The title of the book, “I Am That”, by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj suggests that the only thing that is constant within the realm of spirituality is the knowing I am. In other words, at the core of the human experience is consciousness. And by consciousness, I mean a perspective wherein the person experiences him/herself as being separate from the environment. In pure form, it is simply the sense of being distinct or separate without any particulars.
The trouble is that ignorance, sleep, illness, and death show us that even pure consciousness, or the sense of being distinct from the rest, is temporal. Consciousness, even in its purest form, is still an intellectualization. It’s an idea. It’s the idea that some facet of myself is separate from the rest. From that idea, all manner of additional intellectualizing and separation occur. I am, therefore I need, I want, I feel, I desire, and so on. This is not what Maharaj is pointing too.
If you read the book, you discover that what Maharaj is really pointing to is not a detached state of mind, or a state of mind where the focus is on the sense of beingness – I am-ness. While this prospective, in purer forms, provides levels of clarity, it is far from permanent and therefore subject to the vulgarity of a base human existence.
Instead, what the reader discovers is that the book would be more apply named “This Is”, or maybe even “Is”. Maharaj makes the distinction between the sense of “I am” that already involves a degree of intellectualization, namely seeing oneself as being separate, and pure awareness. In pure awareness, there are no distinctions. One abides in the well-spring of life. The nature of pure awareness can only be surmised by inference, is all pervasive, and more aptly describes our true nature.
Maharaj writes, “Even the experiencer is secondary. Primary is the infinite expanse of consciousness, the eternal possibility, the immeasurable potential of all that was, is, and will be. When you look at anything, it is the ultimate you see, but you imagine that you see a cloud or a tree.”
“Learn to look without imagination, to listen, without distortion – that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realize that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.”
“Even the sense of ‘I am’ is composed of the pure light and the sense of being. The ‘I’ is there even without the ‘am’. So is the pure light there whether you say ‘I’ or not. Become aware of the pure light and you will never lose it. The beingness is being, the awareness in consciousness, the interest in every experience – that is not describable, yet perfectly accessible, for there is nothing else.”
When it comes to CIRS and the truly horrific states of mind that it can induce, what I’ve learned is that when it’s really bad, all forms of mental effort to alleviate the situation, including meditation, are worthless. What I’ve learned is that the “trick” in these states is to simply be with what is without any judgement whatsoever. By encouraging a state of “this is”, experience could be said to be happening but that there is no one there to notice. When one enters deeply into this state, the distinction between self and other fall away.
In other words, and from a more practical perspective, when I notice my mental state beginning to shift into dark territory induced by toxins, I neither resist or encourage this shift. I don’t label or try to mitigate the experience. Instead, I begin by first noticing that I’m feeling fearful, depressed, confused, or whatever it is.
Once noticed, a sense of gratitude unfolds because I know all of life is about learning to let go and I understand that an opportunity to do just that is being presented. When these “difficult” mental states show up, I know Life is encouraging me to allow my little, egoic state to fall away. At that point, I remind myself to refrain from coloring or labeling the experience by saying to myself “this is and that is all”. By gently reminding myself of this simple statement, my small self is encouraged to let loose of its tight grip. In the doing, expectations melt away and awareness alone unfolds.
It is interesting to note that this “method” is in complete contrast with most meditative practices. Most meditation practices have a specific method and goal. In contrast, being simply “this” is goal-less, formless, timeless, and abides without effort. What’s both a bit scary and exhilarating for me is the realization that this formless state is in fact the true nature of reality and that the sum total of the entire Universe is just paper thin. July 28, 2016
Round-Up & CIRS
In Glyphosate Pretending to be Glycine and in Glyphosate, Synthetic Amino Acid Analog That Randomly Wreaks Havoc In Biology, senior research scientist at MIT, Stephanie Seneff PhD, and scientist Anthony Samsel respectively discusses how the artificially made amino acid called Round-Up (glyphosate) mimics the important amino acid Glycine. Our bodies confuse Round-Up for Glycine and as a result, incorporate Round-Up into its chemistry.
