When we look out into the world it sure looks like we are all separate beings. We have separate bodies. We have different interests. We have different perspectives and experiences. But at the core of who we are, we are creations of Divine Mind, Divine Heart, Divine Soul. We know that all matter is derived from the original ‘breath of Spirit’ or ‘Big Bang’ and we are all made up of the same stuff. As Joni Mitchell so beautifully wrote in her 1970 hit Woodstock, “We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
Why am I talking about this?
When you are able to get at the soul level that ‘we are One,’ then life truly arises in a different way. You awaken to ‘there is no other.’ The belief that ‘we are One,’ calls us to know no ‘other.’ It enjoins us to Love without conditions or boundaries. As One, we understand that when we hurt another, we hurt ourselves. Jesus knew this when he taught, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31) and “Love one another; just as I have loved you, you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
But despite our knowing these golden teachings, we are generally okay with hurting those whom we deem to be ‘others’ every day of our lives.
Why is that?
I actually don’t think we are okay with it. I think most of us live busy lives and we don’t want to think about or see anything that might make us uncomfortable - even if it is staring us right in the face. In the same way that we rarely stop to be in awe of the amazingness of the Universe, we also rarely stop to question our habits, or look into anything that might cause us to feel bad. We protect ourselves by putting the things that we don’t want to see into mental closets. And we close the door, not realizing that that which is holed up inside is something that our soul is imploring us to examine.
Here’s a question to examine: “How did this food actually get to my plate?”
Since our earliest days, our caregivers placed food on our plates that was called “meat” and if we connected it to anything, it was to mental images of happy animals living happy lives on happy farms. We may have even had stories read to us or learned songs that supported that mental image.
But that’s not a true picture. I’m not sure it ever was, but I am sure that in today’s world – where the demand for meat has increased 600% since 1950 - it surely isn’t. (The Atlantic June 13, 2013 "Peak Meat" ) Here are just a few snapshots of what mass production of 'life' looks like. Google image 'factory farm' and you'll get a fuller picture.
These intelligent and emotionally sensitive beings get to see sunlight for
the first time on their last day of life...while on the transport truck
headed to slaughter.
When we were young, we believed what we were told - simply that meat is what people eat, we need it and it is good for us. We didn’t give much thought that it was actually another sentient being that we were turning into food for our purposes. If we asked further, we might have been told that the animals were actually created for us to use in whatever way we wanted.
Hmmmm. Sounds like a ‘uniquely human perspective’ to me. Do you think we might feel differently if another species thought that way about us?
So many of the things we learned as children may no longer hold true for us as spiritually minded adults. In fact, some of it is downright not helpful to keep around. We can be free - if we want - from the patterns, beliefs and habits (all rooted in separation) that we inherited. We can change our behaviors in ways that match our growth from childhood consciousness. We are ALL One. Not just some of us; ALL of us. And we hold the power to create lives that express that.
If you are willing to look, you will see that what is called ‘meat’ is not a happy animal, but a dead body of a fellow sentient being. That in itself is enough to know. But she was also likely denied everything she needed in order to be who she was born to be, kept in abysmal conditions during her short life, and killed as a youngster. Like you and I, she wanted to live – to eat, sleep and play freely in the fresh air - to enjoy a full life and hang out with companions of her choice. And just like you and I, she didn't want to be separated from her mother or have part of her nose trimmed off with a heated blade. And she surely didn't want to be cooked in the oven. No one wants that.
All beings desire freedom of movement. All babies want to be near
their mothers. Why do we do this?
Debeaking of day old chicks is standard industry practice. This is because they tend to peck at each other in unnaturally crowded conditions.
And no one wants to make this dreadful journey.
There are no federal laws protecting birds used for food from inhumane slaughter, or requiring any level of care for them during transport.
If you are still with me, thank you for your bravery. Believe me, you haven’t seen the worst. All this may be unsettling and even bring up feelings of guilt. If it does, that’s a good thing, because it means you care and you are not defending or deflecting. I encourage you to be courageous and feel the feelings rather than run away. Guilt can actually be a very powerful force for good! It is a tool of your Conscience to turn you in a direction that is closer to the ideal of Universal Love and the tenet, “We are One.” Feel it. But don’t hold onto it. Let it go. Then give yourself permission to move in a new direction. There are so many other food options available that are healthier, kinder and more life-sustaining!
