There is a place in the world where Jain monks carry a broom to sweep the ground ahead of them and avoid stepping on insects. I love this mental image I learned as a child, and think of it often when I’m in nature.
Sometimes I wish I were this mindful in all life, but in truth I’m more of a realist, and not the most compassionate person on earth. I’ve been working on that last bit for a while, but my approach is to have as much integrity as possible, while understanding that we are human, we screw up, and it’s OK to enjoy life and let loose sometimes. The trouble with this approach is you can easily get a little too loose. When in Rome becomes when in life, and things quickly devolve from there…
I believe this happened to me over the past year and half of living and traveling in Latin America. Of course I ate meat. A lot of meat. I didn’t ask where it came from, or if it was from “happy cows.” There’s not a lot of food choices when you’re traveling in the north part of Peru, for instance. Vegetarian options are pretty much: Cheese sandwich, potatoes, potato chips, rice, corn and/or salad (which by the way is lettuce and tomatoes with a piece of lemon if you’re lucky).
The questions I find myself asking now, are…
Faced again with an abundance of eating options in Northern Europe, is it possible to mindfully eat an animal raised and killed for the intention of eating?
Is it morally acceptable to eat animals?
What, if any, conditions must be present for me to eat a piece of an animal?
Is it OK to eat some animals raised and killed for eating, and some not?
I know that it’s possible to mindfully eat an animal. I just don’t know if it’s possible to claim to be a mindful and conscious person of integrity, and still eat an animal that’s been raised and killed for the purposes of human consumption. Especially if that animal has been raised and killed in a factory. Continue Reading →