Saturday, January 30, 2010

American Obesity, A Brief Review of "Sugar the Bitter Truth"

For all of you who don't already know, UCTV is quite a wonderful free resource for heaps of lecture series on many topic, including health and nutrition by specialists in the field. I have always taken an interest in Health and Nutrition, and was emailed by family to watch this 1hr and 30 min lecture on Sugar, and how it is in everything we eat these days, I mean literally everything," and how the human body really was not designed to manage Sucrose (which breaks down into glucose and fructose molecules in the body), in the amounts that we do.

The video below really speaks for itself, and I would go as far as to say that Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology,has hit the nail on the head when it comes to why Americans have ballooned in size over the past 30-40 years. What is comes down to is hardly surprising as the economics of "maximising shareholder profit," seems to be the most important spiritual value (if you can consider it one) in economy of food production and distribution in a world where the current economic model is collapsing before our very eyes and even as I write this. They say that things have to change, so in terms of Nutrition and diet I would like to summarise briefly how we can change one of the most elemental phenomena in our food supply. I would like to propose here that we discard the value so many hold that upholds profit higher than even people, see that it does not serve us (as this is a perfect example of how it serves no one, not even the people at the top of this pyramid as they are eating the same food as everyone else) and to re-write values that we would like to have serve us. Beware, as watching this video make shake up your dietary habits but first check out the video:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Energetic Vampires and Awakening!

Vampires...So hot right now!! Have you noticed recently how popular this "vampire culture" has become lately? Ever since the instant cult hit Twilight came out 2 years ago (Its already been 2 years!!, yes folks its 2010!!) there has been a swath of vampire mini-series shows on television, including the popular True Blood series on HBO, and many many more on television. I have to admit I myself have always loved vampire movies, in fact my favorite 80's movie is Joel Schumacher's The Lost Boys, I dug the Blade movies, the popular Russian film Nightwatch, and the Underworld movies (Kate Beckinsale could have something to do with that) and of course who isn't addicted to the teen fantasy Twilight movies which have essentially re-vamped (no pun intended) the genre.
Now, Vampires have always been a popular mythological figure in history, media, movies, stories, what have you, and I would like explore here a theory I have about why we humanoids find vampires so seductive and why we are seeing them everywhere as of late.
Firstly, I am approaching this from a spiritual perspective, so keep that in mind here, as there are an infinite number of perspectives one could take on any topic. Like many things in mythology and in legends and in wisdom traditions of humanity there are often parables, or metaphors to explain something that is hard to conceive of or is even unexplainable. Words are of course "forms" and so they can often only point to spiritual truths, and thus that is what I believe the concept of vampire has been utilized throughout the mythologies and stories of the past to emphasize and explain a commonly encountered phenomenon that is ultimately non-physical.
I would like to introduce the concept that vampire as I am speaking of it, is not the literal vampire as we have come to know them, as half-human monster that has sharp fangs and drinks blood for food and who is adverse to sunlight; but that in fact that these are a physical world symbolic depictions and metaphors for something that is actually an energetic form that many spiritual traditions of history have referred to. Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book Voice of Knowledge, does an amazing job of outlining this phenomenon, as it has been passed on to him from the Ancient Toltec wisdom of his ancestors, and he terms it the "parasite." Eckhart Tolle also refers to it in his books The Power of Now and A New Earth as the "ego and pain body," which they both claim exists both at the individual and collective levels of humanity.
Now, when I look up the term "parasite" on, I get the following responses:

1)an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
2) a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
3) (in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.

