The Ultimate Truth!

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I would like to pass on my thoughts about, what I see as the Ultimate Truth, impermanence. But don’t just take my word for it, spend some time in contemplation and come to your own conclusions.

During my spiritual journey there has been one concept that has had the most profound effect upon my life, and my philosophy, that is the concept of impermanence. Whether you see that as; the Pagan cycle of birth,death and rebirth as exemplified in the Wheel of the Year; the Buddhist concept of Samsara, the Hindu concept of Moksha, or the Scientific concept of the Cycle of life, it cannot be denied that everything changes and is impermanent. At the level of inanimate matter all things change, nothing is permanent, even Suns are born; illuminate the vacuum of Space, but eventually die, and are recycled into new stars or planets etc. In the realm of the biological all life; comes into existence, grows and experiences life on this planet, but eventually dies. This is the natursl law of the universe and nothing, and no-one, is exempt. Psychologically this has a profound effect upon the human psyche and; depending upon our particular psychological make-up, belief systems, and experiences, each individual will deal-with, or not deal-with, this fact of life.

How do I apply this concept to my life and what impact has it had on how I live and view my life? in particular how does it impact on my response to the fact of my own mortality?

Whether you belive in an existence prior to birth or after death does not really matter, and is ultimately unknowable whilst in this physical body. I personally have my own concept of what happens after death and what preceded my birth, but I want to keep this post focussed on how the realisation of impermanence can have a real impact on how we live our life in the here and now. As such, this discussion is focused on impermanence, which although universal to the whole of the Universe, I will take as its focus how it applies to the experience of being human.

As a newly conceived embryo, existence within the womb is pretty comfortable, all of our needs are catered for and we float around in a warm, supportive environment. It must truly feel like we are the centre of the universe. Suddenly all of that changes and we experience the trauma of birth, life will never be the same again, and the experience must be truly terrifying. We are presented with a completely new experience in an environment that we had no knowledge of, or expectation!

It is suggested that, as a new-born child, we have no understanding that we are separate from that which we experience in our environment, they still experience an awareness of the oneness of the universe. There is a process of learning required which will be shaped by our environment and experiences. This is one of the first examples that demonstrate the concept of Karma, originally a Hindu and Buddhist concept, but now widely accepted in many western thought and belief systems. Although I do have a belief in a form of reincarnation, Karma is not a concept that requires a belief in reincarnation, it’s simply the law of cause and effect and applies moment by moment throughout our lives. I’ll have a bit more to say about Karma later in this post.

As we begin to grow-up and become toddlers we begin to interact more with the environment, exploring relationships with both other living beings and our physical surroundings. All of these experiences will have a profound effect on how we develop, both physically and psychologically, and is another example of the process of Karma.

Entering childhood we expand the influences on our development as we enter the wider world of education and increasing social/environmental contact. We change through this journey and are no longer the person we were as a new-born child or a toddler. Already we have an example of impermanence, it is also quite clear how Karma has impacted on this process of change. We are no longer the same person that we were previously, although there is a stream of memory and consciousness that ties the changing persona together to help create our personality and fledgling Ego. Whether there is some deeper, higher, consciousness that is permanent I don’t know, but personally I have a subjective feeling that there is a deep part of me, almost pre-conscious that is permanent throughout my life, and will continue after death. Either way it is impossible to know, therefore, it may be an interesting metaphysical and philosophical question to ponder but has no real bearing on the truth of the impermanence of life on the physical plane.

Teenage years are a rollercoaster of change and impermanence, driven by the physical processes stimulated by the release of our various hormones; our physical bodies, psychological drives and desires, and personality are in a process of rapid change. Nothing is stagnant at this stage, and these physical processes are not under our conscious control, although our psychological and health development will be impacted by the personal choices we make, these being driven by our desires or aversions, attachments, and knowledge.

