There are many people who have adopted vegetarian diet in their lives. This article is not meant to pin point or to speak ill of any diet as a way of life, but it is from my personal experience in having being a vegatarian for a short while.
From 30 September (full moon of the Mooncake Festival) to 23 October, I’ve decided to be a vegetarian for about a month. A Hindu friend of mine was also a vegetarian for about a month and I had thought it would be good to follow. I’ve heard that vegetarian diet helps one to control one’s temper and keeps the body more purified. That is why many of the very advanced yoga practitioners (can do strong body defying twists and have some meditative powers) are pure vegetarians. For many yoga teachers, if they are not vegetarian, they also take very little meat, if at all. But not taking meat, it could have the effect for the awareness to reach a more subtle level.
If you find that your temper are out of control, it helps if you minimize your intake of meat AND SUGAR. Both this can cause the mind to go hyper and easily surceptible to the flow and whims of our emotions (which gets hyper because of the food we put inside our body).
I work in a relatively busy and stressful environment. The culture is such that we have to watch our backs- sometimes when we do wrong, we may get shot at left, right and center. But honestly, I’ve find that most people are actually quite nice once you really get to know them…and they of you. My issue is with those who don’t understand….
Due to my outspoken nature, I sometimes do get into trouble. And my quick temper (which I’ve learned to contain throughout the years but sometimes with not much success).
During the time when I was a vegetarian, I noticed something different. I am not going to use science to explain but I’ll do in my own words.
Usually when we, or at least when I get angry, there would be hot energy rising upwards- all the way to my head. Then as if there’s a spark that gets triggered, if I am not mindful enough, I may blow my top. Years ago, because of this, I used to say or write things that I regret later. But over the years, my temper had improved a lot- I guess we mature with age.
There was an incident during the beginning of October that had almost set me off- I got quite upset and again, the energy rose upwards…..but the ‘spark’ that is to trigger the explosive outburst….was missing. It was missing, and so there’s the fuel but not spark. So, as quick as the anger rose, it went down after I took a short walk to the ladies and back. It was then replaced by understanding and compassion. As a result, I replied in my email to the ‘attacker’ in a much better choice of words- with even a note of thanks in recognition to her efforts. Straight away, the mood changed and she was much more pleasant and receptive to my reasonings as to why we cannot adopt her process.
I realised that the triggering spark was missing because it was the meat that was fueling it was not there. Perhaps we can explain it in a way that the ‘spark’ was a leftover from the adrenaline and negative consciousness- that builts up and flow to the flesh and muscles of the animal who is afraid, fearful and angry about being killed.
With a little mindfulness, I could quickly contain it- only thing I had to remember is take a walk for a while and the anger would quickly go down.
Few years ago, I did become vegetarian for about 6 months but I find that it did nothing much to improve my temper- because probably that time I was not mature, very stressed to the max and did not cut down sugar.
For now, I am back to my former diet (an omnivore)- because as I traveled right after that (just came back from overseas trip), I find it is not convenient for my host to cook just vegetarian for me.
Eventually, I do agree it is what that is within us that matters. If our awareness is strong and steady, pain and emotions have little power over us. There is no point if we tell people we are vegetarian but we speak ill of others, involve in gossip and speak in ways that breaks people apart- if we do that, people would judge us. Or we keep trying to ‘convert’ our meat eating’ friends to vegetarians or try to get them to give in and forgo their favorite restaurants just because we are vegetarians. If we do that, we would find friends dropping out of the radar- pity them….because our friends would have been stressed in their jobs and family life…they would not appreciate us adding to their stress and judging their indulgence in a good ‘meaty’ meal.
Don’t judge or condemn anybody. Lead by example. When people see a change in us, they would want to know what trigger the change- and they may follow 100% willingly. When we tried to ‘lecture’ or coerce others, it almost never work. It just make them more rebelious.
We try it for ourselves and see. If we feel our anger outburst are out of control, perhaps we may want to consider trying to be vegetarian and see how things goes. If you love meat too much, the consider cutting down and replacing with fish instead.
In the very least, there is some health benefits to this- it may improve those with cholesterol or high blood pressure. And one may feel less tired because without meat which is harder to digest, our body would not be so sluggish. Even in Dr Dean Ornish’s proven methods in reversing heart disease through lifestyle change which is scientifically proven, he also advocated a vegetarian diet as well as yoga and counselling (because research by Dr Ornish and Vernon Coleman shows that most people who get heart disease have a certain personality type).
Finally, you decide to go as a full time vegetarian, do make sure you take care of your nutrient needs- to take supplement for amino acids that are needed to build your body.