Being vegetarian

Vegetables
As a young child, I used to eat all kinds of meat and fish. In fact, I don’t even like to mention some of the kinds of meat that I happily ate. But as the years wore on, I began questioning meat on every level. Now I’ve been 100% vegetarian for about eleven years.

I honestly don’t know why meat began bothering me in the first place. I used to love the taste, but at around age seven, I began disliking the flavour. After that, I began associating meat with the act of killing and bloodshed. A lot of people argue that it’s natural for humans to be omnivores, but I feel we’ve reached a state of consciousness in which what we eat is a choice, not just an instinct. It may feel ‘natural’ to start a fight with someone or to be promiscuous, but we make conscious decisions which instincts we should follow through with – that’s what makes us responsible individuals and allows societies to progress. Even primitive societies display such traits of consciousness – it’s the hallmark of human evolution. I think being vegetarian is an important choice, both for the individual and for the ecological systems we contribute to. Animals live on instinct, but in a way which is in sync with nature. The way in which we consume meat these days is definitely not in sync with nature.

The meat industry keeps and produces livestock in a very ecologically-unfriendly way just in order to make money. The natural balances of the food chain are disrupted and the proliferation of diseases becomes much higher. I realise that vegetables are grown in artificial ways too, and that there are now options to buy organic meat, but despite all this, the risks of producing meat are always less natural and more detrimental in terms of self-sufficiency, the environment and individual health. A lot of people think that vegetarians miss out on vital food elements, specially protein. But this is simply not true if someone follows a balanced diet. For all these reasons, I think it’s worth being vegetarian.

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Feeding the soul

I have come to realise that feeding the soul and feeding the body are very closely linked. Living in Asia, eating the wrong thing can have disastrous consequences. Sometimes such things are triggered by unforeseeable factors in the environment, and they can’t be predicted. But whenever I face problems related to food and eating, it always reminds me of the same thing: food is sacred. If you treat it that way.

I used to eat meat and fish, but became a vegetarian some years ago after feeling very disturbed about the kind of meat I was eating. Now I see that being vegetarian is not enough. It’s about the way we regard food. If it is prepared with love, care and with consideration/gratitude for Mother Nature, then it will sustain us. If it is made carelessly, hatefully, angrily, and eaten with haste or greed, then it could wreak havoc.

Sometimes it’s too late – you already consumed the wrong thing – and your system is acting against you. Sometimes you ate the right things but something went wrong, perhaps you got stressed or there was a sudden climate change which made you ill. Another thing I’ve learned is that the border between comfort and discomfort is a spiritual exercise. I would certainly not recommend self-punishment in any way, that’s not what I mean. Self-punishment is calculated and dishonours Mother Nature’s role in balancing things. Facing pain and pleasure as part of life shows acceptance of nature and resilience of the spirit to become strong, to survive. What I mean is that when life puts you in difficulty, you have to call upon all your resources to deal with it. And in dealing with it, you experience life as a vital force, here and now.

So, I am going to try and eat foods in a way that will feed my soul, and if something makes me react badly, then I will deal with it in the knowledge that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, and this temporary pain will reveal the resilience of my spirit to carry on, for the spirit is imperishable.