It was a huge celebration for me when an article that I had written, “A Call to Awakening,” was finally published in the Unity Leaders Journal, an online magazine. The Unity audience is comprised of spiritually minded people who already value Love, Peace & Harmony. On top of that, its co-founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, were ethical vegetarians at the turn of the twentieth century. They believed there was a connection between how we treat animals and our ability to achieve peace and harmony in the world. Getting published there should have been easy.
But it ended up being a long, long journey.
Over 18 months, I persevered and eventually succeeded in putting my ideas before this audience. For me this was a monumental personal accomplishment! It also demanded patience and turned out to be a journey of personal inquiry and spiritual growth.
The first article I submitted was deemed to be too judgmental and was consequently rejected. I had a hard time seeing this for myself. From my perspective, I had turned myself inside out to drain it completely free of judgment. I even asked several people to read it just to make sure it had the right tone before I sent it in.
The rejection email I received was accompanied by commentary that they “would be able to run with it if it were written more from the personal perspective of your own practice and why you do what you do ...and open up the possibilities of others to adopt what they feel resonates for them to consider without judgment.” Hmmm. That would be difficult, maybe impossible. How could I stay “open to the possibilities of others to adopt what they feel resonates for them” when those possibilities included killing my friends? I felt frustrated, hurt, and I wanted to walk away - not just from the article, but also from the organization that had been a foundational inspiration in my life.
After dwelling in this hole for a while, I raised myself up and decided to look at my article again. I did the usual ego-protection move of showing it to friends and family to seek validation of my position. I simply could not see judgment in it and neither could they.
I finally came to the realization that what I saw held absolutely no relevance if I was unable to successfully convey it. The only thing that mattered was being heard.
Not exactly sure of my next move, I went within and asked, "Is this mine to do?" My answer was a very clear yes. This is my calling. This is my audience. Keep at it.
But I would need to find a way to be heard while also staying true to myself and true to the plight of my animal friends.
I took another look at the article I had written. I clearly posed a challenge to my potential readers. That seemed fair and authentic because that is who I am. I am a person who empowers and challenges people to live in spiritual alignment and to be their best selves. I couldn't wimp out on that. I had to stay true to who I am.
But did the tone in my challenge hold a tinge of sarcasm? Or did I sound like I was exposing hypocrisy?
It was possible.
If I wanted to be heard, I would have to do my best to make sure there was none of that. Maybe there was room to reframe my message in kinder ways. After all, I wanted the world to be kinder.
Ultimately, everything begins with me.
With this thought under my belt, I mustered up the energy to do a rewrite. I rewrote, and rewrote and rewrote. I would leave my writing alone for long periods of time, then come back to tweak it a little here or there, then leave it alone again. After many months, I felt that it was in really good form. It touched on all the essential information while also being gentle. It was clear and revealing while also being understanding. I surrendered very little content, but compromised on approach. I resubmitted it under a different title and with a different slant and perhaps a softer tone.
I had done my work. It was Spirit’s job to take the final step.
Thirteen months after my initial submission, I received the good news that my article would be published the following spring.
I am writing about this because it is just one small example of how those of us with the passion to free our non-human brothers and sisters from a culture that normalizes their killing must persevere in finding ways to successfully be heard. And we must adapt to our audience because the best ways to be heard may be quite different from our normal methods of persuasion.
If we are honest about it, our message hits our fellow humans so deeply that it is nearly impossible to get traction right off the bat. Our audience will swiftly defend, rationalize and deflect. They will bring up every argument possible to support their personal choice to kill animals for food when it is simply not necessary. We have heard them all. Most people have great difficulty fathoming that something so deeply ingrained in our culture and everyday lives can be morally and spiritually questioned. What would that mean about them?
At some unconscious level, I believe that people experience shame when they get a true glimpse of the conditions and violence that farm animals endure as they are made into food and clothing. Not wanting to deal with this feeling of shame, it is projected onto the messenger - in essence, blaming us for shaming them. All listening is off when shame takes hold.
From our perspective all we are doing is desperately trying to give attention to a very important issue, because we are acutely aware that what our culture is blindly participating in is horrific, unspeakable violence. So many innocent, sentient beings are suffering every moment of every day at our expense and for our desires. We want to see drastic change, and we want to see it now.
But change happens in the heart. To have any chance at affecting change, we have to find ways to be heard by the heart. And we must never give up.
From start to finish, it took 18 months for my article to be published in the Unity Leaders Journal. There were so many times I could have given up and walked away. I certainly thought about it. But something deep within called me to persevere, be patient and grow myself.
In the end, an article was published, and hopefully it will serve to inspire those who are moved by it to dig deeper, do some self-inquiry and possibly shift to plant-based living. For many others it might just be one seed among hundreds that will eventually serve to awaken them. And others will defend, rationalize and deflect.
But as it turns out, the journey was less about getting my article published and more about my own evolution as a messenger. Through it all, something shifted within me. Having surrendered to the process of discerning how to best be heard, I find myself now strengthened and emboldened, but also humbled. My voice feels stronger. I am more aligned with my true Self. And I am open to continually evolving so that my message rings with increasing clarity and lands deftly in the hearts of those who are ready to hear...
...all in service to my animal friends and an emerging world of Kindness, Compassion and Peace. We are ALL One.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:9
I recently read the book, Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas which catalogues the remarkable life of William Wilberforce. I was inspired to write something about him and his life's work because he led an incredibly profound shift in human consciousness, and he led it with dignity and truly amazing grace. My writing here may read more like an essay than a blog post, but I wanted to capture this important history and relate it to the choices we make today.
In 18th century England, a battle for the conscience of the nation was brewing. For 300 years, England along with most European countries had been deeply involved in the transatlantic slave trade. The triangular commercial sea journey began in West Africa where supplies such as copper, guns and ammunition were sold and traded to elite African kings and merchants in exchange for human slaves. On the second leg, the slaves were transported across the Atlantic Ocean, known as the Middle Passage, to the New World (North and South Americas and Caribbean islands). Brutal ship captains and reluctant-but-obedient seamen subjugated them to abhorrent, crowded and inhumane conditions during the 2-½ month sea journey. In the New World they were sold to merchants and then to plantation owners who exploited them for a lifetime of grueling hard labor. On the third leg, goods produced by slave labor such as cotton, sugar and tobacco were shipped to European nations like England, Spain, France, Portugal and the Netherlands and sold to the consuming public. British politicians and business owners propped this system up for centuries. During the 300-year transatlantic slave trade, it is estimated that over 12 million human beings were torn from their homes and sold into slavery with 1.4 million dying on the treacherous Middle Passage. That’s a staggering 40,000 people a year.
Diagram of 'living conditions' on a slave transport ship. In the ship's hold, African slaves were shackled ankle to wrist with barely any opportunity to move.
Europe and the Americas were not the only ones involved in a slave trade. Arab and Asian nations also had their own slave trade in central and West Africa and for much longer - at least 10 centuries - and there was a slave market within Africa itself.
While it is nearly impossible to conceive of a commercial slave trade business existing in our world today, in the 18th century no one alive would have remembered a time when slavery didn’t exist. Human beings were treated like objects – not beings with personal interests – but it had been a way of life since Biblical times, and was so ingrained in the world’s cultural fabric that it seemed to be indelibly woven into humanity itself. The prevailing cultural view was ‘slaves are property and meant for us to use.’ Who would question it?
We think quite differently now. Why is that?
We think differently because we have evolved in our consciousness. We have evolved because visionaries existed who saw something that the culture which produced them could not see – that slavery itself was morally wrong and in serious opposition to any teachings of Love and value for Life. They had learned this from their Christian faith. In their view all attempts to justify slavery had no moral ground. In the midst of a culture that saw nothing was wrong, these visionaries focused their efforts on changing the culture.
It takes heroic effort for a small band of people to commit their lives to persuading the rest of the world to awaken, see the truth, and act with love, respect and compassion. Their vision was freedom for all, not just for those who were like them.
In spite of the seemingly colossal and immovable force holding up the institution of slavery, consciousness was on the cusp of shifting.
William Wilberforce, an English politician and philanthropist, was the man who rose to the cause at this crucial moment in history to be the political leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. From the young age of 21, he was an esteemed, independent member of Parliament, and was universally considered to be a brilliant orator. As a newly devout Christian, he believed his work to end the slave trade was a Divine calling.
Wilberforce was joined by many like-minded souls who worked tirelessly for the abolition cause. After several years of gathering evidence and making preparatory motions, Wilberforce presented the first parliamentary bill to abolish the slave trade in 1791. In his heart he believed that once people understood the horrors of the slave trade they would do the right thing and abolish its practice.
A painting depicting William Wilberforce making an impassioned speech in Parliament
He was utterly wrong. The bill was easily defeated 163 votes to 88. A very long and grueling battle lay ahead.
The abolitionists turned their attention to the general public – the people who consumed every day products made from slave labor like sugar, cotton and tobacco. They were participants after all. Using leaflets and town meetings, the abolitionists shared eyewitness accounts of how egregiously slaves were treated during their forced journey across the Atlantic and during their lives as forced laborers the plantations. Their hope was to persuade the public to support the cause of freedom.
Campaign logo made by Josiah Wedgewood and used widely by the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade
As with most causes, there were some people who heard the truth and were moved to sign petitions and change their lifestyles, withdrawing any semblance of their participation in the slave trade business. Some became activists. But there were many others who heard it all and remained bystanders. And there were many more who simply could not or did not allow themselves to hear.
The spectrum of society at this pivotal time in history (as at any time when new consciousness is emerging) included proverbial heroes, villains and bystanders.
These are the basic roles that people take in life, especially when confronted with a cause, a risk or an unconventional idea.
If you lived during this time, what role do you think you would have played? Who do you admire? Who do you admonish?
Copyright: 123rf krasimiranevenova'
It would take another 16 years before political winds would shift in favor of abolition. Parliamentary bills to abolish England’s participation in the Atlantic slave trade were presented over and over by Wilberforce during this period until it finally passed in the House of Commons in 1807 with 283 votes to 16.
Consciousness had shifted.
By 1807 there were enough people on the planet capable of seeing the immorality of oppressing another human. Their understanding tipped the scales of history. Over the next several years, most European nations followed suit and abolished their participation in the transatlantic slave trade. It was a huge victory for humanity and freedom, but it was just the beginning.
Unfortunately freedom manifests slowly.
The abolition of the practice of slavery itself took another half century in the western world and considerably longer in the Islamic world (with the last Muslim nation making slavery illegal in 1981). The slaves who had been ‘freed’ in America were exploited and denied rights for decades. Their arduous fight for civil rights and desegregation still lay ahead.
Memphis sanitation worker march led by Dr. Martin Luther King on March 28, 1968.
There is always another mountain to climb and another circle to widen.
Some 300 years later, another shift in consciousness is now on the cusp of emerging. But the line between who is included and who is not included, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, is drawn in a different place. And almost no one can see it.
Thank God we no longer capture, transport, objectify and enslave 40,000 human beings every year and use and abuse their bodies for the personal and collective desires of any group of people.
Female dairy cows are artificially inseminated so they will get pregnant , give birth, and keep producing milk for human (not their baby's) consumption.
This is commonly referred to as the "rape rack."
Pigs naturally select their companions and play and root in the ground.
These are their conditions in crate-free factory farms.
Egg laying hens are forced to live in extremely cramped conditions, producing eggs for human consumption until they are physically spent. They are then sent to slaughter at a young age.
Fish are naturally designed to navigate vast oceans. The conditions of modern fish farms are enormously stressful causing death and insanity.
Well, some of us would, and some of us do. There are visionaries among us who can see something that the culture which produced us cannot see. We see the use of sentient animals for our personal wants to simply be cruel, blatantly violent and in serious opposition to what we have learned about practicing Love and valuing Life.
Among us are heroes who work tirelessly undercover to expose to the world the horrendous and inhumane practices that innocent animals are forced to endure. Some of us speak about it with our friends and family, attempting to awaken them to the plight of animals on the planet. Some of us rally, write our representatives and petition governments and corporations. Some of us run sanctuaries so that animals rescued from the animal-using business can live out their lives in peace and harmony. Some of us educate and support people as they move to a plant-based lifestyle.
Snapshot from a Mercy for Animals undercover investigative video
One of many advocacy campaigns to raise awareness
Animal advocate Anita Kranjc is facing up to six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for mercifully giving water to the pigs inside a transportation truck on their way to slaughter.
