In this lesson Bernard encourage us to consider eating ‘live’ food as part of a “Trinity of Power” in our physical, mental and spiritual development. He mentions the possibility of eating wild food. (See edible wild foods at Plants for a Future website – also type “grass” into the search box to see a list of edible grasses with their ‘Edibilty’ rating. Students in the USA could try the Wildcrafting website. As in all things, exercise common sense and introduce new foods into your diet gradually and sensibly – allow your system time to adapt. Also please allow for the fact that things have changed a lot since Bernard wrote this in the 1950’s. Nowadays even food in the wild might have been sprayed with something harmful to humans especially if in the vicinity of a modern farm. (See disclaimer at bottom of this message).
THE ‘HEALTH’ SECTION
LESSON THIRTEEN “EAT LIVING FOOD!”
My dear Student,
These Lessons are going to deal partly with physical subjects but you, who are Students of the first Sections of The Thought Bricks Course will know that the mental side of life and the spiritual side of life are very important indeed. In fact, they are all one. It is useless for us to keep our bodies clean and strong if our thoughts are dark and weak! It is useless to eat wholesome food if the food of the spirit is neglected. So use these Lessons in conjunction with the rest and you will have a “Trinity of Power” in your physical, mental and spiritual development.
A Student wrote: “Do you advise me to miss out my usual reading and study, while taking the ‘Health’ Lessons? Psychological help and a greater God Consciousness are what I most need.”
I replied: “It would be a great loss to you if you missed out the study and practice of the ‘Health’ Lessons. As a truly balanced life includes spiritual, mental and physical development, all merging into one, so do these ‘Health’ Lessons balance the Course, merging smoothly with the spiritual and the mental. For instance, a part of the first Health Lesson deals with the mental attitude to health; a part of the second Lesson deals with ‘the opening doors to Truth’ and with Divine Realisation; a part of the third Lesson deals with optimism, creative thinking for success, and so on.
“Just go right on studying, then, in order to vitalise and enrich your life.”
The first thing you must recognise is that, if you want life in your body, you must have life in your food. If you picked a cabbage leaf from your garden you would find it was crisp, moistened with tiny specks of glistening water and obviously alive. Then, if you laid this cabbage leaf aside for a day, it would become dry, its life would begin to go out of it and it would soon be wilted. But if, after a day, you put it in cold water, what would happen? It would revive again and regain its freshness, its crispness, proving that the life, in part, was still in it.
Suppose, however, that instead of laying that cabbage leaf aside, you boiled it, threw the water away and left it on a plate. What then? It would be a soggy mass and if you then tried to revive it in water, you would only add to its sogginess. Why? Because its life had already been boiled out and it was dead. What we need, then, to bring life and vitality to our bodies is to eat some of our foods alive. Do you not see that this is very reasonable? We need to eat some of our food raw and this need not be unpalatable at all. It can be made attractive, colourful and delicious! Instead of the raw food, raw juices can be taken. These are easily digested.
Have you ever thought that we all live to a great extent on grass? We do, you know! For cows live almost entirely on grass supplemented by a few roots – and we live in a certain measure on milk, cheese and butter If grass alone can support these huge, strong creatures and can produce in them such a rich, nourishing food as milk, there must be a great deal of goodness in it. And there is. I have heard of people who, as an experiment, lived almost entirely on grass for a few weeks. They flourished. Others have supplemented it with a few weeds such as chickweed, groundsel, dandelion and the like. The strange thing is that these people have not needed so many meals as others. I have heard of one lady who has only one meal a day – grass and weeds forming a very large portion of it. And although we may not want to follow their example, yet we must admit that there is value in these foods! I have eaten grass many a time, and would certainly never starve if left to wander in a desolate country away from shops!
