Flesh-Eating Metaphysically Considered - Unity, September 1902
[ Republished by request. ]
Thus Melzer took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. — Dan. 1:16, 17.
"All is mind; there is no reality in matter," is the premise upon which every metaphysician rests his doctrine.
The first question of the neophyte is, "What is mind, and in what department of it do you locate that which we call matter? "
These are legitimate questions, and should be answered without resorting to the usual sweeping denial of matter, without even a guess as to why it seems to be.
Webster defines mind as that which "conceives, judges and reasons. The entire spiritual nature — the soul" This definition is full enough to satisfy the most transcendent archangel, because the "entire spiritual nature" is all-inclusive.
Jesus Christ said, "God is Spirit;" so if mind includes the "entire spiritual nature," it must include God. This is the conclusion of metaphysics.
We become familiar with that which we study. People all down the ages who have studied mind agree that among its inherent qualities are intelligence, life and substance.
Mind, the basis of these qualities, is in itself forever invisible and unfathomable. Yet the more its invisibility is inquired into, the more its power and wisdom unfolds to the seeker. Although he never reaches the infinite fountain-head, he goes on drinking higher and higher up its mighty stream.
Mind is unobstructed and untrammeled. Hence, only the unobstructed and untrammeled can commune with it in its purity. Man is mind, and when he sets himself free from the belief in limitations, he is pure mind, and can hold direct intercourse with the One Mind. If he thinks he can study the One Mind through matter, books and men, his understanding remains opaque to the full extent of his belief in the limitations of these things. He "sees through a glass darkly."
So they who think that mind should not be accredited with existence unless it can be visibly beheld, weighed and measured, do not understand the conclusions of those who study mind on its free plane — mind to mind.
Yet in their ultimate conclusions even these huggers of matter find that it slips through their arms. Spencer, Tyndall, Edison all tell the same story of a cause just beyond their ken. Edison says that his experiments have satisfied him that every molecule of matter has a centre of intelligence as well as force.
Metaphysicians make a study of mind from this "centre of intelligence" plane. From this free, clear attitude they get a more extended view of mind and its laws than they who remain down in the valley of molecules and atoms.
What the "molecule and atom man" pronounce "polarity" they recognize as intelligence and energy, the offspring of Wisdom and Love. Throughout the universe they behold this offspring of the One Mind in its dual guise bringing forth its ideals. From the most infinitesimal atom to the sun of a mighty system, its process is from centre to circumference, and the nucleus of every centre an idea. Thus mind is the great architect. Within it is all possibility which is being made manifest through its idea — man.
The son of man is the highest form of intelligence and life. Thus man brings forth the son of man — intelligence and life expressed into visibility. This is not a haphazard process, but orderly and well-defined when done under the guidance of the One Mind. Many factors enter into it, and he who has recognized that all is mind, and that his being is identified with mind only, is always on the alert to know how he can most quickly accomplish the object for which he has set out. The first discovery of one who makes a study of mind is that it may be divided into two states or conditions, formless and formed. In its termless state it is the great reservoir in which all ideas and the substance to make them objective is contained. In this state it is unlimited in all conceivable attributes, everywhere present at all times, all-wise, and all-powerful. This is the realm of free ideas—the Mind of Spirit. Here exists, forever indivisible, God and His idea — man.
Then, there is the other state, mind formed. This includes all conditions of individual consciousness, all sensation, vibration, visibility, and sentient identity, manifest in planes and spheres beyond computation or imagination.
The son of man, the I AM, is the door between mind formless and mind formed. "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture," said Jesus.(John 10:9)
All things are from the One Mind, are the One Mind formed. But in its formed state the One Mind is as if it were separate from its formless self. Thus God gives Himself to His creations. He becomes subject to the will of His idea, man, on the plane of manifestation. This brings us to a point where we can see that every state of consciousness is mind manifest according to the intelligence recognized by the I AM. Thus every living thing is mind in its varying states of realization of infinite possibilities. The I AM in each of us is the door between the formless and the formed mind.
