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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ethical eating as Spiritual Practice, Pt.II

I wanted to first acknowledge that I am deeply moved by the gift of this time with you.
In this life's journey I believe that we will always be in a state of discovery.

Perpetual students.

When Nina asked me to speak about my experiences after studying the WPD, I was honored.
Then the task became apparent, “How do you put all this into words?”

The things that you know to be your own “truth,”
that presence inside that is undeniable, and what we often define as our “calling” to somehow define what is my relationship to God. 

Being unfamiliar with Unitarian Universalism
I was really impressed to learn that many of your principles are in alignment with aspects of my own like the Vedantic teachings of ancient India, and being a Joyful Vegan.

So when it comes to this “communion” our act of sharing thoughts and ideas,
sometimes these ideas are often heavy subjects to be reflected upon deeply
and digested slowly.

I thank you for this feast!

Together, in community, As we try to strengthen our own understanding,
of healthy, sustainable, and compassionate living, we can become instruments for the spread of this knowledge, happiness, and peace.

Mindful Eating is an essential foundation for healing within and deepening our spiritual practice
Food and Community are often intertwined. Food can be a metaphor:

What is it that feeds your soul?

Every thought we have,
every action we carry out,
every word we speak.
All leave a wake behind us as we sail through our daily lives.

Everything is connected:

What began this leg of my journey, to get me here,
standing in this very space,
in this very moment with you all
was attending my first Kirtan a little over a year ago.

Kirtan is a form of meditation,
And taps into the vibrational energy within us all.

Everything posses this energy.

Some may debate that rocks and sky are not living things but indeed the earth is ALIVE!

From the very core to the ionosphere. And all things in between.

During this meditation, I felt my heart “open.”

The only way I can describe this to you would be the sensation you have right here in your chest
like pressure or presence when you are just about to cry.

I began to connect with the world around me in a completely new way.
I began to listen, I began to follow my heart, and in a very short time, this brought me to a six week study course of: The WPD.

Dr. Tuttle prefaces that we are in the midst of a profound spiritual transformationand cultural revolution. In chapter 11 “Living the Revolution” we are posed with the question:
“When is a caterpillar ready to transform?”

The most obvious sign is the passing of its voracious appetite because an inner urge turns its attention to new directions. Food is our primary connection with the earth and her mysteries, and with our culture. It is the foundation of economy and is the inner spiritual metaphor of our daily lives. There is no way to overstate the magnitude of the collective spiritual transformation that occurs when we shift from food of violence and oppression to food of gentleness and compassion. The key to adopting a plant based diet is to truly live it.

Be the change.

This practice is an essential pre-requisite for evolving our culture to a state of consciousness where universal peace and freedom are possible. Beyond the common spiritual experiences of internal and theoretical teachings, being vegan offers a concrete and visible way of living that flows from and reinforces a sense of caring and connectedness. Choosing to love.
And for me there was no question. I needed to not commodify animals, decrease the impact of environmental destruction, and take responsibly for the unnecessary violence my choices cause others. 

All of these choices create a ripple,
a vibration,
a resonance.
Including pain,
and suffering.

To consume animal products is to incorporate them and accept those resonances.
To further open my heart. I felt it was no longer a choice, but an imperative to adopt a different way of living. In another chapter, Dr. Tuttle also describes:

To practice eating for spiritual health and social harmony we impart making certain essential connections to increase our awareness that our culturally induced food rituals normally require us to block.

To go deeper, to connect, imparts the core ethics of universal compassion, mindfulness,
awareness, and silent receptivity. 

It is like peeling back layers of an onion-- often there are tears,
but the beauty of embracing that can be so sweet.

Just think of what happens to an onion when it gets simmered!
Opaque becomes translucent, things soften, they caramelize.
And before you know it there is room in the pan for more. There is nothing in the world quite like it.

Eating with awareness can be a sacred feast, yet it is usually done casually while we are preoccupied with something else.

In doing the ”homework” for this sharing, I also discovered your wonderful peace pledge:

We must begin at the source.

Focus on Inward Peace making. Inner peace empowers us to build outer peace.

Building our own harmony, self acceptance, and compassionate understanding
of our deeds and feelings then we increase our capacity to provide that to others

Choosing a plant-based diet is not a panacea but effectively removes the basic hindrances to our happiness, freedom and unfoldment.

“Seek first the kingdom of god for then all else shall be added unto you.”

Though I am only in the infancy of this life's journey, I have experienced on occasions too numerous to quantify, the minor miracles unfolding in my life  practically every day in the form of fortuitous coincidences and auspicious occurrences.

Some define this as manifestation. In my truth, I cannot take credit for “making“ any of this happen.

The divine moves though us as us
Can you hear it?
Can you feel it?
Can you be it?

I don't know all of you by name yet, but I know your voices.
We are all instruments of peace