This dream called reality.

In this dream we “awaken” to each morning lies the illusion of separation. That we are separate from each other yet we are all the same dreamer. Reality is oneness.

The way to awaken to this oneness is to be aware of the present moment. Quiet the mind, which blinds the heart to the illusion of separation.

Focusing on the present moment and seeing past the facade of the ego to the reality of oneness can lead to inner peace and freedom.

Written by Tom Howard

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Plants: The Sacred Medicine

Courtesy of CMushroom Gourmet

Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates (called the father of medicine), has been credited with the quote, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” Indeed, there is tremendous preventative and therapeutic value in various plants and fungi. As human beings, we evolved with these species in the Earth’s ecosystem. Since prehistoric times, people have gathered herbs and mushrooms for medicine and healthy food.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of medicine. They can be either eaten as food or used to produce extracts. Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula  edodes) are native to East Asia and are used in the cuisine of many Asian countries as well as medicine in traditional medicine. Shiitake kills cancer cells, has hypolipidaemic (fat-reducing) effects, supports immune function, and prevents cardiovascular disease. Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) prevents and treats influenza and the common cold, combat breast cancer, and aids digestion. They also have been found to treat the Human Papilloma Virus and help patients with HIV/AIDS. A turkey tail extract known as PSK is used to fight cancer.

Many herbs have medicinal properties. Aloe vera helps with cuts and scrapes, sunburns, insect bites, as well as overall skin care. Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It also kills cancer cells and intestinal parasites. St. John’s wart (Hypericum perforatum) helps with anxiety, depression, skin care, nerve pain, lupus, and many other ailments.

Hemp and Cannabis (Cannabis Sativa) are some of the most beneficial medicinal plants. The differences between the two, although the same species, include the ratio of two phytocannabinoids, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Cannabinoids are chemicals that bind to certain receptors of cells throughout the body. These cannabinoid receptors make up the endocannabinoid system, consisting of CB1 and CB2 receptors. This system helps preserve homeostasis (balance) in the body. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain and nervous system. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects. THC primarily bind to CB1 receptors while CBD bind to CB2 receptors. Cannabis or more commonly known as marijuana, have a high THC to CBD ratio and creates a euphoric “high”, aids in appetite for cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, provides pain relief, protects brain cells from trauma, aids sleep, and many other benefits. It is a schedule I drug at the U.S. federal level and is illegal in most jurisdictions. Many U.S. States as well as many nations have legalized Cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. Hemp has a high CBD to THC ratio and is used to create CBD oils and extracts. CBD is legal in all 50 States in the U.S. CBD elevates nausea, relieves pain and inflammation, fights cancer, reduces anxiety, has antipsychotic effects, treats seizures,and promotes cardiovascular health.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest Home Page

Stay Happy With Mindfulness

Stay Happy

We all know the importance of the being at our best. Our family, friends, clients and ourselves are depending on us to perform at the optimum level. Stay happy and you will perform at your very best. Being positive enables us to focus on what’s important. However, adverse circumstances and toxic people can sabotage our happiness.

Mindfulness is the focus on the present moment. Having gratitude for even the smallest things that you have at the present moment can have a profound effect on one’s psyche. Maintenance of this mindset is an ongoing struggle and there are many practices that will help maintain your positive mindset.

One such practice is meditation, yet not many people meditate. There’s a lot of misconception to what meditation is and this is what deters people from meditating. It is simply a way to rest, relax and reflect. Just find a quiet spot to sit, close your eyes, and follow your breath. Let your breath flow naturally and focus on it. Thoughts, images, and mental movies will pop up in your head. Observe them in a non-judgemental way and then gently go back to following of your breath. Do this the first thing in the morning, right before going to bed, and in the quiet times during the day. You will feel much better and happier.

Meditation releases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and other feel good chemicals to produce a natural high with no withdrawals. It is a great way to stay happy. Here’s a link for guidance in meditation: https://theconsciouslife.com/how-to-meditate-a-guide-for-beginners.htm

Fortify Yourself

Another way to stay happy is to surround yourself with positive and upbeat people who will help lift you up. Good feelings are contagious and you will spread that happiness to others, reinforcing your happiness. On the other side of the coin, negativity is also contagious. That is why it is important to cut out or at least minimize contact with toxic people. Don’t let them bring you down with their complaining, arguing, and insults. Take the high road and you’ll keep your inner shine glowing.

Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining  good feelings. A proper diet with essential vitamins and minerals in the right proportion is key to proper nutrition. Furthermore, it is important to avoid junk food, alcohol, and tobacco. While hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine may give the user a sense of joy, this is false happiness.  Drug abuse will inevitably lead to a severe crash when the drug wears off and the body seeks to maintain equilibrium. Consequently, the person will lose their joy over time.

In addition to nutrition, sleep is another crucial component to overall well-being. Seven to eight hours a night is recommended for adults. While a small percentage of adults can get by with much less, this is the exception and not the rule. Too many people burn the candle at both ends. Sleep deprivation can have a devastating effect on mood.

In conclusion, mindfulness, which is the focus on the moment, is a key component in our arsenal to stay happy and be at our very best.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest home page

Put The Green Back In Food.

In the last sixty to seventy years, cancer and inflammatory diseases have skyrocketed. Much evidence points to the consumption of animal based foods as the cause of this. However, this was not always the case.

Before cannabis prohibition in the 1930’s, feral hemp once bloomed on the grazing fields of farms. This hemp contained cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid with tremendous health benefits. The animals would eat this hemp thus the meat, eggs, and dairy products they produced would contain cannabidiol. The American diet at that time had large amounts of meat, eggs, milk, butter and cheese; yet cancer and other degenerative diseases occurred much less frequently than today. This all changed when the U.S. government eradicated feral hemp from the land as part of cannabis prohibition.