Laying a bit of groundwork, our bodies have a total of 21 natural amino acids that serve as its basic building blocks. Glycine is one of those important building blocks. The amino acid Glycine helps the body detox phenolic chemicals found in plastics and composite wood products. It helps convert protein into blood sugar in the liver, along with working with many other amino acids in the production of glutathione, DNA, RNA, and hemoglobin. Glycine also serves as a calming neurotransmitter in the brain and is a component in the production of collagen. Collagen is a basic component of our organs, tissues, and cells.
Due to the fact the Round-Up (glyphosate) has a higher electrical charge, our bodies will preferentially use Round-Up instead of Glycine resulting in a whole host of illnesses. Related to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), we know that people suffering from CIRS have low Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). In The Effects of Glycine on Subjective Daytime Performance in Partially Sleep-Restricted Healthy Volunteers, taking 3 grams of the supplement Glycine raised VIP levels by 3 fold. Could it be that Round-Up is causing the precipitous drop in the important peptide VIP seen in people with CIRS?
It makes me wonder. No one has every shown why folks with CIRS get sick. Sure we know that the body is no longer able to clear biotoxins, but why this is the case is unknown. Dr. Shoemaker speculates that the body loses the ability to create antibodies to remove biotoxins. However, I think it’s interesting to speculate that perhaps Round-Up could be the real driver behind CIRS.
Let’s look at why this might be possible. From the study mentioned, we know there is a link between Glycine and VIP. When Glycine is supplemented, VIP levels rise. We also know from the work of Dr. Shoemaker, that once VIP falls, another critically important hormone called Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) will soon follow. MSH is critical to having a healthy gut and sufficient levels of the “feel good” neurotransmitter called endorphin. In other words, low VIP results in low MSH which results in a leaky gut. Furthermore, in Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450, scientists Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel show that Round-Up disrupts the production of the enzyme, cytochrome P450 (CYP), essential to detoxification in the body.
Add to all of this information that fact that molds are becoming more and more virulent due to the excessive use of anti-fungals in agriculture, paints, and elsewhere. Could this cascade of biological effects promulgated by glyphosate along with more toxic molds be reason enough for explaining why the bodies of folks with CIRS are no longer able to clear enough biotoxins to stay healthy? Maybe Round-Up isn’t the sole factor, but it sure seems like it could be a major player behind CIRS. May 30, 2016
No one that’s fully awake gives a damn about the trials and tribulations of ego. Will I get that new job? My relationship is falling apart, now what? Why can’t I ever get what I want? It’s all dribble to the ears of a true master. You can throw in questions related to spiritual awakening too. Should I travel to India? Do I need to pray or meditate more? These are equally unimportant.
So this begs the question, what does matter? The answer is to be found in this moment. I know it sound cliche, but it’s true. Given this, the sign of a true teacher is someone who simply follows what’s in this moment. If you want to whine on and on about some situation to a teacher, that’s your prerogative. I can’t say that it’ll help a lot but if that’s your process, than that’s what needs to happen. If a teacher is really clear, they simply follow, reflecting back what you’re saying in conversation. There is absolutely no attachment to outcomes on the teacher’s part. It’s all about following the moment.
The difference between a student and a true teacher is that the teacher trusts implicitly in the situation at hand regardless of how it may look on the surface. They understand that energy wants to move and to stand in the way of that movement is highly problematic. If you want to behave in a way that ultimately leads to lots of extra pain and suffering, the best you may get is a quiet suggestion that there are other ways of living. Most times, this message is subtle; you have to learn to listen.
Stepping outside of the teacher paradigm, Life itself can be a brutal teacher. When it comes down to it, Life doesn’t really care if you live or die. Living and dying is completely irrelevant in the bigger picture. From the construct of this moment, living and dying are non-existent and consequently completely irrelevant. Think about it.
So why does Life allow suffering? We’re all seemingly just one step away from all sorts of trouble. Looking at the human condition, you may fret over the inhumanity of man but nature can be savage too. Related to CIRS, I just watched a video about fungus that completely infiltrate ants causing them to behave aberrantly and ultimately climb to the top of nearest plant and die. The fungi then grows up out of the top of the ants head and sporalate thereby laying the seeds for next round of ant demise.
Having been through CIRS, I can relate to how awful this form of death must be. The causes of death for people are just as varied and potentially difficult within the natural world. People die of any number of reasons. Many of them include prolonged and excruciating suffering followed by death. Those that go untreated for CIRS fall into this category.