Please think on these things. Today. The non-human animals who share the planet with us are not some-things. They are some-ones. It’s really very simple when you think about it. Treat them how you would like to be treated. Be Love-in-action. Remember, we are ALL One.
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening. If you are moved to grow today, here are some resources that may support you.
To learn more about the emotional lives of non-human animals:
To learn more about making a change away from eating non-human animals:
If you could live all your days on this planet without hurting anyone, and doing so didn’t hurt you, wouldn’t you want to do that?
I am not talking to everyone here. I know there are plenty of people on this plane who enjoy violence, power and domination. They live in fear and suffering, and their way of life is to inflict fear and suffering onto others. They are unable to hear what I just asked without making fun. I bless their journeys, but they are not my audience.
I also know there are plenty of people on this plane who are entrenched in their ways and not open to exploring new possibilities and perspectives. They live in the safety of tradition and familiar patterns of behavior. They are unable to hear what I just asked without rationalizing and justifying the status quo. They may also make me wrong for my ideas or feel that I am making them wrong. I bless their journeys, but they too are not my audience.
My desire is to talk to those of us who are approaching consciousness levels that honestly seek to express as Love and Peace, and are open to looking at how we can better do that. Here and now.
This is David Hawkins Scale of Consciousness as presented in the book Power vs Force.
We are all at different levels and most of us express at different levels in varying aspects of our lives. The spiritual path is about integration and climbing this scale. The masters are at the top.
Almost all of us are blind to the many ways we participate in harming other beings. Many of us don't care and don't want to know. But some of us - if we only knew - would sincerely make an effort to change our ways and cause less harm. We might even be grateful for new knowledge and the opportunity to awaken. These are the people I am seeking.
Is that possibly you? If it is, keep reading.
To you who are lovers of Life and seekers of Peace, ask yourself:
I believe at the soul level that you would answer yes to all of those questions. And I believe in you. I believe that at your deepest level, you don’t want to be violent, and you don’t want to harm another. You want to boldly walk through life living as closely in alignment with your values of Love and Peace as you are able. Know that you are strong enough to do so.
Those of you who have ears to hear - I am speaking to you, so that you may know, and so that you may begin to make choices in your everyday lives that do the most good and the least harm.
Think of it this way. If you happened upon a baby chick struggling on the sidewalk, you would likely pick her up and do what you could to help her. Just know that there are billions more who need your mercy. All it takes is for you to stop being a part of the gruesome machine that turns their bodies into food.
You have the power to change your thinking and create an integrated life that not just speaks about Love and Peace but also lives it. With a strong mind rooted in the Infinite, any habit can be changed, even our everyday habits of what we eat and wear. I know these can be very difficult habits to change, because our culture and family traditions are rooted in using animals for our own purposes. You grew up eating cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches and bacon. Every day you consume milk and cheese and wear leather. All of that is everywhere! And the dark reality of the lives and deaths of these animals, whose bodies you eat and wear, is kept completely hidden, so it all seems okay.
But as you awaken, you may find yourself no longer wanting to participate. At first you may not even be able to conceive of an alternate way to live. But millions of people have taken these steps and can show you the way. The most important thing to remember is, in Truth, you can make any change, because nothing limits you!
Do all you can to do no harm. Be Love. Be Peace. Listen to your soul. Take steps today to let the animals live without harm. They have done nothing to harm us. Let them live with Love and Peace. Let them experience their soul’s natural expression. Let them know the best of humanity.
“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will be as one.” John Lennon
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening. If you are moved to learn more about the lives of animals we use for food and clothing, here are some resources that might help you:
If you want to look into lifestyles that do not use animals, here are some resources that might help you:
The spiritual path is about awakening to our True Nature and staying awake. Our True nature is the nature of God. We are created as God’s “image and likeness.” But what does that mean? What is God?” Here’s my understanding:
God is Infinite Intelligence, the Power and Presence that is under all that is. God is not a big being in the sky who wields power over all of Creation. God is the Infinite and transcendent Power of Love and Creativity. God is Peace, Harmony, Wisdom and Understanding. As “image and likeness,’ we are all of that at our deepest and most authentic level.
Most of us however, live in a state turned away from that Truth. Living ‘turned away from Truth’ is called ‘sin’ in many faith traditions, but those of us on the spiritual path call it separation. As long as we experience ourselves as separate from Spirit, from Creation, from each other and from ourselves, we will not experience ourselves as Love, Peace, Harmony, Wisdom and Understanding.