Now looking at the first one, it does sound a bit like what we speak of when we talk of vampires. Of course in modern story-telling, which is films, we give them super-human powers, virtual invincibility, immortality, cool latex outfits, and narly tattoos. They also get to do all the fun things all of us mere mortals don't allow ourselves, such as have lots of sex, party all night, sleep in all day, lead adventurous lifestyles, have exclusive memberships to all the coolest clubs and digs, and the only real downside is that they have to consume human blood, but even that is made out to be akin to some radical drug-high for a vampire. Thus, it has been glamorized a bit, well, just a little. These Hollywood vampires are of course physically earth-bound beings (not superheroes, which is another article in of itself), but also not necessarily the energetic versions I am speaking of.
My question with this article is, "what is it in us that finds vampires so entertaining and seductive?" Of course one could say that its the superpowers, exclusivity, and all that jazz, but I think there is something spiritually profound in all of this. I am suggesting here that humans are drawn to this for more than just the glamorous reasons mentioned above, but that there is a part of the human experience that resonates with the essence of "vampire." That of course being what Ruiz calls the parasite, and what Tolle terms the ego and pain body in their individual and collective forms. In fact when I look at what I outline on Vampires above, they are almost exclusively absorbed in form, in the things of the world, be it power, money, sex, drugs, fancy clothes and cars, mansions, and they lack any sort of spiritual life that doesn't involve egoic gain on some level, and in stories they are always in some sort of conflict with humans or other vampires as all of their own energy is completely absorbed in having more (almost akin to a drug addict, and maybe that is another perspective on the whole thing). Have we seen happy vampires who live in peace and balance in our myths? Maybe I've just missed them.
The entity that Tolle and Ruiz refer to is a parasitic entity that is not physical, but rather exists at the mental/emotional levels of the human being. After all in the physical world there are all sorts of parasites that inflict wounds and cause problems in the physical body, such as tapeworms, or roundworms, or leeches, or ticks, etc.. So it is not all that much a stretch of imagination to think that there could be such a thing as a "psychic tapeworm" that exists in humans and is the same entity that Tolle and Ruiz are referring to. In fact Don Miguel Ruiz refers to it as a being that creates emotional drama, conflicts, wounds, and lives off of all the poison and negativity produced from them; and thus it feeds on conflict and drama in an individuals life, and at the collective level of the collective mind it feeds on such things as global conflicts and wars. In fact, Tolle says essentially the same thing in his own style and way. I would highly recommend reading of both Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth and Don Miguel Ruiz's Voice of Knowledge to understand more deeply what I am referring to here. As they say, what is needed to heal the emotional wounds and to eventually dissolve this "psychic parasite" causing them is to "shine the light of awareness," on them. I think it is interesting that the vampires in stories also dissolve in thin air when in sunlight, or when they are brought out of the shadows and into the light, so to speak. And of course in stories there is also whats called the dark-side of humanity or the shadow-self, or the unconscious self. All of course which is only countered with metaphorical awareness, and of course consciousness, that is becoming aware of something that was unconscious and thus making what was previously unconscious...conscious.
What am I on about? Good question. I think that the rise of popularity in this "vampire culture" and the increased obsession with material things, is forcing humans to bring the collective light of awareness onto it. Tolle says that the Ego/Pain Body becomes more dysfunctional as it is threatened with dissolution, much like a caterpillar becomes more an more dysfunctional before it transforms into a butterfly. People are aware at some level, maybe not fully conscious yet, but at some level that they resonate and relate with this addictive vampire culture and find it seductive. I reckon that its about a collective spiritual awakening of humanity; and a bringing of the light of consciousness to those unconscious aspects that hide in the shadows and cause much suffering on both individual and collective levels. I propose that this is the beginning of collective healing process, and that this rise in popularity and identification with vampire culture is leading many people to examine their own unconscious aspects, of which they have previously been so fearful to uncover and confront. Well its a theory anyways...Cheers Everybody!

The Flowering of Human Consciousness Review

Finally, I talk so much about Eckhart Tolle and how great his teachings are, so I wanted to do a quick review on his Seminar (which is all up on youtube for free by the way) called "The Flowering of Human Consciousness."