How can this be? How can life be so brutal? Doesn’t anybody love and care for us? Where’s God in all of this? So here’s the real kicker. When you’re awake and centered, these types of questions fall away. In fact, one could say that the moment these sorts of questions fall from your lips, you can be assured you’re not operating from a big enough framework; you’re trapped in a smaller, self-centered paradigm.
So how does one develop a big enough framework? The answer for most appears to be through lots of trials and tribulation. Through suffering we learn to let go, and in the doing, create the space required for a bigger perspective to dawn. This bigger perspective is a step apart. It’s on a different plane. It’s subtle and non-linear. It’s felt much more than it’s ever understood. It’s beyond words.
When it comes to health, anyone that cares about seeing clearly needs to take care of their bodies. Our bodies are our vehicle to awakening. It’s important to cultivate enough health so as to create a platform from which you can stand and reflect on what you’ve experienced.
If you’re really sick, those times of sufficient well-being may be very short-lived thereby making it difficult to gain the necessary perspective wherein acceptance is possible. Since the joy of living seems to be all about cultivating greater and deeper degrees of perspective, it’s helpful if you’re health isn’t always in turmoil. As my body heals from CIRS, these understandings become more and more apparent. What will be interesting to follow is whether these insights will be of benefit when this body once again begins to unravel due to old age, sickness, and eventually death.May 15, 2016
I often hear spiritual teachers drone on and on about the importance of letting go, of giving yourself over to God, of surrendering your ego driven hopes and fears. While there is deep wisdom in these teachings, it is dumbfounding to me that these very same teachers miss the importance of caring for the body. They’ll expound ad infinitum about one type of prayer or meditation after another as a means of addressing the various types of mental duress a Practitioner may experience while completely ignoring the importance of caring for the body.
Conventional medicine suffers from an equally enormous blind spot. If a patient complains of anxiety, depression, or the like, zero attention is paid to important contributors like diet, environmental toxins, and being bombarded with massive amounts of electro-magnetic fields. Based upon their behavior, if you suffer from mental illness of any sort, the solution is all in your head. In the case of conventional medicine psychotropic drugs are prescribed; in the case of spiritual teachers, various forms of meditation or pray are the supposed antidote. What nonsense.
I expect as much from conventional medicine. They’re always behind the times. It’s a completely different situation when it comes to spiritual teachers that go on and on about the importance of listening to your body and really feeling what’s going on inside. When a Practitioner comes to these very same teachers concerned about episodes of anxiety, feelings of dread, and the like, invariable some from of spiritual practice is prescribed. I’ve yet to hear any one of the very many teachers I’ve listened to even hint at the possibility that these feelings may be from being physically ill. Questions about physical health are hardly ever brought up and if they are it’s usually in the context of helping to assuage symptoms until your spiritual practice magically heals you.
Now I’m well aware that the mind is wonderfully helpful. With prayer or meditation, it’s entirely possible to help the body heal. However, having been through CIRS hell, I can assure you that both gross and subtle mental tendencies are profoundly influenced by the health of the physical body. This should be very obvious but it’s a fact that both physicians and spiritual teachers have yet to figure out. For example, if I eat even moderate amounts of foods that I’m mildly reactive to, my sleep will be worse and meditation the following morning will be significantly altered – less focused and deep.
It takes a huge wall of arrogance by spiritual teachers to suppose that the bulk of lesser forms of mental duress are simply due to influences from our pasts (some type of karmic repercussion) that can be addressed through prayer or meditation. Those teachers that espouse listening to your body through various mindfulness techniques that fail to make the very concrete connection between what a person thinks and the physical health of their body are delusional. I’ll say that again; they’re delusional – of limited vision.
Often, these very same teachers will carry on about not “being in your head” and the importance of really feeling what’s going on inside your body. And yet, their heady solutions to mental ill health that consist almost exclusively of some form of prayer or meditation are just the opposite of what they teach. They are solutions from the neck up while ignoring the rest of the body. This is utter foolishness and a huge disservice to the community they espouse to care for. Wake up Spiritual Teachers! April 22, 2016
Co-Creation & Energy
If there’s one thing CIRS has taught me, its mindfulness. Given that I’ve such little energy to work with along with how CIRS makes the impact of all forms of stress immediately apparent, I’m always mindful of thoughts and feelings that are stressful. What’s interesting to note is the different origins of stressful thoughts and feelings. Originally, I used to believe that everything came from my “head”. If I could just stop the incessant return to stressful worries, I’d get better.
