Recently I saw the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey. No spoilers here, but the movie did raise, over and over again, connections between unlikely and unsuspecting people. An Indian family having moved to France after civil unrest destroyed their family owned restaurant finds itself the new owners of a restaurant just across the street from one of France’s finest traditional eating establishments.
There are many poignant moments in the movie for which I would go to see it again, but one struck me deeply. The young Indian man who becomes the chef of his family’s restaurant was trained from his earliest days by his mother who was killed in the civil unrest. At a moment when much is weighing on his shoulders, when much is at risk, he picks up a bundle of herbs and vegetables, and just before he begins to skillfully chop them and prepare them for the evening course, he remembers his mother and how she always said: “In order to cook, you have to kill.”
During our time spent in The Garden we are invited to ponder and perhaps even struggle some with our place in the world as human beings. The Garden will ask us to consider how we relate to the other living beings on this planet and to the planet Herself. We will ask ourselves how we can consume what we need for life more compassionately than we presently do. The answers to these questions will no doubt be different for many of us, and they may press us to think about our connections to lives and to Life in new, maybe difficult, ways.
Regardless of how you eat, whether vegetarian, vegan or omnivore, the fact is that in order to cook (and eat), you have to kill something. It’s a stark way of reminding us that we survive by means of deep connections to other living beings. None of us escape that reality. No human gets to eat without killing something (directly or indirectly). What remains is to find ways to deepen our compassion and respect for all life as we live ours, knowing that the interconnected web flows right through us and whatever has been killed for our next meal. We can choose to come to that place in gratitude.
At your next meal today, can you take a moment and begin to imagine and realize the Life and the living beings that have become your food and offer them gratitude?