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Archive for the ‘Selrealization’ Category

Among all the spiritual paths that the world offer, Ayahuasca a teacher plant, is one of the surest ways for people to gain a deeper understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one’s inner life path.

“History teaches us that there are rhythms in transformation patterns that can be seen, understood, and made usable and teachable to others. Be it a 12 step or 8 shield model , a Channunpa or an Ayahuasca ceremony, transformational methods can provide encouragement to help remove illusions, and take us deeper into understanding ourselves, then it is a useful tool.”

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Maya, the language of the great Maya civilization that flourished more than a thousand years ago, is still spoken in various forms by several million people in present-day Mexico, Guatemala, and British Honduras.

Maya proper, sometimes called Yucatec, is spoken by about 450,000 people on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

The Popul Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayas, is a informative account of Maya history and traditions, beginning with their creation story of the Mayan world. This sacred book is an important example of native American literature that has survived the passing of centuries, it was first translated into writing in the middle of the 16th century.

The Mayas possessed a fully developed system of writing, using symbols or hieroglyphs. They appear to be a combination of ideographs, phonetic signs, and also rebus writing, in which an ideograph is used to represent another word which happens to have the same pronunciation. For example, in English the sign for “eye” could be used to represent the pronoun “I”.

The first signs to be deciphered were those dealing with the calendar and astronomy.


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Antioxidants are present in foods as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others.

Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colors—the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes. The most well-known components of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; the mineral selenium; and more recently, the compound lycopene.

While the body has its defenses against oxidative stress, these defenses are thought to become less effective with aging as oxidative stress becomes greater. Consumption of antioxidants is thought to provide protection against oxidative damage and contribute positive health benefits. For example, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin engage in antioxidant activities that have been shown to increase macular pigment density in the eye.

Examples of Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins Daily Reference Intakes*

Vitamin A 300-900 µg-d / Protects cells from free radicals / Liver, dairy products, fish
Vitamin C 15-90 mg-d /Protects cells from free radicals/ Bell peppers, citrus fruits
Vitamin E 6-15 mg-d / Protects cells from free radicals, helps with immune function and DNA repair/ Oils, fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, mixed nuts
Selenium 20-55 µg-d /Helps prevent cellular damage from free radicals/ Brazil nuts, meats, tuna, plant foods

From Food and Nutrition Board Institute of Medicine DRI reports and National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
*DRI’s provided are a range for Americans ages 2-70.


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Sidewalk Sculpture Exhibit

Split Ring in Motion is the name of this impressive stainless steel sculpture created by American sculptor Rob Lorenson. Lorenson’s works have been shown in various exhibitions around the world, including the Pierwalk in Chicago, Illinois, the Sarasota Season of Sculpture
in Florida and The Convergence International Arts Festival in Providence,
Rhode Island, USA. His works are also housed in numerous public and private
collections.

And now, this particular sculpture, Split Ring in Motion, can be found on the Paseo de Montejo Boulevard between Calles 43 and 45, right in front of the Twin Houses, a half a block from the Musuem
of Anthropology. Split Ring in Motion is
one of the 50 sculptures that have been present on this majestic boulevard since April 15th. That was opening day of the exhibition that is the second exhibit of the program called Merida of Yucatan, City of Sculpture. This exhibit features works by both artists from the USA and from Mexico.

Want more outdoor sculpture? After you stroll the Paseo de Montejo, head down to the Main Plaza and visit the sculptures located between the Cathedral and the Ateneo Penisular Building where the Macay Museum is housed.

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For centuries, geography made it difficult for the Yucatecans to communicate with the rest of Mexico. As a result, architectural and cultural influences from Europe, the Caribbean and New Orleans were as strong or stronger in the growth of the city. To this day, the people who live here consider themselves Yucatecans first, Mexicans second. If you look carefully, you will see tshirts and bumper stickers proclaiming Orgulloso Yucateco, Yucatecan Pride.