Everything that we do, we do in the face of resistance, blank stares, ridicule, condemnation and/or marginalization by the vast majority, including those who consider themselves champions of oppression in other areas. Like Wilberforce and his band of visionaries, we do this in hopes of eventually winning the battle for the conscience of the masses and dramatically changing the course of history toward freedom for all.
Protestors against North Carolina Ag Gag bill that criminalizes the taking of photographs in animal agriculture facilities. If everything was okay, why would it be a crime to take a photo?
On the other side there are the Big Ag corporations, factory farm owners/operators, slaughterhouses, transporters, merchants, grocery corporations, cosmetic corporations, household product corporations, entertainment corporations, clothing corporations, furriers and restaurants, who capitalize on and benefit from the animal-using business. There are politicians and lobbyists who vehemently fight against any legislation that would promote alternatives or provide better welfare and transparency. There are cultural and religious institutions with beliefs that condone humankind’s exploitation of animals. And there are hundreds of millions of indifferent bystanders and conscious or unconscious consumers who simply don't see anything wrong or don't want to think about it..
In spite of the seemingly colossal and immovable force holding up the institution of animal exploitation, consciousness is on the cusp of shifting. It will take time, but freedom will come for all.
The question is, what role will you play? Hero, villain or bystander?
May the WilberForce be with us.
© carol saunders 2017
Notes from the author:
In addition to the abolition of the slave trade, William Wilberforce championed many causes including the creation of a colony of freed slaves in Sierra Leone and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Throughout his career, he was brilliant in his oratory arguments and unlike most of today’s political leaders he always refrained from making people on the opposing side wrong. This was perhaps his most extraordinary quality. He was vocal about his faith and believed he was doing God’s work in seeking freedom for all, even though religious enthusiasm was considered a social transgression during his lifetime. To any social justice warrior who seeks to free the innocent, I recommend learning about this man.
Furthermore, for those who might be offended by any inferred comparison of human slavery to the human use of animals in this post, I offer this. I am not equating the human being used as a slave with the animal used for food, clothing or experimentation. What I do equate is the fact that they are both sentient – both have personal interests and both want to live, be free and avoid suffering. Objectification and exploitation of sentient beings in any way is the darkest side of humanity. How we treat any being is a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a species. It is shocking to learn that ownership of human slaves is still going on today in places such as Mauritania, despite it being against the law. Unfortunately most of us have no control over such egregious practices in faraway countries. But we do have control over our own behaviors in our everyday lives. When we embrace Universal Love and Kindness, we will cease using the body of anyone for our own personal wants. I apply the spiritual laws “thou shalt not kill” and “love one another” universally.
One last thing, if you still find your thoughts dominated by the notion that there are more important human issues to face, please read this blog.
If you are so moved here is a comprehensive resource to support your transition to a plant-based diet,:
To learn more about the sentience and individual nature of animals (some one, not something):
I remember my childhood vividly. I grew up in northern California and had the good fortune of being able to play outside nearly every day. My childhood took place back the 60’s, way before parents were concerned about their kids being gone all day playing. So that’s what we did. We played in the hills and creeks and rode bikes everywhere…all day.
How far back can you remember?
As young children, we were so vulnerable. We were all born into a world that we knew nothing about. Our lives were a constant experiment, with our carefree natures often being shut down, reframed or fit into a world that already existed. That's the nature of socialization. When things happened that hurt our hearts or didn’t make sense, we would hear someone bigger, older or wiser tell us things like: “The world is a tough place,” “You have to be strong,” “Life is hard,” “That’s the way it's always been,” or “That’s just what we do.”
Can you remember having innocent thoughts and feelings – thoughts untainted by someone else’s view or perspective? Can you remember that first feeling of loss when your own thought or feeling was in contradiction with that of a group or the adults in charge?
I remember as a young child barely being able to breathe when I found out that our next-door neighbors (parents) were shooting blue jays with BB guns from their back porch. I couldn’t fathom why they would do such a thing. It seemed so deliberately hurtful. What could those birds have possibly done to them? I felt deeply distressed and looked for ways to stand up to the big grownups. Needless to say, I failed. Despite my best small child efforts (which were actually pretty substantial for a kid and possibly a topic for another blog) there was an adult explanation: the blue jays were eating the robins’ eggs and the robins were a preferred species.