Moving into adulthood we have developed a mature Ego and personality based upon the Karmic effects inherited from our growth from birth to adulthood. Most people, through the influence of our culture and family ties, enter working life and begin the process of starting families or building careers. It’s very much a time of reactive activity based upon the pressure from our environment. But the way that we react to this pressure and influence from our environment, and the choices we then make, will have a profound impact upon our future development. Once again looking back we can see that the person we were as a teenager has gone, or at least been assimilated into the mature adult personality and ego. It’s clear by this stage that our Ego and Personality are impermanent and, therefore, change is inevitable!

Moving into old age we change physically, emotionally and psychologically; our bodies are no longer able to do physical activities as well as they used to, our mental processes may begin to decline, our vision deteriorates, and our health declines. This is the time that, for most people, thoughts begin to turn towards reviewing their past life and looking towards their impending death. This can be a very difficult time for some but, depending on how they view life and particularly if they have accepted that all is impermanent, it is possible to come to terms with this process.

So, being someone who at the age of 58 has been given a diagnosis on incurable stage 4 cancer, how have I processed that information, and how has my contemplation of impermanence helped me to come to terms with this?

I have always been conscious of my health and wellbeing; having watched my diet, kept my ear to the ground with the latest health research and advice, exercised regularly, and monitored my physical condition. it was, to say the least, initially a surprise and a shock. Someone asked me if I was upset that it had happened to me at this age as I was so health conscious, I answered “why not me? I’m no more special than anyone else” I think many of those around me are surprised at my reaction, but I think this stems from my many years of being a Pagan; an animist; and having an interest in studying a wide and varied number of other spiritual belief systems. Also, I work as a nurse and have cared for many patients as they go through the process of dying, I have sat with patients, their relatives, and their friends, as they try to come to terms with the dying process. This has led me to a deep understanding and acceptance of the impermanence of life, my own included. I have contemplated my own death over the years, and dealt with the death of my Father, Mother, and Mother-in-Law.

Through the process of Karma we are influenced by the past, our future is influenced by the Karma we develop in the Now. As the past no longer exists and we cannot change the Karma that we inherited from it. I do not focus on the past if I can help it and have little attachment to it or harbour any regret. The future has yet to be and is unknowable, therefore, there is little benefit to be gained from worrying about what may be. By all means make sensible contingency plans for possible future scenarios, it would be remiss of me, as someone with incurable cancer not to. But worry is a wasted emotion and achieves nothing but distress in the now.

The only thing that exists is the ‘Now’ the now has been influenced by my past, and future will be influenced by the; actions, intentions, and motivation that I choose to have in this moment.

The Now is the most important thing that I can focus on as the Karma I develop now is the Karma that will influence what future I experience. Even the quality of my death, and how it impacts on those around me, is intimately tied up with how I live in the Now.

Even the Now is impermanent and exists for only an instant, it cannot be grasped or held onto, you cannot have an attachment to it for it is fleeting. But the decisions you make, the attachments you create and the desires you act upon in the Now will carry forward into your future through the cause and effect process of Karma.

So, to conclude this post I will just say that I try, to the best of my ability, to live in the now. I pay particular attention to; the desires and impulses I act upon; the attachments I develop at each moment; the choices I make; the impact I have on others by my actions, speech and choices. I find that the Buddhist Nobel Eightfold Path is a useful guide to achieve this and accords pretty well with my Druidic beliefs.

I accept that I have a life limiting disease but I keep in mind that, if I allow this to cause me undue anxiety Regarding my ultimate death, I have allowed a future that does not yet exist to rob me of the joys and experiences of the present, this causing unnecessary suffering to myself and those around me.

I hope this has given you some food for thought, I reiterate my suggestion to not take my word for it, but to do your own contemplation on impermanence.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment if you have anything interesting and constructive to add.

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Chamomile & Lavender Tea: What a magical herbal mix.

