Meditation and Flying Coffee Cups

Lenny is a male red-sided eclectus parrot, hatched down in Homa, Louisiana in 2000.

While I hesitate to give life advice, I can say that in general, it is always good to feed your companion animals before sitting down to meditate. I was reminded of that this morning during my usual 10-minute guided meditation when my parrot Lenny became impatient and threw my empty coffee mug to the kilim on the kitchen floor downstairs. Since I did not hear the sound of shattering, I continued to meditate.  Anyone who has spent much time living with companion animals knows that not only do they have distinct personalities, but that they display intelligence in many different ways. Lenny has learned how to open cabinet doors, turn on light switches, and on a few occasions turned on my washing machine by punching a large round button.  It is interesting how hairless apes–aka human beings–so easily compartmentalize between our companion animals and those that we eat—although there is no reason to think that the capacity for suffering is any different between a parrot and a chicken and a dog and a pig or cow.  Although mainly vegetarian, I am selectively omnivorous, and have long wrestled with finding a balance between eating well and the dictates of conscience. At the moment I am reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals.”  I will write more on this topic at a future date.  At the moment Lenny is calling.

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