We can look both ways, and draw sustenance from either side. If we look within for our supplies we are drawing direct from the Father, and "all power is given onto us in heaven and in earth." If we look without, and depend upon the external for our sustenance, we are limited to the conditions prevailing in that realm. Here is where judgment and discrimination should be exercised. He who has not reached a place where he can draw all his sustenance from the formless, and live alone on "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," but is still bound to eating and drinking, should study the mental states of those things which he incorporates into his consciousness.
Eating and drinking are purely mental processes, although they appear to be material. Taste is a mental quality, as any physiologist will explain. It is the mind that tastes, and not the mouth. The mouth and nerves are the instruments which mind has thrown out and built up of its own substance for the purpose of enjoying contact with other mental qualities on the plane of sensation. The mind educates its organs to love those things which it desires. When the mind desires a stimulant it may resort to that which in the first indulgence is extremely offensive to the taste like, whiskey, but which by continued cultivation becomes pleasant.
Everything which we behold represents some phase of mind. It not only represents a phase of mind, but its intrinsic constituency is mind. Alcohol, for instance, represents the energy of mind. When distributed throughout the vegetable kingdom in right relation and proportion it is indispensable. Under the manipulation of men its even proportion is destroyed, its primal character is changed, it is concentrated into a consuming fire. So with everything visible and invisible. In the right relation, which results from a compliance with the wisdom within, all things are good and bring harmony to man. The only evil or error is in relation, which relation is established by the I AM. If this relation is based in wisdom, nothing but happiness and satisfaction can result. If it is based in ignorance, the result is always unsatisfactory.
We look over the world today and find many situations which we cannot consistently pronounce good. Yet we know that the primal factors that go to make up these conditions are in themselves without flaw. These factors are the foundations upon which the universe rests, and they must be perfect or it could not stand a moment. It is the arrangement that is at fault, and this arrangement is the result of lack of understanding on the part of humanity. Thus our monetary system in its present incoherent condition cannot be charged to money itself. Money is all right. It is the greed of men that has made it the unstable medium that it is.
Every undesirable conditition that we behold in the world is the result of ignorance. If men knew the truth about themselves, their relation to the Supreme Mind, and how to get into touch with it, and acted upon that knowledge, unhappiness would pass away, and the millennium be rapidly ushered in. Without the wisdom of the Father pouring through every one of us every moment, we are liable to give the omnipresent substance disproportion, and thereby distort the medium through which we see the world without. All things take on to us the complexion of our consciousness to a large degree. Hence we lay down a basic principle that things in themselves have no quality — that it is we who by our mental attitude give them quality. This is true of the I AM in its virgin purity, and if we were all free from identification with our creations we should be free from all reflected mental currents. Just here is a delicate point for a strict metaphysician to discuss. The whole aim of our doctrine is to develop the perfect equipoise and independent creative powers in man. To do this he must not be burdened with the fear of externals of any description. If you tell him that there are malicious mental states to which he may at any time become subject, you are setting up in his consciousness a bugaboo that will keep him trembling when he ought to be trusting. However, the fact should not be ignored that there are conscious mental states prevailing in our human atmosphere which are undesirable to the spiritually minded, or he who is seeking to come into a realization of his spiritual self.
So long as we have within ourselves any of the human errors, we are magnets that offer attractions to those same qualities in others. If we are sure that we have purified our whole consciousness from every phase of anger, pride, malice, jealousy, lust, appetite, ambition, envy, fear, guilt, doubt, deception, or any of the mortal brood, we are absolutely safe. If you have not overcome all these errors, you must be on your guard against their entry into your sphere.
