A chapter excerpt from Entering the Mind, the new book from C von Hassett which speaks to an ageless way of resting the mind in meditation to both recognize and stabilize in its already Awakened state. Yet to do this successfully, we must first cleanse the body of its myriad mind-fogging toxins taken in through food. The chapter below, “Eclipse and Revelation,” argues in favor of a diet free from industrial pesticides, which only then will allow us to see our own naturally occurring mind within — or what the great Tibetan Masters speak of as Mind in its Natural State.
Entering the Mind
by C von Hassett
Waterside Productions, 173pp., $12.95
Eclipse and Revelation
Before entering mind or having any opportunity to recognize its essence, we must first have a body that allows us to freely enter the natural state without awareness itself being impeded by the toxins we take in. The in-flight airplane metaphor is apt: when masks drop in a moment of alert, put yours on first before taking care of others. We must take care of our body first before there is even a chance to remedy the confusion of our own mind. If the body is sick, being poisoned each day by pollutants in our environment, then awareness, too, is hampered by these same toxins. Mind follows body, and when the mind is riddled – be it by thoughts or by the actual poisons absorbed into our flesh – it cannot recognize itself, let alone come to the experiential realization that wisdom-being arrives only from within.
Toxins in our environment are now everywhere around us, yet more critically they are in every meal we ingest, in each vegetable, fruit and packaged snack, and they likewise trace through most of what we drink. What’s being sold to us as food in markets and eateries around the world today can be seen as nothing other than a toxin, a pernicious contaminant, an unmitigated poison for the body. This is a point of fact. Agri-giants call these poisons pesticides and herbicides, and they claim that a pesticide used in the field has no harmful effects on the human body. This is an outright falsehood. Make no mistake about it: the poisons that kill both pests and plants in the field do not remain in those fields. The surviving crop, now saturated to its very fiber with the contaminants it’s been sprayed with, gets harvested, shipped to market, and once consumed the remnant pesticide gets absorbed directly into the body, wherein bite by bite, meal by meal, year after year, our bodies begin to malfunction, break down, become diseased and move by incremental degrees toward an eventual death.
The advance in years of physiological degeneration has a direct effect on the state of our minds, making it difficult to focus, formulate thought, form healthy intentions and habits, let alone productively function on a day-to-day basis. As it pertains to the transformative practice of realizing the essence of innate mind: if our brains are in an interminable fog, then what are the chances of looking through that fog to see mind’s inherent nature? They are not good. It is best, then, if you are seeking to elevate your heart and mind, to make it your sole focus to return well-being into the body, to bring it back into a state of optimal health. Only in doing this will you be able to achieve your higher purpose, whatever that purpose may be.
If your aim is to recognize your own wisdom mind, then you must cleanse yourself of the poisons you take in through diet. The most important change you can make in doing this is to eat and drink exclusively organic foods, preferably locally farmed or home grown. And while organic isn’t perfect, it is good enough to save your life and is far superior to the industrial feed which currently is our only grocer alternative.
The handful of conglomerates now producing the world’s foods control virtually the entire system of production as well, from seed to supermarket shelves. These goliath companies are earth-altering entities unto themselves, all powerful and all controlling, world dominant and dominating beyond what’s good for the earth or wholesome for her inhabitants. As hulking giants in industries managing the global production of what we eat, they remain heedless to the noisome peripherals of their trade, their partners, the markets they control or the soils they exploit. They care little, for instance, about the lives of the farmers they do business with, and they care even less about the health and wellbeing of those they are claiming to feed. They similarly have little regard and shirk all responsibility for the land they mindlessly strip, the soils they ravage and the waters they poison beyond any compunction. In other words, wherever these companies stake both their logos and their claim, the surrounding terrain is put on fast track toward total ruin.
For each of these companies, the purpose behind their enormous profits is to produce or deliver ‘product,’ and their single-minded objective is to get that product to market as swiftly, cheaply, and systematically as possible. Not one of these companies see their product for what it should actually be – food – for if they did, their methods of production would come quickly into alignment with the basic demands of both the earth and the human body, and what that body fundamentally needs to both survive and thrive.
