At the onset, let it be known that no one can tell you what is right (or wrong) for you to do in absolute terms. When it comes to your diet you must follow your own discernment when determining what you need to consume, and under what terms. That will be your spirituality. But let’s keep an open mind and be honest with ourselves.
One good reason to be a proponent of veganism is the lack of interest in paying other people to do things for you that you wouldn’t readily do for yourself. This means that veganism is a lot about facing up to the truth. A lot of people prefer to turn their heads in regards to what goes on throughout the meat industry. And; quite apart from the insane cruelty that goes on in modern factory farms (slaughter aside), how many among us would actually have the wherewithal to slit an animal’s throat, gut it, skin it and butcher what was left?
There are plenty of people who’d prefer not to think about the fact that what they are eating is a dead animal or parts of a dead animal’s corpse. They find to put it like that is distasteful (even though it’s the truth). These people only eat cuts of meat which don’t look like any creature they know or recognize.
In our society we rename the flesh of animals to further disassociate ourselves from living beings. We call dead pig meat “pork,” dead deer meat “venison,” dead cow meat “beef” and meat from dead sheep “mutton.” It’s like we are using a different names to make us think that what we are eating is something different from the animal it comes from. In the supermarkets, packaging has tried its best to make meat look desirable and delicious and only by making the parts appear quite unrecognizable from the whole animal, as they did when alive.
Veganism is all about sensitivity. There are still a few people who choose to go out and kill animals for food. That way, they know that they are eating meat out of choice and not by default. There’s not much to say to these people except to honor and respect their choice. However, it is hard for some of us to imagine killing animals for food if you have reached a certain level of sensitivity. How is it possible to maintain sensitivity and still succumb to the needless violence which a true omnivore’s diet entails? Reason dictates that you’ll either change what you do, or you need to suppress your sensitivity to be able to continue.
As we evolve spiritually, it just seems right to actively aim to develop sensitivity and compassion towards all sentient beings. Sensitivity literally is having your attention focused in your senses rather than your thoughts. When we get too stuck in our thoughts, we tend to become what we “think” we are, rather than what we really are, and we “think” about what we experience rather than directly experiencing it in the here and now. Thoughts are all too often reflecting on the past or anticipating the future. This can bring a lot of suffering, although sometimes that can be a subtle thing to realize.
Don’t just aim to become sensitive because someone (me or anyone else) told you that you “should.” Let your heart show you your true path, allow inspiration to be the stimulus to prompt the nurturing of sensitivity and watch as that leads to real joy and happiness and truth.
Stay tuned, coming soon: “Violence and Compassion in Veganism”
Rae Indigo is ERYT 500