The other day, while I was concentrating on my breath while practicing Yoga, I started contemplating how we are all connected; not only to other human beings, but the entire earth, and then the entire universe. Not only did string theory come to mind, but Carlos Castaneda’s books on Don Juan. If you are not familiar with these books, they follow his learning to become a shaman. During a particular ritual, he discovers “strings” that connect everything. Therefore, he realizes that he is connected to both other people and all of nature. If it is “alive” he is connected to it, and so is everyone else.
Remembering this, while I was busy inhaling and exhaling, I realized that in the 1960’s when Carlos Castaneda wrote these books he had indeed stumbled upon the String Theory. I don’t know if he was aware of this theory prior to his immersion in shamanism or not, but I was struck by the coincidence. When I first read these books I thought that they were pretty much “out there”, however, I did go on to read the first three books in the series, and learned a lot. His explanation of how the world works and our place in it remain at the core of my understanding of life to this day. In fact, long before I ever heard of the “string theory” I believed that it made sense. Why wouldn’t everything be connected?
So, what does that have to do with Yoga and Veganism? Everything. When I practice Yoga I find a peace that I can’t seem to get from anything else. I also feel a connection to everything. I’m sure that concentration on my breath has a lot to do with this connection. But here’s the thing. Once we truly realize that we are connected to everything, how can we continue to act as if we are not?
I didn’t decide to become a Vegetarian years ago because of the health benefits, and I didn’t become a Vegan for that reason, either. I made a choice. If I wanted to live my life as a compassionate person who felt connected to the entire “life force” of the planet, I couldn’t continue to bring harm to others. When we eat meat, not only do we harm animals, we also harm the other humans who could use the grain, etc. that we feed to the animals prior to killing them. Everything is connected. If you feel any connection to the earth and her inhabitants, consider meatless days; and if you can do that, consider dairy-free days. After that, think about a lifestyle that helps you to remain connected to the earth in a positive way. We are all connected. What harms one, harms us all.