Instead, what arrives on our supermarket shelves not only directly counters our thriving, it is now imperiling our very ability to survive, and I’m not just speaking about us as individuals but us as a collective humanity. All evidence is pointing toward the collapse of our kind, as well as every other living species on the planet, and this collapse is imminent – in a matter of decades. A key cause for this collapse is the methods of production of our food, which on its own is killing much of what lives on the planet, including its soils, its water systems, the diversity of plants and the kingdom of animals once nourished by the land. All the while, the quality of the food arriving in our markets is literally laying waste to the human body. And so a collapse is at hand.
But I misspeak in calling this product ‘food,’ since the vast majority of comestibles in our markets today cannot by any standard be considered food, or at least what our relatives and ancestors only a few decades ago might have called food. ‘Industrial feed’ might be the better term, for the food-like product we now find in markets around the world has long strayed, nutritionally speaking, from the template of the original. I’ll altogether bypass the discussion of processed food, since it is universally agreed that these shelf products belie the very category of food, being they are more concoctions of chemistries for the slavering palate, requisite in calories and little else. I’ll likewise judiciously avoid any discussion of the wholesale atrocities and veritable horrors seen as general practices in meat industries across the planet. Yes, we can agree that meat products are food in the traditional sense, but the manner in which the bloodless apparatus churns out this living product, good conscience alone should have you avoiding any intake of this chemical-infused, hormone-fattened, cancer-ridden, fear-saturated substance that is so wholesomely sold to us as “fresh, farm-raised meat for your family’s healthful consumption.”
Rather, I’ll speak only to what can generally be agreed upon as being ‘real’ food in today’s market: that of the humble plant. Who could deny that kale or broccoli, a carrot or green bean, a tomato or sweet, crispy apple is not food? By all appearances they most certainly are. Indeed, these products have never been prettier or more pristine looking than they show themselves to be in our markets today. They truly are a wonder, immaculate simulations of what their historical kin once looked like in the wild. Yet leave it to the agri-giants to turn the once beloved plant into an alien other. A head of kale, for instance, certainly looks like kale, a green bean looks like a green bean, but what you are ingesting is entirely something else, and far more harmful to your health.
Turning a hard gaze on but one of the corporate giants, who for years held heavy sway over vast swaths of agribusiness – the long-maligned, now slumbered Monsanto – we can begin to get our heads around the sheer breadth of planetary carnage resulting from just one of their products, glyphosate, which is literally bringing the full spectrum of living systems on Earth to the brink of total collapse. Glyphosate, once known in a slightly different formulation as Agent Orange, and currently marketed to consumers under the name Roundup®, is perhaps the greatest threat not just to humanity but to all life on this earth, bar none.
Glyphosate is both herbicide and antibiotic, and it is being dumped into the soils and water systems across the globe at a rate of about 4.5 billion pounds per year. The substance is water soluble, so once sprayed on crops it floods off our fields into nearby streams, lakes and river systems across the land, poisoning the waters and killing most of its plant-life as it washes perilously downward toward our oceans, which themselves have become dead zones in the unabating runoff.
Not only is glyphosate approved by governments around the world – with the United States taking the lead in sanctioning and subsidizing the ruinous practice – its use on American farms was, prior to the company being purchased by Bayer, unconditionally mandated by Monsanto, who then sold these same farmers the genetically modified seeds which could survive the herbicide’s ravaging effects. But not just the soils are ravaged by glyphosate, and not just non-genetically modified plants: the human body, as well, is slowly laid to ruin by this deadly poison.
There are 20+ amino acids needed to build protein and thus maintain a healthy human body. Nine of those amino acids cannot be made by the body, so they must be taken-in through food. These nine aminos are known as ‘essential,’ and they are produced in our environment by bacteria, fungi, and plants. Certain plants have become staple crops – corn, wheat, soybeans, are all staples. Farmers, at the none-too-subtle directive of the chemical giants who sell them the seed, the spray, the equipment used to harvest, are ‘encouraged’ to plant only one crop in their fields, and this becomes their staple crop. All other plants in the field, now perceived as being weeds, must be eradicated. Glyphosate is sprayed on the fields to do just that. The chemical would surely kill the crop as well were it not for the genetically engineered seeds these same chemical giants produce to survive their own pesticides. So now all but the seeding crop dies in the field, or that’s ideally how it’s supposed to work.
