Gloomy Despite Wealth
Last week I was reading the international news online. A very interesting article about France caught my attention.
I was just recently reading up on French culture and how the French are world leaders in fashion, food and art since the Middle Ages; how ‘haute cuisine’ IS French cuisine; how it is so much emulated by all chefs of the world; how today French cookbooks are the number one in the top five most popular cookbooks in the world,etc. So the article would seem like a paradox.
Anyway, the article says, “Research finds that despite high standard of living happiness is elusive among the French people. France, once famous for its 'joie de vivre' (a cheerful enjoyment of life), is suffering from existential gloom, according to a study to be presented in London next month to the Royal Economic Society.
Claudia Senik . a professor at the Paris School of Economics says the French enjoy a high standard of living. The country has a generous welfare state, plus universal and free access to healthcare, hospitals, public schools and universities. it also has a 35-hour working week and many foreigners aspire to make it their home - 150,000 Britons have chosen to live there.
And yet the French are gloomy. They are far less happy than their wealth, international fame and lifestyle suggest they should be.
The World Health Organization notes that the suicide rate in France is much higher than in any of the "old European countries". Suicide is the second biggest cause of mortality among 15-to-44-year-olds after road accidents, and the primary cause among 30-to-39-year-olds”.
So there’s two points I want to bring up here: First, material wealth, fame, status, relationships, reputation, etc. does not bring happiness, as evidenced by this study made on the French people. In fact, not just the French but everyone in this world, rich or poor, is not truly happy.
Why? Because first of all, we are not matter. We are not flesh and blood. We are not not this material body. Our real identity is that we are the spirit soul, the person or self that is within this body. We are the living force within this body. We are eternal. Our essence is spiritual. This body is temporary.
No amount of material wealth and fame can truly touch the person inside and give him happiness. Because the nature of his happiness is not material at all. It is spiritual happiness. That is why French people are still gloomy in spite of their high standard of material living. And when they cannot take shelter in this world any longer, then they commit suicide.
Second, where is happiness to be found? How can a person be truly happy? When he is linked up to God in love. The reason we are not happy in this world is because we are longing for God. We need spiritual food to be satisfied. That food means a loving relationship with Him who is the Supreme Spirit.
When everything comes crumbling down, and you’re so gloomy like the French, just remember that God loves you. His love for you is unconditional and that actually He is the only shelter. There is no other shelter but God.
How can I be linked up to God? There is a very simple process - -it’s called meditation. Please check on my ‘meditation’ page to learn about it.
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....How were you able to deliver the same authentic taste of Filipino food with the meat?
It’s not me. I didn’t deliver the same authentic taste of Filipino food with the meat. All I did was, I just cooked the dishes the meatless way, arranged the recipes in order and made them into a cookbook.
The authentic taste is done by nature. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what wonderful things nature has provided us. Actually, the variety of nutrition, taste, aroma and appeal comes from the vegetable kingdom provided by nature, not from meat.
If you cook sinigang na baboy (pork in sour soup), for example, without sampalok (tamarind), gabi (taro), kangkong (bok choy), sitaw (string beans), labanos (radish), kamatis (tomatoes), okra, talong (eggplant), sili (chilis), then what do you have? Just boiled baboy (pork) with salt. So where is the authentic taste of sinigang there? None.
On the other hand, you can cook all the sinigang vegetable ingredients together even without the baboy (pork), and you’ll come up with such a delicious, flavorful authentic sinigang dish that your whole family can enjoy. I know. I have cooked meatless sinigang (and its varieties such as sinigang sa miso (with miso), sinigang sa bayabas (with guavas), sinigang sa kamias, sinigang sa santol, etc) for the past 35 years and everybody in my family –my husband and children– just love it.
The same is true for all the rest of your favorite Filipino dishes. Name it –caldereta, menudo, palabok–whatever, you will find that there is basically at least 2 or 3 vegetable ingredients there or some vegetable substitute that actually carry the authentic flavor. It is not dependent on the meat flavor at all.
So you can set aside the meat, fish, chicken or egg anytime and just focus on the vegetables and that’s it! You can have the authentic Filipino flavor of whatever meat dish you want.
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Why Can't They Stop?
My sister Angeline has been diagnosed with a sickness called ‘rheumatoid arthritis’ causing her acute pain and discomfort. At her age of 47 years, her bones and joints are prematurely very brittle and weak, like those of 90 year old’s. She is supposed to refrain from meat food and ideally eat a vegetarian diet. But the problem is, she just can’t stop eating meat. Likewise, my aunt Tiya Amy, aged 59, was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. In one major operation, her uterus, ovaries and gall bladder have been removed. Ideally, she is supposed to be purely vegetarian and refrain from meat. But the problem is, she just can’t stop eating meat too.
