us progress spiritually.
There followed a wide ranging discussion which basically affirmed that everyone present is convinced that following a spiritual discipline and path, and there were various disciplines and churches represented, is essential to becoming healthy on all levels. In fact, it was stated that doing a macrobiotic dietary practice is not of any real significance unless it is also accompanied by radical and deep seated changes in attitudes, ways of thinking, world-views, etc., simply because our disease symptoms are symptoms which issue forth from our entire way of life. And we are embedded in a culture which is fundamentally self-destructive, and, if one is not into denial, is standing on the edge of its own grave at this point in time. Thus we have to undergo a strenuous and dedicated self re-education process on all levels of our lives, including food, if we wish to change the self-destructive course of modern life, which is really the ultimate objective of a macrobiotic practice.
We had a fifteen minute break of Qi-Jong exercises before going on to the next topic.
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Family Systems Therapy vs Macrobiotic Ideas.
This topic was brought up by Sue Fox, who talked about Systems Theory in relation to the family, in which the hallmark of a healthy family system is where everybody, mother, father, daughter and son are all relating to one another and if there are issues coming up then they can be discussed in an open way. It often happens the family is not relating openly and then various problems arise which lead to various obsessions and addictions. These various obsessions arise because there are emotional blockages arising out of problems which cannot be resolved because there is no free interchange between the family members.
The reasons for the blockages are essentially having to do with people not looking at their emotions and not wanting to look at them, so various strategies are set up to avoid dealing with them, like alcohol, and as this occurs then family members begin to take on roles in the family dynamics, like 'hero', 'scapegoat', etc.
She wondered whether macrobiotics can help with this problem because food can become an obsession also and this can end up being an obstacle.
It was mentioned that we would be helped if we looked at our parents as human beings and that they have their problems and faults like we do and would be helped if we could forgive them.
A perspective that came up after participants had related by passing reference to situations in their own lives with their parents that had involved physical and emotional abuse was that in terms of our karma, we choose our parents knowing full well prior to our incarnation what to expect. An example coming from Rudolf Steiner was that a person chose a certain set of parents before incarnating whose father he knew would subject him to severe beatings as he was growing up. So why did he deliberately choose such a father, knowing before incarnating that this father would beat him? From the point of view of our rational pragmatic mind set in the physical world we would think it grotesque that a person would deliberately choose a father knowing in advance that this father would subject them to beatings once they had incarnated and were growing up. (And of course, once we have incarnated we lose our memory of what we were thinking prior to our incarnation!). The reason he did so is because he knew prior to his incarnation that these beatings by his father would be a strong stimulus to his further spiritual development, and furthering our spiritual development is the reason we incarnate anyway.
Thus, in healing ourselves and our parents we need to go over our lives with them in pictures, seeing the incidences as they occurred which were the occasions of sexual, physical, emotional abuse and view those incidences in an objective, emotionally neutral way and do three things- one, find something in them that is positive and good, because no matter how ugly a situation may be we can extract something positive from it; two, forgive the person who is the instrument of the pain and forgive ourselves for our hate, pride and blame; and three, let it go.
It was also brought up that if we do eat in a balanced way and that our emotional life becomes much more stable and calm and relaxed and we need to eat well especially if we are having a difficult time emotionally. Also that any true healing necessarily involves pain and suffering a part of the process.
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Kaare brought up this topic in the context of the previous topic. He related how early on in his counseling he had counseled a young woman who he had suggested do the regimen of ginger compresses on the abdomen and daikon hip baths along with an appropriate macrobiotic dietary practice. Kaare always asks people to come back for a follow-up session about four months after the initial consultation and in the case of this woman, she came back about six months later. During the course of the follow-up session she related how after about three or four weeks of doing the compresses and the baths she began to remember how she had been sexually abused by her father. Now, up until that time, and she was about 30 years old, she had no knowledge whatsoever she had this relationship with her father, no recollection at all, it came as a complete shock to her to now begin remembering it. Kaare asked her if she was seeing a psychotherapist about it and she was.
So, afterward, Kaare meditated on why it had happened that she had begun to remember these incidences only after she had been doing the compresses and the hip baths. His conclusion is that if any one, man or woman, is physically, sexually and emotionally abused while we are children then we have various defense mechanisms which place those incidences in the subconscious; that is, we find ways of suppressing any memory of them. However, he feels that these incidences as they are occurring are imprinted 'holographically' on the mucous stagnations that are gathered in the body, and depending on which organs have the bulk of these stagnations then the emotions associated with imbalanced organs become the emotions that largely color a person's life attitude. Thus, if they are mainly in the kidneys, the person, then fear and anxiety tend to be their overriding emotional 'fix' on the world, if it is the lungs, sadness, if intestines, depression, if liver, anger.
