The efforts aiming at occult training as well as those aiming at so-called lifestyle-reform have set a high goal, the attainment of which will mean a further epoch in the development of humanity. The time when these valuable goals will be fulfilled will surely come, but presently burgeoning efforts in this direction are merely a part of the fermentation process of this new time.
While the leaders of occult endeavors, even with the best of intentions, have taken an entirely wrong road in this field unknown to them, thereby accomplishing nothing but giving free rein to the Darkness and exposing mankind to increased dangers from the beyond, the efforts of so-called lifestyle reformers reach far beyond their commendable goal with regard to the present time! The activities of both groups must be approached in a different way. Fundamentally, psychic exercises need to be conducted on a higher level than so far. An entirely different road must be taken in order to reach the summit. The present road only leads into the base undergrowth of the beyond, in which the majority of the followers are totally entwined and dragged down by the Darkness.
The right way must lead upwards from the very beginning, and must not first lose itself in a lower environment or one that is at best on the same level. The two paths are in no way similar, and are even in their basic nature entirely different. The right way immediately uplifts the inner man, thus goes upward from the very beginning, without first making contact with the ethereal environment on its own level, much less with one that is lower. For this is not necessary, as normally there should only be a striving upwards from the earth. Therefore let me again warn you seriously against all spiritual acrobatics.
During its life on earth the spirit absolutely needs a strong and healthy body in a normal physical condition, in order completely to fulfill the purpose of its existence. If the condition of the body is changed, this shift upsets the absolutely necessary harmony between body and spirit. Only such complete harmony brings about a healthy and strong development of the Spirit which prevents morbid excesses.
A healthy and unsuppressed body will in its normal condition always quite naturally harmonize with the spirit, thereby providing it with a firm foundation in the World of Matter in which the spirit does not stand without a purpose. The body therewith offers the spirit the best help completely to fulfill this purpose of self-development, along with the simultaneous advancement of Creation.
Each body creates certain definite radiations which are absolutely essential to the spirit for its work in the World of Matter. Foremost among these is the mysterious sexual power, which is quite independent of the sex drive. If the harmony between body and spirit is disturbed this power of inward- and outward-directed radiations is drawn into another direction, and thus weakened for its real purpose. This hinders or paralyzes the fulfillment of the purpose of the spirit during its existence in the World of Matter, which consequently cannot achieve normal development either. At some later point in its efforts to ascend it must therefore inevitably sink back exhausted, and in the natural course of events, will have to repeat a great part of its development. For what it misses in the World of Gross Matter it cannot make up in the Ethereal World, because there it lacks the radiations of its physical body. It must go back in order to fill this gap.
Such clear objectivity is to be found in these events, such naturalness and simplicity, that it simply cannot be otherwise. Any child will understand this and take it for granted once it has grasped the basic laws aright. It will require a whole series of lectures for me to bring the vast Creation so close to mankind that they can survey for themselves everything that happens within It, backward and forwards in its most natural consequences, in the incomparable glorious lawfulness.
This diversion of the sexual power necessary for the spirit in the World of Matter can occur in many and varied ways; through over-indulgence in sexual activity, or even by mere stimulation to this end; also through occult training or wrong psychic exercises in which the spirit forcibly appropriates this power of the mature body, only to dissipate it in this false and unnecessary activity. In both cases it is a wrong use, which will gradually also entrain a weakening of the physical body. In turn the weakened body can no longer produce such strong radiations as are really needed by the spirit, and thus each becomes more and more ill through the other. This produces one-sidedness which is always detrimental to the right goal and therefore harmful. I do not wish to deal with other wrong paths on which the spirit also uses too much of the sexual power for wrong purposes, not leaving enough for the main purpose, such as through the foolish reading of books which conjure up a false world in the imagination, and so on.
In all of these cases the spirit arrives in the Ethereal World still immature and also takes along a weak ethereal body. The consequences of such earthly sins are so decisive for his entire existence that every man must atone for them heavily in manifold severity. Such neglect and false activity during his time on earth cling to a man, hinder him and become ever heavier until, as already mentioned, at some point in his ascent he can continue no further and sinks back to the place where his wrong activity began. This is the point at which he still possessed his harmony.
The strength of a spirit, which through occult training was cultivated at the expense of the body, is only an apparent strength. In this case the spirit is actually not strong, rather it is like a hot-house plant which can hardly withstand any wind, much less a storm. Such a spirit is sick, not advanced. This condition resembles that of an artificially produced fever. Periodically the patient sick with fever may have extraordinary strength at his command, only to relapse even further into a state of weakness. Seconds or minutes to the one sick with fever are decades and centuries to the spirit. The moment arrives when a bitter price has to be paid for all this. Therefore I issue one more warning! —
Harmony is the only right thing everywhere. And harmony is found only in the middle way in all things. If the beauty and power of harmony are so much extolled, why do we not accept it here, but try to destroy it at all cost?
