Modern macrobiotic founder George Ohsawa defined the macrobiotic 7 stages of consciousness. These are loosely based on human development. The aim is to help us reflect on our lives and see where we can put more energy into creating a complete person. These work with the 7 Conditions of Health.

  1. Mechanical / Physical – Breathing, eating, movement, walking, sports, dance,
  2. Sensorial – listening, seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling. Enjoyment of simple pleasures.
  3. Emotional – Compassion, empathy, bonding, expression, relationships.
  4. Intellectual – Study, learning, thinking for ourselves, reasoning.
  5. Social – Developing a sense of social justice, ethics and environmental consciousness.
  6. Ideological – Having values, principles and a philosophy of life. Dialectic thinking.
  7. Universal Love – Living in a way that is loving through acceptance, open mindedness and being all-embracing. Realising our true self.
Macrobiotic 7 stages of consciousness art
Macrobiotic 7 stages of consciousness art

Macrobiotic 7 Stages of Consciousness for Self Reflection

We can use the macrobiotic 7 stage of consciousness to reflect on how we are developing ourselves. To make this easier try scoring yourself 1 to 5 for each stage. To what extent have you completed yourself. This can help identify areas in life to devote more attention to try to fully complete ourselves in this lifetime.

Keep coming back to your scores and update them so you can track your progress. It can be helpful to ask your friends and family to also score themselves so you can observe how different people develop differently and how the ways in which they see themselves.

Developing an Action Plan Using the Macrobiotic 7 Stages of Consciousness

To help create an action plan consider different ways you might activate each area of yourself. The following are some examples.

  1. Physical – Try leaning new physical skills. For example yoga, tai chi, dance moves, sports, gymnastics, swimming strokes and be conscious how these develop your physique.
  2. Sensorial – This can include meditation, mindfulness, tea ceremony, observation, experiential activities, sex, intimacy, massage, bathing, saunas, sun bathing and walking barefoot.
  3. Emotional – Be aware of your emotions and try describing them. Reflect on your relationships and the quality of your interactions. Seek to express emotions through talking , writing, art, music or poetry.
  4. Intellectual – Explore ways to develop your mind through ongoing study. Sometimes it helps to develop a more complete mind by learning subjects that are underdeveloped, whether maths, science, logic, history, literature, languages, philosophy, psychology, medicine or economics.
  5. Social – Consider getting involved in social projects, working in groups on worthwhile causes, volunteering your services, and being in service to humanity. Be aware of how your decisions and how you spend your money effects other people.
  6. Ideological – Engage in subjects like philosophy that help take the biggest view of life. Write out your own philosophy of life and keep updating it as you evolve. Be clear on your own ideals in life.
  7. Universal Love – Try to live as a more descriptive being and let go of the need to judge, making people good or bad, right or wrong. Test your abilities to accept people as they are. Focus on what you most appreciate and love about yourself, people in your life and life in general. See if over time you can accept and appreciate your biggest challenges.
Macrobiotic 7 stages of consciousness The Biggest View
Macrobiotic 7 stages of consciousness The Biggest View


Overtime you might outgrow this model or find there are more aspects of life you want to include. The aim is to provide a simple, easy to use, starting point to help develop greater consciousness and  study how humans evolve through life. Ultimately this is a tool to try to complete ourselves and go as far on our journey as we can in this life.

Potential Influences

Gurdjieff (1872 – 1949) spoke about seven stages in the evolution of man.

  1. Physical or instinctive
  2. Emotional
  3. Mind
  4. Integration and balance
  5. Heart, self-awareness and awakening
  6. Transient knowing and higher intellect
  7. Permanent complete knowledge, free will and consciousness

The Indian Chakras also have similarities.

7. Crown – Spirituality and consciousness

6. Third eye – Intuition

5. Throat – Communication

4. Heart – Emotions

3. Stomach – Energy and power

2. Sacral – Sex and reproduction

1. Root – Survival, fight and flight


Leave a Reply