I would eat grass, choosing the young and tender blades; I would eat the young shoots of woodruff, of goosegrass, the young leaves of hawthorn, of campion, of primrose-with plenty of sorrel leaves to add a spicy flavour! If I had access to a fire, I would – if it were the proper season – gather the young, curling shoots of bracken (not fern) and boil these like asparagus. I would also dig up the large bracken roots, scrape and cook these like potatoes. No; I should never starve – and neither need you, if you are ever stranded, now you know.
What a lot of people there are who have a secret dream of living in the country. Most of them think it is unattainable, but actually it is not nearly so impossible as they think. In these Lessons I will give practical and personal advice on this subject, having had the dream myself and achieved it, too. With knowledge and time, anyone can live very cheaply in the country. What an abundance of stinging nettles there are! These make a wonderful dish if the tops only are cut, and cooked like spinach. They also make an excellent soup, with oatmeal and onion added. It tastes rather like mushroom. Sorrel, too, lends itself to an almost endless variety of dishes, for it has a sharp, delicious flavour. Sauces, puddings, soups and even pasties can be made, with sorrel as a base. With potatoes, which any country-dweller can grow cheaply (and using all the skins) and home-made bread, or bought bread cut into slices and baked hard, many healthy, satisfying meals can be prepared at the minimum of expense. So if you happen to have hankerings after an inexpensive, healthy life in the country, there’s an idea to start with.
In these “Health” Lessons, you will be reading quite a lot about food. Do not, however, write me with a detailed description of your menus. (Just imagine having to read scores and scores of different menus and diets every day!) Do not, either, think that I advocate raw foods only, or any particular diet. I mention “live” foods because so many people have scarcely any experience of these-they already know about the ordinary foods. One important point-avoid being “cranky” about food. Enjoy its variety and enjoy “treats”, and don’t tell people you meet all about what you eat unless they ask you and really want to follow the recipes.
There is one other point, too, that must be borne in mind – the mental attitude towards Health. This cannot be stressed enough for it is the foundation of all health recovery. Thoughts are creative, and when a sick person begins to think of himself as getting better (or, if an infant, those around him think like this) health starts to come into manifestation. This is clearly demonstrated in the experience of a Student related in the following article, which is reprinted from a former copy of our magazine.
“FOLLOW THIS STORY!”
Recently I had a letter from Student Eirlys J. and I suddenly remembered how ill she was when she first wrote to me and enrolled for the Course, and how interesting it would be to trace her progress from back numbers of our newsletter B.W.N. (Bernards Weekly News). Well, I found the issues concerned and will now give you extracts from her letters, with dates, starting from the beginning, so you can follow her story all the way and rejoice with her in the health and happiness she now enjoys.
July 1952. “Many thanks for all the literature you sent me. I was really thrilled and read them over and over again. Of course you must call me Eirlys. It may interest you to know that it is the Welsh flower name for ‘Snowdrop’ and it is pronounced like ‘Iris’ but with an ‘L’ in the middle: thus, ‘Irlis ‘. From your writings I realise how very understanding you are and I do so appreciate this personal touch. You have already made me feel much better and happier and I shall most definitely work hard in the sound knowledge that you are there to guide me. I particularly enjoyed the first Lesson, which is truly inspired. I now ‘feel strongly’ about things and know I shall derive 100% profit from the Course. I am very interested in the other Students. It was good to know that a visit to Snowdonia helped one of them. I realise how lucky I am in being able to convalesce here. We have a large garden and from it can see the whole panorama of Snowdonia – wonderful on a clear day. Then I am able to see the smoke from the little train as it wends its way up Wyddfa.”
July 17th, 1952. “I feel that I am progressing exceptionally well, and feel very happy about things generally. This week seems to have been a very eventful one. To begin with, my mother took my radio set to town since reception was poor. I wondered what I should do without it and then spent the time using your method and asking for its return the same day. You can imagine my face when Mother really did arrive back with the set. I was terribly thrilled. You see, it means such a lot to me since the set and my bookcase have between them solved most of my problems for the past 2 years. I have one each side of my bed! The man at the shop refused payment of any kind. Yesterday I got ‘dressed up’ for the first time in months and went to Church. Everybody greeted me as though I were royalty! It was all very wonderful. I wonder what news there will be in B.W.N. this week? By the time I have completed the Course I shall have a wonderful set of booklets of great inspirational value. This afternoon I shall listen in to Wimbledon and then get up for my three hours. This evening I can listen in again. What a very lucky person I am. My best wishes to all Students.”
