The Spirit of Food
There is another level of understanidng to what we eat. We could call it "spiritual," but I don't like that term because it implies "unnatural" and there is nothing unnatural about it at all. In our culture, we seem to like dichotomies not just in food issues but in general. Perhaps this is less about the way we think than about how information is presented to us in the media. What is "spiritual" is in fact more natural than what our senses preceive as "natural." I bring this up because for me, there is also a non-material component to farming/eating--there is an unseen aspect, a felt aspect that can't be measured. People will naturally ask, how can you feel spiritually about nature when you are killing it. This is a question we all have to look at as beings on this planet.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no escaping killing other life forms to sustain one's own. This is a natural fact of life on earth. This doesn't give us the right to then kill other life for no reason, but we cannot escape it no matter what we eat. As I will explain below, the problem from another level of thinking, is not killing life to sustain other life, the problem is the violence in killing. We assume that when we kill something that we have also killed it's essence. This assumption is based on the philosophy of materialism which assumes that all there is are forms which can be destroyed. However, when you probe deeply into spiritual texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, The Tao or A Course In Miracles, you find that the material is simply an illusion. This doesn't mean that there is no tree or the rain isn't really falling on our heads, but that that tree and that rain have more going on then what your senses can register. All life that appears to our senses as a form of one kind or another (a person, a chicken, a rock, a tree, etc.) has an energetic essence that cannot be destroyed. A great spiritual elder once said to me when I expressed deep concern about taking a life,
" The problem is not that you take other life to feed your own, because all of life is interdependent, the problem is that you question the divine nature of that life. When you take a life ,you must do so with the greatest reverence and gratitude, be it plant or animal. Do not assume that because it feeds you, it is less than you. It is here to help you evolve and to give you the ultimate gift of love with it's form. Simply recognize this. To not thank the being for the gift before taking the life, to not take a life in a state of humility and love, is violence. Violence is the problem, not death of the form."
Please know in sharing all this, I am not interested in changing anyone's mind about what they do or don't do, I am only sharing my own path so that what I do is better understood. Thank you.