But more than killing all naturally occurring, non-genetically engineered plant life on top of the soil, glyphosate also kills the bacteria and fungi beneath the soils, along with the parasites and other micro-organisms that together make our soils rich and sustainable for growth of any kind to occur at the surface. This truly magnificent ecosystem living beneath the soil also creates an essential communication network for all life within and above the soil to tap into, and all life connected to those soils use that network for a balanced and thriving existence throughout.
Glyphosate shuts down that entire network by effectively sterilizing the soil, which is another way of saying it kills virtually everything alive beneath the soil’s surface. This is all considered collateral damage, of course – not the intended effect – since its primary targets are the plants above the soil, and it is an assassin of the highest order in getting that job done. The herbicide, however, kills pretty much all organic matter existing both above and below the topsoil.
Glyphosate kills by targeting the shikimate pathway in plants, bacteria and fungi. The shikimate pathway allows these organisms to synthesize the very compounds they need for survival. Key amongst those compounds are three of the nine amino acids our bodies need to build protein: tryptophan, which makes serotonin in our bodies, phenylalanine and tyrosine, which produce dopamine. Naturally occurring glycine, which is one of the nine essential amino acids and is also the backbone of glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine), is appropriated and essentially replaced in the body by the lab-concocted, non-coding, non-deployable version found in glyphosate. As a result, the body can no longer functionally utilize that amino acid as well, so now there are four out of nine essential amino acids either removed or rendered non-functional in our bodies with the ingestion of just one chemical used in our farming practices. There are many dozens, if not hundreds of these kinds of chemicals sprayed on farmlands throughout the world, each and every one of them meant to kill something, and all of them will have adverse effects on both our bodies and our minds. In this discussion, however, we will keep our focus only on the one chemical, glyphosate, to see the radical and utterly catastrophic effects this one substance has on the human body.
To survive glyphosate a plant must be genetically modified, hence the acronym GMO, for Genetically Modified Organism. A seed is modified in the lab to essentially bypass any dependency on the compounds traditionally synthesized in the shikimate pathway, and so no longer does the plant need, nor will it contain, three of the essential amino acids our bodies require. With one chemical, and with one genetic modification intended to subvert nature’s propensity for diversity, we lose a critical one-third of the essential amino acids our brains need to remain functional. So while the plant, say a head of broccoli, most certainly looks like the broccoli nature intended it to be – its appearance puts forward the impression that it is healthy for us – it is now devoid of the very essentials we’d expect it to have and are looking to take in when eating it. It still offers the fiber, but what’s needed for the brain to properly function is no longer there, for it was genetically excised from the seed.
Think of those nine amino acids as vowels. If you remove one vowel from the language you still have a functioning language, albeit notably hobbled. Remove nearly half of all vowels and a language will assuredly collapse. It will become nonfunctional, and the resultant expression will be gibberish. This is what happens to the chemical balance of our brains when taking in a totality of foods engineered to withstand glyphosate. The brain begins to malfunction, and we sense an ominous wintering of the mind, an erasure of mental clarity that is euphemistically referred to as ‘brain fog.’ This is the front end of the glyphosate cycle, or what we might equate to the topsoil effect.
Glyphosate arrives in the body with each non-organically produced vegetable we buy and ingest, and once consumed the herbicide disrupts the body’s myriad complex systems much as it disrupts the enzyme pathways in all non-genetically modified organisms it comes in contact with in the soil – before actually killing those otherwise healthy organisms where they lay.
So how does glyphosate impair us as individuals and imperil us collectively as a species? When glyphosate enters the body through food and drink, it immediately begins to kill-off the body’s microbiome, which is equatively the same microbiome found in the earth’s soils. Soils, if you recall, are teeming with fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites, and it is this vast living network that allows for the plant kingdom above the soils to thrive. Our bodies are similarly teeming with fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites, all working together in natural alliance to help regulate the human organism so that all systems function normally. When the soils of our body begin to fail, the organism on the whole begins to fail.
