Insects are much smaller than us and it would be unlikely that we would be able to avoid stepping on one ever in our lifetime. These are things that are unavoidable. If a murderer justifies killing because death is inevitable, he would still be trialed and convicted. It’s not about preventing the death of every life form on earth, which wouldn’t actually even be allowing yourself to live, but it’s about being present and aware of our deliberate actions or inactions we take on a regular basis that may cause otherwise unnecessary suffering to another being. There is a very immense difference between choosing ‘death’ and being a part of life where accidents and energy exchanges happen at all times in all forms. Do we perpetuate suffering through our actions (or inactions), or do we make choices that support loving kindness in all of its forms? These can be very difficult questions to ask, because every time we purchase an item, those items don’t come along with the story of how they were made. And our society has become complacent and we have begun to trust that behind the scenes all is beautiful, therefore we are all innocent loving beings, only contributing to society by being involved and living up to the ‘standard’ acceptable morality. These ideas are exactly what we need to question. We need to question everything we think we know about how the world works, in order to actually create the kind of world that all of us can be utterly proud to live in. It starts with one step, one thought, one question, one realization, one action. That one action has and always will be ever revolutionizing the world.
This issue bothers most of us, yet I can’t seem to resist kebabs, fried prawns, fish curry, etc. When a spiritual leader was asked by someone who was guilty of killing cockroaches, he laughed it off by saying that the cockroach was lucky to have got rid of the life it had in order to move on to a higher form of life. Since then I am happy to get rid of these repelling creatures. It’s like they say, it’s not bad to punish, it helps the person concerned to improve his/her karma.
I don’t know the kind of good work this certain spiritual teacher has done, but I think anything that doesn’t come from your own heart, your own inner knowing is worth questioning. Even ‘spiritual’ teachers are human in the end, they share the best of what they ‘know’ but it doesn’t make it truth. Maybe cockroaches look very different from us and move around much faster, but in no way can we say with certainty that they are a ‘lower’ form of life than us. Or that it is their ‘karma’ to be killed by us. It is their karma to live, it is our karma to live. When we kill them on grounds where we believe we hold absolute truth over who shall die and who shall live, in my eyes that is us playing god. Perhaps we are god, or perhaps we are accruing negative karma pretending to know the truth when we don’t actually know. These things are to be wary of, anything that isn’t loving kindness is to be wary of.
Response to the word, “Can’t”:
Can’t is a word we use when we are unwilling to try. Avoiding foods that are regularly consumed takes practice. It doesn’t necessarily come overnight. And sometimes it takes months just thinking about it, before the courage to try something new is able to settle. That is totally okay. What worked best for me, is to make up my mind, that I would try it, for a month — or a certain time frame. The more it is practiced, the more one can realize that the world is full of flavorful and wonderful foods. Soon I got to the point where the cravings totally went, perhaps some desire for certain tastes remained… but those tastes were mostly the sauces which can be eaten with vegetables or tofu and suddenly those comfort foods are really not so far away after all. The next level after adjusting your inner desires and cravings, is the ability to state what you like and what you need to family and friends. This was very difficult for me, I didn’t want to be a hassle, I did not want to cause issues. But with practice, again, I made sure to let people know, if I would be eating with them, what I eat and what I don’t eat. This allows them to know and to plan before hand so it’s not uncomfortable to come to their home and nothing you can actually eat. Some people will give you a hard time, that’s their job. But our job is to live in our own truth, and what feels right to us. It doesn’t serve them to try to ‘please’ them when it actually hurts you or hurts other beings involved… the discomfort to a being is not equal. I would rather inflict discomfort on someone then severe cruelty and murder to another in avoiding that. It’s your life, it’s your body, of course you have ultimate decision as to what goes inside. It gets easier, and then it gets joyful. And then you can’t see yourself looking back, unless there is some crazy apocalyptic scenario, and even I don’t know fully what I would do if such a thing happened.
But anyway, it’s possible, it just takes practice. It starts with denying one meal. And sometimes that first meal is the hardest, but it’s initiated a new brain pattern that will further be strengthened the more it is practiced. Another way to kick the habit is to watch documentaries that jolt the nervous system — the shocking horrors behind the scenes of these animal factories (earthlings, youtube videos, fork over knives, food inc, food matters). If you can’t bring yourself to watch it… it’s that much more reason as to why it is important to. It’s not fair that you are unwilling to watch something with your eyes, that millions of animals per day are experiencing with their bodies. And that is caused by you. By us, collectively and each of us who buy into the meat culture contribute directly to that. Those dollars tell those farm managers and CEO’s that we appreciate their services in the world. And we think that they should be some of the richest people in the world, because we believe in their cause. But is this truth? Do we really feel that way? We can in no way be disconnected from the fact that we are causing that, every time products are consumed from those factories. Even if its some innocent ‘leftovers’ that no one else was going to touch, it doesn’t matter, consumption leads to more consumption.
Comment made on FB:
The reality of life is that you need to to kill a living being to feed other living beings. Even in the growing of crops, bugs must die in order for the farmer to be profitable.
Well, if people even were to eat directly plants and bugs, we would kill less plants and bugs if we were to eat them directly than if we were to feed those same plants (filled with bugs), in addition to much more to provide for animals to live and grow — and then slaughter them for food. So not only are those plants and bugs still being consumed when eating non-veg, but much more of them, including the animal that you are killing (check out the page on plants for more info) . Here is an article from Cornell on how much animals consume http://www.news.cornell.edu/…/us-could-feed-800-million… “U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists”
Also farming today, is definitely not the most compassionate practice. You are right, worldwide we spray millions of tons of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides to kill out all the competition so the plants we want can thrive. However, these methods are actually quite ineffective in the long run, and scientists are gradually understanding that there are much better ways to farm. That are more ecologically inclusive and rely on rich biodiversity in the soil and in the plant species. In relying on nature, we don’t need the use of chemicals. Organic is the closest regulated infrastructure to this kind of farming system that we currently have. Of course organic has a way to come to fully embrace biodiversity on the farm and all of the elements that could make it a more compassionate process. Organic is up against a very tough competitor, cheap fossil fuels that run conventional agriculture. On small scales however, it is possible to grow food without resorting to killing all but the plant lives that will eventually be harvested. At my farm, I never kill any insect, in fact I typically only see beneficial insects that don’t harm your plants, like spiders, preying mantis’, butterflies… I also don’t weed. I allow everything to grow, everything has a place in the garden, and I also find that many of the plants still do amazing despite something that may horrify a conventional grower. But modern research is really pushing us more to diversified yet unified systems, which aren’t reliant upon chemicals, mono-crops and GMOs. So the world is transforming in it’s own way.