I was heartbroken. But the case was closed. What power did I have against adult reasoning...or preferences?
Pretty much everything we have learned about life came from the adults in our world. We looked up to them. Or we were afraid of them. Either way, they taught us how to live - the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
© Jasmin Merdan 123rf.com
When my first daughter was just two or three years old, I’ll never forget witnessing one of those indoctrinating moments. Sitting in her high chair, her grandmother placed a plate in front of her and said, “Here’s your fish, honey.” My young daughter immediately looked behind her where an aquarium stood - the aquarium that she loved to watch as she pointed and named the fish. The mental connection going on in her brain was transparent on her face. If there is such a thing as toddler confusion, that's what it was. To her young mind, she could see that there were “fish” swimming in the fish tank. She always loved watching those fish. Now “fish” was being introduced to her as something she was supposed to eat. How does that compute to a young and fragile mind?
None of us come into the world as violent beings. We are wide-eyed and eager to take in all of life. As children we reach for life. We want to touch it and feel it and get close to it. Killing in any form is not natural for a child. So never in a million years would my young daughter have reached into the fish tank and grabbed a living fish to satisfy her hunger. Nor would she have taken a knife to the throat of a pig or chicken or cow. The adult world had established this for her. We eat animals, period. We always have. It’s what we do. We kill for our food or pay someone to do it for us. She had no real choice in the matter.
None of us did really. Most of us had no clue that what we were eating was once a live animal who was killed against his or her will - the same kinds of animals we loved in storybooks. When we did learn this, it had already become an established pattern in our own lives. Over time we hardened ourselves and simply accepted the violence of life. And we lost our innocence.
Going forward, the easy path is to just keep doing what we’ve always done - accept the way of living that we were indoctrinated into. Don’t dig deeper. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t question. Don’t think too much. By all means don’t look back. Rationalize and defend. Marginalize those who think or act differently. Buy into all of it and pass it on to the next generation telling them, “That’s just what we do.”
When we accept “that’s just what we do” we accept human nature to be what it is, not what it could be. To be what it could be, we would have to take the much more difficult path of the spiritual journeyer and reclaim the parts of us that we lost along the way.
Deep inside us - maybe deeper than we can fathom - there is a piece of our innocence that was chipped away, but not destroyed. It is held in the heart of our inner child, who generally prefers to be in hiding and may even be afraid of being remembered. The inner child knows it is not safe to be so vulnerable. The outer world seems much too harsh to survive out in the open. So she (or he) stays in the dark. There may be momentary glimpses of her, when a flicker of light betrays her clever hiding spot in the form of a distant and vague memory or fleeting feeling. But the child remains hidden, safely in the depth of the soul.
Discovering and integrating our inner child into active adult living is a key to transforming human nature and consequently our world. When we bring our innocence to the light - truly love it, accept it and integrate it into our entire being - we will become much more whole. We will love ourselves more. We will be less serious and judgmental, and more open and kind. We will reignite our wonder for life and once again want to reach for it, touch it, feel it and bring it closer to us. We will choose ways to live without hurting and killing
This is what Jesus spoke of when he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
The kingdom of heaven is not some faraway place where we go after we die. It is a place in consciousness where Peace, Love and Harmony are fully expressed and Oneness is truly experienced. It can only be fully entered into with the innocence of our inner child because without it, we are less than whole.
This is deeply important spiritual work – to question our inherited beliefs and reclaim our innocence. It is also an ongoing process. Thankfully there are some enlightened children on the planet right now who, at a very young age, are standing up to patterns/habits handed to them by their parents which run counter to their hearts (see their videos below). But for the rest of us, until we engage in that same process of questioning and do the work to reclaim our innocent natures, we will continue to cause needless suffering for hundreds of billions of our fellow beings on the planet and not realize genuine Peace within us or in the world.
I am not a psychologist, but I am happy to support anyone who is interested in doing this important spiritual work. And I bless your journey to authentic integration.
“The wolf and the lamb will live together… and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
© carol saunders 2017
Please watch these sweet souls and let them inspire you..There are other videos of similarly hearted children which are far more heart-wrenching. I am choosing not to display them here.