Also, because these incidences of months and years of abuse are imprinted in the mucous stagnations, then they play there as a kind of endless tape loop playing out these incidences, of which we are totally unaware. Nevertheless, because they are indeed playing, then all the emotional toxicity associated with them are playing into, so to speak, our emotional life and attitudes as adults. Therefore, since healing ourselves is and must be a consciously undertaken process, we must have these old emotional toxic stagnations come to our consciousness so that we can heal them consciously. Now, many people come to the realization that they have been abused through other means, usually psychotherapeutic, than doing the ginger compress etc. However, if the ginger compress regimen is not done, then no matter how many sessions we may have with our therapist, as long as these stagnations with the incidences holographically imprinted upon them are not dissolved by doing the ginger compresses, then they will continue to play havoc with our emotional life and attitudes as adults.
Kaare said that was one reason he was very keen on suggesting people do ginger compresses, and it is also the main reason why people so resist doing them; because at some subconscious level they know that once they start doing the ginger compresses, they will have to start dealing with these painful emotional issues in their lives. And they would rather avoid that.
The other main reason for doing the ginger compress regimen is the fact of mucous stagnations being impregnated in the actual tissue of the walls of the small and large intestines. This is a universally ubiquitous condition in people everywhere in the world where people are eating meat, sugar, eggs, butter, cream, refined flour products etc. With the aid of facial diagnosis you can see that everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, and in every walk of life, everybody, without exception has it. It is literally endemic to modern culture and is the physical cause for so much that is diseased in our culture, including all degenerative diseases.
It is therefore imperative we have those stagnations dissolve and the macrobiotic dietary program, in and of itself, does not do it, not in today's people. If we do not find some way of dissolving these mucous stagnations, then, no matter how well we eat, in the long run our body's excretory organs can never detoxify and excrete the toxins at the rate we are generating them through our day to day activity. Put it this way; to the extent that there is mucous stagnations in the walls of the intestines, then to the same extent is our body limited in its capacity to detoxify itself, for the large intestine is the ruler of the detoxifying/excretory organs of the body.
And Kaare has not found any treatment other than the ginger compress on the abdomen that does the job of dispersing and dissolving the mucous stagnations in the intestines, so he thinks they are as critical to a macrobiotic practice as is the diet, especially in the beginning stages of a macrobiotic practice, the first two or three years. Kaare recommends in women, because this is an observation he has made that in women whenever there is the build up of mucous stagnation in the large intestine, it is also built up in the wall of the uterus, that they do 32 Daikon Baths, using the dried daikon leaves (Daikon Baths being the universal remedy for treating all female organ conditions), and 32 Ginger Compresses; with men it is a total of 64 Ginger Compresses, over a period of 16 -20 weeks; even that amount of treatments may not be enough to get rid of the mucous stagnations - in Kaare's case, he did some 180 compresses over a period of three and half years.
It was asked whether you get any discharges while doing the compresses and how do they manifest. Kaare replied the discharges can vary from their being none at all, not overtly, but this is very rare; usually people experience any or all of the following at some time during doing the treatments - headaches, copious nasal discharge, fevers, flu-like symptoms, mucous in the stools, diarrhoea, in women vaginal discharge and cystitis type symptoms, sore throats, coughing and sneezing and skin discharges.
Kaare said there is this place called the Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory in North Carolina that has worked intensively on research in the intestinal functions and they have identified what they call the "Leaky Gut Syndrome" which has been linked as the root of just about every degenerative disease, including cancer. One of the interesting discoveries that has been made in all this research is that the average person in the US carries 4 lbs by weight of bacteria in their intestines and the number of bacteria (1x10 14 ) exceed the number of cells in the body! Kaare does not think this is the case with someone who is eating macrobiotically because the change over to a grain and vegetable based diet means that the flora in the intestines change. However, it does mean that anyone coming into a macrobiotic practice has to assume they have intestinal parasites, so Kaare recommends people to do the anti-parasite remedy which one of his counsellees dubbed "The Candida Crunch" ; this is three parts Short Grain Brown Rice, two parts Aduki Beans and one part brown unhulled Sesame Seeds, dry roasted together until the brown rice turns a golden brown (continually stirring the mixture over medium heat until this occurs). Incidentally, what are normally sold as Aduki Beans are not Aduki Beans, but Cow Peas- for medicinal purposes it is better to get the Hokkaido Aduki Beans @ 12 -15 dollars a pound.
