Unfortunately, people seem to lay their bad traits to heredity, blaming their parents for their faults, while taking to themselves all the credit for the good. The very fact that we differentiate between that which is inherited and that which is our own shows that there are two sides to man's nature, the side of the form and the life side.
We are drawn to certain people by the law of causation, and the law of association. The same law which causes musicians to seek the company of one another in concert halls, gamblers to congregate at the race tracks or in pool rooms, people of a studious nature to flock to libraries, etc., also causes people of similar tendencies, characteristics, and tastes to be born in the same family. When we hear a person say, "Oh, yes, I know I am extravagant, but I just cannot help it. It runs in the family," it is the law of association; and the sooner we recognize, that instead of making the law of heredity an excuse for our evil habits, we should seek to conquer them and cultivate virtues instead, the better for us.
Man is essentially spirit and he comes here equipped with a mental and moral nature, which are entirely his own, taking from his parents only the material for the physical body. Thus while heredity in the first place is true only as regards the material of the dense body and not the soul qualities, which are entirely individual, the incoming Ego also does a certain amount of work on its dense body, incorporating in it the quintessence of its past physical qualities. No body is an exact mixture of the qualites of its parents, although the Ego is restricted to the use of the materials taken from the bodies of the mother and father. Hence a musician incarnate where he can get the material to build the slender hand and the delicate ear, with its sensitive fibers of Corti and its accurate adjustment of the three semicircular canals. The arrangement of these materials, however, is to the extent named, under the control of the Ego.
In the fetus, in the lower part of the throat just above the sternum or breast bone, there is a gland called the thymus gland, which is largest during the period of gestation and which gradually atrophies as the child grows older and disappears entirely by or before the fourteenth year, very often when the bones have been properly formed. Science has been very much puzzled as to the use of this gland, and few theories have been advanced to account for it. Among these theories one is that it supplies the material for the manufacture of the red blood corpuscles until the bones have been properly formed in the child so that it may manufacture its own blood corpuscles. That theory is correct.
During the earliest years the Ego which owns the child-body is not in full possession, and we recognize that the child is not responsible for its doings, at any rate not before the seventh year, and later we have extended it to the fourteenth year. During that time no legal liability for its action attaches to the child, and that is as it should be, for the Ego being in the blood can only function properly in blood of its own making, so that where, as in the child-body, the stock of the blood is furnished by the parents through the thymus gland, the child is not yet its own master or mistress. Thus it is that children do not speak of themselves so much as "I" in the earlier years, but identify themselves with the family; they are Papa's girl and Mama's boy. The young child will say "Mary wants this" or "Johnny wants that," but as soon as they have attained the age of puberty and have begun to manufacture their own blood corpuscles, then we hear the boy or girl say, "I" will do this or "I" will do that. From that time they begin to assert their own identity, and to tear themselves loose from the family.
Seeing, then, that the blood throughout the years of childhood, as well as the body, is inherited from the parents, the tendencies to disease are also carried over, not the disease itself, but the tendency. After the fourteenth year, when the indwelling Ego has commenced to manufacture its own blood corpuscles, it depends a great deal upon itself whether or not these tendencies shall become manifested actualities in its life.
Flesh and alcohol have the tendency to make man ferocious and to turn his spiritual sight away from the higher world and focus vision upon the present material plane. Therefore the Bible tells us that at the beginning of the rainbow age, the age where we live in an atmosphere of clear and pure air, so different from the misty atmospheric condition of Atlantis spoken of in the second chapter of Genesis, Noah first brewed wine. Material development has taken place in consequence of the present focusing of our energies upon the material world, which resulted from partaking of meat and wine.