The human body contains roughly 100 trillion cells. Living in magnificent harmony with those 100 trillion cells are the ‘non-human’ organisms native to the body’s diverse microbiome. There is something like two quadrillion bacteria living in the healthy human body, of which there are roughly 30 to 40 thousand species of bacteria alone. There are an estimated 300,000 different species of parasites living in the body, the majority of which help regulate healthy cell function. There are a million species of fungi living in a healthy microbiome, a number that might seem slight when compared to the estimated 380 trillion viruses teeming throughout the body. That number, again, is a mere pittance in comparison to the actual number of viruses in existence on the planet, which is a jaw-dropping 10 to the 31 in number – that’s 10 with 31 zeros after it, or ten nonillion – a number, by the way, that is greater than the number of stars in the vast sweep of our universe. These are the organisms and genetic material that make up a healthy human microbiome.
The function of the microbiome is to help regulate the entire ecosystem of our body. It not only keeps us healthy, it keeps us alive. We spoke of 100 trillion cells in the human body. In each and every one of those cells there are an estimated 36 billion chemical changes taking place every second. Multiply those 36 billion changes by 100 trillion cells and, well, you have a grand symphony of change taking place in the body every second you are alive. It is the function of the microbiome to help all those incredibly numerous changes happen normally, efficiently, and in perpetuity for the entire course of our life on this planet. To that end, for most of humanity’s time here on Earth, the microbiome has done a remarkable job of evolving with the very planet it is in existence with, keeping our bodies one-to-one with an ever-changing environment that, were it not for the microbiome, we as a species would have died off a long time ago.
Then comes glyphosate. Glyphosate attacks the microbiome immediately upon entry, and in the short run it wholly compromises it before it ultimately exterminates it. With the intake of glyphosate through our foods, the herbicide does within us exactly what it does to lifeforms and ecosystems without: it kills fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Its stated purpose is to kill exclusively insects and plants, but the knowing consequence of this usage by all who promote it and deploy it in the field is the wholesale ruin of our soils and the outright destruction of all life within those soils. Also known by all who promote it and those who deploy it in the fields is that glyphosate once sprayed in the fields does not remain in those fields. From topsoil to subsoil and into the water and weather systems now circling the globe, glyphosate is wholly amongst us. It is in the water we drink and the air we breathe, and were we to stop using this one chemical today it would still take another half-century for it to notably diminish from the environment.
Glyphosate was first officially approved for use on crops in the United States in 1992, when it was initially sprayed on wheat crops. What swiftly followed, a historical anomaly, was a sudden spike in wheat allergies and an alarming, equally sudden intolerance of gluten appearing throughout the US around this time. This raised no red flags with the US regulating agencies whose job it was to protect an unwitting populous. They should have, per their mission, put an immediate end to the spraying of glyphosate on all US crops. Instead, by 1996 the greenlight was officially given to spray the lethal herbicide on all staple crops. What ensued can now be viewed as an outright humanitarian disaster.
In the decades prior to the 1990s, statistics showed a very stable rate of autism in children across the United States. Autism is a brain injury that takes place in children typically between 18 months and two years of age. Autism rates in the US pre-1990s were steady at roughly 1 in 5000 children, and that ratio had remained relatively unchanged for many decades prior. Throughout the 1990s, however, the rate began to swiftly tick upwards. Today, the rate of autism in this same age group is 1 in 40 children, where it continues to steadily rise. From 1 in 5000 to 1 in 40 in a mere 30 years!
At the other end of the generation timeline we are witnessing similarly proliferating rates of Parkinson’s in elderly men and Alzheimer’s in elderly women. Sleep and depression disorders are now rampant throughout the population, far beyond what was seen before the turn of this century. Whereas 1 in 100 individuals experienced depression at the turn of the 20th century, the calculus is now 1 in 2 individuals suffering from some form of depression. 1 in 10 children are now diagnosed with having attention deficit disorder (ADD), and 1 in 7 of those children are now medicated for the syndrome. 1 in 4 children, or 25%, now have asthma, a percentage that is well up from the 4% of children having asthma prior to the widespread use of glyphosate. The same ratio, 1 in 4, is the new rate of occurrence for children with food allergies, and food allergies throughout the population has risen dramatically in recent decades.