This mixture is left to cool and then for five days 1/4 cup a day is chewed as it is for breakfast, followed by drinking either a cup of 1/2 and 1/2 Mugwort-Kukicha tea or a cup of Corsican Seaweed Tea. Then have the normal lunch and dinner. Repeat this procedure twice more with an interval of two weeks between use.
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SATURDAY, March 19th, 1994.
Ginger Compress Demonstration.
David Jackson gave a demonstration; you need the following:
I gallon container(thick sides) of boiled water.
1/4 cup freshly grated unpeeled ginger root(does not have to be organic) in a cloth bag.
2 cotton towels, folded to cover the abdomen from the sternum to the pelvic bone and from one hip to the other.
1 dry towel.
2 wooden bowls about 10 inches diameter.
The bag of ginger is squeezed to get the ginger juice into the pot of boiled water(do not boil the ginger), right after you have boiled the water, and then the bag of ginger is placed in the hot water.
David's method is different from those in the books where he has two of the wooden bowls you can buy at oriental stores, the bowls being the ones made of interwoven strips of wood. These are about 8-10 inches in diameter. What you do is place one of the folded towels between these bowls and immerse it in the ginger water so that the towel gets heated and because you are holding the towel between the bowls you do not have to put your hands in the water.
Then you put the other dry towel try against the skin of the abdomen, and, after immersing the two bowls with the other towel place between them in the hot ginger water, you lift the bowls out of the water, and squeeze them firmly together to squeeze the excess ginger water from out of the towel. Then you take one bowl off the top of the ginger towel and place it underneath the other bowel, and place the hot ginger towel on top of the dry towel on the skin of the abdomen(you are doing the compress lying back against some pillows against a couch or wall).Then you cover that towel with another dry bath towel, also folded.
The heat and ginger chi penetrates through the dry towel into the abdomen, and you can feel your skin heating up. After a few minutes, as you feel the heat cooling down, you take off the top covering towel, and flip over the two towels on the abdomen so that the towel that has been recently soaked in the ginger water is now directly on the skin. You then place the one that was originally on the skin between the two bowls, while covering the one on your abdomen with the dry towel. You then immerse the two bowls with the towel inserted between them in the hot ginger water, take them out, squeeze the excess liquid out, and lifting off the covering towel, place the hot ginger towel on top of the one still on the skin, and cover them both with the covering towel. Then, once you feel the towel against the skin cooling off, you flip the towels over so that the recently heated towel is directly on the skin and proceed to take the top towel and place it between the two bowls, having placed the covering towel on top of the ginger towel on the abdomen, and immerse the bowls in the hot ginger water, etc. You go through this procedure for half an hour. If you have a gallon pot with thick sides, then the ginger water should easily retain enough heat for half an hour.
This method ensures that you have constant heat on the skin throughout the course of the half hour treatment. The principle behind the treatment is the heat of the compress stimulates the blood and tissue fluid circulation and the chi of the ginger, which because it is a root has strong downward energy (the reason you do this lying down or leaning back is so the downward energy works its way into the abdominal area) and because it has been grated it has strong dispersive qualities (attested to by the way the aroma of the ginger fills the room when you grate it). The combination of the downward movement with the dispersive quality means the ginger chi penetrates through the abdomen and on encountering the toxic mucous stagnations in the tissues of the small and large intestines, breaks up and dissolves them. If you want to do the kidneys you sit on a chair and lean forward and follow the same procedure.
The ginger compress is very good for any kind of muscle, tendon, bursa, tendon, joint and bone pain. Also for any kind of peripheral circulation problems, ginger compresses on the abdomen. As for the cancer problem which is brought up in the macrobiotic books, where the reader is warned not to do ginger compresses if they have cancer, except for five minutes prior to doing taro potato plaster, if the cancer is not in the abdominal region, then it is fine to do the ginger compresses on the abdomen.
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Yin and Yang.