The gentle breeze was just enough to take the heat out of the mid-day Sun while I sat watching the bees as they were busy coming and going from the hives. It was idyllic and I was lulled into a state of mindfulness by the warm breeze and the gentle hum of the hives. Just what the Dr. ordered for some spiritual recuperation 🙂

During my sojourn into the ‘Now’ the chamomile that grows around the hives caught my attention  as they swayed and bobbed in the breeze followed quickly by the subtle scent of the lavender encroaching into the periphery of my senses.

Not one to pass-up a message from nature I felt inspired to make a nice cup of Chamomile & Lavender tea. I’d have a look at the properties of these two herbs after I’d indulged myself in the brew.

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Chamomile & Lavender Tea

Properties of Chamomile (9 top Properties)

  1. High Source of Antioxidants
  2. Fights Anxiety and Depression
  3. Improves Digestion
  4. Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory and Pain-Reducing Abilities
  5. Helps Fight Cancer (in particular skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers)
  6. Relieves Congestion
  7. Promotes Skin Health
  8. Keeps Gums and Teeth Healthy
  9. Improves Heart Health

According to Dr Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley in their book, ‘The Metabolic Approach to Cancer‘, state the following regarding Chamomile:

Apigenin, a plant flavonoid found in Parsely’s stems and leaves (as well as in celery and chamomile tea) demonstrates cytotoxic activities)…

…its cytotoxic activity has been found comparable to that of doxorubicin.

Properties of Lavender

  • Antiseptic and Anti-inflammatory
  • Treats Anxiety, Insomnia, depression and Restlessness
  • Helps Digestive Issues
  • Relieves pain
  • Antifungal
  • Useful in wound healing

I’d say that nature was giving me a nice little helping hand there with its hint at making a chamomile and lavender tea! relaxing and calming properties plus anti-cancer properties 🙂

See below for a few sources to support the above, but there are loads more out there if you have a look.

Have a relaxed and chilled-out day, and remember to tell those you love that “You Love Them”

Peace and love
Chris /|\

Sources:

 

My day begins and ends with GRATITUDE and JOY – So Can YOURS

Affirmation of the Day

My day begins and ends with GRATITUDE and JOY – Louise L. Hay

I began my day, albeit a later start than I had planned, with my 10 minutes of meditation followed by a very enjoyable exercise session. I did my usual push-ups and sit-ups but have decided to add some flexibility and relaxation training into my regime. Therefore, I’ve decided to restart Tai Chi again after a 12 year break and have joined a local class teaching the Yang style 37 step form. This is different to my previous Tai Chi form which was the Lee style, but the underlying Taoist principles are the same. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to restart my practice and I’m looking forward to the next lesson on Wednesday. I can’t really define why Tai Chi is such a joy to do, on the surface it just looks like slow elegant moving but I find it so meditative and balancing.

We had a busy day planned and I was grateful for having the two weeks annual leave from work which will allow me to get quite a few jobs done around the house and the allotment, not to mention our trip to Bala and our planned weekend with friends.

The day started with working on the garden and the back yard. Weeks of Sun with no rain has left the ground extremely dry, but the bonus of the good weather is that our two bee hives are doing extremely well. Watching the bees fills my heart with joy, gratitude and appreciation for the hard work they do and the promise of a little honey later in the year fills me with anticipation. There’s nothing to beat the pleasure of tasting the sweet unadulterated raw honey from your own bee hives, but I don’t take too much as I keep bees mainly for the pleasure of watching them and knowing that we are supporting the bio-diversity in the area. Another bonus, for which I can thank the Sunny weather for, is the health of the grape-vine this year, looks like it’s going to be a bountiful year.

Later on it was time for family. Sue and I were meeting Christina with our grand-daughter Scarlett. We met for a drink at Pebbles, a local cafe on the promenade, they are well worth a visit if you’re visiting Tywyn. Here’s a link to their Trip advisor entry.

