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vegetarianism and spiritual progress

Nov 24, 1993 08:34 AM
by eldon

Regarding vegetarianism, I can say for myself that I started in
high school, based upon my heavy reading, at the time, of Leadbeater's
writings. From reading him, I got the impression that the next step
to spiritual progress was to be clairvoyant, as he said that he was.
Wanting to be like him, I stopped eating meat, because he had written
that it was necessary for psychic development.

I became a vegetarian, and have continued since then, since 1968,
though my reasons have dropped away and I continue because it is the
thing that I choose to do. I'm not doing it *for a reason* anymore than
I drink coffee *for a reason*. It is just a part of my life, an aspect
of my personality. We may need a reason to become a vegetarian, to
change from eating meat. But once we've changed, no reason is needed
to persist in staying one.

The problem that I found, in reading Leadbeater, though, which I did
not realize until years later, was that with his writings you quickly
ran out of philosophy and were left with nothing to do but go onto
other writers or to try to acquire paranormal powers like he said that
he had. Books like "Invisible Helpers" make you, if you believe his
experiences, want to do similar things.

The problem is that the reader is side-tracked from the philosophy and
from spiritual development, and led into an interest in psychical
development. The deeper parts of our nature are awakened by
far-reachings thoughts of the highest philosophy, not by visions or
other-worldly experiences. There is a difference from higher
faculties of consciousness and the sense perception of other planes.

In an abstract sense, vegetarianism is the best approach. It is the
most harmless. The least sentient life has to die in order to feed
our bodies. The simpler plant substance is easier to assimilate into
our natures. There is no impression in the food of the horror and
awareness of impending death that an animal, killed in the slaughter
house, may have made on its dying body.

Like all physical things, though, there is compromise, and that is
based upon both personal and cultural circumstances. We may have to
eat meat for dietary or health matters. We may even be too spacey, too
psychical, too disassociated from physical life, and need the
engrossing effect of the meat to keep us focused on the life we are
trying to live.

In a cultural sense, the eating of meat may be based upon what the
environment is able to support. Meat is an important part of the diet
in Tibet, the people, including monks, there eat it. Because it is not
possible to produce a wide spectrum of vegetable produces in the
Himalayas, the eating of meat is an accepted practice. It is interesting
to observe Tibetan monks, in visiting the U.S., getting meals with meat
prepared for them by their vegetarian American followers. In India,
on the other hand, the climate allows for the production of a
vegetarian diet, and so it is possible to be one there.

I would not say that Tibetan monks are less spiritual than their
Indian counterparts, nor less able to penetrate to the other worlds.
A vegetarian diet, then, is a good thing to do, but not a prerequisite
to spiritual development.

Smoking of tobacco is also considered in the same class, something that
is sometimes necessary depending upon certain psychical considerations,
but generally not a good thing to do, if we can avoid it.

The drinking of alcohol, is considered far more harmful. It prevents
the perception of the spiritual. The higher centers of the brain are
rendered inactive, and there is a subtle element of the highest part
of ourselves that is blocked from expression.

Worse than any physical thing that we can do with our bodies, though,
is to harbor false, but sincerely held beliefs. In "The Mahatma
Letters," we read how although selfishness is the cause of 1/3 of the
world's problems, the biggest cause of problems, of 2/3 of them, is
wrong belief. The religions of the world, as we see them, their
orthodox, exoteric, dogmatic presence in the world, are singled out as
the chief cause of these false beliefs.

What is the cure for false beliefs? A readiness to continually break
the molds of mind and consider new truths. A constant re-evaluation of
what we believe and know. An ever-striving for a deeper understanding
of things that seem plain, simple, obvious, things that we already
think that we have the last word on. And a continual eagerness to
approach the Mysteries of life as *mysteries*, with the deep respect
of a truly religious person combined with the eager curiosity of a
young child first learning about life.

There is a wisdom whose depths cannot be fantomed, a wisdom that goes
into the heart of life, a wisdom that is an endless fount of deeper
meanings to life. This wisdom does not depend upon what we had for
breakfast nor what we dreamed about last night. It is a living
presence in our lives that can infill us, or we can turn our backs on
it and be unaware. It is up to us to decide how it will become part of
our lives.

                         Eldon Tucker (

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