This topic was about how to be able to decipher and analyze using yin and yang in an easy way. It was immediately stated that there is no easy way to learn and understand yin and yang. The way to go about it is to learn the ABC's of yin and yang, a list of which is found in not all, but certainly earlier macrobiotic books. These need to be learned so that we know them by heart; e.g.., that cold is more yin and hot is more yang, taller is more yin, shorter is more yang etc. Then we need to begin to apply them in our daily lives so that, for example, we get up in the morning and ask ourselves is this a more yin day or more yang day and why. Is a cloudy, moist, overcast day more yin or more yang than a bright, sunny, warm day. Is a windy day more yin or more yang than a calm day. Is a summer more yin or more yang than winter. Then, once having decided whether today is more yin or more yang, we then have to figure out what to cook for that season and the type of day it is.
Now, we know we are going to be eating whole grains every day, so we only need to be concerned about the vegetables. We need to understand whether a turnip is more yin or more yang than a carrot, whether collard greens are more yin or more yang than summer squash, and why. Then we need to understand we are trying to make balance, so that if today is a more yang day according to the reasoning above, we need to cook more yin. Thus we choose relatively more yin vegetables and use relatively more yin cooking styles.
Also, when we are observing the world around us, we ask if this or that phenomena is more yin or more yang than some other phenomena and why; for example, when we walk into our living room, we ask ourselves whether the carpet is more yin or more yang than the couch, and why. Now, these may seem very trivial considerations but the fact is that there is no more valuable dynamic to understand than that of yin and yang, and that a long term macrobiotic practice is impossible to do with any degree of 'success' if we do not take the trouble to understand yin and yang.
Furthermore, the implications, consequences and ramifications for our own experience of life are inestimable and far reaching once we begin to develop our understanding of yin and yang. Also, although yin and yang appear simple, this is only a surface consideration; for although it is indeed simple, it is also at the same time deep, profound and very subtle. Thus, it is not at all easy to gain a grasp of it and our understanding of it is more hindered the higher our level of education. The other point to make is the understanding of yin and yang depends upon our condition- the healthier we are the easier it is to understand yin and yang, but remember it takes probably three years of macrobiotic practice before we are on the way to becoming healthy in the macrobiotic sense, so any discourses by us on yin and yang prior to that are more than likely to be erroneous and superficial.
It is also mentioned that we cannot attribute any moral qualities to yin and yang, like yin is bad and yang is good or vice versa, and they are not representative of any deity or devil.
As to the whole controversy about the yin and yang interpretation of macrobiotic philosophy in comparison to the traditional Chinese Medicine interpretation it is sufficient to say here that both interpretations are correct from their own particular perspectives.
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Nine Star Ki.
David Jackson gave a brief introduction to Nine Star Ki study. First he recommended two books for further study, "The Book of Do-IN" by Michio Kushi which gets into the Five Element Theory, on which much of Nine Star Ki is based, and the other is "Healing Ourselves" by Naboru Muramoto. So he first gave a brief description of the Five Transformation (as it is also called) Theory. The Nine Star Ki is a combination of two Chines systems called the Twelve Earthly Stems (The Dog, Rat, Boar etc.) and The Ten Heavenly Stems in Oriental Astrology, a book which is entitled "Oriental Astrology" by Michio Kushi recently republished by One Peaceful World Press.
The Nine Star Ki has numbers 1thru 9, where they are combined with the Five Transformations as follows:
1 - WATER.
2, 5 & 8 - SOIL.
3 & 4 - WOOD.
6 & 7 - METAL.
9 - FIRE.
These numbers thus have characteristics or natures as designated above derived from the Five Transformations Theory. Now, every year is designated one of these, as are the months of the year, and we can figure out from them what our primary nature is according to our year of birth, and our secondary nature according to our month of birth. So we can get to know our own tendencies and proclivities as well as our compatibility or incombatibility with people of different natures according to Nine Star Ki and the nourishing and controlling cycles of the Five Transformations Theory.
To easily find out what your Nine Star Ki number is, take your year of birth, say 1957, take the last two numbers, add them up to get a single digit number, as 7+5 =12, 1+2 = 3, and subtract this number from 10, giving us 7, therefore 1957 is a Metal 7 year. Or, 1962, 6+2 = 8, 8 subtracted from 10 is 2, therefore 1962 is a 2 Soil Year. The year starts at the beginning of February, February 5th, thus if you are born on January 15th 1995, then your year of birth is 1994 according to this system.
David talked about relationships between people being illuminated by the relationships of the Nine Star Ki, so in cases of people with the same Nine Star Ki designations, they are very compatible, whereas people who have a controlling relationship, such as Fire and Metal, the person with the Fire nature will tend to melt the person with the Metal tendency. These things are really interesting to play with to gain some insights into our behavioural tendencies. The real interesting aspect of all this is that if we are in balance and eating correctly for our condition then we are naturally in harmony with the energies and spiritual tendencies, and we do not have to think about any of this.
