Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Through Illness To Healing
THROUGH ILLNESS TO HEALING
We have traveled a long way in our thinking to show that illness is deeply rooted in mankind's metaphysical provenance. In the light of this all the efforts to promote health, on the part of both orthodox doctors and advocates of nature-cure and such methods, appear alarmingly ineffective. Illness cannot be cured by inoculation any more than by positive thinking, autosuggestion or a healthy diet.
A lot of quarreling goes on as to what is the best means of protection against illness, but no one questions the legitimacy of his or her own system. Hence one finds all kinds of people – positive thinkers as well as nature-cure apostles – wanting to place themselves under the esoteric banner.
But the road to healing is not that simple. Healing cannot be achieved by eating raw vegetables or whole-wheat bread, nor by going to bed early, nor by autosuggestion. All of these health fanatics are attempting to counteract, by functional measures, a development whose direction was already determined in Paradise. It is not a question of facing a choice between illness and health. On the contrary, the way to health is through illness.
Some people hold up the example of the healthy, natural life of the animals, but this misses the point of man's special tasks. Certainly it is possible to cultivate the sound and natural life-style of a healthy animal. But man's path is a different one: he must pass through suffering to knowledge, through sickness to health.
To avoid misunderstandings let me emphasize that I am not talking about leading an “unhealthy” life. It is not a question of what one does as such but of the attitude with which one does it. The body is the temple of the spirit, and it is part of esoteric development to purify it and keep it pure. But that has nothing to do with protection against illness. One must make a distinction between health and obedience to law. Health as a concept exists only in relation to illness. For a sick person it may be necessary to follow a certain diet for a time, and thus one could say that in this case the diet is healthy. But this does not mean that someone who is not ill should follow such a diet in order to “remain healthy”. There are other ways of adjusting one's physical life-style so as to conform better to cosmic law.
Let us take, for example, the subject of vegetarian food. It is fairly unimportant whether this is healthier or less healthy than a meat diet, but it is very interesting to consider the rights and wrongs of meat-eating. We should bear in mind that all carnivorous animals feed exclusively on the flesh of vegetarian animals. Experience shows that aversion to the eating of meat increases in proportion to consciousness. It is a good exercise to ask yourself, every time you have a meal, whether you could prepare the food in all its stages with your own hands and still be able to eat with a good appetite. Many people would do without their succulent piece of veal if they first had to slaughter and cut up the unfortunate calf themselves. By contrast it hardly spoils one's appetite if one imagines harvesting vegetables, fruit and corn.
Another yardstick for judging the purity of food is according to how long it remains preserved. The purer a product, the longer it will keep. Compare, for example, the preservability of wheat with that of offal or shell-fish. Through such considerations as these, the individual will arrive, in the course of time, at a stage of consciousness that will of itself, and without any compulsion, lead him to adopt a diet that is in greater harmony with cosmic law. But we must always guard against extremes. Anyone who believes that he will lose his wholeness of soul by eating a little bit of meat probably does not yet possess that which he fears losing.
In all of these matters it is much less a question of outward things themselves than of the mode of consciousness that they express. Anyone who can swat a fly shows unmistakeably that he has not yet comprehended what “life” really is.
He is therefore more deserving of sympathy than the fly. A life that is in harmony with universal law arises from recognition, whereas the efforts of the health fanatics arise from fear. Fear, however, is always lack of knowledge.
We said earlier on that healing is exclusively a matter of religion and can never take place within the framework of functional medicine. When we speak of religion we mean religio in the original sense, that is the re-connecting of man with his original source. I am not referring to any particular sectarian form of religion.
If I have quoted the Bible extensively it is because the store of ideas in it is closest to our own cultural heritage and upbringing. But in the last analysis all religions teach the same thing: the one single truth. Anyone who thinks that the world's religions are different is only looking at the packaging. If one takes the trouble to unpack the contents one will see that they are the same. While this is true of religions it is not true of churches, which are the work of men and, like everything human, are imperfect and prone to errors.
Esotericism has room for all faiths and tendencies of belief, for esotericism points out the truth and the laws that stand behind the different symbols and metaphors. The churches, on the other hand, have no place for esotericism, since they cling to the concrete. The greater always has room for the lesser, but never vice versa. The justification for the churches lies in the fact that they bring the primal truths nearer to the exoteric circle of humanity by presenting them in an accessible packaging.
Esotericism is for those who are ready to assimilate the primal wisdom for themselves. To be a priest is, in the final analysis, not a matter of career but of initiation into the mystery of being human. Only thus can a person become a pontifex, a bridge-builder, who can prepare the way for man to return to his primal source. Healing is reconciliation with God. Thus Jesus healed with the words: “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”