Monday, March 27, 2006

Ahimsa, part 2...

For reasons I'll articulate soon, but not tonight, about five weeks ago I generally stopped eating meat, though I still do fish.

I didn't mean to become a mostly-vegetarian. But when I asked myself, "What are the things in your life that you don't want to know?" one of the items on my list was, "How much suffering does my current manner of living cause?" When I looked into the answer to that question, I decided that I couldn't justify consuming factory-farmed animal products.

I've toyed with living vegetarian in the past, never continued the practice for more than a week or two. But I really didn't care much about it in those situations -- it was more of an experiment than anything else.

So this afternoon, my family and I (on a roadtrip through New Mexico) take a guided hike through Bandalier National Monument, and the guide provides lunch -- PB&J for some, turkey for the rest of us. I think to myself, "Ok -- even if you wouldn't have chosen turkey for yourself, the fact is, it's already raised, slaughtered and dead, so there's no point in not eating what's put in front of you."

I take a bite.

And to my surprise, I find what a friend described her experience to be after returning from India. I didn't like the turkey meat. I've eaten zillions of turkeys in my life -- or at least a me has done so previously. But something is different.

There was nothing specific wrong with the turkey. I surreptitiously peeled back the bread and extracted the meat. The reassembled sandwich -- lettuce and tomato on rye -- was just fine. Are my tastebuds re-orienting themselves? Probably.

I feel like an accidental vegetarian (and I'm finding that it's bloody hard to manage on a roadtrip through the American Southwest where everything is all-meat-all-the-time). I certainly didn't set out on this path on purpose. But I seem to be on it, nonetheless.