Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Veggie Story

First of all, congratulations on this VegSpirit website! The title really attracted me because I feel that the spiritual aspect of the vegetarian diet is an often ignored aspect of vegetarianism. Some years ago, I wanted to learn to meditate, and I became convinced that the vegetarian diet is one of the foundations of inner peace and compassion.

About the subtle nature of creation it is said: “As above, so below.” If something is inharmonious, or “wrong,” spiritually, then it causes suffering at all levels of existence, including the mental and physical. I have been fascinated over many years to see article after article citing the many reasons for becoming a vegetarian: health, the environment, economics and humanitarian, etc.

The connection between meditation and the vegetarian diet works at many levels: a meat-free diet is less likely to raise our grosser passions and instincts, which work counter to meditation. In a more subtle, spiritual way, the meat diet burdens us with the karma of taking the lives of animals. With this conviction, I became a vegetarian overnight and have never had regrets about this decision. Meat products became less and less appealing. My body and being felt healthier and lighter – as if I were burning a higher octane fuel!

I would like to in conclude with a personal anecdote: About ten years ago my wife and I had a new friend who lived some miles away in the foothills of Northern California. We were going to visit her in her ranch house, and about a half-mile away, along a winding dirt road, I was gazing out across the barbed wire fence to a cow which was grazing in the field, outlined in the golden glow of sunset. I exclaimed to my wife: “How could anyone ever dream of eating a creature like that!” We traveled further and arriving at the house, there were dozens of cattle pressed against the fence on the opposite side of the road from our friend’s house. I commented to my wife, “It must be feeding time.” As our friend came out of her house, we asked her if someone would be coming to feed the cattle, and she replied: “No, I have never seen them do that in my life. I think it’s because you were coming. I’ve been talking to them all week and telling them that some people are coming who are vegetarians and would never think of eating you!”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Walking the Talk

It is said of Gandi that once a woman brought her child to him and asked for his advice.
"My child eats too much sugar and this is very bad for him. Can you help me?"

Gandi thought for a moment and told the woman to bring her child back in a week.

She went home happily, thinking that Gandi would be thinking of some special way to influence the child.

After a week, she brought her child back. Gandi took the child upon his lap, looked in his eyes, and clearly stated, "Dear child it is very bad to eat sugar. Please stop eating sugar now and never eat it again. Do you understand?" The child nodded his head solemnly and slipped off of Gandi's lap.

His mother was perplexed and asked, "If this is all you intend to say, why didn't you say it last week when we were here?"

Gandi replied, "Last week I was not prepared to say this to the child because I also had the sugar eating habit. Only this week did I stop eating sugar altogether. Now I can tell your child not to eat sugar. Before, my words would have been weak, but now that I have stopped, they will have some power because my own example will shine forth, backed by the truth of my actions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In Love Serve One Another

Here's one of our favorite tales of the mystic east. This story is found in Good Stories Make You Good, by Sant Thakar Singh (Edition Naam publisher). It is more relevant than ever in today's world of worsening hunger.

Lord Vishnu's Feast

Lord Vishnu decided to give a holiday feast. He invited gods, angels, and demons to the feast. He made the devils sit on one side of the table, and the gods and angels sit on the other side. Then he served all sorts of good and tasty foods to them all. But before they started the meal, he told them that they should enjoy all of the wonderful food he had served them....but only under one condition: they were not to bend their arms while eating! Their arms were to remain straight!

The demons got very angry and demanded, "how is it possible to eat without bending our arms?" They thought that Lord Vishnu was playing a very insulting joke on them, and thus cursing him, they went away hungry without eating anything.

But the angels who were more peaceful, thought, "He can't have prepared all this food only to make a joke because it will all be wasted. There must be some good reason behind it."

It is general the habit of the gods and angels to look and see if there is anybody around them who has not eaten before eating themselves. With this in mind, they found that others around them were hungry. So they fed each other, keeping their arms straight! In this way, they enjoyed Lord Vishnu's wonderful feast.

Lord Vishnu's lesson was of service, compassion, and peace. He wanted to teach his guests that in service we make others peaceful and happy, and in turn find that we are feeling happy and peaceful ourselves.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


When I get down thinking about the suffering of so many of God's creatures, I make a list of things that give me  hope.  Here's my current list.  I would love to hear from you too.  What gives you a lift?

1)  A surge in young people turning to vegetarianism.
2)  Dr. Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine (more on that later)
3)  Great vegetarian restaurants around the globe.  Being able to travel and find vegetarian oases pretty much everywhere.  Let's hear from you.  Where do you love to eat?
4)  Many vegetarian options in ordinary grocery stores make it easier to keep the compassionate diet.
5)  Countless vegetarian websites
6)  Many great vegetarian cookbooks (and uncook books!) What's your favorite?
7)  The gratitude I feel toward my spiritual teachers who taught me the compassionate diet 27 years ago, and continue to give me inspiration today.
8)  The joy that comes from knowing that I can be healthy without killing animals.
9)  The fun of sharing great vegetarian food with my friends and family, (especially my dear husband)