Bill Tara in
July 11th and 12th
Macrobiotics and Human Ecology
A New Paradigm for Healthy Living
The issue of health is one that spans every
frontier of human life. It permeates our biology, our intellect and
our spirit it animates both emotion and action. This two day exploration
of the dimensions of health is an experience where experienced healers,
practitioners and beginners can all enjoy and discover value.
discover how creating personal health may be the most important action
in saving the environment and creating a world that works for everyone.
The seminar includes topics on:
- Self Generated Healing,
- The Relationship between Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health
- Macrobiotic practice for Modern Times
- Ten Healthy Habits
- How to Animate Personal Dreams.
Tara’s ideas and ideals have been formed by a rich life experience
of work, travel, teaching, study and health counseling. For over forty
years he has been at the forefront of macrobiotic education, developing
businesses, educational projects, and teaching in over 20 countries.
He has consistently focused his work on adapting the macrobiotic philosophy
to the needs of modern life and culture. His approach is dynamic, simple
and comprehensive, untroubled by esoteric jargon and rich with humor.
Bill’s teaching addresses the huge gap in our social understanding
of how to create health in the individual and in society as a whole.
His newest book, Natural Body, Natural Mind is now available
at www.amazon.com or www.xlibris.com.
"Bill has a very easy-going approach and a
soothing energy that makes him very appealing. He relates to everyone
on his or her own level and effectively communicates the tremendous
amount of knowledge he has acquired in the past 40 years involvement
in natural health care."
Summer, Academy Student, New York City
Sponsored by www.AcademyHealingNutrition.Com
workshop flyer (PDF) here
or image at right.
9.30-5pm each day
Payment by visa MC by 1st July: 160 GBP
After 1st July: 220 GBP
Regents Park College, London
“Bill, I’ve read your book, ‘Natural
Body, Natural Mind’ three times now and it has become my ‘go
to’ book whenever I need to figure out how to articulate a theory
or idea in a lecture or a class…or sort something out for myself.
I find that its wisdom works for both the beginner and
the most experienced of those living naturally. For me, its message
about living well takes on any number of issues that people face and
strips away all the excuses not to live a better life.
I love this book
so much. It sums up all I have learned from you over the years and
illustrates why, to this day, I consider you my mentor and role model
in the work that I do.”
- Christina Pirello
Natural Body Natural Mind by Bill Tara
Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times
This book takes a radical look at why wealthiest society in history
is producing a culture where degenerative disease, emotional stress and
social discord are the norm. It explores how our modern enchantment with
technology and unlimited economic growth creates a gap between our everyday
actions and our true human potential. By focusing on the relationships
between Humanity to Nature and Health to Culture, Food to Health and
Health to Emotion Mr. Tara presents a vision of how daily actions can
create a world that works for everyone. Natural Body / Natural Mind challenges
the values of science, religion and the marketplace with a passionate
appeal to compassion, common sense and the wisdom of the heart.
Interview with Bill Tara, the author of Natural
Body, Natural Mind by Christina Pirello
Christina Pirello: Bill,
I’ve read your book, ‘Natural
Body, Natural Mind’ three
times now and it has become my ‘go to’ book whenever I need
to figure out how to articulate a theory or idea in a lecture or a class…or
sort something out for myself.
I find that its wisdom works for both the beginner and the most experienced
of those living naturally. For me, its message about living well takes
on any number of issues that people face and strips away all the excuses
not to live a better life.
I love this book so much. It sums up all I have learned from you over
the years and illustrates why, to this day, I consider you my mentor
and role model in the work that I do.
A few questions for you …
What made you take the direction
you did with this book? By that, I mean that so many books on macrobiotics
focus solely on the role of food and disease. In ‘Natural Body, Natural Mind’ you
take the reader on a different journey, not downplaying the role of food,
but putting it in perspective. What was your thinking?
Bill Tara: First thanks for the kind words.