Having been able to recover a good portion of my health, I now know that many of these harmful thoughts and feelings were driven by toxins. For example, when I get a mold hit my mind and body tend to be easily shocked – a simple thought about forgetting an item at the grocery store can produce a very strong sinking feeling in my gut often followed by a mini-fit of rage. When you go through enough of these cycles between being well and getting exposed, you begin to realize that nearly everything we think and feel is in large part a reflection of physical health. If you think about it, the implication of this fact is stunning.
Even more interesting is that over time, I’ve become more and more detached from the whole process. I used to wonder endlessly about why this was happening to me coupled with very strong feelings around wanting to extract myself from the unpleasantness of it all. There was very strong ownership over the situation and the feeling that it was all happening to “me”. With enough time and experience, I now realize that there is an unfathomable number of factors that come into play in producing this phenomenon called “me”.
This includes everything I’ve been taught from childhood on, along with the range of experiences this mind and body have been exposed to over the years. When I think about it, these teachings and experiences are themselves the results of a conglomeration of influences. These influences extend out to factors like weather patterns that are themselves controlled in part by the movement of celestial bodies. In turn, the weather impacts the amount and quality of sunlight the earth receives that then influences the quality of food we eat. In effect, galactic influences impact people that in turn cause them to behave and think along specific patterns. When conditions are less favorable, children end up with parents that are more melancholy and less hopeful. This affects children’s psyches. The point is that a mind-numbingly wide range of energetic influences have combined together to make this entity called “me”.
Nowadays, it’s a lot less about “me” and much more about simply recognizing and acknowledging the energetic factors at play in any given moment. If I’m feeling fearful and alone, then this is the energy that’s presenting itself. It’s here due to reasons beyond my comprehension. I don’t see it so much as an attack on my personage anymore. It’s just here and that’s all. I’ve learned to become much more detached, a caring observer, when it comes to the interaction of these various energies and this entity called “me”. In the end, you could say that there really is no “me”; God alone abides. April 16, 2016
I know I’ve said this before, but people that haven’t been brutalized in some fashion really don’t have a chance of understand how devastating CIRS can be. There is even a group of folks that do have CIRS that can’t fully relate because they haven’t experienced the mental aspects of this illness. You know you’re in the thick of it when your mind incessantly dwells on thoughts related to suicide, dread, fear, anxiety and the like. It’s non-stop and nearly impossible to get away from. Combine this with really poor sleep and you can see why our local hair-dresser killed herself after being exposed to high levels of mold from the crawlspace below her business.
That’s why when I hear people recommending techniques like mindfulness, staying positive, envisioning health, and the like, the first thing I think of is “kiddy play”. These people don’t have a clue. In the face of full-on psychological symptoms, imagining these types of techniques could be useful is on par with little kids dreaming about flying around the world on a magic carpet and bringing peace and love to everyone.
The only way a person could possible convey how bad it can get to the uninitiated would be to ask them to use their techniques while they played Russian roulette. The level of intensity and bizarre mental aberrations CIRS throws at some folks is on this level. It’s on par with spinning the chamber of a revolver containing one bullet and then holding the gun to your head and pulling the trigger. Where is mindfulness, looking on the bright side, and all the rest of that kiddy play then?
The situation at hand will eviscerate these types of feel-good techniques. It’s like trying to put a band-aide on a lacerated artery. All you will know in that moment is full on fear, dread, and so on. As discussed in Never Mind below, the solution for me was to disconnect from the situation. I was no longer part of my story; I was no longer wrapped up in the outcome. I was in my own world far, far away where there was a degree of rightness and peace. April 11, 2016
The flip side to mindfully sitting and noticing how CIRS impacts the body, mind, and psyche is completely ignoring the situation. After a while, you learn that melancholy, depression, anxiety, rage, sadness, feelings of doom, along with a whole cadre of bizarre physiological symptoms wrapped in a thick blanket pain are all just the result of CIRS. If you don’t learn to disconnect from this onslaught, it’s going to be an even more hellish ride.