Today we have many cannabidiol products available. Vape oil, drops and gummies are in health food stores and the internet. By consuming this substance that was common in the human food chain, we can turn back the clock to a much healthier time.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest home page

Why Spirituality?

Many of us feel trapped. On one side is the organized traditional religion from which we were raised in. Although our faiths have comforted us, the dogma of organized religion has limited our views and stifled our quest for enlightenment. Even as it installed love and gratitude to a creator, it has led to strife between believers of different faiths, rejected scientific knowledge, led to the irresponsible treatment of Mother Earth, and condemned people simply for loving who they love.

Many people have left their respective faiths and adopted scientific materialism. However this belief system has been found to be both inaccurate and harmful. Harmful in that it strips us of togetherness, deprives us of ceremony and celebration, and leaves one feeling without meaning or purpose. Inaccurate in that it fails to accept the new discoveries made everyday that tie science and the spiritual together.

Spirituality fosters love, gratitude, and a belief that all living things in the cosmos are inseparably linked. Instead of contradicting science, spirituality accepts the physical laws of nature while acknowledging the immaterial as an inseparable part of our reality. Spirituality fills the void left in one’s heart by leaving dogma behind, providing a third way that leads away from oppression on one hand and emptiness on the other.

Just as balance is important for the Spirit, it is also important for the entire Mind-Body-Spirit system that makes up all of us. Health, the maintenance of the body, is provided by proper nutrition. While not neglecting one’s health is important, health can also be harmed by the overuse of pharmaceuticals. A balanced third way of natural foods, cannabis medicine, rest and exercise is a better way to maintain one’s body. Spirituality stresses that one’s body is a temple and it is better to maintain it as a temple.

Mindfulness is maintaining balance in one’s mind. It is the taking in of the present moment while freeing one’s mind from the anxiety about tomorrow and the regret about yesterday. Meditation is key to this and is a vital part of spirituality as well.

Spirituality provides people with a better way of life by maintaining balance in the Mind-Body-Spirit system and replaces the obsolete dogma and materialism that plagues our world today.

Written by Tom Howard

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Make Your Transition

The Autumn/Spring Equinox is the day when the Sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in west. Day and night are equal in length. The Equinox brings with it a change of season.

As the Earth changes, so should we. Break old bad habits and develop new good ones. Disconnect from negative people, places, and activities to renew ourselves. Set new goals in life and reevaluate previous goals.

A shift in energy is to occur. With all the conflict and scarcity today, this is surely needed. By living our lives better on an individual basis, collectively we can set a trend that will promote peace and prosperity. We can not wait on others to make this a better world. Individually, we must take the lead ourselves to defeat the faceless foe of negativity and strife.

Written by Tom Howard

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Eclipse: A New Beginning

As the eclipse of 2017 in North America occurs, many of us will observe the phenomenon. The sky turns darker, the air gets cooler and still, and the Sun is engulfed by the Moon. The ancients believed that eclipses were associated with bad omens, dark mysticism, and punishment from divinity for humanity’s moral shortcomings.

The eclipse is a reminder of the power of nature. Energy and consciousness is shifted during this powerful occurrence of nature. What happens in the cosmos affects us within.

This celestial event gives us an opportunity for introspection and healing. With the state of affairs we have had lately, with all the division and strife of recent times, this is sorely needed. As the Sun reappears, this eclipse will bring about a new dawn and a brighter future.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest home page

Oneness

Through my travels across the world, I realize the interconnection of everything in it. A feast halfway across the world brings the same joy as a barbecue back home. Laughter does not need translation. The same Earth lay at our feet regardless of jurisdiction. And the same sky is above.

New discoveries are bridging the gap between science and spirituality and we are just beginning to find the answers to age old questions. Quantum Mechanics states that the mire act of observation has an effect on what is observed. Thus a person’s thought affects that person’s reality. The Universe is a bundle of consciousness, the collective consciousnesses of all individuals contained in it. Thought morphs into matter/energy and visa versa, continuing into the endless virtuous cycle of life. Spirit, thought, and the material world are actually one in the same.

It is up to us what kind of world this is for us and our children. Let us think positive and love, for we are what we think.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest home page

Finding Balance II

As stated before in the previous article, Finding Balance, people are increasing drawn to cannabis due to a deficiency in endocannabinoids, chemicals produced by the body that are similar in structure and function to the active ingredients found in cannabis (such as Tetrahydrocannabinol, popularly known as THC, and Cannabidiol, known as CBD) and that are important for maintaining homeostasis (balance of the body’s regulating chemicals).

Along with stress, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of sleep, the imbalance of the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids consumed in our diets are to blame. Omega-3 fatty acids are the raw material that the body uses to produce endocannabinoids. The proper ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 should be 1 to 1. The average North American diet consists of a ratio of 15 to 1. We consume far too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3, promoting inflammation and leading to degenerative diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and muscular sclerosis. The popular diet of processed grains and white potatoes, fried in Omega-6 rich oils such as corn oil, together with meat from grain feed livestock, is the culprit. We must change our diet to maintain proper health.

Ironically, the same plant that provides us with phytocannabinoids, cannabis, provides us with hemp seed. Hemp seed oil is rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Flax seed and green leafy vegetables are also great sources of ALA. The human body can convert ALA into the other types of Omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), however this is not as efficient as directly consuming DHA and EPA. DHA and EPA are produced in marine algae and phytoplankton, and are found in fatty fish like salmon, and sea vegetables, such as edible seaweed.

We must unchain ourselves from the junk food matrix and eat as our ancestors did. Whole foods, like seafood and fresh vegetables, must be our staple. Otherwise we condemn ourselves to disease and decline.

Written by Tom Howard

SpiritualityQuest home page