Macrobiotics has been closely identified
with disease for the best part of the past thirty years. In the late
70’s the focus
on cancer within the community was a huge turning point. Up till then
the focus of macrobiotic study was on the development of human consciousness,
the issue of “judgment”.
The success of many people using a macrobiotic style diet to reverse
disease was dramatic and inspiring, but the long term results to our
core principles were profound. We went from a community of people focused
on the development of consciousness to a group focused on the therapeutic
benefits of food.
We became the diet and disease people. This phase influenced the psychology
and composition of the community greatly. Those drawn to macrobiotics
were much older, more conservative and extremely focused on physical
healing or disease prevention.
The concept of personal responsibility for health of early macrobiotic
practice was trumped by a new approach where individuals were advised,
in a very detailed way, what to eat and what to avoid.
This was increasingly done with little or no demand
that the “clients” understand
the rationale behind the suggestions. This was a huge shift in focus
that gave birth to a different attitude toward food. Macrobiotic practice
became prescriptive rather than a process of self-discovery.
The dominant macrobiotic ideas regarding foods became
an issue of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods
as opposed to an understanding the relative qualities and effects of
The low protein, low oil diets that were often prescribed
for those with cancer characterized this phase of development and became
the accepted template for general eating. Eating this way was referred
to as a “healing
diet” and eventually became eating a ‘clean’ diet.
By those criteria most healthy macrobiotic people were eating ‘dirty’.
When I set out to write this book I wanted to take the issue of food
and health and expand it into some of the areas of life that originally
inspired me about the potential of macrobiotic ideas.
The way our ideas about food show up in culture and the way that food
impacts our emotional and spiritual life have always been personally
interesting. This sounds ambitious, but this is really a very simple
Since my initial involvement with macrobiotics I have been aware that
the issue of food is much greater than physical nutrition. What we eat
represents a whole range of attitudes we have regarding our relationship
to society and the planet. It is one of those aspects of being that says
volumes about our politics, our connectedness with our fellow humans
and our spiritual values.
It is this ‘connecting the dots’ that
makes macrobiotics unique and valuable. There are many approaches to
diet that offer reasonable solutions to the question of what we should
eat for health. My feeling is that macrobiotics takes the conversation
to the next level.
Christina Pirello: In Chapter Two, ‘The Authentic Self,’ you
talk about the gift of life and quote Meister Eckhart on becoming one
with the unknowable. For those who have not read the book (yet…),
explain what you mean by the authentic self and becoming one with the
unknowable, since it is such a large part of this book.
Bill Tara: I use the term Authentic Self to describe that aspect of
our being that most closely conforms to our personal potential. This
authenticity is often a secret that only we know, it is the sometimes
hidden passion in our life. Some are living their passion but most of
us do not, it is locked away behind self constructed walls.
Being healthy is synonymous with living a life that is passionately
engaged. It is allowing our imagination, intellect and spirit to express
our own unique qualities into the world.
The interesting thing about this is that when we are living our passion
- doing what we really want to do - we strip away some of the more superficial
aspects of our personality. It frees us up to experience life in a way
where we become more fully engaged in the moment, more intuitive, more
The psychologist, Csikszentmihalyi, who I quote in
my book, refers to this state as being in “flow”. We have
all experienced this feeling; the trick is in sustaining it. This is
the state of being that Oshawa referred to as Supreme Judgment but
it is really beyond definition, which is why I refer to it as the unknowable
- it is embracing the mystery of life.
Christina Pirello: In Chapter Four, ‘The Question of Consciousness,’ you
talk about breaking the spells and enchantments of dreaming in our modern
world. You call the gift dangerous. Please talk about the ideas behind
getting past our self-enchantment with this gift to dream and create
and how to use it for the benefit of humanity and the environment.
Bill Tara: We are all storytellers and story weavers; it is a central
part of our humanity. Stories are the way we organize information about
life and communicate feelings that are difficult to describe in logical
thought. We create stories about who we are and why we do what we do.