This is hardly a review, and more of a plug for it really, as I cannot stress enough how significant the stuff he covers in this seminar is. The actual seminar took place in La Jolla California in 2001, so it is already 9 YEARS OLD!!! Having trouble sinking into the new decade??? Your not alone. So anyways, in simply watching this entire seminar you will have awakened some "Presence," in yourself. "Presence," as defined by Tolle, is awakened consciousness, or consciousness that is fully conscious of itself, or fully aware. This leads me to discuss a bit about "Awakened Doing," and how Tolle and Walsch both mention in their books that in the "New Earth," it is not about what you are doing that will make a difference, but the state of being in which you are "doing" something.
I'd like to refer to Walsch now briefly. In CWG (short of Conversations with God) God mentions that humans have it backward in their attempts to experience their desires. He says that they think first they have what is they desire (eg love), then they will do loving things with that and be loving, when in fact the true way or most effective way to do this (and anyone can no matter what their current reality is) is to first be loving, then you will do loving things from that state of being, and then you will have love, because that which you give you realize that you had it to give in the first place. Interesting stuff! I believe it ties right into what Tolle discusses when he mentions awakened doing, and how doing from such a state of being is what transforms the world and consciousness itself into higher order.
Anyways this is a brief post, so here's the first video, there are 11 parts on the first session, and 10 or so on the second.

Andre Agassi Interview!

Woot woot!! My brother and I had an interesting discussion a few weeks ago regarding Andre Agassi's interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS (I will post the link here), which is a great interview about his recently released auto-biography. My brother and I were both pleasantly surprised to see someone like Agassi actually act from a place other than just ego, especially seeing that he is a tennis superstar and that he has been in the celebrity spotlight for the last 25 years or so. From this interview you can really see how grown up Agassi is, he mentions that he has found peace in his life, which is more than most can say. I definitely intend to read this book, its called Open, and I have a feeling will be transformative to read.
    In the interview Agassi also talks about some of his philanthropic work, such as educational programs set up for troubled youths, and the recent successful graduation of a class of students from his program in Las Vegas (his home community). It is great to see someone in the spotlight who has true humility, and who is not just looking for another ego-boost. Check out the interview and see what you think, and check out the book too:

& For the full interview go here

Ahoy Readers! Life-Changing Book Suggestions Abound!

Greetings Earth denizens......just kidding, I always wanted to write that, so there! Now, getting on with it all, this is my first entry and as my good pal John McClane says, Yippie Ki-A M*&$^$*. I would write that but probably not the best first impression. Getting on with this post, I want to offer to all of you "seekers" out there my own personal suggestions for a few books to get started on your spiritual quest or journey or whatever you want to call it. The 3 books I will mention below here are all ones I have read and in fact read on a regular basis. If there is one important thing I have found is that repetition is the key to this stuff, as essentially one of the main things you are doing is reprogramming your own "software," also know as your socio-cultural programming and beliefs. So here is the short list:

1.) A New Earth, by author Eckhart Tolle: If you were to read one book of all the books out there I would recommend this one. Eckhart Tolle has written a few other books as well, including the well known Power of Now. I read the Power of Now about 13 years ago when I was in highschool still. Now I remember thinking that the stuff he was discussing and talking about made sense, but of course that was my first time being exposed to the material and it didn't really stick that well. A few years ago Tolle rolled out A New Earth, which I found to be much more palatable material, and well, it just clicked with me the first time I read it, and I think it would be the same for most people. Now, do not get me wrong and think that I am putting down the Power of Now in any way, now, when I re-read the Power of Now I find it much more digestible (is that a word?). Once you have been exposed to multiple sources/authors and spiritual teachers, and as you progress (if it can be called progress) down a Spiritual path that is right for you, you will naturally become familiar and multifaceted when it comes to this material. Thus, you will have been exposed to many different perspectives on the same topics, as well as have expanded range.
       Now if I had to give an explanation for how I view the Power of Now vs A New Earth (and I would like to hear the views of others who are familiar with these books) I would describe the Power of Now as being more masculine or slightly more intense and in your face (I see the color green when I think of it, whatever that could mean), and I feel that the A New Earth is a step back, more gentle, and sort of leads you by the hand, so to speak through material that has become a bit clearer (color of lavender comes to mind when I think of it). Now Tolle is one particular filter through which the information comes into this world, as is anyone that the material comes through, and like all things, with time, these filters change, and so perhaps the teachings became clearer and that is why it was clearer, or perhaps it was me, or a combo of all the above. In the end I say read both of them, but for the purpose of this article A New Earth is my first recommendation to those of you starting out on a path.