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Pierre Rogers introduced this topic by saying he brought it up because he had only recently heard about Aveline Kushi developing cancer, and he was very surprised and shocked and asked how can this be? He reflected and what could be the possible reasons for her developing cancer and he thought perhaps it could be she is in a co-dependency relationship with Michio, or she had been eating to narrowly and too strictly for too long. He also said that Michio is a wonderful person and is striving for his dream of One Peaceful World and had heard, this therefore may not be true, that Michio is a womanizer, which he found unbelievable, which given his striving for world peace, yet in his own house something is going which is not so peaceful. So there may be some imbalances here and of course this is only hearsay, except for the fact that Aveline has cancer.
Pierre went on to say he considers Michio a wonderful person because if he hadn't discovered Michio's work he may not have been here today speaking these words. Nonetheless, it is disturbing to him to find out that in Michio's household there may not be much peace. And what stunned him as much or even more was that Aveline opted for radiation treatment rather than doing a macrobiotic program for healing the cancer, which indicated to him some kind of major internal crisis in her life. He would like more information about all of this if any one here has anything to relate.
The first response was that in Japanese culture, the wife is definitely a second class citizen, the man being dominant and essentially his every whim is catered to. It was asked what kind of cancer did she have and it is cancer of the cervix, and what did this reveal about her emotional, psychological condition. The sex organs are ruled by the kidneys, and kidney stagnation indicates fear, lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, anxiety as psychological tendencies.
It was also related that she had been bleeding from her uterus for a year without her being able to stop it which indicated to Kaare a serious lack of understanding of yin and yang. Cathy Albanese related the letter she had written to the macrobiotic community where she said that the seat of her cancer had been there for many years and it was related to stubbornness. Aveline also related her diet being to strict and narrow.
Pierre said we need to look at aspects other than food and we also need to use this as a stimulus to re-evaluate our own practice. Cathy said that traveling for extensive periods of time overseas is also detrimental and yangising. She also said that everyone has their strengths as well as their flaws and we need to have some compassion for them also. David said the whole aspect of the psychological relationship to our physical condition is very important and his feeling, having been to Boston for macrobiotic conferences and seminars over the years is that there is, in his opinion, a lot of dishonesty between the way they lead their lives and what they teach, and Aveline kept a lot of these issues inside, and he thinks that is a lot of what caused the cancer. We shouldn't keep secrets, it is unhealthy. A lot of secrets are there in the Kushi "empire".
David said he would have liked to have seen a letter from Michio explaining or addressing why his wife has developed cancer and his daughter also, why he did not see fit to see his family has problems and address them. Something needs to change, obviously. It was stated that this is a problem of becoming too arrogant. David said that he thinks this is only the bginning of what will come out about.
Cathy said she was at Level 1 while all this was going on and the meals they were being served were meals designed for Aveline, so they were being fed little or no grains, and they were saying things like cook Kinpira for 10 minutes instead of thirty minutes, and so in essence the changes that were necessary for a diet for Aveline were being given to everyone. So, there is this so-called New Macrobiotic Diet which is coming out of Aveline getting cancer, which is really absurd.
Kaare said that he thinks that one aspect of the reevaluation we need to reflect on is what is macrobiotic practice for; he remembered a discussion we had several years ago at another Pacific Macrobiotic Conference where we said that one thing that should not come out of macrobiotic practice is a "meat and sugar" institution, and there are countless examples of such institutions in the country, such as the AMA, etc., etc., and the Kushi Institute is a meat and sugar institution. It's like you're trying to put new wine into old barrels. Kaare thinks the problem is that what the consequences and ramifications of doing a macrobiotic practice in many areas of life have not been thought through and discussed. He thinks that at the root of this problem is the whole power trip going on at The K.I., the "Michio Kushi Macrobiotics", the whole certification program and then if Michio Kushi decides he didn't like some of these certified teachers, then he declares they are no longer certified; now we find out that the whole certification program is being re-evaluated and all those people who did get themselves certified on the old program are now no longer certified. Understanding and thinking in terms of macrobiotic philosophy is not present at the K.I. It's only at the food level; when it comes to talking about the social, ideological, political consequences of a macrobiotic practice, none of this is present.