Some of these stories have the ring of truth and help us evolve and
some are hollow and false. These personal stories can either help us
uncover our authentic self or bury it. The personal stories lie within
the larger social mythologies that we create about the big existential
issues such as why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How should
If we know that these stories are simply guidelines and metaphorical
in nature it is easier to adapt to the changes that happen around and
within us. If we think that they are accurate and literal descriptions
of a larger truth they can become destructive, they become enchantments.
If we look at the issue of food we can see very clearly the immense
power that enchantments play in the choices that are made.
The modern American diet is powerful enchantment.
The consumption of meat and dairy to their present levels, the refining
and chemical “enhancement” of
foods, the lure of convenience - of fast, frozen and microwaveable foods
all depend on the glassy stare of the enchanted shopper.
The power of advertising and the cowardice of medicine
and politics help to hold the enchantments in place. No one wants to
call attention to the emperor’s lack of clothes.
Society holds on to these beliefs and maintains the enchantment even
in the face of science and common sense. Look at a fast food add on television.
What is being sold? It is not food being sold - it is a particular cultural
image that the food is attached to.
The neatly dressed multi-cultural, middle class and
healthy customers in the add speak to an ideal of American culture
but don’t have
much to do with the people who really eat with regularity in McDonalds.
I have ventured forth into these forbidden zones of dietary tragedy and
know that the real consumer is overweight, sad and lower income.
We identify with certain foods no matter what culture we come from.
I live in Europe now and every culture has a way of eating that is overwhelmingly
influenced by social forces and cultural enchantments, not by health
In all honesty I have to give equal time to the macrobiotics and other
alternative ways of eating as well. We have our enchantments too. The
idea that you can eat your way out of every problem or some of the more
exotic and esoteric ideas that are found in macrobiotic thinking are
also very powerful enchantments and can be destructive.
There are certainly some macrobiotic, vegan and vegetarian
followers who become orthorexic – so obsessed with their food that it literally
makes them sick – because they have fallen under the spell of some
Christina Pirello: When you talk about consciousness
and perceptions driving our actions, please talk about the role food
plays in creating…or
inhibiting that force in us.
Bill Tara: In the mid 1970’s I was seeing many
people for health counseling in London at the Community Health Foundation.
At this time I had attended some lectures by Dr. Jack Worsley and became
friends with Dr. Sidney Rose-Neil, both of these men were influential
in introducing acupuncture to the UK.
I was fascinated by the Chinese theory of the Five
Transformations and found it interesting to apply the diagnostic theories
to my clients. I was especially drawn to the observations on the connection
between organ function and behavior. This lead me to write my book, “Macrobiotics
and Human Behavior”, I think it was the first Western book on the
The connection between what we eat and the degree of internal stress
that is created in the organ systems of the body is most certainly a
huge influence on our sensitivity to our environment. We know this to
be true when the stimulus is extreme but we are unaware when it is subtle.
A cup of coffee, a shot of vodka, a cigarette, a
bar of chocolate – they
all effect the way we behave, that’s why we eat, drink or smoke
them. Why would we assume that the rest of what we eat or drink would
not produce changes?
The brain is nourished by our blood. It is the most
sensitive of all our organs to small changes in blood chemistry and
it is our organ of perception. What we eat and drink has the largest
influence on blood quality – this is only logic.
The question is how large is the effect of food on thought, emotion
I spend a good deal of time on this issue in the book since physical
health, emotional history, family, and culture all play a role in the
way we perceive the world and how we act on those perceptions.
Christina Pirello: Please talk a little about ‘The Lessons of
Wind and Water’ and how our modern obsession with precision and
the need to have a sensible explanation for everything, including matters
that used to rely on faith have inhibited our ability to be natural,
Bill Tara: The truly magic parts of life cannot be expressed in an equation.