When Valentine’s Day comes around it can prompt us to pause. Even though it has become a commercial holiday that unashamedly sells millions of cards, flowers and expensive dinners, there is value in reflecting on the love in our lives. And most of us - even if just for a moment - stop and reflect on who we love, who has loved us and who loves us now. We may also choose to venture into pondering Universal Love, the unconditional Love of Spirit that is under all of Creation. “God is Love,” penned the author of 1 John. The Beatles said it another way: “Love is all you need."
But sometimes we don’t feel the love, do we? Sometimes we feel lonely, abandoned, neglected, abused, betrayed or hurt. That can be universal too, a part of the human condition. Or more broadly, it is part of the sentient condition since all beings with sentience have the capacity to suffer and feel pain.
We human beings are uniquely gifted with the ability to change our world. We can raise (or lower) the consciousness of the planet simply by the choices we make, the thoughts we hold, the amount of kindness and love we are willing to give. We are that powerful.
We all want a better world. We all want Love. We all want to experience Kindness, Understanding and Compassion. We all want to feel connected. In spite of our different ideas and solutions to the world’s challenges, and in spite of what appears to be a divisive political and social climate, these are universal Truths.
The first thing we need to get through our hearts and heads is, in reality, we simply cannot control anyone ‘out there.’ We can make our desires known. We can complain. We can make requests or even protest. But we can’t make any ‘thems’ or ‘theys’ do or be what we want them to do or be. When we try to, we are looking for ways to make our world better in the completely wrong places. The world will change when our hearts change. So we simply must turn within. We simply must love more. Especially if we want more love in our lives.
It’s simple. A simple Love.
Be Love. Give Love. Accept Love. Expand as Love.
I invite you to ponder these questions:
Most of us can grasp the idealization of loving others when it comes to people who are like us. (“Love your neighbor.”) Some of us expand our love to include people who are marginalized by others, but we withhold our love from those we see as marginalizers. Some of us are remarkably able to move beyond that and grasp the idea that we must include every person in our circle of compassion, even those we dislike or who act against us. (“Love your enemy.”) But as we grow in consciousness and widen our circle of compassion to include more and more, we almost always stay within the confines of the human family.
Why do we stop there?
Why do we draw a boundary between us and the other sentient beings with whom we share the planet? Like us, they also can feel lonely, abandoned, neglected, abused, betrayed or hurt. Why do we choose to use their bodies for our food and clothing and be the cause of their constant suffering, when we no longer need to do so for our health or survival? They have done nothing to harm us. They only yearn for our care and protection.
Can we stretch ourselves and love them too?
The Buddha said, “Radiate boundless love toward the entire world!”
Just exclaiming that makes me feel lighter. Joyous. Bouyant. Try it.
The truth is, we are radiant beings capable of radiating boundless love. It is the limited ego that draws lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’ and gives us permission to inflict harm on 'them.' But there are no lines with real Love. Real Love is truly without bounds. Again, our work is to turn within and simply love more.
Be Love. Give Love. Accept Love. Expand as Love. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love all beings. Do this and you will find that your personal world will blossom as Love and an abundance of Love will come back to you. And the world will become a better place.
During this Valentine’s Day week, I celebrate along with musician, songwriter and activist Moby, the love for all animals and our inner desire to protect and care for them. Watch and enjoy his new video “A Simple Love” featuring some amazing Love beings and footage from Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue, education and advocacy organization that I fervently support.
"Just give me kindness. Just give me hope. A simple Love." Moby
© carol saunders 2017
There are so many issues and concerns plaguing our world today. There’s the Syrian refugee crisis, the rise of ISIS, the pervasiveness of opiates in our nation, election fallout, human trafficking, abortion, nuclear testing by North Korea, the national debt and on and on. Given all that is going on in the world, why do I bring attention to the plight of animals?
I am not going to argue here that animals are more important than any of the above issues. It’s not about what you feel is the single most important issue to you, but what is the single most important issue before you – one that has great impact and one you can actually take action on today. No other issue offers the same opportunity for you to concretely take positive personal action on today (except possibly abortion, but only if you happen to be pregnant today).
