Stepping out of a systemic paradigm is not something that one can just decide to do. It is simply not a mental process. You can direct reason and logic at me and tell me all the negative egregious consequences of our current animal-as-commodity world paradigm and I will most likely respond [as a non-vegan] with a shame induced sense of powerlessness and find a way to mentally justify my use of animals. We’ve heard all the excuses of denial a thousand times, I have no need to list them here.
Actual life, the playing court, is experiential. It is the state of your consciousness at any given moment. Who you are is highly subjective! How exciting is that? It means there is no right or wrong, there is only your experience. I know that’s a bold statement and here is what I mean by it. I’m not a vegan because torturing and killing animals is wrong (mental concept), but because my open and innocent heart experiences such excruciating pain and empathy.
It was my heart that opened my eyes, not my mind. It takes great courage to bear such pain. And great love. I am often amazed at how we as vegans (myself included) insist that the non-vegans in our lives rip open their hearts at our demand. That’s just not how hearts open. We are paradigm-shifters learning the ropes and I am not judging here. To the contrary, this exponential growth of the vegan movement is unprecedented and I am heartened by all of our efforts, from bumbling to exquisite.
Each and every one of us was born into this “othering” behavior. Capitalism certainly fans its flames with a strategic urgency. “We are all one” is a spiritual concept until it becomes one’s genuine experience. Once we are grounded in this knowing, we will no longer be invisible to each other’s hearts. I envision a planet where the well being of all earthlings is in everyone’s self interest, where advocacy and support of each other in the face of oppression or danger is as natural a response as the lifting of one’s face to the kiss of the sun.
This photo of Clover by Amy Paasch knocked me right out of my socks and back to my blog. Oh Clover, you are so fierce and beautiful. What extraordinary character.
“We can see that the three reasons that we eat animal foods—infant indoctrination, social and market pressure, and taste—reinforce each other and create a force field around our food choices that, like a sturdy fortress, resists any incursions.The walls of the fortress are built of cruelty, denial, ignorance, force, conditioning, and selfishness. Most importantly, they are not of our choosing. They have been, and are being, forced upon us.Our well-being—and our survival—depend on our seeing this clearly and throwing off our chains of domination and unawareness. By harming and exploiting billions of animals, we confine ourselves spiritually, morally, emotionally, and cognitively, and blind ourselves to the poignant, heart-touching beauty of nature, animals, and each other.” Dr. Will Tuttle
Someone in our city of Portland Oregon rented out The Academy Theater and showed the movie, Speciesism, a documentary by Mark Devries. The filmmaker’s determination and heart is evident as he thoroughly and passionately explores the daily worldwide holocaust of non-human animals that provides the fuel for our human animal bodies.
In the words of Dr. Will Tuttle ( who was not in this documentary):
“Because of herding animals, we have cast ourselves out of the garden into the rat race of competition and consumerism, ashamed of ourselves. It is this low self-esteem that drives the profits of corporations enriching themselves on our insatiable craving for gadgets, drugs, and entertainment to help us forget what we know in our hearts, and to cover over the moans of the animals entombed in our flesh.
The choice is set before us at every meal between the garden of life or the altar of death and as we choose life and eat grains and vegetables rather than flesh, milk, and eggs, we find our joy rising, our health increasing, our spirit deepening, our mind quickening, our feelings softening, and our creativity flourishing.”