Is the Vegetarian Diet Necessary For Spiritual Advancement?

For those who pursue spirituality, vegetarianism is an extension of their spiritual practices. Vegetarianism is the most compassionate diet because it involves eating food containing the least amount of consciousness or life, such as plants. Spiritual teachers often state that vegetarianism is necessary for those who want to find God. For those who wish to follow the path leading to self-knowledge and God-realization, a strict vegetarian diet is essential.

Why would so many spiritual Masters, founders of different religions, mystics, philosophers, and thinkers from different time periods all agree that a vegetarian diet was necessary for spiritual advancement? One of the reasons correlates with a law of science, called action and reaction. One of the laws of physics is that every action has a reaction. Most people think of this law as only having to do with physical matter or energy. There is another component which science is just beginning to uncover. We are coming to learn of the mind-body-soul connection. We are finding that our thoughts have an effect on our body. The law of action and reaction applies not only to physical matter, but also at the subtle level of thought. For example, we know that stress causes a release of hormones through our body that requires us to take action. That action may be running and fleeing from danger, or protecting ourselves in defense. Adrenaline is sent to our muscles to prepare our hands to fight or our legs to run. Due to the stress of modern life, people are getting this reaction even when not in physical danger. We may react as if we were in danger when faced with intellectual or emotional challenges as well. Thus, even our thoughts can cause a physical reaction in which a tremendous amount of stress hormones circulate through our body. The result of this excess stress is that prolonged circulation of these hormones can cause a breakdown of our body tissue. Thus, we find that people under high levels of stress may experience physical illnessessuch as heart disease, circulatory problems, digestive problems, skin problems, headaches, and other stress-related ailments. So we can see the power of our thoughts on our body.

Saints and mystics have taught that our thoughts are potent. The thoughts we think and send out also have effect. Thoughts cause actions, which result in a reaction. There are many religions that speak of a law that states that all the good that we do is returned to us and all the bad or negative things we do, say, or think comes back also but as a negative reaction. Most religions believe that we are accountable for everything we think, say, and do. Whether we call it the law of karma, or action and reaction, or just believe that all the good we do comes back to us and all the bad we do must be paid for, there is an almost universal belief in some accountability system.

People who have had NDE’s or near-death experiences who have undergone clinical death and were revived by doctors report similar experiences. According to a poll in 1991, twelve million people reported having an NDE. Early books by Dr. Raymond Moody, and later by Dr. Melvin Morse, who visited me at the Science of Spirituality Center a few years ago, described these experiences that were reported to them and to other doctors by patients who were revived. They described a repeated pattern of experiences. While their body had clinically died, they experienced rising above the body. They began by seeing their body below as people worked on their body. Then they went through a tunnel and emerged in a world of light. There they saw a light brighter than any in this world, but it was not scorching. They also were met and embraced by a being of light who poured into them more love than they had ever experienced from anyone on earth. This being of light often took them on a life review in which they saw all the good that they had done and all the bad that they had done. What was significant about this life review was that, as they viewed this three-dimensional rerun of their life, they also experienced with great intensity the reactions of the other people to their own actions. When a person having an NDE witnessed in their past an occasion of being loving and kind to someone else, he or she would also experience within themselves that love and kindness that the other person experienced. When a person having an NDE witnessed in their past an occasion of having hurt someone, he or she would then also experience within themselves all the hurt they had caused that other person. The intensity of experiencing the pain they had done to others transformed them.

It made them realize that everything that we do here does matter. They also learned that what matters most in our worldly life is love. All the love and kind things we do, come back to us, and all the painful and hurtful things we do also come back to us. When these people who had NDE’s were revived and their soul returned to the body, they changed dramatically. Most of them decided to become more loving people and not to hurt others because they realized the effect of being negative.

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