Most people talk about the health benefits of eating vegetarian—not getting the grown hormones, antibiotics, pesticide bio-accumulation and saturated fat. Meniscus started talking to actress, writer and yogi Shakti Assouline about vegetarianism in India and the more subtle affects of eating meat.
Meniscus: Shakti, can you tell us more about the subtle effects of going vegetarian? Why do Hindus not eat Cows and Pigs?
Shakti: Every act we do affects our consciousness, and eating is an act we do many times a day. “We are what we eat,” is very close to the truth, in that what we eat greatly affects our consciousness. We may think we can see the world clearly, but actually there is so much happening around us that we are completely blind to.
The more we eat “mode of goodness” foods the more we are open to see the world and ourselves and others clearly. And much peace and happiness comes when we have the ability to see clearly.
However when we eat meat of any kind, we are eating flesh, blood and fat of a body that once was alive and currently is dead. So we are eating dead matter, and that enhances a tamasic or “mode of ignorance” consciousness. That is the yogic perspective.
To live and enhance a level of “dead” knowledge or “dead” vision is never going to enhance happiness, much less spiritual knowledge. Eating meat sadly has the opposite affect, it reduces the chance of having spiritual sensitivity and makes spiritual knowledge harder to acquire.
In fact just from a basic logical perspective, when an animal is killed, fear is running through it’s body. And that anxiety is causing specific hormones or chemicals to run through the animals blood stream. It has been proven that animals are aware that they are going to be killed. Many try to escape, and even shed tears. They know they are about to be killed. And that fear, that pain is affecting their biochemistry. So you can imagine what that means for our consciousness as we ingest the meat that contains that fear. We are a society of enhanced fear and anxiety and in many respects ignorant of so many subtle realities.
The practice of meditation, yoga, prayer, mindfulness and genuine searching for genuine answers all helps lift our consciousness. However, just like we go to school for many many years to earn knowledge of this material world, it takes years to cultivate spiritual knowledge. And most of us are not putting in the time, energy and dedication it takes to know deeply who we are.
Now there is an analogy I love. If a mechanic and you (or any of us who are not mechanics) look at the same engine we will see totally different things. Our eyes are I taking different visions, due to knowledge or the lack there of. In that same way we need spiritual training to see ourselves and this world for what it truly is.
Eating foods that are mentioned in the “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” that are in the mode of goodness like legumes, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and ahimsa milk products is the beginning of raising your own ability to see the spiritual subtlety in the world.
- by Shakti Assouline
If you are interested in what Shakti has to say, you may be interested in her Yoga Nidra training as well. Check out her site for more details: http://pureshaktiyoga.com/yoga-nidra/nidra-trainings