It all began with my little sister, who was three years younger than me and four years old at the time, One day she emphatically decided to become a vegetarian. The reason was because at the time we lived in a small country town and had a menagerie of pets. Two of our favourites were twin baby lambs. They were so tiny, white, fluffy and cute and we all spent lots of time showering our affection on them. One night we were sitting at the dinner table eating a meal of lamb shanks when my sister piped up and asked Mum where lamb shanks come from. My mother was always very honest with us and explained to her they came from lambs. My sister sat there in total disbelief. She couldn’t understand how anyone could eat pet lambs. From that moment on she wouldn’t touch animal flesh from any source including fish.
This was a huge learning curve for my mum as we had always been a carnivorous family, never giving much thought as to where meat actually came from. As my mum went through the research process on “How to become a vegetarian”, “What to feed a child who refuses to eat meat”and “Can you survive on vegetables alone?”she came to the realisation that my sister was going to survive after all and a vegetarian lifestyle was in fact a healthy alternative. She even opted for a vegetarian lifestyle herself.
However my dad, my brother and myself still opted for a meat based diet for many more years. At the age of 12, I started having an aversion to meat. I could only stomach meat if it was charred. I remember my dad asking in a joking fashion if I wanted a cremated sausage. From then it just got harder and harder. I’d look at my plate of steak and in my mind I’d see a living, breathing cow, I loved cows, how could I eat them? It became so unbearable that one day I asked myself, why am I doing this? From that day forward it was a vegetarian diet for me and I never looked back, forty one years later, I’m still a vegetarian and when I look at my plate I see a fresh, green veggie garden. Much easier to stomach.
I also have a much younger sister who was raised a vegetarian from the beginning of her life as she was born after my mother made the change to vegetarianism and I have a brother who only took the plunge around 15 years ago when he became a passionate environmental lawyer. His reasoning is political and environmental, rather than compassionate, but it is a wonderful thing that he is so passionate about his cause.
Unfortunately my dad never actually decided to become a vegetarian, but funny enough, he used to get extremely painful gout every time he ate it, so he was forced to adopt a vegetarian diet. It was definitely not a choice on his part, but was forced upon him. We all used to have a chuckle at dad’s fortunate misfortune!
Around twenty years ago, I added yoga and meditation to my already healthy lifestyle and found the true reason for living. It opened a whole new world for me. I found deeper compassion for others and a deeper meaning for life. Mantra meditation is so simple, that anyone can add it to their life. You don’t need to change anything, or join anything, all you have to do is to place your mind on this beautiful transcendental sound and let it enter your heart.