There’s no rush.
Perhaps the most significant dimension of our eating experience is the quality of our consciousness, just like for anything else 🙂 What matters more than the objective nutritional content of the food is the quality of our consciousness while we are eating the food. Are we truly enjoying the food? Are we enjoying the company? As Gandhi said, “Do it with joy or not at all!”
If we are not enjoying the food, what’s the point? Eating with anxiety destroys digestion, and generally is far from how we want to experience life. For me, in the past, I’ve experienced lots of anxiety while eating around people who are eating dead animals. It gets to me. Part of me thinks that if he there is one value, it’s a value for life, or as Albert Schweitzer calls the first of all virtues, Reverence for Life. And cultivating the virtue of Reverence for Life, especially in this globalized and superabundant world we live in, includes refraining from consuming dead animal flesh. If you revere something, you’ll rarely find yourself engaging in destructive behavior towards it.
For the past couple meals, I’ve decided to sit quietly while the people around me eat their salads, soups, and dead animal. I reclaimed my power when I realized and acted upon the truth, “Just because people are eating does not mean i have to eat.” This idea liberated the abundance out of me 🙂
We are not obligated to eat around people, especially people engaging in behaviors that stir up any negative emotions in us. Primarily, we want to eat in an enjoyable and peaceful state of mind. Every moment, we want Peace!
In Islam, there are 2 obligations – and surprise, surprise – neither of the obligations is to eat when people are eating. The first obligation is to be grateful! Awesome. Love it. Kind of makes me want to seek conversion to Islam. The second obligation is to surrender everything to God. What I love about these obligations is that they are performed in the moment, each moment, to moment, to moment 🙂 And, they occur internally. Externally, we can express gratitude and say, “I surrender this to you, Lord,” but ultimately it’s an internal awareness and feeling that fulfills the obligations.
So, the old saying, “Do as the Romans do,” can suggest a cultivation of infinite flexibility and adaptability to whatever circumstances present themselves. For better or for worse, i don’t necessarily see this applying to people participating in behavior you find unsettling. No need to conform. And generally – any conformity is fairly low level performance. Even if you love all the people around you and love what they are doing and how they exist in the world – why conform? You can always seek the next level. You can always challenge yourself, challenge everyone, and choose growth and choose love, choose creativity and spontaneity, moment to moment to moment. Instead of conforming, create! Especially if you around people you love, they will certainly support your efforts to engage creatively and stir up the pot. It’s all for fun and for the good of all 🙂
Infinite Gratitude to you! And You.