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As to Meat Eating

by Charles Fillmore

(First published in the October 1903 issue of Unity Magazine, Volume 19, number 4)

Note: these excerpts are about one-half of the original article. The rest of the article consists mostly of accounts of long-lived vegetarians and some experiments on vegetarian diets.

The subject of diet is attracting more attention every day among metaphysicians. At one time it was only necessary to quote, "Take no thought what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink," to dismiss the whole matter. But the revised Bible puts an entirely new phrase upon this familiar quotation. It says, "Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink." It was a treatment against anxiety as to the provision of God that Jesus was giving, and not an injunction to take no thought about food.

It is found that food does have a part in body structure, and that the metaphysician must take it into account if he would reach the higher substance demonstrations. The argument that we are putting power where no power exists, in the material, is a contradiction in itself. We eat to sustain life in the organism, therefore life is the object of eating. Every form in existence is a manifestation of life, and the life idea that pervades it is its source. If that life idea is for a moment withdrawn the form collapses. Hence we do not eat matter, but life.

This puts a new phase upon eating. If we are daily eating aggregations of life ideas hid within the material forms, we should use discrimination in choosing those forms. Our food should be full of life in its purity and vigor. There should be no idea of death and decay connected with it in any degree. The vegetable should be fresh and the fruit radiant in its sunny perfection.

I have in years of experiment tested the effect in mind and body of meat-eating and non-meat-eating, and I feel that I am more competent to judge of the effects than one who theorizes about the question.

Some sixteen years ago [i. e., 1887] when I began the study of Truth I was told that it made no difference what I ate if I was in the right thought. This seemed to prove true up to a certain point in my experience. While my spiritual development was confined to the conscious mind there seemed no special need of food discrimination. But gradually a new phase set in. I found that I was having vibrations in the sympathetic nerve centers ó the subconscious mind was being quickened, and I was becoming a conscious vital battery. The vital currents gradually grew stronger and stronger until I could hardly control them. Appetite, passion, emotion, etc., were greatly increased. Then my prayers for guidance were answered and a system of communication set up with the higher realms of consciousness. I was shown that the food that entered the organism had to pass through a process of regeneration every day before it was in condition to be built into the new body of Christ. Just how to carry on this regenerative process in the various subconscious centers was also shown, and here is where I discerned the effects of food in body building.

The vitalizing element in food is contained in the cell, which may be termed a mind battery vibrating with intelligence, force, and substance. These elements are present in the living cell ó dead cells are those in which intelligence and force have withdrawn and inanimate substance only remains. Man appropriates these cells and they become part of his consciousness according to his capacity to use them. Those who have not developed the capacity to consciously regenerate the cells get but a small part of their energies.

. . .

With this understanding of the process of body building and body substance, both physically and psychically, we can see the necessity of discrimination in choosing foods. If the cells pass into the blood and glands essentially the same as they were formed by the animal or the vegetable from which they came, it is highly important that their character be of the highest and purest.

We eat the flesh of the animal for the life it contains, yet the fact is that life has disappeared in its highest degree ó there is left only a lot of corpse-cells in various stages of corruption and decay. These are really a burden to the organism because of the disintegrating tendency which has already set in. Instead of the vigor and force of the animal that once animated that flesh there is left a festering mass of dead cells without a single animating principle. Before upbuilding life can be put into those cells they must pass through earth and the vegetable kingdom of the animal. Yet ignorant man loads his system with these elements of discord and decay and expects to get life out of them. No wonder his body dies.

Again, it is proven by experiment that certain negative states of consciousness peculiar to the animal accompanies its flesh in all its journeys through the body of man. All the upbuilding life goes out with the soul of the animal when it gives up its body, but the fears, the violence, the ignorance, the anger, the lust, and all that pertains to the error side of consciousness hovers around the dead cells. In San Francisco a few years ago many people were made violently ill from eating meat bought at a certain shop. Physicians investigated and they found that the carcass of a certain steer was the source, and it was presumed that it was diseased. Further inquiry developed this to be an error ó the animal was unusually healthy and vigorous ó in fact so vigorous and forceful that he fought for his life for over an hour after the attempt to kill him began. He was in a frenzy of terror and anger; his eyes were bloodshot and he frothed at the mouth while the butchers were trying to slay him. The physicians decided that the anger and terror of this steer poisoned his meat in manner similar to that of the angry mother her milk, which [as] is well known makes the infant sick.

This instance was but an exaggeration of conditions that exist in a milder form in all animal flesh offered for food in our markets. Before they are slain the poor brutes are maltreated in ways almost beyond enumeration. Visit shipping pens, stock-trains, stock-yards and packing houses, if you want evidence of the sufferings of the poor beasts of the field. And these very sufferings are through the law of sympathetic mental vibrations transferred to the flesh of those who eat the bodies of these animals. The undefined fears, the terrors of the nightmare, and the many disturbances in stomach and bowels that man endures may be in a measure traced to these unsuspected sources.

The argument that life is destroyed in eating fruits and vegetables is frequently used to excuse the slaughter of beings having intelligence, affections, and apparently souls almost equal to manís. It is so far-fetched that a momentís sincere thought ought to disclose the fallacy to anyone. The fruit, and the vegetable have completed their life course and have apparently been prepared by a wise creator for food, as we are told in Genesis 1:29, "Behold! I have given you every herb yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Here is plainly indicated a vegetable and fruit diet for man. When these abundant products of nature are found spread upon her green-garnished tables everywhere, why should man dye his hands with the life-blood of beings that resent the carnage, and cry out and bellow in terror when his cruel knife is raised against them? This is direct opposition to the Divine Law of freedom, and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all of Godís creatures. Man is today suffering in his body and mind the results of this transgressed law, and he will continue to suffer until he observes in its fullest degree the command, "Thou shalt not kill."

. . .