The following is an excerpt from a memoir I’ve been working on.
The kids and I spent much of our summer at a farm that was owned by a group of friends who had formed a small community. We stayed in an RV parked next door to one of my dearest friends and her family. We were on a beautiful Missouri hillside with lovely rolling hills and fields and creeks and ponds. I got to work on my writing, and as I worked I could hear the farm’s children and my children laughing and playing with each other. We pitched in and helped care for the farm’s animals and my kids were mentored by one of the community members in horseback riding, who along with practical help offered a good balance of humor and a call to discipline. That time was truly a gift. I got to deepen my friendships and my personal practice, and I got to learn more about SoulPath work in practical application. I was able to take off the mask and just be. It also put me face to face with my food.
Today some guests come to the farm and we’re enjoying showing them around. We stroll to the pigpen to empty out the compost into their eagerly snuffling snouts.
“Did you ever see an animal that looked more like . . . Bacon?” she grins. I smile with her. But I feel guilty of something, not quite sure what, until I take time to think about it later.
It’s not that I think that it’s wrong to eat meat.
I notice that I stop shy of feeling into the Field around these animals. Different from cats or horses, whose emotional bodies feel noticeably familiar to me. I notice that I feel embarrassed at the pigs’ eagerness to eat, and I remember feeling embarrassed for one of my sisters when we were kids and my dad insulted her, angrily called her a pig at the dinner table. It was dehumanizing and it stuck to her self-image like a flea on a dog.
I think about how ready we are to see horses as beautiful, but cows and pigs and chickens and sheep as utilitarian at best. I hold myself separate and superior from animals that I am willing to eat, and dive into exploring my connection with horses and deer and goats and birds.
Do I have to demean something to justify taking it into my body?
Does a life form have to be reduced in my regard to somehow being less than me, if I am to receive life force from it?
What if the life I take into my body is equal, or even excellently superior, and I am faced with that vulnerable moment knowing that I get to now stretch and yearn to be worthy of the Life that gave itself that I might live more abundantly?
What if it is all . . .
Giving God’s body
so that God may awaken
in a new form.
What if it’s all
Take “Deserving” out of the equation.
Give it joyfully.
I am what I eat.
Am I eating Grace with bliss and gratitude,
or projecting and then feeding upon projections, protections against seeing, seeding the sacredness of life and the intimate vulnerability that holds us all together?
What exactly am I eating?
When I feel that satisfying crunch and salty explosion in my mouth am I massaging and placating that part of my Self that requires and feeds upon explosive new discovery and learning and growth?
When I reach for that melting ecstasy of chocolate sweetness, am I lulling back to sleep the intensity of my desire for ecstatic union?
Yesterday a carrot showed me how to die.
It was there in my hand, glowing, a ray of orange sunlight pulled from the earth, scrubbed clean. It had a funny twist in the middle, like the center of a Mobius strip.
I asked it: will you give me your body to sustain my body, your life force into my life force?
And it answered YES!! with such a joyful rush
and with tears filling my eyes and my heart I ate.
And as I did I could feel that it was giving me something I needed far more than physical nourishment, and that was this:
to know that there is no end. It is just life into life into life into life, consciousness into consciousness into consciousness into consciousness. Waves of never ending never beginning.
It’s funny to me that we humans think we are the pinnacle of creation, and it explains why we’re so freaking terrified of death. If we’re the pinnacle then from here, everything else is downward. Maybe it would serve us to be a little less special. A little less important.
Or maybe to see all the other places on the Mobius strip as gorgeous as they really are.
“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj