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As To Meat Eating—We Do Not Eat Matter, But Life

"We do not eat matter but life" - Charles Fillmore

That "we do not eat matter, but life" may be Charles Fillmore's most profound teaching. Unity has always taught that consciousness shapes life experience. But do you know that, until 1939, Unity also taught that the food we eat shapes consciousness?

Until 1939, Unity taught in it's Statement of Faith and in many Bible Lessons that "cruelty, war, and wanton destruction of human life will continue so long as men destroy animals." Within five years of abandoning this teaching over 60 million people had perished in the bloodiest war in human history and five years after that Charles Fillmore had died.

I know that this will be a difficult page to read. It was difficult for me to assemble. And I'm hardly one to preach about healthy eating habits. Regardless of our current expression, it is time to take another look at Charles Fillmore's stressing that we eat life, not matter.


  • As you'll see in the first clip below, children born after the year 2000, being fed dead matter instead of life substance, are the first generation in the entire history of the human race to have a life expectancy less than those of their parents.
  • As you'll see in the second clip below, our industrially prepared food supply is so covered with dead matter that it must be smothered with antibiotics in order to control disease on the way to the market, leading to uncontrolled outbreaks of ecoli and other disease.
  • As you'll see in the third and fourth clips below, if we were aware of the deplorable conditions in which we produce dead matter instead of producing life giving food then we would no longer tolerate the exploitation of animals or farm workers.
  • Finally, as you'll see in the fifth clip below, Unity congregants, shaped by their positive teachings about life and their high regard for self-awareness, are uniquely suited to address these issues with spiritual healing and wholeness.  What is required is awareness and light.

I invite you to add your comments at the end. Scroll down to read As To Meat Eating and watch five clips from the documentary Food, Inc. that highlight why it is so important for world peace, for our health and for our state of consciousness to eat life, not matter.

As To Meat Eating - by Charles Fillmore

Charles Fillmore - As To Meat Eating

As To Meat Eating is an early, classic Unity writing. I have found it in four places:

  • It appears in the October 1903 issue of Unity Magazine. In that piece, Charles Fillmore refers to "Some sixteen years ago when I began the study of Truth." You can download a PDF of that article below or you can read the entire issue by going to the monthly magazine links.
  • A modified version appears in the tract. In that version, Charles writes "Almost forty years ago, when I began the study of Truth." This tells us that it was published 24 years after the earlier 1903 version, so it must be 1927. You can download a PDF of the tract below.
  • An abbreviated  version is in The Unity Inn Vegetarian Cook Book, published by Unity in 1924. The title of that version is "Relation Between Regeneration and Vegetarianism."
  • Finally, the piece appears in James Dillet Freeman's 1951 book The Household of Faith on pp.301-303.

Clip #77 from Essence of Unity.

James Dillet Freeman writes in The Household of Faith:

Charles and Myrtle Fillmore did not eat meat. Soon after the founding of Unity, they decided that a meatless diet was conducive to spiritual thinking, and from time to time in their magazines, they advocated vegetarianism. They felt that it is more humane and more healthful.

In the early days, when Unity was located on McGee Street and there were only four or five workers, these ate together. There was a stove in the house, and one of the workers was appointed to prepare something hot for everyone. The workers discussed food and its relation to the spiritual life and decided that it would be better for them not to eat meat.

In 1939 Unity removed statement #28 from it's Statement of Faith. That statement had said, "We believe that all life is sacred and that man should not kill or be a party to the killing of animals for food; also that cruelty, war, and wanton destruction of human life will continue so long as men destroy animals."

As To Meat Eating (1927 Unity Tract)

By Charles Fillmore

THE subject of diet is attracting more attention every day among metaphysicians. At one time it was necessary only to quote, "Take no thought ... what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink," to dismiss the whole matter. But the American Standard Version of the Bible puts an entirely new meaning into this familiar quotation. It says, "Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink." Jesus was giving a treatment against anxiety as to God's provision of food, 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.

Eating Dead Matter Instead of Life Substance

From Food, Inc. Watch the entire movie on Vimeo.

This throws a new light upon eating. If we are daily eating aggregations of life ideas hidden 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 thought 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 upon mind and body, of eating and not eating meat, and I feel that I am more competent to judge of the effects than one who theorizes about the matter.