Cancer rates have exploded since the introduction of glyphosate into our food systems, and cancers that were once exclusively found in the elderly are now becoming all-too common in children – bone marrow cancers and brain tumors in particular. Since the introduction of glyphosate, and a direct result of its usage, we now have a region in the US called Cancer Alley. Located in the last 90 miles of the Mississippi River, this area of the Midwest is where glyphosate pours off surrounding farmlands into the mighty river and its incoming tributaries. Those last 90 miles, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, now has the highest rate of cancer in the entire developed world, a rate that is 50 times higher than the national average.
American men have seen a 50% decline in their sperm count in the last two decades alone, while 1 in 3 men now have a sperm count so low that they will not be able to have children.
Chronic fatigue comes as the direct result of our intake of pesticides through food. If you are feeling endlessly tired, endlessly without the energy you need to get through the day, it is likely you are suffering from the debilitating effects of glyphosate – which even if your food is being sprayed with a pesticide using a different name, the key ingredient will likely be glyphosate. Fatigue in the chronic sense is symptomatic, a signifier of something dangerously wrong in the overall functioning of your body, and it is telling you the time is now to make an immediate change. That change can only be the full removal of all foods sprayed with pesticides.
I’ll speak briefly to personal experience on this, since I too went through a prolonged period, several years, of experiencing the kind of exhaustion that felt alien to my body, as if a foreign entity had stolen in and taken over. Little did I know how true that was. The feeling was insidious and was present without relent. At the time I wasn’t buying organic, but I was mostly vegetarian and fully believed my diet was excellent. Nevertheless, I felt the interminable malaise of fatigue that was mixed in with occasional days of feeling not just tired, but sickly. I couldn’t get my head around it, and the more careful and selective I became with the food I was putting into my body – doing everything in my power to regain energy, to clear away the mental haze – the symptoms remained maddeningly constant.
At some point through research I came across the glyphosate connection, and shortly after I decided to experiment with buying exclusively organic. Those first few weeks I put nothing in my body that wasn’t organic. Every vegetable was organic, dairy was organic, even coffee went organic. Within a week I felt my body begin to change, as if it were recombining – a strange word to use, I know, but it turns out the sensation was appropriate to what was actually happening internally. Things were literally coming back together on the inside. I was still tired those first few weeks, but it was a different kind of tiredness, a cleaner one. Within a month, and for the first time in several years, I began to feel good again. My head had cleared. My body felt clean and intact. It turns out glyphosate causes the inner landscape of the body to come undone in the actual sense. You hear phrases like ‘leaky gut.’ This is literal. The tight junctions that line the entire gut begin to break apart and seepage occurs. The blood-brain barrier breaks down, and toxins from the body begin to infiltrate the brain. This leads to brain fog and other mental and emotional conditions. Organs lose their capacity to cleanse, to flush the body clean, and so toxins build within the body and all subtle maladies move toward the chronic.
We cannot talk about finding our higher selves, or recognizing the nature of our innate minds, when the body itself is hemorrhaging from within. With the intake of glyphosate through nearly every non-organic food and drink, the body finds itself falling more and more sickly, and little by little the escalating signs of system failure come into full reveal. Mind follows body, so if the body is healthy then mind has the ability to elevate, to awaken into its natural state. It cannot do this if the body is being poisoned with every meal, with each daily snack, with the sip of our every drink.
The takeaway here is to put your hard-earned cash toward the more conscious and noble cause of not only healing your own good self but the planet as well. This means buying exclusively organic. Buy organic and you’ll be supporting farmers who choose, at great risk to their livelihoods, to defy the corporate establishment now controlling all aspects of agribusiness. Buy only organic and your dollars go toward healing the planet, in that the planet is similarly suffering as a direct result of our use of injurious chemicals.
Your body is the soil within which your thinking mind is rooted. If that soil is poisoned, laid barren, then the mind cannot find its way to the light. If your goal is to enlighten, to realize the magnificence of your own natural state, then it is essential that you nurture, like a mother would her child, the very body that supports the mind you aim to uplift.
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 Monsanto has since been acquired by Bayer, who promptly discontinued the Monsanto name but still manages its array of products, which are now a part of Bayer’s ‘healthy portfolio.’
Featured Image: Seasonal farm workers being sprayed with DDT by US Department of Agriculture personnel, 1956. Photograph by Leonard Nadel. Courtesy Leonard Nadel Photographs and Scrapbooks, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.