If you are in the habit of getting angry you will do well to avoid all relations with that which will in any way provoke that violent mental disturbance. If you are deceptive you should constantly call upon the Lord for the candor of the Spirit, and try in every way to be truthful, open and above board in all that you think and do. If you have been associating with people who are given to gossip and scandal you must avoid them. You know that their mental quality will flow into you if you make yourself receptive by your interest. So it is with every state of consciousness. Everything we come in contact with has a mental quality peculiar to itself. It is not for us to condemn that quality. In its place it may have a use in the divine economy. We are simply to use discretion. When we have resolved to follow the Spirit our whole life is changed. The Father has plans for us other than those who follow after the flesh. We must be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt. 10:16) That is, we must know and be discreet in that knowing. He who has the mental realm opened to him without knowing the power ot the I AM is a slave to its varied moods. He has added another realm of things to his external world, and to that extent increased his burdens But he who is wise and knows his own power is a master and makes the new found realm serve him.
But the master on the spiritual plane is not a slave driver. He does not use force. The only law he recognizes is love. To this law he must be true in all its ramifications throughout the universe of forms. He must love every creature, every beast of the field, and fowl of the air. His love must flow forth in protecting streams when they are in danger of violence or destruction. He must recognize all life as God's life, and destined by a wise hand to be in its right place wherever he finds it. Thus he cannot in any way sanction the killing of animals for food, nor can he give passive assent by eating the flesh of those slain by the hands of ignorant men. He recognizes the right of every creature to fill out the full measure of its years without interference on the part of men. This is a quality of mercy and justice which quickly falls into the mind opened toward God.
But there are other phases of this subject. Everything is mental. Mental emotions quiver in every atom of flesh whether alive or dead, cooked or uncooked. He who eats the flesh of animals is by and through that process taking into his consciousness all the passions, desires and emotions of that animal. Don't deceive yourself by the argument that "there is no life, substance or intelligence in matter," and it therefore makes no difference what you eat. There Is no absence of life, substance or intelligence anywhere. Things have no being as things. Without the mind back of them they would disappear in an instant. In the act of eating, your mind, through the organs of taste, recognizes and associates with the mind of that which you eat. There is a blending of mind with mind, and the product partakes of both, the dominant mind prevailing. If you could always eat in a state of strong affirmation, declaring every moment that the things you are eating are filled with the spirit of purity, peace and love, you would greatly modify their effect upon the bodily stratum of your consciousness. But ordinarily we do not eat with that strong realization of the One Pure Spirit. We generally eat because we are hungry, and we pronounce the food to be just what it appears.
Thus in eating the flesh of the animal we are feeding and stimulating the animal mentality that prevades our bodies. Instead of transforming it into the higher vibrations of the Spirit we are adding to its power to bind us to the plane of sensation.
The mind of the flesh is no mind to him who has realized his true being, but that realization comes only through a conscious letting go of the flesh identity. You may know theoretically that you are a spiritual being and that the desires and passions of the flesh are mere shadows, yet so long as you lend your consciousness to their sustenance you are bound to them as fully as if you had never heard of your spiritual nature.
If you want to pass from the consciousness of the flesh into the consciousness of the Spirit you must withdraw your attention from the things of the flesh. You must take advantage of every link in the chain of Being that leads up from the animal to the spiritual. So long as you eat and drink you are, as to your bodily needs, in touch with all flesh. There is but One Mind, and that Mind is no respecter of persons. If an I AM has set into discord the substance of mind and you invite such into your consciousness, you will not escape the consequences.
All organized life is tenacious of its form; that form is its temple and it fears to be dislodged. The fear of death is based in principle. Sudden rendering of the different planes of consciousness which the I AM has evolved is opposed to the harmonious law of Being. Death comes into man's consciousness as a result of his belief in separation from God. He first disobeys the monitions of his higher self, and then "hides" himself from God. A belief of separation from God is naturally followed by a belief in the possibility of separation of the different factors entering into man's consciousness. If you believe that, you are not indissolubly connected with the Spirit of God ever welling up within you; your next step will be to believe that you are separate from your body and can leave it as one does his coat when it is worn out. Paul said, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds," and the last enemy to be overcome is death. It is evident that the renewing of the mind transforms something, and also that the overcoming of death can mean only the saving of the body from that sudden change called death.