Almost forty years ago, 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 proved true up to a certain point. While my spiritual development was confined to the conscious mind there seemed no special need for food discrimination. But gradually a new phase set in. I found that I was having vibrations in the sympathetic nerve centers — the subconscious mind was being quickened, and I was becoming a conscious life battery. The vital currents gradually grew stronger, and stronger until I could hardly control them. Appetite, passion and emotion, were greatly increased. Then my prayers for guidance were answered and a system of communication was 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 before it was in proper condition to be built into the new Christ body. 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 foods in body building.

Losing The Ability To Fight Disease

From Food, Inc. Watch the entire movie on Vimeo.

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 — dead cells are those from which intelligence and force have withdrawn, inanimate substance only remaining. Man appropriates these living cells and they become part of his consciousness, according to his capacity to use them. Those who have not developed the capacity to regenerate the cells consciously, get but a small part of their energies. Sufficient force is extracted through the automatic functions of the organism to build up and sustain a physical body for a few years, but the thread of life is frail and its texture is coarse. In man the creative cells are deposited in the refined seminal seed, ready for regeneration, but they are seldom used to that end, being dissipated in ignorant, sexual indulgence. In woman the menstrual flow relieves the system of the life elixir, which should be regenerated and thrown onto the higher plane of consciousness.

Personal experiment has proved to me that there is but very little change in the character of the food until it passes through the refining process called regeneration. The stamp of individual identity is put upon it only through a concentrated effort of the I AM in spiritual meditation and affirmation. It is true that all persons who are much in prayer and in conscious spiritual states, are constantly drawing upon these reserve cells in the seminal ducts and regenerating them. But the process is not well sustained until man consciously co-operates with the law, and seeks daily, regeneration and purification of all the cells in the organism. Then a system is established, and the new body is built up as designated by Jesus Christ in the symbology of the New Testament.

Deplorable Conditions of Industrial Farms

From Food, Inc. Watch the entire movie on Vimeo.

With this understanding of body substance, and of the process of body building, both physically and psychically, we can see the necessity of discrimination in choosing foods. If the cells pass into the blood and the glands essentially the same as they were formed by the animal or 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 that life has disappeared in its highest degree, and there is left only a lot of cells in various stages of corruption and decay. These are a burden to the human body because of the disintegrating process that has already set in. Instead of the vigor and force that once animated the flesh of the animal, there is left a mass of dead cells. 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 proved by experiments that certain fleshly conditions peculiar to the animal, accompany its flesh in all its journeys through the body of man.

In San Francisco a few years ago many persons were made violently ill from eating meat bought at a certain shop. Physicians investigated; they found that the carcass of a certain steer was the source of the trouble. It was believed that the steer was diseased. Further inquiry showed this to be an error; the animal was unusually healthy and vigorous — in fact so vigorous and forceful that he fought for his life for more than an hour when attempt was made to kill him. 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 the steer poisoned his meat in a manner similar to the way in which the anger of a mother poisons her milk and makes her infant sick.


From Food, Inc. Watch the entire movie on Vimeo.

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, these poor brutes are maltreated in ways almost beyond description. Visit shipping pens, stock trains, stockyards, and packing houses, if you want evidence of the sufferings of the poor beasts of the field. And these very sufferings are, through 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 traced, in a measure, to these unsuspected sources.

The argument that life is also destroyed in eating fruits and vegetables is used to excuse this slaughter of beings having intelligence, affections, and apparently souls almost equal to man's. This argument is so far fetched that a moment's sincere thought ought to disclose its fallacy to any one. 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 Gen. 1:29: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food." 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 lifeblood of things that resent the carnage, and cry out in terror when his cruel knife is raised against them? This is in direct opposition to the divine law of freedom and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of God's creatures.

Plants, by the aid of the sun, convert the mineral elements of the earth, and the poisons of the air (none of which would sustain animal life) into foods. It is only by the agency of plants that animal life is sustained. The plant purifies the air and converts the animal waste into food. Man in turn develops the plant and protects it from insects, waters it, and supplies it with nourishment; then the cycle is complete. When man eats an animal, divine order is disturbed; the animal is denied the right of expression, and man clogs his system with sewage and secondhand food.

Man is today suffering, in his body and mind, from the results of transgressed law, and he will continue to suffer until he observes in its fullest degree the command, "Thou shalt not kill."

We rejoice that progressive metaphysicians are giving this question attention. It is easy to theorize and argue — the ranks are well supplied with these voluble wise ones — but it is a real pleasure to find the results of the tests of nonmeat eaters in our metaphysical ranks.

