follow us

How Does Being Vegetarian Concern Spiritual Practice?

How does Vegetarianism concern Reiki? Aren't you adding a lot of unrelated topics to your explanation of Reiki? The original Reiki teachings and texts do not comment on the issue of eating animals. From the perspective of personal transformation through Reiki that I advocate, industrial animal farming, slaughter and chemical toxins in meat are all very negative factors in the pursuit of a healthy body, mind and spirit. Of course, it remains every person's free choice to eat meat, eat only fish or become a strict vegetarian. To make that choice wisely and humanely, please be sure to check the wisdom, humanity, nutritional and health related risks of all factors. You need to know your body's own true needs, sift through your cultural beliefs and ideologies and do what is best for your overall health and well being.

In a broader context, have you considered the spiritual aspects of eating meat compared to Vegetarianism? While this may be a very personal matter with a wide variety of responses, it should certainly be addressed. Deep in your heart, how do you feel about the living conditions of farm animals? Do you have a pet cat or dog? What do you think about slaughterhouse conditions? What is your position on animal cruelty? Would you be upset if somebody came in your house and kicked your dog or tried to break the neck of your little sister's pet rabbit? Do animals have souls? Do humans have a right to kill and eat other species? Visit the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website to learn more about vegetarian ethics, lifestyle and several videos about the suffering of animals. Please don't get me wrong: I don't mean that Vegetarians are more spiritual and meat-eaters are all heathens! I would just like everybody to consider all dimensions of this issue.

Vegetarianism and Planetary Healing

Beyond the personal dimension, we all have a responsibility for the health of our planet. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist? Raising a kilogram of beef requires sixteen times the amount of resources as it does to grow a kilogram of vegetables. How many virgin rainforests have been deforested in the interests of raising cattle? How much water is used to raise one cow or one pig? How much feed is required to fatten one chicken or cow? How much pesticide and insecticide is sprayed on the animal feed to keep away pests and how much chemical fertilizer is poured on the crops to maximize the growth of the corn fields? How much of this pesticide, insecticide and fertilizer ends up in your fried chicken dinner tonight? If you're like most people, you probably have no idea. Gabriel Cousens writes, "a vegetarian diet brings one into ecological harmony with all of creation." It conserves land, water and energy and enhances the quality of life for humans and animals alike. To me, these are important reasons to take further steps in pursuing a vegetarian diet. It heals me, saves the lives of animals and helps minimize my impact on the planet. I just consider it being personally and ecologically responsible.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations writes that the production of meat and animal products for mass consumption, especially through factory farming, is environmentally unsustainable. Their research shows that the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation all over the world. Furthermore, modern practices of raising animals for food contribute on a colossal scale to air and water pollution, land degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity. The FAO initiative concludes that "the livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems."

I urge you to seek additional ways to minimize all aspects of violence from your life. After ten years as a Vegetarian, I feel a new awareness developing from within myself. I realize that when I harbor negative feelings towards anyone, this ultimately leads towards self-inflicted illness. I've learned to recognize that negative, judgmental thoughts are a subtle form of violence . This seems to be the natural evolution of ahimsa , total non-violence. I work mindfully to diffuse negative feelings and thoughts as they arise. Please don't mistake me for a saint or anything like that. Indeed, I still get angry at my neighbors, still get upset when my computer crashes and worry over the state of the world. I don't mean that I've squashed all negativity and now sit on the high throne. I only mean to suggest that through mindfulness and practicing non-violence, I'm able to release a lot of negativity from my life.

Progressing from nutritional aspects of health and spirituality, the next chapter in our lives explores transcendent dimensions of being through transformation of the ego, our communities and our planet.