[ By Delia Quigley. Delia’s credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.]
So often the meaning of good health is equated with lack of sickness. According to Macrobiotic principles, health encompasses a much broader scope of qualities and is not just about avoiding disease. Spiritual wellness requires that we know our Self on a deeper level of consciousness, mental health is knowing our purpose in life and the joy we bring to living that purpose, physical health is intimately entwined with our relationship to the earth, the way we grow our food, how we honor the environment and treat all life and living creatures.
The modern technologies we created were meant to provide us with more time to relax, be with loved ones, take care of ourselves and reduce stress. Instead, those technologies have only placed more burden on our shoulders. We now need more time to work longer hours to earn less money to grab time to relax for a few minutes each day. It is easy to get out of touch with our body, feeding it quick meals without slowing down and chewing each mouthful. It is not until there is pain, fever or exhaustion do some people see a doctor and receive medical care. But what if there was a way to assess your health by observing certain conditions that would alert you to any changes?
In The Book of Macrobiotics, The Universal Way of Health and Happiness, founder and author Michio Kushi outlines 7 conditions for optimal health, which I have condensed for your perusal:
1. Lack of Fatigue: Health means we should be able to adapt to whatever the day brings us without feeling overly fatigued. After a long day of work, it is natural to feel tired, but recovery should require a short rest or good nights sleep. We should be physically and mentally alert and prepared to respond to ever changing events with energy and a spirit of adventure.
2. Good Appetite: Appetite here means for food, sex, activity, knowledge, work, experience, health, freedom and happiness. The bigger the appetite, the richer the life. Lack of appetite slows progress and reduces our enjoyment for life. The caution here is moderation, as over-satisfaction reduces appetite and eventually slows down our life activity.
3. Good Sleep: Sleep should be deep and restful. This happens after a day of energetic physical and mental activity. Cloudy or fragmented dreams or nightmares, are all a sign of physical and mental unrest. When the mind and body are healthy, dreams can be interpreted as corresponding to real circumstances and are respected as insight into our lives.
4. Good Memory: Memory is the mother of our judgment. Without memory of what we have experienced, we have no judgment or ability to evaluate life’s changing circumstances. Good memory is essential to a meaningful life.
5. Lack of Anger: Anger shows limitation, lack of patience and an inability to make an effort to understand. In one Asian translation of its written characters anger means an “acute sickness of the liver”. Good health shows a willingness to accept circumstances with a smile, to make friends of an enemy, and resolve difficult moments in peaceful ways.
6. Be Joyous and Alert: Life calls on us to be active and alert to our surroundings and respond to each moment with joy and good humor. A joy filled life inspires those around us and is the natural result of good health.
7. Have Endless Appreciation: We are healthy when we experience appreciation for the order of the universe and for all phenomena manifesting within this universe. We receive life’s bounty with endless gratitude, and we respond by giving with generosity.