Dr. W.R.C. Latson, a recognized authority upon diet, has this to say about meat:

So far from being a strong food, flesh meat is, strictly speaking, not a food but a stimulant. The meat of the animal contains food and poisons. The food we can use. The poisons we must excrete, and in the effort to get rid of these irritating poisons the organism, is thrown into a state of excitation which is mistaken for strength. As a matter of fact it is like the "strength" which comes from alcohol.

Doctor Latson goes on to say that it is a fact that, the heart of the habitual meat eater will beat at least ten times more a minute than the heart of a person living on a pure diet. He says further:      

The strongest argument against the use of flesh meat is that to eat the animal's flesh is to eat the animal's excreta, which are inseparable from it.

Doctor Latson presents various tables and, diagrams in relation to the amount of nourishment contained in everyday food. These tables show conclusively that meat is less rich in food materials than are many other common articles of diet.

It is a fact that at least seven tenths of the population of the globe never eat meat. Dr. Felix L. Oswald says: "The strongest men of the three manliest races of the present world are nonflesh-eating." During the heroic periods of Greek and Roman history, the food of the soldiers was entirely vegetarian. The Greek athletes were trained upon vegetarian diet. It is a fact, that the most successful athletes of the day are those who abstain from meat entirely, or at least during their periods of training. Bernarr MacFadden, once a successful athlete and later editor of Physical Culture magazine, has this to say regarding meat eating:

But the most startling evidence, in favor of vegetarianism is the fact proved in my own athletic experience, and in the experience of many others, that the vegetarian diet gives one far greater endurance than the meat diet.

Unity Congregants Can Bring Light and Awareness

From Food, Inc. Watch the entire movie on Vimeo.


What is the best way to discipline, the appetite and to bring it under the dominion and authority of the Christ mind?

All man's appetites and desires are primarily spiritual. They are his means of appropriating the life and substance of Spirit. But the whole man has fallen short of the divine law, and he expresses his power in unrighteous ways. So appetite has taken on carnality, and when man begins his conscious growth in the spiritual life, he finds that he must overcome carnal appetite and bring all his powers into obedience to divine law.

The following affirmation is the first step in restoring appetite to its rightful place:

My appetite is spiritual, and it now finds its perfect expression in the purity and righteousness of the Christ mind.

This affirmation should be carried out in thought, word, and deed. To speak the affirmation, and then continually to deny it by willfully betraying it into the hands of the sense man, will not produce any speedy change. If sense desire calls for false stimulants in food and drink, the higher self should say no. Faithful discipline of this kind will make many changes in the kind and quantity of food that is eaten, and the appetite will be set free from its bondage to the carnal mind.

In addition to this, very definite statements of dominion and power and authority in Christ should be made. A firm hold on an overcoming word like this will prove helpful:

I am established in the power, and mastery, and dominion of the Christ mind. My appetite is no longer in bondage to sense man. I speak this word of authority in the name of Jesus Christ.

One means of taking control of the appetite is practice in eating slowly. When one eats too fast, it shows that one is not poised. Dominion comes through poise. Poise is a result of dominion. These two act together. While eating one should remember that one "shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God." All foods are representative of ideas. The idea is the "word." While the food is being eaten, digested, and assimilated, another process goes on. The ideas back of the food are being appropriated by the mind, and are being built into the soul and body.

Besides the inherent, essential, fundamental idea in a food, there are associative thoughts producing effects, like fear. A man who was a hunter in the early days of Kentucky, would not eat the flesh of any animal that saw him before he fired his gun. He said that it was not fit to eat. He was not a metaphysician and never heard of anything along that line, but by observation and experience he had learned that the fear that the animal felt when it saw him and felt his murderous thought, poisoned the meat. It is hardly necessary to add that the hours and days of suffering and fear that animals now undergo before they are slaughtered, render their flesh unfit for food. This is but one of many, reasons why one who would discipline his appetite finds vegetarian diet necessary.


Is it not inconsistent in temperance people, who are careful "to drink no fluids that will inflame them, to eat indiscriminately solid foods that are known to be stimulating, and, according to dietitians fully as deleterious as alcohol?

The overcomer must take complete control of his appetite and instead of allowing sense appetite to dominate him, he should be the master, deciding in spiritual wisdom what he will eat and drink. Appetite has to do with eating as well as with drinking, and it is therefore inconsistent to avoid the use of drinks that sense appetite demands, while allowing that appetite full sway in all solid foods. The absurdity of this is easily seen when we carry the matter back far enough to see that "temperance," as commonly accepted, means choice in what one swallows that does not require chewing, and absolutely unbridled appetite when it comes to things that must be chewed.

