I Am Spirit

The Hodge 301 Cluster in the Tarantula Nebula Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STSci/NASA) The Hodge 301 Cluster in the Tarantula Nebula Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STSci/NASA)[/caption

I Am Spirit.
I have existed before time began
And I will exist after the end of time.

I am you and you are me.
I am a victim of doubt, skepticism, and ignorance.
I am present in bodies with minds that do not recognize me.

I give you life—yet, you do not truly live.
I am love—yet, you do not share me widely.

I am compassion—yet, you hide my light deep inside.
I am generous—yet, you do not give to those who are needy.

I give you knowledge, but you refuse to believe.
I show you the Path, but you turn away and choose another.
I provide good counsel, but you do not listen.

I Am Spirit.
I am you, and you are me.
One day you will awaken to me
And our glorious light will shine upon all the world!

Copyright 2014 by Blair Atherton

As with other spiritual verses I have published on this blog and elsewhere, I was compelled to sit in front of the computer and wait for the words to start flowing. The message here is clear: we must understand and believe that we exist as spirit, and not neglect or be afraid to express our divine qualities.

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Nature’s Nurture Unleashed

Rainbow Chard Credit: http://sweetwater-organic.org/

Rainbow Chard Credit: http://sweetwater-organic.org/

Those of you who consistently follow this blog know that I am vegetarian. I will not recap here my reasons for becoming a vegetarian. What I would like to do is share with you a recipe that gave me an easy entry into getting my daily fruit and vegetables and eventually becoming a vegetarian.

The recipe below is for my green smoothie—so-called not so much for its color as for some of its ingredients. In fact, it starts out purple and after 15-30 minutes reverts to green.

Until I started having the smoothie every morning, I rarely ate vegetables or fruit in any quantity or with any regularity. Although odd to say for a vegetarian, I really don’t like vegetables, and have historically concentrated on the “meat and potatoes” of my evening meal up until my conversion.

Even though you may have no desire to become vegetarian, this smoothie is a very healthful whole food that allows you to get a big portion of your daily fruits and vegetables in one great tasting shot. This drink is (and must be) prepared in a high powered blender such as a Vitamix. There are a number of reasons for this. High power and high RPMs are needed not only to blast through frozen fruit (which will destroy a conventional blender), but also to break open the plant cells of the fruit and vegetables, release the contents of the cells, and reduce their components to subcellular and micron-sized particles.

Releasing the internal components of the cells gives our digestive system access to them. Chewing intact vegetables, whether cooked or uncooked, is very inefficient. Much of the nutrients they contain is not accessible, because we are unable to digest the plant’s cellulose cell walls. Heating helps but may inactivate important components. Using live, raw fruits and vegetables assures that all of the nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants are preserved and not modified or inactivated by cooking.

I do not have data, but if I had to guess, I would say that chewing cooked or uncooked vegetables might release at best 20-30 percent of the nutrients, while high speed blending might release on the order of 90 percent. An implication of this is that the amount of nutrients derived from a relatively small amount of high speed-blended raw vegetables is comparable to a relatively large amount of intact vegetables. That is, you would have to eat three to four times more unblended vegetables to get the same amount of nutrients, antioxidants, etc. that are obtained from a given amount of high speed blended vegetables. That’s good for someone like me who doesn’t like vegetables to begin with.

Organic vegetables and fruit should be used to avoid or minimize herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer residues found on conventionally grown crops. Conventional crops should be vigorously washed with a veggie wash detergent before use. Another benefit of using organic fruits and vegetables is that genetically modified plants are avoided.

For purposes of flavor and stability of the nutrients released from the cells, the smoothie must be ice-cold. This is most easily accomplished by using frozen fruit in the recipe. Otherwise, you will need to substitute one cup of ice for the water.

You may read other opinions, but I strongly recommend that the smoothie be consumed within 30 minutes. The shift in color of the smoothie from purple to green suggests that some oxidation is occurring. Once released from the cell, some of the components may be labile and lose potency with storage, even in the refrigerator.

Generally, the recipe below yields approximately a quart. I drink the whole thing, but you may choose to share it with another person. Some small high speed blenders are now available that make much smaller portions. However, I am not sure that the small volume produced will provide adequate daily amounts of nutrients and fiber.

Of course you are free to experiment with the ingredients, but I recommend that you start with my recipe first because I know it tastes good. Not all combinations of vegetables are pleasing to the taste, and not all are packed with nutrients like those below. If you want to try others, then change only one vegetable at a time in the recipe.

The Green Smoothie*

*My recipe is based on one originally developed more than five years ago by the Green Smoothie Girl as a healthy drink for her family. She has now established an online business selling a line of health products.

Blending times are for the Vitamix set to the highest speed.