We experience the world in two complimentary ways, thinking and feeling.
Our present culture prides itself on thinking.
When there is a problem we call in the experts, form
a committee, examine the facts, balance the viewpoints and make a mess.
Feelings have been relegated to maudlin personal interest stories and
reality television. We lack the power of deep feeling, intuition and
instinct – we
don’t trust the more primitive nature of our impulses unless they
are rationalized in ideologies.
I say that yin and yang is a feeling based approach to the world. We
can study all we want but the reality of yin and yang is a visceral phenomena.
It is something that is felt, it needs no rationalization.
We might ask ourselves if an issue such as global
warming is a difficult scientific problem that requires new technologies
or is it a tangible representations of our disregard for life? Is cancer
a phenomenon that requires more study and a chemical “cure” or is it an example
of our childish attachment to a way of eating and living that kills us?
One set of answers implies that we are doing nothing out of line, don’ really
need to change our way of life and simply need to think things out.
The alternative choice means that we need a dramatic
change of heart and accept the fact that we need to reassess our lives
and make fundamental changes. This proposition usually calls up the
response that, “people
will never do that”. My response is that not everyone needs to.
It doesn’t take many people to be the catalyst for social change.
Being reasonable in the face of danger is not always the smart way to
go. Obviously we need technologies and thoughtfulness to solve these
problems but it is probably unreasonable acts that will turn the course
of many of our contemporary problems. I am saying that we need to enliven
our mind by allowing our feelings and our intuition to have voice.
Christina Pirello: You talk in the book about the
gift of food. In our modern culture, we see cooking and even eating
as another burden to endure in our busy lives. Please talk a little
about the gift of self nourishment…on
the physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
Bill Tara: Well that’s a big question…a big landscape to
travel through. Let me just briefly say that in the last few months I
have had the opportunity to counsel many people who have worked hard
to establish the level of financial and social recognition that defines
success in most cultures. I don’t find them any more healthy or
happy that the less wealthy people that I often meet.
Popular enchantments regarding food and nutrition are driven mostly
by commercial enterprises. Concepts of healthy food are gradually disappearing.
They are being buried beneath concepts such as super foods, micronutrients,
supplements, elixirs and protein powders.
The simplicity and sensibility of eating fresh food prepared in the
home has deprived us of a direct connection to one of the most fundamental
sources of our health and well-being. When we have to have our food and,
increasingly, our water processed by industry we need to ask ourselves
if this is really an improvement.
All the issues of health, economics and ecology that
trouble the world are an outcome of a particular relationship we have
to the world we live in and where we place value. Simple acts such
as cooking food, moving our bodies, creativity or play have been subsumed
by the drive to ‘get
ahead’ or more commonly to ‘keep our heads above water’.
This is a sad fact and there are no magic tricks to change it.
The interesting thing is that when the heart attack lays us low, a bad
diagnosis is presented or some personal tragedy strikes we question were
the true value of life lies. After all, what is life about? If the purpose
of life is to earn and spend we are doing a good job.
If the purpose of life is to enjoy this beautiful
earth, to live vital healthy lives, to care for each other and to celebrate
the gift of life and our personal potential we are abysmal failures.
The psychologist, Eric Fromm said that the decision was between living
a life that was about having or being – he was right.
The enchantment of ‘Having It All’ is a very seductive one.
The word economy means managing the resources of the home – the
word ecology means understanding the home even an optimist like myself
sees the irony in this. The task for us all is to participate in the
creation of a human ecology that provokes a more humane human economy.
This act means embracing a certain eccentricity of body, mind and spirit.
The conventional and accepted way of life commonly
promoted is one that is moving in a dangerous and unhealthy direction – creative
and life-affirming eccentricity is called for. I firmly believe that
a macrobiotic vision for modern times has much to offer in the development
of this movement in world society. It could be fun.
Articles by Bill Tara
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