I am so grateful to be able to spend this time with my family, it fills me with joy and happiness. It’s surprising how the words “you have cancer” can somehow make everything clearer about what’s really important in life. Cancer, like many other life limiting conditions, is terrible but there is a flip side as it can be the stimulus to making you re-evaluate your life’s priorities. I think my diagnosis has sharpened my ‘metaphorical’ vision to be able to see, and appreciate, the joy that can be gained from the simple pleasures, like spending time with family. So I do at least have one thing to be grateful for from my illness. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say LOL.

Later that day I spent 45 minutes listening to the healing cancer hypnosis video I’m currently using. I still can’t believe I manage to lie still for that length of time! I do appreciate the effort, and generosity, of people who produce material like this for free. Please visit their channel and give a thumbs up to help them out. Hypnosis: Deep Trance Cancer Healing

Well that’s a quick outline of my day and the joy and gratitude I feel. I’ll check in again soon.

Have a wonderfully joyous day filled with peace, harmony and gratitude

Checking in with myself

Affirmation for Today

I have a powerful and efficient immune system that continues to heal my body every minute of the day and night.

Hi everyone, I’ve had a couple of days working on my Spiritual blog over at At The Hearth where I’ve been completing Names of God:part 2 of my discussion and exploration of Iolo Morganwg’s Names of God references contained with the Barddas. So I thought I’d better check in and continue my ramblings.

Morning routine

As far as my early morning activities go, following the suggestions in ‘The Miracle Morning’, I did lapse yesterday and had a lie in. I think having just completed my run of 12 hour shifts on the ward I was just too tired and made the fatal mistake of not getting up as soon as I awoke, Hence I fell back to sleep for a couple of hours. I still managed to do my meditations, affirmations, exercises and reading, but later than I intended and with less focus. I did come across a really good video on Youtube, it was a 45 minute hypnosis video related to healing cancer. The video was called Hypnosis: Deep Trance Cancer Healing, I was amazed that I managed the full session without even moving! it was very relaxing and empowering.

Turmeric Drink

I’ve started drinking a really nice drink in the morning, as well as my Matcha green tea, a blend of turmeric, cinnamon, almond milk (home made and sugar free), and coconut milk (homemade and sugar free). It’s based on a traditional Indian drink with my own adjustments. As I’ve said before Turmeric is a wonder spice with masses of healing properties, well researched and validated, see my post about my Anti-Cancer Cauliflower Rice recipe

Method

I heat up a tablespoon of home made organic ghee in a saucepan to which I add 1 tsp of ground dried turmeric and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder. I then make a sieved nut milk using about 7 almond and 2 tbls of dried coconut, using spring water and the nutribullet, I sieve the nut milk. I mix it all together and simmer for a few minutes then pour it into a cup and consume.

Progress with Cancer Treatment

On a less positive note, although I do try to give it a positive spin, I have only just managed to get the MRI referral sent to the Radiology Department after the Registrar failed to complete the form 2 weeks ago! I wasn’t best pleased about this delay, especially after I was told it’s a 6 week waiting list for the MRI. On a positive note, they have promised to back-date the referral 2 weeks so the wait may be nearer 4 weeks. But at least the process has started, at last! (Update – just had a call informing me that the MRI is booked for 24th July which is 2 weeks away, so that’s better news).

Looking at the NHS Referral to Treatment (RTT) targets for Wales I note that their target for Cancer is 62 days from referral to initial treatment of the cancer. As my referral was sent 5th of May it’s clear that Wrexham Maelor Hospital are missing their target by a mile! it’s a good job I’m aware of the need to chase up referrals etc otherwise the request for the MRI would still be sitting around somewhere unsent!

Gratitude

  • A wonderful family who are supporting me to the hilt. I thank you all
  • Had a lovely visit from my Mother-in-Law yesterday, it was good to see her. Plus she bought me a couple of bars of 100% Chocolate by Montezuma, Yummy and full of great Polyphenols and Anti-oxidants, see this Critical Review
  • The roofer has arrived on time as promised, so the roof repair will be done today, before the rains start LOL
  • The morning greetings from the two dogs, Seren and Bella

     

I have a load of stuff to do today, so will leave it there, so have a wonderful and joyous day today.

