THINKING FOR OURSELVES
Macrobiotic founder, George Ohsawa (AKA Yukizaku Sakurazawa) encouraged his students to think for themselves. According to Herman Aihara, George was so severe in his insistence that macrobiotic students voiced their own ideas rather than those borrowed from other people, that some students left the school.
The aim was to cultivate our natural curiosity and through this explore life. George wanted students to be engaged in life through asking questions, in a way that was similar to the Socratic method. He even called his school the School of Ignoramus, borrowing from Socrates. Ohsawa also adopted the Buddhist ideal of non belief, using the term non credo.
The point is to develop ourselves and live our own lives, rather than be enslaved to other people’s ideologies and dogmas. To help with this process George recommend periods of deep honest reflection to try to better understand ourselves and the world we inhabit. In essence he was asking us to develop ourselves as conscious, aware, sensitive humans that can develop our own understanding of life through profound connections with nature, people and ourselves.
A life of thinking for ourselves makes it easier to be self reliant and escape the temptation to blame others. By taking responsibilities for our ideas we become free from dominant ideas of our times and cultures and open to experiment with new and different perceptions of life. To help, George encouraged his students to appreciate everything, including ideas we might not initially agree with.
In terms of food and lifestyle Ohsawa wanted us to experiment and try out natural foods to find what works best for each of us. To help with this process he introduced the Chinese principles of yin and yang. Later, various students, including Michio Kushi, introduced the Chinese Five Elements as a further tool for understanding food and providing references for our own exploration into personal health. In this way macrobiotics is more about developing a diet and lifestyle that works best for us, rather than asking people to eat someone else’s diet.
In the spirit of Ohsawa’s writing we are humble enough not to want you to believe anything said in the name of macrobiotics but to play with some of the ideas, experiment and notice if any of these possibilities open up other opportunities in life.
1. Think for ourselves
2. Be curious and live through questions
3. Try not to get attached to other people’s ideas
4. Create moments of deep reflection each day
5. Connect to ourselves, nature and other people
6. Try to appreciate all possibilities
7. Be open to new ideas and change
Simon Brown 2017
Get our newsletter
For our latest news, information on our events, and recipes straight to your inbox, subscribe to our mailing list.