Allan Kardec

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11. Does spiritual perfection depend on the mortification of the body? In order to resolve this question I will base myself on elementary principles and begin by demonstrating the need to take care of the body, which according to the alternatives of health and sickness, has a very important influence upon the soul, because we must consider it to be a prisoner of the flesh. So that this prisoner can live, move itself, and even have an illusion of liberty, the body must be sound, of good disposition, and be vigorous. Let us then make a comparison. Let us suppose that both are in perfect condition; what should be done to maintain the balance between their aptitudes and their necessities, which are so very different?

In this case two systems are confronting each other: that of the ascetics who wish to bring down the body, and that of the materialists who wish to diminish the soul. Two forms of violence, each one almost as foolish as the other. Alongside these two great parties seethe the indifferent multitudes who, without either conviction or passion, love with tepidness and are economic with their pleasure. Where then is wisdom? Where then is the science of living? Nowhere at all! And this great problem would still remain to be solved if Spiritism had not come to help the researchers and demonstrate to them the relationship which exists between the body and the soul, and to tell them that as they are both reciprocally necessary, it is indispensable that both are looked after.

So then, love your soul and also look after your body which is the instrument of the soul. To pay no attention to these needs, which Nature itself indicates, is to ignore God's laws. Do not castigate your body due to failings which your free-will can induce you to commit, and for which it is just as responsible as is the badly driven horse for the accidents it causes. Perchance, will you be more perfect if by tormenting your body you do not become less selfish, less prideful and more charitable towards your neighbours? No, perfection is not to be found in this manner, but exclusively in the reformation to which you submit your Spirit. Discipline it, subjugate it and mortify it; this is the way to make it more docile to God's will, and is the one and only way which leads to perfection - GEORGES, a Protecting Spirit (Paris, 1863).

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