There is a pervasive myth in the “awakening” community that in order to become awake, enlightened (or insert word here) that it is essential to not eat any sort of meat. Many in this community take it a step further and publicly denounce others who eat meat, judging them as being barbaric if they are not a raw vegan.

This is a belief that can be transcended to allow for greater awakening. What does this mean? When we hold onto any belief tightly, no matter how “right” we believe we are, and judge others for not following our path and choices we are creating a cage for ourselves out of that belief. We are imprisoning ourselves. When we hold a belief to this extent we are in a state of cognitive dissonance, meaning that any evidence that does not support your claims (that you can be awakened and eat meat, or that the amount of judgement that comes with the belief that you must not eat meat and the superiority complex that comes with it may actually be more harmful to you energetically than eating meat) is not processed or even heard.

This is one of the biggest illusions in the awakening/spiritual community. Dietary changes are necessary when awakening. Foods with chemicals, heavy foods, eating a great amount at one time, eating for emotional and spiritual purposes, and eating meat may all have to be deeply considered by the individual. Those of us going through Kundalini or other intense spiritual awakenings may find ourselves unable to eat anything, or very much beyond simple foods like rice. Many of us going through awakenings may find ourselves questioning the portion size (of the American diet in particular) and our go-to foods in times of stress. Others may find themselves ravenously hungry for meats, breads, cheeses, sweets and other heavy foods to anchor ourselves, for energy, or as a coping mechanism for the trauma that is created by awakening.

Many of us may be unable to eat meat, or will make more conscious meat choices. For some of us this may extend to being unable to process anything that comes from animals. Many of us may find that we cannot process endogenous hormones and have to buy grass-fed or local animal products. Many of us may find that we desire less meat and eat it much less regularly.

But these are all individual choices. They are based on what our body can process, not our belief system. There is a difference. I would love to eat chocolate every day. I have a sweet tooth that is legendary. As I began awakening I noticed that I craved more sweets to self-soothe. It was a long-standing belief structure and psychological mechanism to anesthetize myself. As I awakened further my body no longer processed sweets. I could no longer eat ice cream, then as much chocolate, and sweets overall started tasting too sweet for me. Then I began examining the psychological mechanisms that created the belief structure that sweets were helpful for specific emotions. When I was ready my body slowly cut down on the amount of sweets that I craved and felt I needed. I still enjoy sweets- just not to the extent and not for the same reasons I once did.

Belief systems work differently in this regard. If we have ethical issues with eating meat, that is understandable. But typically in the awakening process it is not an ethical issue but an inability to process the energy or vibration of the material coming into our bodies that is the issue. And if we harbor hate, violence, and animosity towards anyone else for their food choices, or maintain a superiority complex about our food choices, that quite simply is not an awakened state. It is certainly true that many “awakened” individuals may not eat meat. But it is not an imprisoning belief, and generally it is understood that people are where they are in their lives (even if it is at a McDonald’s).

The belief that one cannot or should not eat meat is a belief that should be looked at and transcended like any other. Once you have transcended this belief you can understand that everything is vitally alive- everything has spirit. Every animal, vegetable, plant, even the air we breathe has spirit. If we are still in a place of looking down at others, judging them for their choices regarding meat (or anything else) we will remain static in our belief systems. We will not progress any further. At some level we will understand that we are blocked and will develop animosity towards others as a reflection of our own stuckness. When we do what is right for us and understand that people are where they are on their journey we can transcend. When we lose that sense of superiority that our choices are “right” and everyone else is “wrong” we can open ourselves up to new knowledge and understandings that may be further of the path we are on or an entirely new path altogether. When we stop branding ourselves as being a certain way (vegan, vegetarian, raw) we can stop holding that belief so tightly that creates further illusions and separation so we can actually awaken.

So I invite you to look at your individual beliefs. Look at how you have labeled yourself. As an individual understand how specific foods, like meat affect you. Ask your body how they affect you. Notice how you feel after you eat them. Let go of the illusions of the “awakening” community, the superiority complexes, the labels, the memes, whatever illusions food companies and society (even spiritual communities) want for us. Awakening is an individual path. Be thankful for the food you take in. Give thanks for it. Allow for yourself to stop being imprisoned by food, by diet, and notice the pure, sensual, experience of it. A grape can be bliss if we allow it.