Recently, I was pulling the meat off a leg of lamb that my husband had cooked in a broth to make soup. My son was there and we started to re-assemble the bones, something he is fond of doing. . . .
The leg bones themselves were one thing, but when we saw how the shin connected that that funny-shaped piece at the bottom. . . and then realized it was the hoof! My heart stopped for a second and I saw that lamb as a very alive little bleating creature. We had eaten its leg with a large group of friends and kids the Sunday night before. I immediately wondered if I am grateful and conscious enough when I eat meat. Of course, the answer is no. I did then say a little prayer of thanksgiving to that lamb who gave its life for our dinner (and others’). The fact that we got so many good meals out of it — at least four more dinners with the soup — is some consolation.
One way to express our gratitude for the bounty we receive is to make the best possible use of it. Don’t waste anything. I ran across a quote from Chogyam Tungpa Rinpoche recently that depression is like smelling your own armpit. To me, that’s such a perfect way of capturing how self-centered and myopic our suffering can be. It strikes me as similarly applicable to our wastefulness. When we sit down to eat leg of lamb and we aren’t aware or thankful, it diminishes our relationship with this amazing, abundant world. It keeps us small and stuck, doesn’t let us feel all those glorious connections and want to celebrate them.
I think our careful extraction of those bones, and their odd-shaped little connector parts, from the veggie goo of that soup stock was one way or remaking our connection. Reweaving. Acknowledging. Toby persisted until he got all three of the small knee pieces to fit, so that he could speculate how the thighbone came into it. Why so much complication at that particular joint? It’s a marvel, really. We were both a little stunned by the extravagance of the forms, the curves and bumps and how they all fit together. Nature’s jigsaw puzzle. Now, think about how many thousands, millions of times that kind of coming together gets designed, engineered, and built in Nature. It puts our puny efforts in their place, that’s for sure.
And I haven’t even said a thing about the pelvis — !
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