The way all occult training has been carried out so far is wrong, even though the goal is a high and necessary one. —
The case is quite different with the leaders and adherents of the so-called lifestyle reform movement. Although they are on the right road, they wish to do already today that which will only be appropriate for future generations, and for this reason they are at present no less dangerous in their ultimate consequences for most human beings. The necessary transition is lacking. The time for the new beginning has come! But one must not jump into it with both feet at once. Instead one must gradually lead humanity through the transition. Decades do not suffice for this! As it is practiced today and because the transition is too fast, the body is weakened even while having the appearance of wellbeing. And a body weakened in this way will never be able to regain its vigor!
Vegetarian diet! It is quite true that it brings about a refinement of the human body, ennoblement as well as strengthening and great restoration of health. The spirit, too, is further uplifted thereby. But all this is not immediately for mankind of the present day. Prudent leadership is lacking in all these efforts and struggles. A sudden transition to a vegetarian diet, which is so often attempted, is under no circumstances adequate for the human body of today. It is quite good when used temporarily, perhaps even for several years in the case of sick people; indeed, it may even be necessary in order to cure some ailment, or as a supportive, restorative measure. But this is not for the long term. The patient must gradually return to the diet to which he is accustomed today if his body is to maintain its full vigor. The appearance of well-being is deceptive. Certainly it is very beneficial for healthy people to eat a vegetarian diet for a time. They will doubtlessly feel well and experience an upswing of their spirit. This, however, is the result of the change, just as every change is refreshing, refreshing for the spirit as well.
If, however, they suddenly stick to this one-sided diet on a permanent basis, they will not notice that they are actually becoming weaker and much more sensitive to many things. In most cases the calm and tranquility are not a sign of strength, but of a certain kind of weakness. It gives a pleasant, rather than a depressing impression, because it does not stem from a disease.
This equanimity resembles the equanimity of healthy old age where only the body is becoming weaker. At least it is much more similar to this sort of weakness than to the weakness resulting from illness. Suddenly deprived of what it has been accustomed to for thousands of years, the body cannot produce the sexual power which the spirit needs for the full accomplishment of its purpose in the World of Matter. —
Many confirmed vegetarians notice this in a slight abatement of their sex drive, which they joyfully welcome as progress. But this is by no means a sign that their spirit has been ennobled through vegetarian diet, only that their sexual power has been diminished, which must subsequently diminish the upswing of their spirit in the World of Matter.
Here, errors over errors abound, because man almost invariably sees only what is closest to him. Certainly it is to be welcomed, and it is a measure of progress, if by ennobling the spirit, the baser sex drive is greatly moderated in comparison with what it is today. It is also true that eating meat increases the baser sex drive, but in these matters we must not use mankind of today as the standard; for in their case the sex drive has been cultivated one-sidedly and abnormally; it is altogether unnatural today. However, this cannot be attributed to a meat diet alone.
The moderation of the sex drive is by no means dependent on the lessening of sexual power. On the contrary, the latter is able to help the human spirit advance, and liberate it from its dependence upon the coarse drive, which is so pronounced today. In fact, sexual power is the best means to accomplish this. —
In their efforts the leaders of today’s lifestyle reform movements are already to be considered pioneers of the next great evolutionary epoch of mankind. This epoch will come about under all circumstances and press forward unstoppably, victoriously, even if it is opposed and desperately attacked by all that is old and restricted. However, such pioneers have to become leaders first! A leader must not carelessly overlook the realities of what is. He must at the same time look further into the future, even beyond all gross-materiality. Then he will realize that the method employed now will always leave a gap that will forever be felt and even in the best of structures will eventually force a collapse. The bridge is missing! The bridge to enable the bodies of today’s mankind to follow along without detriment to the activity of the spirit.
The first step in this transition is the restriction to white meat only. This includes poultry, veal, lamb and such, together with a diet higher in vegetables. Only in this way can one step slowly follow another until finally, in a smooth transition, the body has been changed such that it retains its full vitality on a vegetarian diet.
“Do not neglect your body.” I would call out as a warning to some! And “Think of your spirit”! I would say to others. The right way will then develop from out of the present-day chaos.
At this point I will not address those viewpoints according to which no animal should be killed; for even plants have a soul. This only shows regressive thinking, as well as a failure to have penetrated into what have so far been the mysteries of Creation. —