Cathy Albanese said she thought we are being unfair to them because she had been to summer camps and Michio gives lectures and they are about spiritual development and does spiritual development seminars and their dream is one Peaceful World. Kaare said there is a difference between what you teach and what you practice and if you do not practice what you teach, then that's being schizophrenic, at best. Cathy said that in any human situation you can find those things going on but you can also find generosity and goodness and she had never heard them and sit around and talk about other people and she doesn't think it's right we are doing this. We should honor them and be grateful for their teachings because a lot of people have been help by their intervention, and we simply must respect them. Kaare said he agreed with what Cathy was saying but we cannot be blinded by all that; it's like Pierre said that this word came out about Aveline and he was shocked by it, and it is important we are shocked by it. But in terms of evaluating why it happened we cannot leave any stone unturned otherwise it means we do NOT care; for us to sit here and evaluate and try to understand the situation is an act of compassion. If we didn't care and we didn't have any compassion, then we would just shrug our shoulders and say, "What the hell, let them go".
We are in a family situation in macrobiotic practice, we cannot simply let this slide and say well, they got too yang and they got too this or that; it is not as if we are talking about them behind their back because the report of this conference, all that is said in it, is put in the report, and a copy is sent to them.
Cathy said that as she was listening to the discussion she felt that we were putting them down and she wanted us to acknowledge that they are and have been good people who have done a lot of wonderful work. It was also brought out that if we did not do this kind of critical evaluation then we would be putting them on a pedestal. The whole idea here is to study the situation and see what we can learn from it, and what the macrobiotic community as a whole could learn from it if we realise what significance attaches to the fact that Aveline Kushi developed cancer. Of course we feel sympathy and sorrow for her and we need to understand why. It is assumed here that everyone present respects Michio and Aveline.
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David introduced this by talking about diagnostic techniques that we all use everyday and asked everbody to share how they evaluate their condition. For instance, when we get up in the morning, how do we know what kind of condition we are in? Elizabeth Holm said she looks at her eyes, her face, her lower lip and her excreta. Some people look at their skin and texture of their hair.
It was asked at what point do these discharges we talked about like pimples, fevers, headaches, diarrhoea etc., mean we are actually undergoing a healing process, or we are actually getting sicker? How do we tell the difference between similar symptoms indicating we are getting better or getting worse? Kaare said he uses what he calls the four cardinal signs which tell us whether we are getting sicker or whether we are actually undergoing a healing process.
These are that in the case of us experiencing a healing process, while we are expressing symptoms like diarrhoea, headaches, fevers, aches and pains etc., we have a good appetite, we do not feel sick, we sleep well, and our vitality level is okay; the vitality level may not be great because the vital forces that we experience as well- being and vitality etc., are being used to undertake the discharge, so we do not have has much energy as is usual. Whereas when we are getting sicker we have no appetite, we feel sick, we have little if any vitality and we sleep poorly.
It was asked about pimples and other skin blemishes, and David said these are usually discharges of old stuff, animal protein, sugar, fats and minerals, if we have been eating well. We can tell whether these discharges are recent because of our poor eating habits, or whether they are old stagnations coming out because we are eating well, and therefore it cannot be something we recently ate. It was also pointed out that all skin discharges are indicative of the kidneys and bladder, and lungs and large intestine being in need of ginger compresses and salt baths.
David said that the body does not anything about sickness, it knows only about healing and every process it undertakes is in some way or other to mobilise the removal of toxins from the body. So we ought to celebrate our discharges! We also ought to realise that when we get weight loss, that in itself is a detoxification. The important point to understand is that the symptoms of what is conventionally called disease indicate the body is healing itself. If we really understand this, it has a world-shaking influence for us and we need to self-reflect and meditate for a long time on this statement to really gather up its ramifications and implications.
Another point that was brought up is that it is actually better for us if while we are eating macrobiotically that if we experience a detoxification symptom we do not run to our macrobiotic home remedy kit, but let the detoxification run its course, because the body actually becomes stronger by undertaking a detox without any medicinal recipes being applied. Also, one of the major errors in macrobiotic thinking is that we should never experience discharges in our life once we have been through our first two to three years of practice. If we are really flexible and dynamic in our eating macrobiotically, that is, after we have moved beyond the stage where macrobiotic practice is a diet, then we ought to experience discharges once or twice a year, usually around the Spring and Fall Equinoxes when we are moving from either Fall to Winter or Winter to Spring.