Blessings
Chris /|\

 

70 years of the National Health Service plus my anticancer cauliflower rice

Sun flowers

When I got home from work last night I saw a beautiful vase of Sunflowers that my daughter Rebekah had bought for Sue. I couldn’t resist taking a photograph to share on the blog. I think they are one of my favourite flowers at this time of year, a celebration of the Summer Solstice, the Sun personified.

As I wasn’t working today I had a more relaxed start to the day, I still got up at 5am but once I’d completed my physical exercises, meditation, hot and cold shower etc. I decided to go back to bed to do a bit of reading. The day was looking promising with the Sun shining brightly. I was glad that the day looked like it would be another dry warm day as the local hospital, where I work, was having a ‘Tea and Three’ party to celebrate the 70 year anniversary of the NHS and I expected a good turn out due to the promise of nice weather. As it turned out the ward was packed with visitors enjoying a cuppa and a slice of cake, they were also fascinated perusing the ancient medical tools on display that had been found lurking in the bowels of the hospital! all I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t around in those times! Ouch…

Evening Meal: Immunity Supporting Recipe

As a change I thought I’d share part of the meal I prepared for this evening. I was looking to make my evening meal a Cancer fighting menu, in celebration of completing my 60 hour fast for Autophagy, if your interested in this fascinating process, in particular its use in cancer prevention and adjunctive therapy, the link to Wikipedia is a good place to start, followed by a general search engine to explore the research. I’ve chosen the following recipe as it was an experiment to add a new angle to the usual cauliflower rice that we usually eat.

Egg Fried Cauliflower Rice (serves 2)
  • 200g grated cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 eggs

I decided on an egg fried cauliflower rice flavoured with turmeric, cumin and coriander cooked in a little home-made organic ghee. There’s loads of research and evidence that demonstrates the anticancer properties of cruciferous vegetables and cauliflower is one of the most versatile members of this family of vegetables. Turmeric contains curcumin which has been shown to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in tumour cells and is also anti-angiogenisis (prevents new blood vessels from being grown by tumour cells). Cumin boosts the immune system and has antioxidant vitamins which help prevent oxidative stress that can lead to cancer. Coriander is anti-oxidant thus helping to protect against cancer. The eggs are a healthy source of essential amino acids and healthy fats.

I cooked the spices in the ghee for a minute or two before adding the beaten eggs. I allowed the eggs to cook for a while before breaking them up so that they held together in chunks. I then added the cauliflower and stir fried for a few minutes until cooked. I topped it off with a little soy sauce for a healthy source of salt and fermented soy.

Nutrition

  • Protein 11g
  • Net Carbs 3.8g
  • Fat 14.1g
  • Calories (I don’t count them but I’ve included for your benefit) 197 Calories

I had this with an organic grass-fed beef stir fry and a kale stir fry with ginger and Bok choy. It was delicious 🙂

Followed by a hot cup of Match Green tea – well worth researching for its health benefits, not mention it tastes rather nice.

Matcha tea

But don’t just take my word for it, do your own research. I’ve provided a few basic links but a simple search will lead you to lots of sites, many with links to published research on these topics.

Be well 🙂

My day ahead

Daily Affirmation

I am at home in my body

What does it mean to be at home in my body?

I think I’ll start with the meaning of home. Is home a place or a state of being? For me home is more than just a place that I lay my hat, it is more of a ‘feeling’ of being at home, a sense of peace, security and safety. Obviously, for me, this means that I have the opportunity to be at home no matter where I am. Although it doesn’t guarantee that I will always appreciate this! I also think that the sense of being at home, no matter where you are, is also influenced by your connection to those around you and how open you are to the beauty that resides in people, it doesn’t matter whether they are in a state of joy or suffering most people just want to feel a sense of belonging and to feel valued.