Our egos do everything in their power to keep us from identifying with our spiritual natures. That keeps the ego alive and well and sets us up to live contradictory lives – lives in opposition to Love, Peace, Harmony, Wisdom and Understanding. As a result, we live in anxiety, fear, self-loathing, violence, loneliness, victimization, doubt, objectification, hurting self and others and on and on. And that’s not a pretty sight.
Deep within us, in the place where God dwells, we are free of all this. On the spiritual path, we endeavor to release our identification with the ego and awaken to this depth of being. Our depth of being calls us to live the life that It seeks to express. It urges us to look at the whole of our lives, our relationship to all that is, and to live as Love, Peace, Harmony, Wisdom and Understanding.
As you venture on your path, I invite you to look at every encounter and every decision point that arises for you, and ask:
What would Love do?
What would Peace do?
What would Harmony do?
What would Wisdom do?
What would Understanding do?
Your first inclination might be to look at all of your human interactions. That’s a good start. We all need to look there! But don’t confine your inquiry. Also look also in the places you don’t usually look. Look at the way that you live. Are you willing to look at your food, your wardrobe and the products you buy?
What would Love do? Would Love purposely harm an innocent?
What would Peace do? Would Peace inflict brutal and unnecessary violence upon another?
What would Harmony do? Would Harmony take a baby from his mother at birth, deny him freedom of movement and isolate him for a premature death?
What would Wisdom do? Would Wisdom force another being to live in crowded conditions antithetical to her nature?
What would Understanding do? Would Understanding turn a blind eye to another’s inherent desire for life and freedom?
The state of today's chicken farm. No one wants to live like this.
These are close quarters. Imagine living like this.
Taken from her mother at birth, this is how a female calf born to a dairy cow is housed. The baby boys are confined in crates and turned into veal in a few weeks or months.
Note: These are 'soft' images of reality. In this blog I am not showing the degree of overt violence that takes place for these animals.
Remember the wise words in the book of Psalms - the ones that were so wise Jesus quoted them: “You are gods!” (Psalm 82:6, John 10:34)
Be your God-nature. You hold the power to release inherited thoughts, patterns and habits that are contradictory to your true nature. Awaken today. Be in action to become the you that you were created to be: Love, Peace, Harmony, Wisdom and Understanding.
Your Divine Self knows what to do. You don't have to be a part of the violence anymore. You can decide not to participate in the suffering and brutal killing of fellow sentient beings. Or you can take steps to do what you reasonably can to move in that direction. In today's world we don't NEED to do any of this anymore. It is a want, not a need.
Be Kindness. Eat plants. Lots of them! Wear materials that don’t require the skin or fur of a sentient being. Purchase products that don’t make others suffer.
It’s very simple really, when you remember that we are ALL One.
“Love one another.” John 13:34
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening. If you are moved to learn more about how you can make a change, or you want to make a change today, here are some resources that might help you:
In the throes of my work to bring Wolf and the Lamb alive, this prayer came to me as a gift from Spirit. It encapsulates the joys and challenges of this work and is a wonderful way to start each day.
I make myself an instrument of Peace.
Where there is hatred, I sow love;
Wherever there is injury, I refrain from injuring;
Where there is doubt, l have faith in my own convictions and ability to move mountains;
Where there is despair, l give hope;
Where there is ignorance, I bring illumination;
Where there is darkness, I bear light;
Where there is entrenchment, I inspire with a new vision;
Where there is sadness, I allow myself to feel from the depth of my soul and stay focused on what is good and right and possible in the world.
Knowing the Divine Truth that we are all One,
I bless ALL of Life – all living beings,
Not just those I consider to be like me.
I commit myself to living as Loving-Kindness and Compassion.
No beings tremble before me,
For I AM Love, Peace and Freedom.
And so it is.
© carol saunders 2016
Rev. Carol Saunders
I am an ordained minister, speaker, writer and lover of all life. In 2010 I founded a spiritual community in Deerfield, IL, a suburb of Chicago, and have recently transitioned it to a weekly interactive gathering and podcast called The Spiritual Forum. Being a voice for the animals and a light for the spiritually-inclined who are willing to seriously examine the self and begin to awaken, are what Spirit has called me to be. I am here to support anyone who wants to move toward living in closer alignment with their deeply held spiritual values. Our world needs more Love, Peace and Kindness. We can make that happen. But we won't be able to until we transform some of the violent and unkind ways of living we inherited from our culture. Be Love. Be Peace. Be Kind. Today.