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Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Another Step Toward Vegetarianism

“All sentient beings have the seed of the Buddha within them.”
~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Last weekend while driving on the interstate I passed a huge flatbed truck carrying about a hundred cages full of live chickens. Within each individual cage the chickens were jammed in on top of each other, and through the vents in each cage you could see the chickens struggling and squawking at each other, feathers flying out of the cages and onto the highway. There was no way to deny that these sentient beings were suffering.

I had been leaning toward pesco-vegetarianism lately anyway, and seeing this sight (which literally nauseated me and the friend who was riding with me) sealed the deal. I can’t imagine eating chicken again without seeing that nauseating image of living creatures piled on top of each other.

The “pesco” part of pesco-vegetarianism refers to fish, which I’ll continue to eat, along with organic dairy products and eggs from certified free-range chickens. I know that fish are sentient beings just as chickens are, and I make no claims to consistency. Perhaps in time I will work my way toward being a 100% vegetarian or vegan. But taking this step, to no longer participate in the sufferings of most animals that are used for food, is what I feel called to do at this time.


Anonymous Virushead said...

Nothing like bringing you face to face with the reality.

I've given up for now on vegetarianism - except that I won't eat veal. The last time I tried, I had nightmares of plants screaming. For now, I just thank the spirits of the animals for giving me their lives so that I might have life. I read a prayer years ago, can't find it now, to the buffalo - it inspired me to add this sense of gratitude. I think it's horribly unfair that some must die for others to live. It's one of my top questions for the afterlife, if there is one.

1:01 PM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger gratefulbear said...

I understand, Heidi, and I think it's great that you're approaching meat-eating with a sense of gratitude. The Cherokees say that one of the causes of arthritis is failing to give thanks to the animals we eat!

Vegetarianism is not an option for everyone. The Dalai Lama, for example, had serious health difficulties when he tried to follow a vegetarian diet. And people with diabetes, like me, are advised to eat fish at least three times a week because the omega 3's in fish are highly beneficial.

I usually say this simple prayer, from the Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, before each meal:

"O Thou, the Sustainer of our bodies, hearts, and souls, bless all that we receive in thankfulness. Amen."

1:17 PM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Stephen Ingram said...

I have been a pesco vegetarian for four months now. I have really enjoyed it, especially because I have been doing it for theological as well as health reasons. I really encourage you to contimue this, but make sure you are getting plenty of protein, if you do not it can be bad news. Take care.

1:04 AM, April 02, 2006  
Blogger isaiah said...

There are many reasons to limit or eliminate certain foods in our diets- the decision to do so must be made from the heart.

Being more conscious of what we consume means we are being aware and this can only be a good thing.

Yes, we must be sure to take in proper protein, but the ways are vast and with just a little education we can learn and be fine.

We simply do not know what we are doing to our bodies by consuming meat slaughtered in mass production lines. We can only be weakened by ingesting the "things" added to the animals diet to enhance weight and "health".

We also ingest the fear and consciousness of the animal itself-at the point of its death. The energy is passed into the muscle tissues...and this further weakens us.

We should all do as Ken Wilber does....and eat only what we ourselves would be willing to kill.
I will not argue with anyone who adheres to this diet- even if the choose to eat meat.

Didn't mean to get started here...... sorry.

2:36 PM, April 02, 2006  
Blogger gratefulbear said...

You're right, Stephen and Isaiah, about the need for protein. As a person with diabetes I'm accustomed to watching my carb intake and balancing it with protein. My roommate (the human one, not the cat) manages a vegan cafe, and he can do wonders with tofu! And I've discovered to my delight that my favorite dish at our local Thai restaurant, Masaman Curry Beef, is even better as Masaman Curry Tofu.

I'm not familiar with Ken Wilber's practice of only eating what we are willing to kill. It sounds like a good rule. Personally I am willing to gut and clean a fish but I am not willing to kill a chicken, a cow, or a pig.

10:33 AM, April 03, 2006  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

I don't have a lengthy response to your post, just to let you know I've recently begun this journey as well. I'm hit and miss so far, but am working toward getting there full time.

10:49 AM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Mark Walter said...

I have been vegetarian for many years, but have continued to eat fish and eggs, with occasional dairy. I orginally gave up fish, but began to suffer from joint pains. Upon re-introducing fish, they immediately went away. I don't believe I have any trouble with protein, having experienced no side effects from not eating meat. I include tofu in my diet. Overall, I feel much better than eating meat, which I gave up not for ethical reasons (although that has since become something I deeply consider), but because the energetic side effects of eating meat, e.g., sluggish metabolism, meat takes a long time to digest leading to putrification, and so on.

9:28 PM, September 02, 2006  

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