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David brought this up because of what is coming up with clients. He said that it is true that many people in macrobiotics tend to overeat. He asked people to give their views and one point is that our intestines are simply unable to digest whole grains when we start our macrobiotic practice, and so we do not assimilate what we are eating and therefore we feel inordinately hungry all the time. So perhaps it is fine to overeat in the early stages of a macrobiotic practice, and most of us cannot help it anyway, but as we get further along we should definitely begin to eat less, but many people find this difficult to do and it a problem that definitely needs to be addressed.
Emotional factors are also involved, such as feeling depressed, or stressed, or sad or whatever, and we use food as a cushion or security blanket. In Overeaters Anonymous they have a technique called H.A.L.T. where we do not eat if we are too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. It is also important not to be too hard on ourselves. Kaare mentioned he took at least five years of macrobiotic practice before he got to the ideal of not eating anything after dinner and beginning to eat less. David said generally speaking our stomach is the size of our fist, so we really should eat that amount quantity wise at every meal.
Another important technique is eating according to yin and yang. The idea is to eat the soup first, if soup is in the meal, because that sets up the digestive processes, then, we have the grain as the center of the meal, with all the side dishes categorised according to yin and yang, so that generally, the fish dish is the most yang, then beans, then seaweeds, then roots, then ground vegetables, then leafy greens, then salads being the most yin. The order in which we eat is, after consuming the soup, we eat a bite of grain followed by a bite of the most yang side dish of our meal, and we go back and forth from grain to the most yang side dish until that side dish is consumed. Then we move on to the next side dish until that is consumed and so on. This means we keep the grains as the center of the meal throughout the meal. We finish up with the last mouthful being the most yin side dish. Then we eat our dessert if we are having any, then we drink our tea or water. The pickles should be eaten with the grains. If we do this, then the digestive processes are smooth and orderly, we tend to digest and assimilate much better. On the other hand, if we eat haphazardly, eating greens followed by beans then the ground vegetables followed by roots, then beans then greens etc, this sets up confusion in the digestion, and we feel uncomfortable, bloated or slight pain in the stomach etc.
Some other hints include drinking after the end of the meal. If we are eating too yang then we can compensate by eating more yin, and large volume is more yin. Also, it is better to not eat too salty at breakfast, therefore it is worth experimenting by not eating miso soup for breakfast. David also suggested that if we are busy doing things and are active and involved in what we are supposed to be involved with, and this is food for us, so we get foods which are non-visible, non-tangible foods.
David thinks the most prevalent cause of overeating is eating partial food, and most cravings come from eating processed food, even macrobiotic processed foods, like tofu, seitan, cookies, rice dream etc. We also have to understand this process of natural healing, and David says that most people's hunger is not from hunger but may be stomach or intestines are going through a healing process. Also it is better to cook simply, no more than two or three, may be four or five at the most, vegetables a meal. Most of the macrobiotic cookbooks have recipes that are way too complicated. Simple cooking and whole food cooking is the best way to eat.
Kaare said that all these cookbooks, of which there are way too many, are done with idea of making macrobiotics appealing to people. There is nothing about macrobiotics that is what you might call glamorous. People are only going to come to macrobiotic practice if they are really sincere about wanting to heal themselves and they are prepared to go through the necessary trouble to make radical changes in their lives. So they are done in this elaborate manner to make macrobiotic practice appealing which in actual practice only waters down macrobiotics, and actually ends up not helping anybody, because they are not getting the point, they don't get macrobiotics and they don't get better.
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Cathy Albanese brought this up because she has trouble sleeping soundly throughout the night. She says it is because she is too yang, and David said that this means she has poor circulation and she gets joted awake to get the circulation going.
Kaare put a chart on the board which is the 24 hr cycle of chi flow through the meridians as a wonderful diagnostic tool. These are two hour intervals during the course of the day and night where the chi is particularly focused or active in particular meridians according to the following cycle:
12 AM - 2 PM --------------------Heart.
2 PM - 4 PM ---------------------Small Intestine.
4 PM - 6 PM ---------------------Kidneys.
6 PM - 8 PM ---------------------Bladder.
8 PM - 10 PM --------------------Heart Governor.
10 PM - 12 PM --------------------Triple Heater.
12 PM - 2 AM ---------------------Liver.
2 AM - 4 AM ---------------------Gall Bladder.
4 AM - 6 AM ---------------------Lungs.
6 AM - 8 AM ---------------------Large Intestine.
8 AM - 10 AM --------------------Spleen/Pancreas.
10 AM - 12 AM --------------------Stomach.
The Heart Governor is a function of the body that relates to directing the overall metabolism of the body, and the Triple Heater is a function that regulates the internal body temperature with respect to the ambient environmental temperature. Both these are connected to the Heart/Small Intestine. The way Kaare interprets this is the purpose of the chi being focused in a particular meridian is to balance out and harmonise the organ related to that meridian at that particular time of the day or night. If the organ is stagnated or toxic, while the chi is focused in that organ then we feel some kind of symptom that indicates that organ is being healed. Pain, nasal discharges, nausea, etc., and if this happens regularly at a particular time of day, then this means the organ in question is stagnated and toxic and we can start to work on it through our diet and various home remedies.