PHASE 1

2/3 cup filtered or spring water
1/8 lemon (skin, pulp, and seeds included) thoroughly washed before cutting

Add the vegetables below in roughly equal amounts. Enough to loosely fill the blender jar. Tear the leaves into pieces as you might do for a salad. Depending on the size of the leaves, 1-2 leaves of each should be enough. All veggies should be organic.

Chard
Collard Greens
Kale (any variety or mix: green, red, black)
Curly or Italian parsley

Protein powder (equivalent to 20 grams of protein)
One banana, peeled

(optional) 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds for extra fiber and omega 3.

Blend on high speed for approximately 45 seconds.

PHASE 2

Add the following to a one cup Pyrex measuring cup:

2/3 cup frozen organic blueberries
Then fill the remainder of the measuring cup with frozen mixed fruit.

Add the fruit to the jar with blended veggies and blend on high speed for 60 seconds. The consistency will be like a thick shake.

(optional) add your daily omega-3 supplement. I use the plant-based Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil Blend. It has the ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6.

Note: Do not blend longer than the times indicated, because longer time will cause heating of the mixture which may reduce potency.

Consume within 30 minutes.

Considerations for Choosing Other Varieties of Vegetables

While dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard are staples for the smoothie, another goal is to introduce a variety of colors into the mix. This is desirable because the different colors reflect a wider array of antioxidants. Some antioxidants are more powerful than others and some plants provide better carriers for vitamins and other nutrients than others. Using a variety of fruits introduces color as well as vegetables like red, yellow, or rainbow chard and red kale.

It would be wise to look up the nutritional values of vegetables you are considering as additions or substitutes to the recipe. For example, the various types of lettuce offer much less than other choices. Beware of strong-tasting vegetables like mustard greens as these will dominate the taste. Bok choy, spinach, dandelion, and carrots are good variants to use periodically.

The Spiritual Mind

The Spiritual Mind Copyright by  Blair Atherton 2014

The Spiritual Mind Copyright by Blair Atherton 2014

I believe that the mind has two aspects or qualities: spiritual and intellectual. We are all familiar with the intellectual mind. It is responsible for processes like reasoning, judgment, analysis, calculation, ego, desire, and other mundane faculties. I envision the spiritual mind engaging in activities such as creativity, intuition, and psychic abilities.

The two aspects of mind likely operate on different planes of consciousness. The intellectual mind (IM) focuses on the physical world, while the spiritual mind (SM) searches for meaning, and communion with God.

Worldly knowledge is acquired by the IM through study and investigation of measurable quantities. Spiritual knowledge can be obtained to some extent by study also. However, oftentimes, the most profound spiritual knowledge comes to us without active searching or any effort on our part except having an open mind and a desire to come closer to God.

Sometimes spiritual knowledge defies logic and ordinary understanding. It can come to us with an inexplicable certainty in its truth, while at the same time we do not how we know it or from where the knowledge came to us.

The two minds look at the world and existence quite differently. The IM primarily sees the here and now, while the SM senses there is much more to existence. Dominance by the IM may lead one to deny or overlook their spiritual nature. It may also lead one to question the existence of God or a Creator, as the IM favors (perhaps requires) measurement and proof over intuition and faith.

In contrast, the SM cares little about the material aspects of existence favoring instead expression of itself through inspiration, creativity, psychic connection, and emotions such as love and compassion.

How do the two aspects of mind reconcile with one another? The IM is essential in order for us to function in the material world. The SM brings meaning to the activities of the IM. The spiritual qualities of mentality moderate and guide the IM toward applications of its faculties that will be spiritually fulfilling and serve the greater good. I believe that a key element of our spiritual progression and evolution is for the SM to achieve dominance over the IM.

The Law of Service

The material world presents us with many challenges, not the least of which is maintaining awareness of our spiritual divinity and seeing opportunities for its expression. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of work and family.

Although these things and more can provide fertile ground for learning, many of us may not realize that God has certain expectations of us—laws to govern and guide life in the material world and when we return to the world of spirit. An extremely important one is the Law of Service. It is through actuation of this law in our lives that we express our spirit and evolve. I believe it to be a requirement for progression to higher spiritual planes.

How many people do you know who engage regularly in some form of service to others? In this day and age, it seems like many of us are too engrossed in our personal lives and the quest for fame, fortune, love, or whatever else to even think about helping others. As a consequence, we miss out on one of the most rewarding things in life—helping others through service.

The Law of Service is inherent in the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus said this commandment of brotherly love is second only to “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” In fact, if you believe that each of us is a part of God, then to love others is to love God and vice versa. Consequently, it could be said that the two commandments are simply different expressions of the same spiritual law.

We have a spiritual kinship with all of humanity. Therefore, people locally and around the world are our neighbors. We are expected to love them all, and in so doing, to provide service and help to anyone who needs it. Unselfish service to others is the single most important thing we can do to change the world.