Thus the fear of death effects all creation. Every animal will fight for its life. What then can be the mental condition of the animal that has been cruelly forced into contracted pens and cars and finally deprived of its body amid the most terrifying surroundings? Can it be otherwise than that its entire consciousness is permeated by violent vibrations of terror that act and re-act upon all planes of animal life with which they come in contact?
The Countess Wachtmeister, of London, has given much attention to the investigation of this subject, and she gives the following among those cases coming under her notice:
"In California a number of people were poisoned by eating meat, and the cases were so remarkable the physicians in attendance demanded an investigation of the condition of the animals at the time of slaughter whose flesh had such dire effects on all who had partaken of it. The man whose business it was to kill, testified the animal was a large ox, a magnificent looking creature, strong and full of life. He fought bravely to save it. He met his murderers defiantly, with eyes starting almost from their sockets, nostrils distended, mouth foaming. He roared and pawed the ground, tried in every way to defend and save his life, for over an hour. Finally he was conquered. His flesh was sold, and with the awful results related above."
You think you eat a material thing called meat, but the fact is there is no such thing in reality. You think you are eating a substance called meat; that is the appearance to the eye of sense, but the truth, as seen from the plane of intelligence and force, is that ycu are incorporating into your consciousness the consciousness of an animal with all its emotions active on the plane of mind. The flesh may seem to your outer sense to be a dead, inert mass, but could your soul eye be opened you would behold mental currents pervading its every atom, acting and re-acting upon each other in a wild, bewildered manner like the animal of whose body it formed a part.
Not only does its fear and ignorance pervade the flesh, but its animal desires and passions. You are taking into your temple elements that will unsettle its even proportions and cause you much effort to harmonize.
If you have reached a point of spiritual perception and power where the things of the flesh no longer effect you, that is, where the white heat of your spiritual realization transforms into its own pure substance everything that it touches, you are perfectly safe in eating the flesh of animals if your sense of justice will permit you to do so.
Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit." It is the I of you that is born from one state of consciousness into another. Your yearning for the "flesh pots of Egypt" will keep you wandering in the wilderness of sense long after you have fully decided to leave that land of servitude. Science teaches us that it is our belief about things that holds us in bondage to them, which we are free to admit. But in the matter of animal slaughter, who countenances it, or defends it after his eyes have been opened to the unity of life? Yet every time we eat meat we are accessories with those who did the overt act. We stand in the sight of the moral law exactly where the receivers of stolen goods do in the civil law.
One has said, "It does not make any difference what you do so long as you do not catch yourself at it," but the trouble is we are always catching ourselves at whatever we are doing. The doing and the consciousness of the thing done go hand in hand. People are in the habit of doing unrighteous things, and then justifying themselves on the plea of custom or extenuating circumstances. In all such cases there always remain the dregs of an unrequited conscience. We have a habit of temporarily quelling this with words of denial or quietly ignoring it. It settles back into the subjective mind under either treatment and forms part of the wall that shuts us away from our Garden of Eden.
Let us no longer coddle ourselves with the theory that all things are but reflections of our ideas, and that whatever we flippantly pronounce a thing to be, that it is in spite of experience to the contrary. Let us go deeper than this and know that the absolute transformation must take place on every plane of consciousness before we can truly say that our idea has made itself manifest.
If we love the stimulating things of the flesh it is proof positive that there are ideas in our mind that call for them. If these things are of the flesh, it is then evident that we are not letting go the things of the flesh. If our ideal sphere is darkened by the reflection of the under world, we must clear it up before we can catch the gleams of light from the Pure Spirit.
"Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat." "And in the matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm." (Dan 1:8-20)