Insomnia generally is a toxic condition of the blood, where there are too many toxins in the blood stream and when we attempt to go to sleep these toxins irritate the nervous tissue and we can't sleep. So eating well, and simple clean, whole cooking is the answer.
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What are these prophecies coming from channeling sources? Kaare says anything that comes through channeling sources he treats with extreme caution and keeps at an arms length. Anyway, one of these sources is a being calling herself the Virgin Mary who is being channelled by a black lady in Dallas, and she said the earth is going to experience massive earth changes beginning in 1995, with tremendous earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes and axis shift and so forth.
Kaare says his reading of the situation is that the culture of the world, for he assumes that what is happening in America is also occurring by and large in all the more technologically advanced cultures in the world, is standing on its own graveyard, because the culture as a whole is not life supportive, either of the earth itself or of each other. We are witnessing and are privy to, on a day to day basis, of increasing levels of social disease - homelessness, drive-by shootings, gang warfare, drug abuse, family dysfunctional relationships, illiteracy, political corruption,economic disarray, ecological destruction, environmental pollution etc., etc. These are symptomatic, not the causes or the problem of our troubles; if we identify these as the problems then we are making the same mistake as identifying the pimples on our skins as the problem and cut them out or putting some skin cream on them to make them go away without addressing the underlying cause or causes.
All the solutions the politicians and government administrations are talking about will not solve these problems, they are simply band-aid remedies. The underlying causes are everything that has to do with proper dietary practices, which includes the farming of the product etc., etc., so that the culture as a whole begins to eat locally produced, organically or bio-dynamically produced grains and vegetables, and changing our lifestyles accordingly which also means there are spiritual causes. There are many of these but the most significant is the culture as a whole has to wean itself off the materialistically oriented, technologically driven imperative, where modern scientific thinking is the root cause of the destructive nature of our culture and start developing itself spiritually, so that we begin to think and understand spiritually , in terms of chi and life force etc.
Thus, since these solutions are not being recognised as the way to go, then all these problems and symptoms of a diseased, physically and spiritually, peoples, will continue and continue to get worse. Also, in terms of earth changes, if we imagine that all these so-called natural disasters that we have been experiencing over the past ten to fifteen years, and with more frequency, have nothing to do with human activity and psyche, we are really mistaken. Human activity, in terms of human emotions of a destructive nature, eg., anger, hate, deceit, divisiveness, cynicism and meanness of spirit, that is nowadays common currency on the radio, TV and in the newspapers and journals etc., and human materialism, where materialistic explanations of phenomena are the accepted norm, these are also highly destructive in that spiritually they affect the spiritual earth, the chi body of the earth, the meridians etc of the spiritual being we call earth in a destructive manner, and are the fundamental causes of natural disasters.
The macrobiotic idea here is we must become physically, emotionally and mentally healthy, and spiritually calm and face the future without terror or fear because what is happening is, writ on a large scale, the necessary detoxification of the culture, of all that we have talked about in terms of social symptoms and earth symptoms of our diseased culture. Obviously it would be better if we could go through all this with the Captains of Civilisation making the necessary political, economic, industrial changes etc., that are necessary if we are to consciously manage our way through it, but the Captains of Civilisation are resisting the necessity for change tooth and nail. The Health Care Bill is a good example of resisting change.
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Purpose of Doing Macrobiotics.
This topic came up as different people giving their ideas and motivations for why they are doing a macrobiotic practice, and most people said they came into doing a macrobiotic practice because of chronic health problems, some very severe, which had been helped in all cases at the conference. Everybody had interesting stories and the overriding feeling is that a macrobiotic practice gives us hope, not only for personal, individual health, physically and psychologically, but also for planetary health as a whole. Some phrases that were expressed including 'spiritual self -discovery', 'freedom', 'finding our rightful place in the cosmos', 'a technique for living life more fully', 'living with and respecting nature'.
And this discusssion concluded another interesting and fulfilling conference.
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