August 14th, 1952. “Your letter, Lesson and B.W.N. were wonderful. I really feel that I can do wonders with your help. You are so confident that I simply marvel. You really are doing wonders for me. I feel much better and look much fitter too. I feel that life has much more to offer than I ever imagined and I am happier and more content than I have been for a very long time. My faith is getting stronger every day with your help and I do so want to reach the heights. The Course is exactly what I have always wanted. What a wonderful day it will be when I can say: ‘I’m going back to school again’. I do so love reading the B.W.N. and feel amongst a lovely set of friends all the while.”
November 20th, 1952. “After a long silence, here is a short letter to tell you of my progress. Yesterday I received the latest report regarding my health. You will be pleased, I know, to hear that everything is well and I am to go back to school after the Easter vacation. I had quite made up my mind to go and had ‘built’ for this, so am quite content. I can never thank you enough for all that has come to me recently. I feel truly wonderful and have no fear at all about anything. I enjoy B.W.N. tremendously. I rejoice in the good works done by Students and in the increasing number of Students. Your articles continue to enrich my life and I often wonder how I managed before I contacted you.”
That’s splendid progress, isn’t it? Eirlys did go back to School after that Easter vacation and has been well ever since. But now let us look at her latest letter. Here we see the happy future I was “so confident” about actually a reality of the present.
January 23rd, 1955. “Every time I get a B.W.N. I feel like writing to you, I do so enjoy all your writings. I sent for details of The Golden Gate Course just before Christmas and then was so busy that I didn’t have time to do anything about it. However, this time of year is just right for it. Next term we shall have Sports Day and goodness knows what, so will be very busy again. Not, of course, that we have a quiet time ever. At the moment we have two teachers away and are quite unable to replace them. You can imagine how difficult it is with 56 of one’s own and 8 of somebody else’s to cope with.”
“The staff problem is acute here. We are short of one member as it is. So with two away we are really three short! All this doesn’t bother me in the least and I do everything in my stride and enjoy every moment. It is so wonderful, and I wouldn’t feel like this had I not studied your Course. I am so grateful to you. I have changed so much since that day, a long time ago, when I sent for your Course. There are just two more things that I want. I am therefore going to take the new Course to help me in my quest. I am in wonderful health now and am so thrilled. I shall never get so used to it that I forget its worth again. I give constant thanks for the gift. It is marvellous to feel so well and happy. I am back at work, the work I love. My parents are happier than they have been for a long time. I have this cosy little flat and the landlord and his wife are charming. In fact, my life is happier than ever.”
“I have you and ‘Thought Bricks ‘to thank for all this, you know. As I said before, I still want two things. I am going to get them, too, with ‘Golden Gate’ to help me. I was so glad to hear that the cats are getting on so well, bless them. I often think of you all and the animals. How wonderfully happy you must be in that lovely countryside. I shall be looking forward so much to the first Lesson of the new Course. Many blessings to all.”
How I love these inspiring stories of achievement. One thing is certain, though. If I had remained confident and Eirlys had not, the result would not have been good. For each one of us has free will to choose what he or she thinks, and what we think within comes forth visibly in our lives. There are other invalids who have not made so much progress as Eirlys (though some have done equally as well) and these more backward ones are where they are because they continue to see themselves as invalids, in their minds. These mental pictures “build” ill-health because of the creative power of thought. So if you want to achieve good health – or anything else – “see” yourself already enjoying it. See it vividly in your mind, so clearly that you feel it “Believe that ye receive and ye shall have.”