The Spiritual Consequences of Tobacco Consumption
The physical damage caused by tobacco consumption is well known, and includes nicotine poisoning, respiratory diseases, heart and circulation disorders, as well as cancer. But what happens on the spiritual level? Does smoking also affect the nonmaterial core of man? Christopher VASEY, a naturopath in Chamby-Montreux (Switzerland), answers this question in the affirmative with regard to the inner dependency brought about by smoking. The knowledge of these connections offers the opportunity as well as the motivation to free oneself of the addiction.
Unknown in Europe before the end of the 15th century, tobacco was introduced from America by Christopher Columbus after he discovered the new continent in 1492. Being a rare and therefore precious product, tobacco was initially primarily used for medical purposes, for example as a herbal infusion.
The cultivation of tobacco spread first in Spain and Portugal, then into the rest of Europe. As demand grew, tobacco was soon being cultivated on a large scale, beginning in 1520 in North America, the Antilles and Cuba. Selective breeding finally yielded a variety adapted to the European climate, the cultivation of which began around 1560.
At that time tobacco was mainly snuffed as a fine powder, so that it was absorbed through the nasal mucous membrane, or else it was consumed as chewing tobacco. Pipe, cigar or cigarette smokers were quite rare. The ubiquitous cigarette of today did not exist before 1674. It appeared about two centuries after tobacco was introduced to Europe, and at first was rolled by the smokers themselves. Production on an industrial scale only began in 1842, and helped not only to make it available but contributed considerably to the popularity of tobacco. The number of smokers then rose spectacularly, first in Europe and soon worldwide. In France, for instance, annual cigarette production was around 7 million in 1860, but by 1893 (only 33 years later!) it had climbed to a billion, and by 1960 to 50 billion. After peaking at 97 billion in 1991, production still amounted to as many as 83 billion cigarettes in 2000.
Initially, tobacco was a rare and valuable commodity, but today, it is commonplace and its consumption is considered quite normal, having a universal appeal that is rather surprising. In contrast to other drugs that tend to be limited to certain regions or particular segments of the population, tobacco use does not know any such limits. Tobacco is consumed by the most primitive tribes as well as by people in the most modern cities, by men and women alike, regardless of educational standing or religious orientation, by adults as well as youngsters.
The bridge between spirit and body
As it is with most drugs, nicotine — a component of tobacco — does not only have physical effects. The "internal high" that the smoker seeks from smoking not only manifests in the body but also touches on the psyche, more precisely: his spirit.
The question is: How is it possible that a material substance like nicotine can affect the nonmaterial spirit? Naturally, the spirit cannot be influenced directly by nicotine molecules. There has to be a “connecting element” between body and soul* — and this "element" is the blood, more precisely: the radiation of the blood. The blood, this “juice of very special kind” in the words of Goethe, emits radiations or vibrations which in fineness and frequency resemble those radiations emanating from the outermost covering of the soul, or “astral body”. It is the similarity of these radiations that forms a “bridge” of resonance between the physical body and the soul, across which all information “circulates” between the material and nonmaterial realms. In this way the spirit is fully connected to the body during its incarnation on earth.
The blood radiation is dependent on the composition of the blood. Any change in this is bound to influence the condition of the soul as well. Let us take some examples. It is well known that a drop in the blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia) evokes a feeling of uneasiness; a lack of vitamin B1 leads to a state of anxiety; excessive lead in the blood triggers depression, etc. Thus it is easy to understand that nicotine changes the blood radiation, and consequently the condition of the smoker’s soul. Via the blood radiation (and in turn, followed by a similar radiation process via the finer cloaks of the soul) the spirit, too, is indirectly influenced by the effects produced by nicotine.
Now it could appear as though we were defenceless against all earthly influences which can reach us through our blood radiation. This is not the case. For the spirit likewise exerts its influence on all bridges of radiation, but from “within”.
It is well known that we can change our emotional state or soul condition by an effort of will. By pulling oneself together, one can become more cheerful if depressed, more even-tempered if excitable, more focused if distracted, more confident if one is despondent. In such a case, the volition of the spirit exerts a pressure — first on the finer coverings around the spirit, and subsequently also on the physical body. This pressure in turn causes the production of hormones and other secretions which change the composition and thereby the radiation of the blood. As a result, the spirit is soon "immersed" in radiations of a corresponding nature and experiences a correspondingly different emotional state.