Why do people have such a hard time giving up the habit of eating meat even though they know it is bad for their health?
The answer is simple. People who eat meat crave for something they think they need in order to be happy. They can not give it up because they don’t have a substitute taste to satisfy them. Even though they know it is bad for them, still they cannot give it up because they enjoy it. So it is a sensual desire - - in this case, desire for this particular taste which is the taste of blood. That makes it so that my sister, my aunt and everybody else who have meat-related sicknesses just can’t stop doing it. Why? Because the tongue is forcing them to. Why? The answer is given: In the ancient Vedic scripture, Bhagavad-Gita 3:37, it is said:
“The Blessed Lord said: ‘It is lust only Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.”
So lust is the enemy. It destroys us physically and spiritually. In this case, lust makes us suck onto that piece of meat to satisfy the inner craving.
How can we curb this lust? We need to link up with the Supreme Person. And the nature of that linking up is love. Instead of aiming for our lustful union with meat food, aim that same desire for a loving union with the Supreme Person. It will bring us inner satisfaction and happiness. We’ll be so contented with vegetable food that we wouldn't want to touch another piece of meat ever again!
At the farm where I live, I love watching the full moon. The moonlight brings not only beautiful radiance but also many blessings. During the full moon, high tides are created on the earth’s surface because water masses are pulled away from their solid bottoms at locations closest to the moon. The changes in tides have an effect on the ground water . They create more moisture in the soil. Plants absorb more water and nourishment during full moon.
The nourishment takes place not only on the plants that are above the ground but also on plants below the ground. Root crops also achieve maximum germination at this time. From the water also comes the different tastes. That is why mango tastes different from bananas; kalabasa tastes different from kamatis; kamote tastes different from carrots or potatoes.
It is said in the ancient Vedic hymns that because of the Supreme Person the sun is shining and the planets are steadily moving. Were it not for Him, all the planets would scatter, like dust in air, and perish. Similarly, it is due to the Supreme Person that the moon nourishes all fruits and vegetables. Due to the moonlight, the fruits and vegetables become delicious. Without the moonshine, the vegetables can neither grow nor taste succulent. Human society is working, living comfortably and enjoying food due to the supply from the Supreme Person. Otherwise, mankind could not survive. Everything becomes tasty and suitable to eat by the agency of the Supreme Person through the influence of the moon.
What I learned in high school physics about Sir Isaac Newton establishing the law of gravity is only part of the picture. Here we can understand that there is a correlation between nature, universal laws and spiritual concerns. There is a vast and deep relationship between them in order to provide mankind the best vegetable food. If meat food was the food intended for man, it would have the same blessings from the moon, nature, and the heavens as the fruits and vegetables do. As it is right now, there are no such wonderful moonlight blessings in meat food. Meat food is dry, rotten, acidic, poisonous and full of negative vibrations and stress.
When my children were growing up I noticed there was this natural soft-heartedness towards animals in them. And now as my grandson is growing up I notice it in him too. I guess all children have this inherent wonderful feeling. I have not seen a child who so hates the animals that he is ready to slit their throat! Instead I see them pointing at the animals curiously, watching them, wanting to feed them.
One day I was walking with my one and a half year old grandson. We saw a cat sitting by the stone steps of a house. He pointed at the piece of bread I was holding and which I actually bought for him. He motioned me to take a piece and feed the cat. So that’s exactly what I did, feeling a bit embarrassed. I realized the little child had more compassion for the cat than me! He repeatedly motioned me to keep feeding the cat until the whole bread was used up.
This wonderful feeling among young children should not remain limited to simply wanting to feed the animals or hug them or play with them. It can and it should blossom into a deep sense of respect for the animals’ feelings. Eventually, it can lead to a deep respect for their life. Jesus Christ himself would not have condoned eating animals. We see Jesus holding the lamb so gently, not eating lamb chop with savory sauce! In the ancient Vedic literature, we see the cowherd boy Gopal tending the cows in the village so affectionately, not eating beef steak. And Lord Buddha had to advent Himself specifically because people at that time were turning the sacred cows of India into barbeques. And he just had to stop them.
Hopefully parents can nurture this wonderful feeling in their children. In this way, children will continue to be genuinely concerned about animals as they grow up. They would not want to eat them and eat fruits, vegetables, beans and grains instead.