Having been a non-meat eater two or three times, but ending up as a meat eater as I am now, I have a wide angle lens in my perception bag, one that allows me to see the whole story of my journey with “the meat” since my journey is not 80 years old.
The reason people stop eating meat seems to me to be for four reasons: (1) a religious injunction (2) not wanting to participate in the killing of sentient life (3) better health (4) the means to enlightenment and unity consciousness—which was my reason. I stopped eating meat in. 1970 because my guru required that as the discipline necessary to subjugate the desire mind. For that reason, I picked up and dropped meat eating as I picked up and dropped my desire to be enlightened (or special). Since I no longer desire to be enlightened or special, or to arrive anywhere, the meat just came back. But this is not to discount the other reasons for the vow.
The vow to be ordinary superseded the vow to be special. Also at the age of 80, self-denial and asceticism is not as attractive as it once was. I embrace who I am now rather that stand at the airport waiting for my arrival in the future.
But at its core, abstaining from eating meat is Ahimsa, or the awakening of the Non-Violent principle. Do no harm. At this late stage in my practice, I basically practice Ahimsa in my own mind, which is the source of violence when one divides the mind into opposite commandments: I want; I shouldn’t. It is on this battle ground that I have raised the peace flag.
But this Peace Flag is raised only after a long, long civil war. One cannot raise the Peace Flag as a strategy to end the war. No…the true Peace Flag is spontaneously raised when one sees the absolute futility in trying to conquer the other side of one’s own mind.
Whatever rises in the mind, I don’t repress it, reject it or project it, I hold it with curiosity and look at it. My house is big. Come on in and have a cup of tea.
Since I no longer follow the Guru path, so I have no Guru or God to tell me to not eat meat or I won’t be accepted an loved, I have to just accept myself. To me this is the final form of non-violence, at least my last stand. The Vow of Ahimsa for me is to do no harm to myself, to not divide my mind from my body, or divide my mind again itself—which takes the form of a war against the world.
Whenever this division occurs, like in relationship with another or with circumstances, the town alarm goes off and the First Responder of Awareness rushes to the scene. “What’s going on here? Why this blood on the street. Why this pain of contraction? ”
Very quickly the Offending Opinion is hauled off the the ER.
Ahimsa or non-violence is non-dualism, but not as an idea or philosophy or teaching, but as applied practice. Take the Zen Koan. The master puts the student in a state of mental violence or duality out of which he cannot get. Caught between his inability to solve the. koan satisfactory to the master, while at the same time he knows there is a solution, the student’s mind reaches a state of oscillation or paralysis, unable to go forward and unable to go back. He can’t stay with the koan, and he can’t leave the koan or the master. The student is faces with the source of violence or conflict, his own split mind.
What is this split? The wound is the separation of Now and Tomorrow (future). As the Now, the student feels perplexed and helpless and he want to be rid of this pain in the future when he gets the answer to the koan and the master’s approval. The mind lives in becoming better in the future, the body live always already now in present confusion. The induced duality of the Koan forces the student to the end of his rope, and at some time he just spontaneously leaps off. BAM! The mind has become non-violent. The mind and body have become One when the tyranny of time loses its grip on the mind. This is also the end of the Ego’s separation from the body/world. The power of Now is its non-violence, and with the end of conflict with the body/world, tremendous energy is free to become creative and joyous.