Updated: Jun 7, 2019
It is a misconception that vegetarianism or veganism is essential for spirituality. God is all in all, whether you eat meat or greens. God is the carnivore and the herbivore, the herb and the meat, the food and turd, the dust and the gold. God is all there is.
Enlightenment, i.e. self-knowledge, is depends on the mental diet not the physical.
That said, the Law of Cause-and-Effect always applies: it matters not that you eat meat or kill, but the consciousness of pain does matter. If you are conscious of the pain caused then you are going to have to deal with the consequences. No exceptions.
Thankfully, we will put the pain and ugliness of butchering permanently in the past with the onset of lab meat, excellent faux meat and creativity with vegetables.
Now, let's talk about my favourite topic of all time: me. Heh heh, yeah. Here's why I tend to avoid animal products nearly all the time. I'm not 100% vegetarian yet, but I'm damn near it.
1. Veggies are prettier: I actually think veggies are way more aesthetic. Just look at all the colours! Even though I unreservedly ate meat until I was 35 or so, I never did like looking at or touching uncooked meat. Yup, I never did cook meat often even though I ate it a lot: I just didn't like the look and feel of raw meat. These days, I even don't like the look of processed or cooked meat. Meat's just not that nice to look at IMO. Veggies were always more interesting to look at...psychedelic even. Veggie food, like the veggies themselves, looks nicer IMO.
2. Vegetarian food is easier on my system: No question about this. Meat and animal products feel heavy and have a dulling, soporific effect on me. I love sleeping, and sloth is a virtue, but the post-meat sluggishness feels different--mildly unpleasant.
3. Vegetarian food might taste better: Even though I sometimes like the first few bites of meat/animal products, it's a lot easier to down veggie food overall because it just seems to taste lighter and more refreshing. The flavour of meat and other animal products just don't taste as nice to me. Once I started paying attention to the food as I was eating it--a kind of mindfulness--I realised that the meat didn't taste that great anymore.
4. Vegetarian food might be better for the ecosystem: This is what I've heard. Apparently, it's better for the grasslands, the soil, water supply and all sorts of emissions into the earth and air. Still, I'm no expert on the topic and it's not my top priority either. All these systems can transform based on our consciousness. That's just it though: our consciousness.
5. Creativity and evolution of the palate: There is brilliant stuff that's coming out of the increasing emphasis on vegetarianism all over the world. Faux meat is getting better and better. The first time I ate faux meat it tasted really sub-par but there are new creations from Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Field Roast that are really very, very goo in their own right--not just as meat substitutes.
Creative cooking is creating brand new dishes all over the world. Some cuisines, like Indian and, to a lesser extent, Chinese/Far-Eastern, have evolved vegetarian cuisine into a high art. The most recent cuisine to do cool and refreshing stuff with veggies is Taiwanese cuisine: I hope to check some out when I visit that country. I think the diversity that's emerging is awesome.
6. Tech progress: The thrust for a more pleasant experience for all sentient beings, more vegetarian food and the thirst for new discoveries has resulted in the upcoming phenomenon of lab meat. There are a bunch of cool startups like Just Meat that are working on this cutting edge biotech. As far as I can tell, there is no pain involved because when they make chicken meat, it's crafted from the feather. And because it is actually meat, there are no iffy taste issues for the hard-core meat lovers.
The interesting thing about this is the implied understanding of the interconnection in all things, without which we would not be able to craft meat from a feather. It's this sort of thing that really is a gift to us: we would never have experienced such innovation without the push from our hardcore vegan and vegetarian friends. It may bring us even more novel benefits as we go along.
7. The Karma/Cause-and-Effect Issue: Yes,I have problems eating something when I know a certain type of suffering is involved to create my food. Although I do eat meat at times, I tend to keep it very vegetarian most of the time. If you are disturbed by the pain involved, then you better accept the consequences that come with it or begin to avoid such food as much as possible.
8. Animals are more "intelligent" than you'd think. Just check out the trained pigs, cows, chickens etc. performing on YouTube or wherever.
That sums up why I'm pretty much a vegetarian...95% of the time anyway. I'm heading towards a 100% though.