The Yucatan is one of Mexico’s most tranquil and safest states, with a climate resembles that of Florida or Cuba. Yucatecans are good, tranquil and hospitable people who have strong roots and traditions. They take pride in their city, known as “The White City”, not only for the predominance of white limestone as a building material, but because of its streets, plazas and parks that are cleaned daily.

When I read this description of the Yucatan I realized the wonderful opportunity that had come my way. A chance to visit a long desired location in Mexico, meet local healers and stay with a family that still speaks the local Mayan dialect. This opportunity will add another layer of interest to my budding eco-travel business, Concentric Rings.

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Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic Amazonian plant brew. It has been used by native Indian and mestizo shamans in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador for healing and divination, for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Used as a sacrament in religious ceremonies, it is an integral component of their religious expression. The indigenous peoples who worship their gods with the use of Ayahuasca are having their religious freedom threatened by western culture whom in their zealous desire to control drug use (fueled by the so called “drug war”) are passing legislation that bans the use of this plant. Through pressure and manipulation by the United States, most countries have unilaterally criminalized any use of various plants and the compounds within them, Ayahuasca is one of them. These legislative bans have been made without analysis or consideration of the people involved or the religious significance of the use of these plants in spiritual ceremonies.

In the following essay, I will explore the history and spiritual significance of Ayahuasca to the indigenous people of South America, and I will defend their right to use Ayahuasca in religious ceremonies.

Ayahuasca comes from the Quechua language: huasca means ‘vine’ and aya meaning ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’. This ‘Vine of the spirits’ is vital to spiritual tribal health and vitality. It is an integral part of their spiritual worship that has endured for centuries. The origins of the use of Ayahuasca in the Amazon Basin can be traced to prehistory. No one can say for certain where the practice originated but its widespread use among indigenous tribes throughout the Amazon Basin came to the attention of Western ethnographers in the mid-19th century. There is abundant archeological evidence (in the form of pottery vessels, anthropomorphic figurines, snuffing trays and tubes, etc.,) that plant hallucinogen use was well established in the Ecuadorian Amazon by 1500 – 2000 B.C. Suffice it to say, the use of Ayahuasca in worship is grounded in antiquity, it is a foundational component to Amazonian spiritual life.

Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is the active, mind altering compound of Ayahuasca. DMT can be found in relatively any life form, plants, animals, fungi or most astonishingly, secreted by the human brain. Despite its ubiquity, the role of DMT remains a mystery. It is believed that DMT fuels vivid dreams, mystical revelations, and religious exaltation, as well as having a role in memory. The difficulty in studying the effect of DMT in the body is that it is broken down quickly by the enzyme, monoamine oxidase. This enzyme quickly renders the compound useless in the gut before reaching the brain, unless taken with an MAO inhibitor. The role of MAO was only realized by scientists through the study of shamanic rituals in Ecuador, Brazil, and obscure areas of the Amazonian basin. Shamans have overcome MAO’s effects by careful combinations of wild Amazonian plants. One such plant is Psychotria viridis bush, which contains significant quantities of DMT. The other is the vine Banisteriopsis caapi, which contains Harmine, one of the most effective MAO inhibitors. This combination allows the DMT to pass the brain blood barrier causing a psychedelic effect.

Many Western trained physicians and psychologists have acknowledged that these substances can give access to spiritual dimensions of consciousness, even mystical experiences similar to classic religious mysticism. In spite of the fact that no harmful physiological effects have been found in association with Ayahuasca consumption, the US government has continued to pressure foreign governments to criminalize its use.

Anti-drug legislation has been particularly harsh with regard to hallucinogenic substances since the popularity of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in the 50’s. Legislation was pushed in part because the effects produced by psychedelic drugs are strikingly similar to the symptoms of psychosis. In the 1950s, these similarities led to the suggestion that psychoactive compounds like DMT were the cause of schizophrenia. This gross speculation was later found to be short sighted and erroneous.

Ayahuasca is not the latest party drug, but a foul-tasting plant concoction that Amazonian people have been consuming and using for religious purposes for centuries. The nausea and vomiting that ensues after consumption of the plant verifies that it is not a “party drug” but is used for a spiritual, personal journey.