There are many aspects to this question. First, there is the gain of mastery and control, without which no man can be an overcomer; and none but overcomers can attain spiritual consciousness and eternal life.

Secondly there is the need of choosing food and drink that have spiritual qualities, suitable for building into the spiritual body which the overcomer is forming. As men grow spiritually, the character of their food changes, and they gradually grow out of the grosser foods and drinks desired by the man in sense consciousness, and seek more and more to keep the body temple pure in every way. Animal products and beer, whisky, and tobacco usually go first, as the sense consciousness loses its hold through the quickening of spiritual consciousness. The finer foods become more desired, and step by step we arrive at the place where we have overcome all sense appetite, and find ourselves hungering only for the "bread of life," the substance of Spirit, and desiring to drink only of the "water of life," that pure, crystal stream that flows through our organism from the throne, the place of Christ dominion within us. This dominion we gain by daily overcoming all the lusts of the flesh, among which is sense appetite.

A third reason for turning away from the fleshpots of Egypt is the need of cultivating love and mercy, and overcoming all cruelty and all indifference to the peace and comfort and well-being of every created thing. The importance of this is seen when we consider that the attainment of eternal life depends upon universal love.


In what manner do you pray for those who wish success in trapping, fur farming, chicken raising, stock ranches, and so forth? As a Truth teacher I have this problem to meet in my work, and I cannot conform these things, to my ideas of Truth.

We are indeed glad to receive your question, and to note the spirit of earnest endeavor that it reveals. "God is love." It is His love seeking expression in and through you that makes you question the advisability of killing animals for the provision of man, either for food or for raiment. "God is Spirit." His Spirit, even the Spirit of life within you, will help you to find the way to enter life in its fullness, and to give this message of life to those who come to you. This life does not countenance death in any form. He who has earnestly sought the higher way finds that it is not good for the upbuilding of his body temple to feed it with food that is filled with elements of fear and death — feelings such as are experienced by animals about to be slain to meet the lust of appetite; nor is it well for a person to surround his body with death thoughts by covering it with skins of dead animals, animals that were his fellow creatures. God is calling you through the questioning of your soul, calling you to come up higher into the fullness of all Truth. God is setting you free, free from all thought of death, free from the need of killing. In God you have no needs, the satisfaction of which causes other persons to carry on industries of death. God has given you the vision. He will give you the wisdom to share your vision with others.

When we receive requests such as you mention, we follow the example of God who, looking put upon the darkened void which was the world unborn, said, "Let there be light." We pray for the light of God to illumine the person seeking our help; we ask for the love of God to shine forth; we ask for the goodness of God to bring to the seeker true prosperity and lasting success; we pray for the wisdom of God to guide him to the work which will be for his highest good. In faith we speak the word — and you would rejoice with us if you could read some of the  answers that reveal the ways in which God has opened other avenues of expression to those who would really serve Him. In all prayer it is essential that no thought of condemnation or judgment be allowed to enter the mind; nor should a person seek to coerce in any way the one for whom he is praying, or to dictate to him as to the course that he should follow.

Looking into the darkness, God saw the need of light — and light was given. Looking into the hearts and souls of men, He saw the need of love — and the Christ was given. Even so, those who are following Him look into the animal world and see the need of protection and understanding for the lower creatures — and are assured that as the word of Truth continues to take root and grow in the race consciousness, the animal kingdom shall be raised above the untoward conditions that have been placed upon it by man. It shall be redeemed and set free, free from death, free from all forms of cruelty, free to grow and advance into that which is the Father's perfect idea for it. Through those who are willing to follow the Christ, the God of life, love, and purity, this work is even now being accomplished. We rejoice that you are questioning former things, that you are seeking the way. We can even now hear the Christ say to you, "I am the way." We see you going forward through Him, helping humanity and lifting all creatures to life, peace, love, and well-being. God bless you.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

"Fruits and vegetables supply elements that sweeten the body fluids and have a decidedly beneficial effect upon the disposition and temperament of all members or the family," says Meatless Meals, a vegetarian cookbook containing more than three hundred healthful, palatable recipes. This book is printed in large type, and durably bound in linen. Price, $1.

Another fine vegetarian cookbook is The Science of Food and Cookery, giving more than five hundred practical and pleasing recipes, besides scientific information about foods and nutrition. We have this book in a revised, enlarged edition, although the price remains the same, $2.50. It is attractively bound in dark-green cloth.


917 Tracy, Kansas City, Mo.


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