2.) Conversations with God (the Trilogy), by author Neale Donald Walsch - The second book I would like to recommend is actually a trilogy of books (for those of you who are confused, that is 3 books)...I know I know, I can hear you screaming inside your head "that's cheating," but this is my blog, stop end report. This Trilogy will seriously expand your knowledge in this area, not that "knowledge" is what we are seeking, but it will do a seriously solid job on reprogramming every area of your life, and it will challenge all your automatic and inherited programming. As I mentioned before, repetition is the key here. I personally know that I will be reading these books for the rest of my life, and I am currently on my fifth read of them. Now Walsch has written heaps of other books post-this-trilogy, such as Friendship with God, Home with God, Happier than God....and the list goes one, I have read them all except one which I will probably read at some point. These books cover everything and answer virtually every question you could have about spirituality, death, personal life, life on Earth, politics, religion, economics, transformation....I could go on, but seriously just read the first one, you will be hooked after the first couple chapters, unless you aren't of course ;-)

3.) Power vs. Force, by author David R. Hawkins - Now, this book is for all of you scientifically minded folks who have trouble buying into this "airy-fairy new age stuff" that you all winge about so much. This book bridges the gaps quite well, and will seriously enhance your understandings of the other books mentioned above. I have read many of Hawkins books, in fact most of them, and I still find this first one to be the most significant one of the bunch, (not that you shouldn't read the others), but just make sure that you read this one if you read any of them as it will seriously give you a booster shot in the spiritual ass if you know what I am saying (there's me trying to be witty or something).
    This book comes out of the science of kinesiological testing, of which I know many of you so-called "scientifics" will immediately scream "bullshit," but I am telling you to give it a go, and once you read it you will see that this book contains a lot truths that have come through this technique. Also, who said science is limited to the physical? This is part of what many call the "new science," as termed in Thom Hartmann's Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. For those Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus out there I have to tell you I gained renewed respect for the Krishna, Jesus Christ, and Buddha of history, and just what they represented to humanity and what it spells for the future of humanity. Really, check this book out and see what you think.  

    Allrighty-then, those are my top 3 recco's for ya (definitely have to insert some bad english and slang in there, why, because I can.) Obviously I would recommend many more, so I have added a few at the bottom here to continue your Spiritual reading frenzy, and note that these further recommendations will simply add to the depth of your perceptions/understandings of all of this, which I always feel awkward saying as its not really further "content" that a spiritual person is looking for, but further refinement and simplification, and ultimately no-thing as they say. Also, simple exposure, and especially repeated exposure to the energy these books contain (much like the bible or any holy book) will change you and cause inner shifts, but remember once you are awake there is no going back to sleep ;-)

Further Reading Recommendations:

*The Power of Now - by Eckhart Tolle (I would also like to highly recommend Tolle's DVD seminars, a few of which are free to view in full on youtube, seeing him live really helps to bring it all together.
* The Voice of Knowledge - By Don Miguel Ruiz (great companion book with A New Earth)
*The Mastery of Love - By Don Miguel Ruiz
* The Celestine Prophecy - by James Redfield (this one is a fiction-adventure book, definitely good for beginners just getting into this material)
*Living with Joy - by Sanaya Roman (this is the first of the Orin books, and I recommend them all
*Personal Power through Awareness - by Sanaya Roman
*Creating Money - by Sanaya Roman
*A Course in Miracles - by Dr. Helen Schucman (I just bought it, and am looking forward to it, I don't know why I posted it here, but somehow I know its worth putting here).

*The Four-Hour-Work-Week - by Tim Ferris (why have I added this, because this book has a liberating energy to it that will work for many, not spiritually oriented per say, but this book has an empowering energy to it that can pull you out of in-action and into action, if you haven't read, do it). I say this because its had this effect on me. 

*The Prophets Way - by Thom Hartmann

*The Power of Positive Thinking - by Norman Vincent Peale (an oldie but very goodie)
...and many more to come later on...