Ayahuasca is a plant of many legends, credited by natives to yield visions of the future, communication with nature, and telepathic communication with the spirit realm. Today this bitter tea, also known as hoasca, has become the sacramental ritual of two modern religions in Brazil. One of them, the União do Vegetal (UDV) church, has begun a legal battle with modern pharmaceutical companies in an effort to invalidate patents they acquired through nefarious means. The conflict over the plant began more than 10 years ago, when Loren Miller, director of the small California-based International Plant Medicine Corporation, took a sample of a medicinal plant cultivated by an indigenous community in Ecuador. Miller returned to California and obtained a patent from the U.S. government in 1986, claiming a new plant variety, which gave him exclusive rights to sell and breed new varieties from the plant. U.S. patent law requires the person requesting the patent to be the original breeder of the new plant variety. Indigenous groups argue that the plant is widely used throughout the region and that Miller did nothing to the plant to improve it. Therefore, they say, he cannot claim to be the “inventor” of the plant, and is not eligible for a patent. “The root of the dispute is not the Foundation or Miller, but that the U.S. patenting process favors corporations over the rights of indigenous people” (Edward Hammond, a researcher with the Rural Advancement International Foundation (RAFI)). He says because the U.S. patent office does not thoroughly check to see if a plant variety is genuinely new or if the applicant is indeed the original breeder, corporations can easily claim patents on plants grown and bred in other countries by indigenous peoples.

The perceived theft of Ayahuasca is especially disturbing to indigenous groups because the vine, also known as Yage, is held sacred by many indigenous communities. It has been cultivated throughout the Amazon rainforest since the pre-Colombian era for religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes. Only shamans are authorized to prepare it and no member of the community can drink it without the guidance of a shaman. “We would like to believe that, as the millennium is ending, so is the time of paternalism, protection and colonial practices — but it seems that we have the sin of optimism,” Augustin Grefa says (a leader of the Rio Blanco community, which is located 350 kilometers of Quito, Ecuador). “Commercializing an ingredient of the religious ceremonies and of healing for our people is a real affront for the over 400 cultures that populate the Amazon basin.”

There is much unrest and anger within tribes and groups in the Amazon basin and world wide. This anger I feel stems from the unfair, capitol driven, legislation of the US government. As globalization becomes more prevalent, US foreign policy must evolve as well.

For 35 years the federal government has allowed Native Americans to use peyote in their religious rituals (in spite of the fact that the drug is otherwise banned) while denying American members of Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), a Brazil-based religious group, the use of Ayahuasca in their religious ceremonies . This is a double standard, both religious experiences are grounded in antiquity, neither substance has proven harmful after thousands of years of use, and both represent freedom of religious expression.

Freedom of religious expression is the cornerstone upon which the United States was founded. Yet laws are being passed that obstruct the religious freedoms of countless peoples. Through sanctions and political pressuring, the U.S. has managed to impose unilateral drug laws worldwide. Ayahuasca was placed under federal control in Schedule I (along with heroin and cocaine) when the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1971, this means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license. Since then, several countries have followed suit (Table A1) including all countries in the United Nations. The penalty for distribution could result in up to seven years imprisonment. There have been several developments in 1999, 2000, and 2001 which have affected the practical legal status of Ayahuasca. In the United States, Europe, and South America, Ayahuasca has become a part of the “War on Drugs” resulting in several arrests for possession of Ayahuasca or its component plants.

Shamans are spiritual guides and healers to the tribe’s people they represent. From crafting poisonous arrows for hunting, to healing those who suffer from physical or spiritual sickness, the shaman’s role is akin to that of professor, doctor, and pastor. They have endured the criminalization of their religious practices and suffered the loss of land and resources. Ayahuasca is the largest and possibly oldest psychedelic religion known. Thousands of years of knowledge and culture are represented by tribes that practice Huasca rituals. Whether Ayahuasca is truly a conduit for spiritual planes of existence or not, it is imperative that as a global community we protect the rights and culture of all people.

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There is a crisis in Health Freedom.