Christ's first miracle changed water into wine. He had received the universal spirit at the baptism, and had no need of artificial stimulants. He changed the water to wine to give to others less advanced. But no wine bibbers can inherit the kingdom of God. The esoteric reason is this, that while the lower ethers vibrate the seed atoms in the solar plexus and the heart, and thus keep the physical body live, the higher ethers vibrate to the pituitary body and pineal gland. By imbibing this false rebellious spirit that is fermented outside the body and is different from the spirit that is fermented inside, by sugar, these organs are temporarily dazed and cannot vibrate to the higher world, and so because of age-long abuse, man has ceased to function in the higher worlds. If he takes too much of this spirit of alcohol, the organs named may be slightly awakened so that he sees the lowest realms of the desire world and all the evil things therein; that happens in the disease known as delirium tremens. To sum up, as the evolution of soul depends upon the acquisition of the two higher ethers from which the beautiful wedding garment is made, and as these ethers are attuned to the organs named in the same manner that the lower ethers are attuned to the seed atom in the heart and the seed atom in the solar plexus, you will readily understand the deadly effects to the spiritual man, of alcohol and drugs. To elucidate further I quote and incident of life.
There is an old saying: "Once a Mason always a Mason"; that means that when anyone has received the initiation of the Masonic Order, and by virtue of that becomes a Mason, he cannot resign, for he cannot give up that knowledge and the secrets which he has learned any more than a person who goes to college can give back his learning received at that institution and therefore, once a Mason always a Mason, and likewise, once a pupil, a lay brother, of a mystery school, always a pupil and a lay brother, of said same mystery school. But though that holds good and life after life we come back connected with the same order that we have been affiliated with in previous lives, we may in any one life so conduct ourselves that it is impossible for us to realize this in our physical brains, and I will, as said, cite for the benefit of all students a case which is very much to the point.
When I was taken into the Temple of the Rosicrucian Order in Germany I was surprised to see a man whom I had known on the Pacific Coast; that is to say I had seen him a few times; we had never spoken. He seemed at that time to be in a station in the society, where we were connected, much above mine, and I had never had personal acquaintance with him. However, he greeted me there warmly, and seemed to understand all about his connection with said society, about our meeting there, and so forth; and I looked forward upon my return to America to getting much information from this brother when I should be fortunate enough to meet him here in the West. When I arrived at the city where he was, I was told by mutual friends that he had been expecting me and was looking forward anxiously to meeting me. Therefore, when I did meet the gentleman, I at once went up to him and shook him by the hand. He also seemed to recognize me and called me by name. It seemed there was every indication that he knew all that had happened while we were both out of the body. Besides, he had told me in the Temple that he remembered everything that happened to him when out of the body; this of course I believed for he was of a much higher degree than the first, into which I had just been admitted.
On the day of our physical meeting, after a few moments' conversation I said something which caused him to stare at me blankly. I had referred to some incident of our meeting in the Temple, and he showed plainly that he knew nothing whatever of it. I had, however, said so much that I was forced to say more, or appear very foolish so I told him that he had professed to remember everything. This he denied, and at the end of the interview he begged me very earnestly to endeavor to find out why it was that he was a lay brother of the Rosicrucian Order, yet could not remember that which took place during his absence from the body. He was as I knew at various Temple services. He took part, yet in his physical brain he was absolutely ignorant of that which had occurred. The mystery was solved a little later when I learned from him, out of the body, the fact that he smoked cigarettes and used drugs which clouded his brain to such an extent that it had become impossible for him to carry anything through of his psychic experiences. When I told him that in the body, he made a valiant effort to rid himself of the habit which he acknowledged. This case illustrates how careful we should be to be clean in our habits; in everything to regard this body of ours as the Temple of God, and refrain from defiling it as we would refrain from defiling a house of God built of stone and mortar, which is not one millionth part as holy as the body wherewith we have been endowed. The brain, in particular, is the great and important instrument whereby we are doing our work in the Physical World and we obviously should not use any intoxicants or drugs which muddle it and thus prevent our making the progress we expect.
This article was adapted from "Occult Principles of Health and Healing," page 87-93, by Max Heindel.