On another day of macrobiotic class, we took up the topic of karma and fate. Our teacher asked us, “What is karma?” Like many Western people, I had the view that karma was somewhat like the Christian “do unto others as they do unto you.” If I do a very good deed for someone, then it is a natural law that someone else would return a good deed to me. If I treat people without kindness and respect, I could expect the same behaviors or results from others to manifest in my own life. I was surprised to learn of a new way to think of karma, from a perspective of yin and yang, or the balance of opposing forces in the universe.
Most of us are living our daily lives eating McDonalds, drinking Coke or Pepsi, snacking on Doritos and watching TV. This type of diet, along with the usual stresses of modern life, fills our bodies with toxins. These toxins get stuck in our bodies, like pieces of paper that get jammed into Xerox machines, and develop into cysts, tumors, or behavioral ticks and even pathologies. We tend to see the world with dualist thinking, or separating things into “good” and “bad” or black and white.
According to my teacher, the way to Tao, the path to totality, wholeness, oneness, or infinity has been impeded by our diet and modern way of life. Our bodies and minds have become stiff, and for this reason our judgment has also been impaired. We are unable to see our paths clearly. When our judgment becomes impaired, we are unable to avoid accidents. Our intuition is not operating at 100% capacity, and we are unable to see ourselves, others, and events objectively.
The way I think of this comes from a thought experiment I read on Yogen Kushi’s World Macrobiotic site. Imagine you are unable to see with your eyes, and you don’t know what an elephant is. Now, imagine trying to figure out what it is, We could walk up to one and touch its nose. We might think, “Aha! So this is an elephant.” Or perhaps we might walk up to it and touch its foot and leg, and think, “Oh! Now I know what an elephant is.” In fact, our perspective only allows us partial vision, rather than 100% understanding.
How does this play itself out in terms of yin and yang? As we navigate ourselves through life, we may have incredibly happy or wonderful events occur. However, the law of opposites states that to achieve balance, it is only natural that an equally “bad” event will occur. This fluctuation from “good” to “bad” continues to bounce back and forth, and thus we are trapped in a cycle of karma.
Recently, there was a young Japanese man traveling around the world. As he was traveling, others had been telling him how great Baghdad was. He spent some time in Australia, which apparently was very enjoyable for him, and then set off for Baghdad. He ran out of money, and no hotels would allow him to stay because he was a foreigner, and they did not want to risk being attacked by a suicide bomber or someone seeking retribution. He thus was murdered in the streets.
This was all over the news for days, and there were varied reactions. Many people thought, what a stupid young man to go to such a dangerous place! What was he thinking?
His judgment clearly led him wrong. But which was his mistake? Was his mistake to have gone to Baghdad? Or was his mistake to have gone to Australia? According to our teacher, it was having gone to Australia. Perhaps this time for him was the best of his life. He had a very “good” experience there, and the opposite for him was to suffer this tragic accident.
On the other hand, if our bodies and minds are clean, we no longer see the world in terms of “good” and “bad”. Our third eyes and intuition are operating efficiently, and we are able to avoid accidents. We are able to “see” that whole elephant. Someone who is seeing from their third eye would know not to go someplace, or would know when to leave someplace instinctually.
How do we get our bodies and minds “clean”? One efficient way is to eat a nutritious and balanced macrobiotic whole foods diet. When we eat well, our lives become more peaceful, and we remain on our true paths. Those toxins that are “jamming” our bodies and minds are released. Our health is premium, and we notice how naturally and happily life can flow. Being aligned with the universe, nothing “bad” happens to us.