Nutrition and Spiritual Development

Monday, February 6, 2017

Due to the manner in which the conventional arena of nutrition centers upon the influences and actions of dietary programs upon the physical body, in this article I would like to briefly discuss nutrition from more of a spiritual stance. In doing so, let's begin by noting the existence of the multiple layers which comprise one's auric field. Without deviating too severely, these multiple layers can be viewed as expressions of the higher-dimensional elements which constitute one's being. Most relevant to this discussion are the etheric body and the astral body, each of which comprises a different layer of the human aura. When we understand the physical body to largely be a "material" expression of our higher Selves, we see that the various bodily systems are material expressions of our various higher-dimensional elements.
For instance, as Rudolf Steiner explains, the body's endocrine glands are primarily the third-dimensionally manifested aspect of one's etheric body, while the body's nervous system can be seen chiefly as the third-dimensionally manifested aspect of one's astral body [1]. With regard to the electromagnetic spectrum, there exists an interplay between the actions of the etheric and astral bodies in helping to sustain the physical body. Some of the solar radiation we receive is used anabolically by the etheric body in the generation of material components of the physical body. On the other hand, the astral body contributes to the generation of biophotonic light, which is used catabolically in reducing material components into simpler forms which can then be reconstructed into new components [2].
Relating these processes to spiritual development, it should first be noted that species of the plant kingdom possess an etheric body in addition to their physical selves, while species of the animal kingdom possess an astral body in addition to their physical and ethereal selves. Therefore, when we consume plant foods we take into ourselves the plant's material expression of its etheric body, and when we consume animal foods we take into ourselves the animal's material expression of its astral body. This is one of the reasons why many spiritually adept folks gravitate towards more of a vegetarian-type diet, for when we consume only plant-based foods our own astral body is required to essentially step in and confer some of the nourishing functionality that would have been provided through the consumption of animal foods. In a way this act serves to condition or train the astral body and promote more of its complete unfoldment which would allow one to rely less upon material nourishment and more upon spiritual nourishment - in essence, one would be able to more easily progress towards mastery over the physical body.
With that being said, I am not stating that a vegetarian-type diet is optimal for everyone. While such a diet may be quite beneficial for one person, the same may be quite detrimental for another. We all possess biochemical individualities that require unique nutritional programs for optimal functioning, and we are all progressing in our spiritual development at our own pace. Accordingly, I would recommend that you view the assumption of a vegetarian-type diet as an optional vehicle through which your own spiritual development could be augmented if it is approached at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner for you.
I hope this short post has invited you to perhaps view the world of nourishment from less of a material stance and from more of a holistic perspective. Providing nourishment to our mind, body, and spirit is certainly something that is meant to be enjoyed rather than something to be loathed due to a concern with a food's possible influence upon the physical body. We are all divine and eternal entities, so why not embrace that fact? I wish you all the best in your attainment of a life of health and happiness.

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