Your brain is generally good at bringing to your attention mental and physical symptoms it thinks are problematic and then goes about trying to figure out how to improve the situation. It’s how we survive as a species. What you have to realize with CIRS is that at a certain point, it’s important to get your brain to ignore a lot of the signals coming in. Otherwise, you’re already fried psyche is just going to suffer worse.
So after getting a sense of the wide depth and breath of mental angst and physical symptoms CIRS can produce, I just started ignoring them in mass. What good was it going to do anyway? I’d done my research and knew that if I could stick with Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol, this whole nightmare of symptoms would eventually fall away. Of course, I added on other therapies that I thought would help. Nevertheless, it takes time to heal and you need to learn ways to distract your mind from being led down really dark roads over and over again.
Part of what I did was to try lots of therapies. I don’t really recommend this as it’s just a huge waste of money. In the end, it’s a very small list that I’ve stuck with. This includes, diet, Shoemaker’s protocol, FIR sauna, liposomal C, anti-inflammatory supplements, and probably a few others I’m not recalling off-hand. I also read a lot, and still do, about this illness and all things related to it. The bottom line is that I found that it was important to learn to ignore the situation much of the time.
I remember hearing how people in really dire physical situations often disconnect from their bodies. They describe this as sort of stepping outside of themselves. Their body is in one place and their heart and soul are in another. I used to think of this as a weakness but now I realize it’s a very intelligent defense mechanism. When you’re in a bad place and can’t escape, it makes total sense that your psyche goes someplace else until the situation improves. Drifting off to different places in your mind is a perfectly acceptable way of dealing with CIRS while you’re waiting for treatments to heal your body. April 10, 2016
It seems to me that Life is all about finding that Still Point, where nothing moves. If you’ve meditated a bit, you probably have a sense of what I’m referring too. If not, then perhaps you can recall a moment of awe – when thinking stops and you’re simply struck with the beauty of the moment.
It’s been a huge challenge to find any still point in CIRS. Walking around all day racked with anxiety isn’t very conducive to coming closer to God. And yet, this is seems to be the challenge – namely, being OK with what the Universe has to offer. Striving to make sense of, to bring peace to, this illness is the great challenge or calling being presented.
For example, rather than filling every moment with trivial activity, is it possible to stop for a while and feel what it’s like to be anxious? What kind of resistance do you run into when trying to experience it directly? What fears does it conjure? If you can strip away your own mental overlay, what’s left? What are the energetic signatures of anxiety, pain, and confusion like without all the other typical hopes and fears your mind comes up with? Are you able to allow enough of “me and mine” to fall away in order for some stillness to arise? The level of surrender that’s required, and of which we’re capable, may surprise you – in a good way. April 9, 2016
Speaks in Whispers
God doesn’t shout; she/he whispers. You have to empty yourself to hear deep truth. Having nothing can be good news.
If you’re riding around on a white horse all day, full of agenda, there’s very little room for insight and wisdom to find their way in. CIRS strips away agenda. When it’s a challenge to simply get up a flight of stairs, visions of conquering worlds fall away. Much of your life becomes about getting through the next moment.
As a consequence, there is great opportunity. No longer trapped by an over-reaching ego, you may, for the first time ever, finally be able to experience what’s really in the moment. How does your body really feel? What happens when you allow yourself to truly experience this illness? Can you be OK with what’s happening right now? What does this moment have to say; what does God have to offer? April 8, 2016
I just got done watching an Independent Lens documentary on an attempt by Klu Klux Klan members to take over a small town in North Dakota. The KKK members lived in a dilapidated home that was later condemned by the Health Department. I wonder how much of their confrontational and hurtful behavior is driven by toxicity. Similarly, what about prison inmates exposed to moldy conditions as a result of sprinkler systems being frequently being set off?
No one wants to be mean. When they are, there is quite likely an underlying driver that is physiological – body driven. I pray that someday in the near future when an individual starts flipping out, we’re able to prescribe changes in diet and remove toxins that will allow their bodies and psyches to re-balance. Now wouldn’t that be something. April 7, 2016