On April 30, 2007 the FDA will close the public comment period on a “Guidance” which will classify every alternative practice as medicine so that only licensed physicians can carry out the procedure AND vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., will suddenly become “untested drugs” which will be forbidden.

Bad? Real Bad! But public outcry can stop this assault on your health and your freedom.

Spread the word! Tell everyone in your Circle of Influence, professionals, alternative practitioners, nutrient and herb companies, everyone! Let them know how important their participation is to make sure the FDA backs off from this repressive course.

Yours in health and freedom,

Rima E. Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation
http://www.HealthFreedomUSA.org

Please share this link with them and urge them to take action:

http://www.democracyinaction.org/healthfreedomusa/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=7185&t=

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“We have been taught that optimal health, deep healing, satisfaction, gratification, happiness and even God can be found out there somewhere. This concept of looking outside is simply not correct. All answers lie within.”

” Because times are changing, medicine must embrace change. It will do so for one simple reason: we, the people, want it to.”
Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.

Here’s a Spring Salad that Dharma Singh Khalsa suggests to improve kidney function.

2 medium heads yellow endive
1 medium apple, sliced thin
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup watercress leaves
1/4 cup blue cheese

Dressings
1 tablespoon nonfat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons walnut oil
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Wash endive and watercress. Arrange leaves on serving plate, arrange apple slices on top of leaves.
Sprinkle walnuts and blue cheese on top of apple slices.

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor or blender and blend. Pour over salad

Watercress and endive are powerful cleansers for the intestinal and circulatory systems.

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This restoratively nourishing soup helped me while I recovered from surgery, however, it is beneficial anytime. I like to use fresh herbs when I can get them, but the dry herbs will work just fine too.

3 quarts of water
1/4 cup miso paste, choose your favorite flavor
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 onion, minced
1/8 cup fo-ti (aka) ho shou wu / Polygonum multiflorum / finely chopped or sifted
1/2 cup lycium berries / Lycium chinensis
1/4 cup ginsing root / Panax quinquefolia / any variety
1/2 cup fresh dandelion root / Taraxacum officinale / sliced
3/4 cup fresh burdock root / Arctium lappa / sliced
4 slices of astragalus root / Astragalus membranaceus
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
10 large fresh shiitake mushrooms , chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
sesame oil to drizzle on finished soup before serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Saut’e the garlic and onions until tender and soft, but do not brown them. Add the mushrooms and saut’e for 2 more minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil.

Using a large cloth re-usable tea bag or a piece of cheese cloth, tie all the herbs, except the mushrooms, into the tea bag or cheese cloth. This will make removing them later much easier once the soup is done.

Add the bag of herbs to the water, simmer on low for two and a half hours. When the roots are tender, take the pot off the heat and remove the bundle of herbs. Remove a cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir the miso paste into it. Return the cup of hot liquid back to the soup pot, stir to blend. Do not boil the miso it will destroy the enzymes that are beneficial to your soup.

Add the chopped parsley and cilantro to the broth, ladle into bowls and drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil, serve hot.

NOTE* If spring greens are flourishing in your area pick them and garnish this soup with those vibrant healthful plants.
Some suggestions are; chickweed, plantain, dandelion greens, fern tips.

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Master Li Ch’ing Yuen, a Chinese herbalist, was born in 1678 in the hill country of southwest China. While still a “young man” of 50 , he met a venerable old sage who maintained his exquisite health by drinking a soup daily made from tonic herbs. Master Li started drinking this broth.

Master Li met several more elderly sages and learned secrets of longevity from each. His efforts and commitment were well rewarded; he lived to the age of 252, was married 14 times and lived through 11 generations of his own descendants ( almost 200 in his lifetime).

Master Li died in 1930 after a banquet in his honor. In case you don’t believe this story, modern-day scholars have verified his age.

Excerpt from Rosemary Gladstar’s book ” Longevity and Well-Being”

I did a Google search and found some information to support this man’s claim to longevity. Personally I have made many herbal recipes with longevity herbs and they are magically healing plant beings…..

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