If, for example, a person seeks calm, his body will produce endorphins as a result of the pressure exerted by his spirit. With increased vigilance of the spirit the cortex of the adrenal glands will produce adrenalin. Naturally, such processes take place unconsciously. Drugs are not substances absolutely foreign to the body — even if it could not use these — but they come very close in their activity to endogenous substances, produced by the organism itself. So similar even, that they can replace the body’s own substances. The unusual effect of drugs stems from the fact that they mimic in an exaggerated manner the particular effect of a substance normally produced by the organism. Thus morphine, which is extracted from the opium poppy, is very similar to endorphins, which are endogenous hormones. Cannabis resembles a biocatalyst that is secreted by the brain. And nicotine, in turn, corresponds to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, which partly ensures that messages can be transmitted from one nerve cell (neuron) to the next. So, in a stressful situation, a state of restlessness or fear, there are two ways of restoring inner composure: either through an act of will which follows an impulse from the spirit and causes corresponding secretions in the body — or by tobacco and nicotine consumption which brings an artificially induced state. The choice is ours.
The reason why people often opt for a drug which is known to be harmful is that it always appears easier to “consume” an external aid than to make the personal effort. To restrain oneself, or to do something of one's own will in order to achieve a goal, requires personal effort. Self-exertion is certainly beneficial to the development of the spirit and unfolding its innate abilities, for the spirit unfolds by activating a volition, just as a muscle gets stronger through exercise. For this reason, resorting to the use of the drug nicotine exhibits a certain indolence or lack of willpower and self-confidence. Ironically, this is the exact opposite of those qualities the advertising industry uses to make smoking “glamorous”. Generally speaking, the smoker is portrayed, as everybody knows, as an active, decisive, strong-willed and self-confident person.
The dangers of addiction
When a person decides to reach for and smoke a cigarette, he will feel a more or less significant effect. For example, he will feel calmer. In this way he “learns” that it is possible to achieve this goal without an inner, spiritual effort. This would not be a major problem if it occurred only occasionally. But a pleasant and comfortable experience is something one wants to have again, and so the smoker soon reaches for the cigarette at every opportunity, very often even unconsciously. And in so doing, the spirit becomes less and less accustomed to reacting out of an impulse of its own will to maintain or restore the inner balance or, as the case may be, to rediscover what is its task. The less the will is active, the weaker it becomes, and soon the smoker finds it exceedingly difficult to remain calm without resorting to the use of nicotine. He needs it and cannot manage without it. And this is what we call “addiction.”
It is important to point out that it is the spirit above all that becomes addicted, not the body. For the spirit is the only living entity in a human being that has the ability to perceive consciously. And it is the spirit — and not the body — which suffers, feels discomfort, perceives lack of something, or feels a sense of inner dissociation. The body and the brain merely transmit the sensitive information of the pain to the spirit. The normal functioning of the body may be disrupted by a drug, but the experience of addiction occurs in the nonmaterial realm of the real self. The spirit yearns for the drug in order to experience the desired state. It binds itself through its own volition to the means of addiction.
The propensity for smoking (or consuming other drugs) is not automatically eliminated with the death of the physical body. Not by chance do clairvoyants who have contact with the other world give account of departed souls who remain "earthbound" through their propensity. The avid desire to smoke holds them near those who can still succumb to this urge, and they try to satisfy their craving through the feelings of a smoker who is still in flesh and blood. Moreover, the fact that this addictive behaviour rests in the psyche and not in the physical body explains why it is so difficult to give up smoking as long as there is not an absolutely serious and firm resolution of the will based upon knowledge. External aids may be able to support the spirit’s efforts. However, they do not render the spirit more active.
Conversely, some smokers experience little or practically no unease and can stop smoking without problems as soon as the appropriate impulse of will comes from the spirit. In this case, the body begins to produce those substances again that, up to this point, were being replaced by the drug. Some people become addicted to tobacco in a surprisingly short time. Others can indulge heavily in smoking without developing an addiction rightaway. This, too, has to do with the previous spiritual development of the person concerned, perhaps also with the past lives on earth. A smoker who dies and does not manage in the beyond to free himself of his propensity will come with this “predisposition” into a new incarnation on earth — and as soon as the opportunity presents itself the tendency will manifest again.
Tobacco consumption thus has consequences for the spirit! Through the blood radiation, nicotine allows the smoker to experience a state of relaxation and well-being. This “comfortable” path, however, endangers his spiritual development. Knowledge of these connections should induce the smoker to free himself of the smoking habit. As we have seen, the blood radiation can be influenced and altered not only from “without” but also from “within.” In order to free oneself of the cigarette habit, it is necessary to bring about a change in this radiation — not with nicotine, but through the power of the spirit.