So, my task for today is to really feel at home in my body today. If you have been following my blog you are aware that I currently have a health issue, my body is throwing a bit of a spanner into the works! Therefore, can I manage to feel at home in my body when my body is clearly having a relationship issue with me. Deep down my body longs to be healthy, fit and supportive of my life goals so I need to look at my relationship with my body and try to ascertain what my body is trying to tell me. I need to open up a dialogue with myself and see what my body is trying to achieve with this current health issue. I’ll report back later today with any thoughts that arise during the day.

After Work

Well that was quite a busy shift! but I am happy that my body has cooperated with me with regard to the fast. Day two and I have hardly thought of food or had any hint of hunger. I’ve also been researching a bit more about autophagy, and based on what I can find out I think that I’ll be ok to break my fast tomorrow as I should have maximised the autophagy by then. So I’ve been kind to my body and give it a rest from having to deal with food, and in the process have given my immune system the chance to reset itself with new macrophages etc. I considered how I feel about my body and its decision to produce cancer and I’ve come to the conclusion that I hold no animosity to it, in fact I feel a little guilty that I’ve put my body into the position of producing cancer in order to get my attention! whether that’s through poor dietary habits, lack of exercise or exposing it to noxious chemicals. It wasn’t my body that chose those actions but it was my mind. So I’ve decided to be gentle with myself and my body, and moving on with a positive outlook to maximise my potential to self heal, So dealing with the stresses of my life is a major activity, increasing my levels of exercise is another, improved diet is paramount. But above all else I need to focus on being appreciative of everything in my life. At this point in time I do ‘feel at home in my body’

Gratitude

What am I grateful for today?

  • Being alive
  • Being in paid work in a job that helps to bring healing to others, thereby healing to myself
  • Supportive work colleagues
  • The support of my family (can’t be said enough!)
  • The connection I have to nature (the, almost gibbous, Moon was like a grinning mouth in the sky this morning which did bring a smile to my face)
  • The knowledge that generous people pass on via various internet sites, without a single request for payment, there’s a vast amount of information out there to help with any issue.

Back to work

Affirmation of the Day

I choose to be Happy

First day back to work after an extended weekend. Getting myself into the right mindset for the day ahead involves quite a routine, I suppose it could be called a ritual of sorts. I have been inspired by a well-known little book by Elrod Hal called ‘Miracle Morning’ (available online to buy) the following is a little taster of my morning ritual today.

  • 10 minutes meditation – using my own Awen meditation technique
  • 10 minutes exercise – push-ups 80, sit-ups 50, Lymphatic stimulation
  • 10 minutes hot shower followed by a cold shower to stimulate the immune system
  • 10 minutes reading a positive book – Miracle Morning
  • 10 minutes writing my blog
  • 10 minutes to make and drink my Matcha Green Tea in a meditative state

Following my morning routine I am ready to take on the World!

Morning Blessings

  • Another beautiful sunny morning greeted me upon awaking. I awoke before the alarm and was able to gently come round before the gentle buzz of the alarm instructed me to get up.
  • A nice greeting from the dogs when I finally got down stairs
  • A refreshing Matcha tea – I can almost feel the antioxidants and polyphenols at work
  • A lovely kiss off my wife
  • The walk to walk with the sounds of the birds surrounding me
  • Lovely greetings from my work colleagues

Breaking the News

Informing every one of my biopsy results went ok, I don’t think it’ll hit me until I have had the MRI and know if its spread or not. Hopefully I’ll remain as stoic as usual and concentrate on doing what I need to strengthen my immune system. I’ve had great support off everyone at work so far and I’m managing to function reasonably well.

Fasting

Day one of my 48 hour autophagy fast has gone off without a hitch. I’m not yet back into ketosis following my cheat day yesterday, but getting there. No major hunger sensations and energy levels ok. Having a plentiful supply of water with added electrolytes has helped. I think the first 24 hours was fairly easy so lets see what the next 24 has in store!

I’m ready for a good nights sleep in preparation for another day at work, so signing off now.