Understanding the 7 Conditions of Health
George Ohsawa is the founder of modern-day macrobiotics and created a realistic, workable, and dynamic definition of health. This was far more than simply the absence of illness and has helped to clarify the way we use the word “health” in macrobiotics. These were further revised by Michio Kushi.
This definition is divided into seven conditions within three parts: physical, mental (as well as psychological and emotional), and spiritual. The main point of these conditions is to show that real health has physical, mental, and spitutal conditions that we can develop and grow throughout our life.
The physical condition focuses on maintaining vitality (physically and mentally to the point where anything feels possible and there is no saying, “I don’t know how to do it, or I can’t do it.”), a good appetite (especially for healthy food, knowledge, growth, experiences, travel, romance, and for all of life), and good sleep (which means the ability to fall into a deep refreshing sleep quickly, easily, and anywhere, with an ability to also wake easily). The physical conditions are what enable us to live a good life as they are the foundation for everything else. When we lose our vitality, everything else suffers.
The mental condition focuses on having a good memory, always being calm and patient, and being joyous and alert.
By having a good memory we can make good decisions in all aspects of our life! Memory is the basis of discernment because we need a good memory of the past to make clear and effective choices for now and the future. The most important memory is that of our origin. This answers the question of, “Why am I here?” and “Where do I really want to go?” Unfortunately, it is often sickness or a life-altering situation that awakens us to this memory. But, keeping that most fundamental memory is what can help bring deep satisfaction and accomplishment of our deepest goals.
Always being calm and patient means having the ability to be open and understanding under all circumstances. As opposed to going through life angry and fearful, which is becoming one of the most common emotions to many around us as they are experiencing life. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”
Being joyous and alert means to meet everything with a sense of delight, and to have a keen sense of awareness (both physically and mentally). This helps us to navigate life safely and to enjoy it! Having clear thinking, as well as intuition, can help bring happiness and joy by avoiding dangers as much as possible. There may be dangerous situations out of our control, however we have the ability to avoid them.
The spiritual focus is to have an endless appreciation for all of life; both good and bad. The depth of our appreciation determines the degree of our ability to overcome life’s challenges, which includes sickness. From experience, those who have overcome terminal illnesses always express their deep appreciation because their illness helped them to create a new life. Endless appreciation is the essential condition that allows us to create a high degree of mental and physical health in life.
The 7 conditions are a self-reflection that can continually help us to move to a higher degree of health. We have the ability to grow and improve these conditions endlessly throughout life. Health is the foundation for living an exciting and adventurous life.
Identifying Goals that Work for You
Focus on the structure and format of our daily routine to help continually move to a greater degree of health. Nature’s cycles are orderly and consistent. All civilizations have followed this pattern of orderly meals and sleep times up until the Industrial Revolution, which disrupted these patterns. Now is a good time to bring these traditions back into focus.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are eating and living in a mindful and orderly way:
- Do I sit down to eat without doing other things?
- Do I eat slowly and chew well?
- Do you stop eating at least 2-3 hours before going to bed?
- Do I eat at regular times without skipping meals (especially at lunch)?
- Do I have grain and vegetable-based meals?
- Do I have soup often or daily?
- Do I have a variety of naturally fermented foods?
- Do I walk outside regularly?
- Do I take time to do the body rub each day?
- Do I observe and marvel at nature each day?
My observation is that people who sit down to eat without doing other things and take the time to do a complete body rub consistently, take better care of all other areas. Sitting down without doing other things gets us more in touch with our food so that we can make better choices for our health and life. The body rub gets us more in touch with our own body, our physical needs, and is an expression of our self-appreciation. Marveling at nature each day helps to connect us to the bigger picture and shift our focus beyond ourselves.
Reflecting on the questions above, you can begin to identify areas of strength or weakness in your personal routines. Working on strengthening your weaknesses moves you closer to your goals. Whether your goal is to lose weight, feel better, look better, or any other health issue, focusing on your routine will help you to accomplish these goals. People who have followed this approach reported losing weight and feeling better with much less effort.
Setting Your Personal Goals
Have you ever set a goal to lose 10lbs.?
Well, setting that as your goal is the first problem. Restriction leads to excess, meaning that temporarily loss of weight will mean that you bounce back to overeating or unhealthy eating as a result. Weight is not the problem, it’s the symptom of an imbalanced diet and lifestyle. This may seem counterintuitive to many because it is an indirect solution.
Modern life is a much more direct approach to life, basically problem solving. However, although for short periods of time this direct approach might seem effective, but usually not in the long run. Monitoring calories and increasing exercise rarely leads to long term weight loss. Macrobiotics is about getting to the root causes of our problems, rather than simply trying to eliminate symptoms.
When setting your personal goals, it’s important to note that you’re trying to improve something. Then, consider which condition you’re trying to improve (physical, mental, or spiritual). From there, you must identify the areas where you are weak in your routine and where you have more control over so that you can make changes. Lastly, you need to be realistic about what you can actually do to move towards that goal.
For someone who is terminally ill, they need to make the time to recover their utmost priority. However, for most people, it is a delicate balancing act that combines a will to make change with everyday life constraints. Be confident that small changes can yield big results over time if you’re consistent.
Try to change the percentage of healthy to unhealthy things and don’t be overly concerned with being perfect or doing everything. Adding healthy dietary and lifestyle practices automatically decreases an unhealthy condition, which is more sustainable. This approach often helps you experience benefits sooner than you think, encouraging you to add more over time.
Try making small changes day-to-day and observe the benefits. Then, determine what other positive changes you’re able to incorporate. This approach will help you to develop health-supporting habits that will become either natural or second-nature over time.
Here’s a great goal statement to start with:
“I want to sit down to eat without doing other things and eat slowly, so that I can get in touch with my food and appetite to determine if I really want to eat that or not. If so, I want to start adding more healthy dietary and lifestyle practices until they become natural for me.”
Take an SHI Macrobiotics Course Today!
Do you have questions about the SHI Macrobiotic Courses?
Call Us Now: (215) 238-9212