You can sit around and talk about the issues of the world with your friends, relatives and co-workers and think you are solving them. But you’re not necessarily solving anything because you don’t have that much control. You can staunchly hold your political viewpoint, support your candidates and vote when the opportunity presents itself. You can also decide to be more active and sign petitions, attend activist marches, call your representative or send money to support your causes. You can do all these things in hopes of - or with the expectation that - other people eventually will do what you want them to do to make the world a better place.
But today, you can make the world a better place. You can make the choice to inflict less harm, be kinder, and save a life. You can do all of this by deciding what to eat and what not to eat. That choice is completely in your control and has a deep and broad impact on your life, your society and the world at large.
In the United States alone, we kill animals for food at the rate of over a million an hour. I wish there was a way to make this humongous number sink in and have meaning.
Let me try this:
If we killed human beings at that rate, the people inhabiting the entire United States would all be dead in less than two weeks.
If that’s still too abstract, how about this:
At that rate of killing, if you live in the city of Chicago, you and your fellow Chicagoans would be dead in less than three hours.
But it doesn't stop. Because every three hours another population the size of Chicago is mercilessly decimated.
Does that give some perspective?
I hope you can see that this level of violence is staggering. Think of the energy that goes into that much killing. Think of the immense level of unnecessary, unwarranted and traumatic suffering of animals, who fight for their lives because just like us, they experience emotion and want to be free to live. Think of the shameful hardening of all those human hearts that are paid to be the fastest killing machines on earth. Think of their families who surely feel the effect of all that killing, or at least the hardened heart. You have to wonder, where does all that energy go?
It is a dark shadow looming over our lives. It is certainly not out there spreading good cheer in the world. Violence begets violence. And a good bit of it comes right back into our bodies when we eat the flesh of the beings who suffered and whose lives were blamelessly cut short. It is no wonder we are so anxious, hurtful to each other, and ill.
All of this begs the questions: Are we really the kind and thoughtful people that we think we are? Who are we that we would willfully cause so much suffering and inflict so much violence toward sentient beings who have done nothing to harm us? Where is our mercy? Are we not image and likeness of God? Is God not the power of Love Itself? Isn’t Love our true nature?
I believe that Love is our true nature. We learned this killing behavior from our parents. And they learned it from theirs, and so on. It is not natural behavior. No small child on her own would take a knife and slit the throat of a living animal standing before her. Rather, she would likely be curious, grin, and move closer to pet him. The innocence and curiosity of this child still lives within us and yearns to lead us to a more harmonious and light-filled life.
When we let the inner child lead us, we can instead direct our energies toward something much more enlivening and empowering, like authentic Kindness and Compassion. Think of how different our world would be if we stopped all this violence and replaced it with authentic Kindness and Compassion. The kind of Kindness and Compassion that respects every living being’s right to be treated like a some-one, and not a body with which we can do whatever we want.
Today you have an issue facing you that at first glance may not seem that important compared to all the other concerns of your day. But it is in fact the most important issue facing you today, because you have complete control to choose non-violence and make a difference now. When you choose Kindness and Compassion over killing, you bring greater peace to your life, to other beings, and to the planet.
Keep animal flesh off your plate and out of your body. Eat healthy plant-based food. And who knows? Maybe if enough of us make the choice to be Kind and Compassionate – bringing about a radical reduction in today’s suffering and violence - we will as a species regain our sense of value toward Life Itself. And the other issues just might take care of themselves.
© carol saunders 2017
Every Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a tiny baby in Bethlehem. Babies are born all the time! But this one’s birth narrative has been told over and over again for hundreds, even thousands of years. Whether you accept the story as literal or symbolic, it holds deep meaning. A new vibration of Love came into this world in the form of a human being… and he was born among the animals.
Art by Simon Mendez
Where else would perfect Love be so welcomed? It’s an ideal setting for such a birth. Animals are real. They have no pretenses, no ulterior motives, no images to project and no hidden agendas. They don’t blame, shame, hate, envy, lie, cheat or express impatience, arrogance, self-loathing, selfishness or judgment. They don’t hold grudges, but quickly forgive, even the most egregious of offenses. They live in the present and handle their own emotions. By their nature, the animals - who lovingly surrounded the Christ baby - exemplified the very teachings that he was to grow up and convey to all of mankind - teachings of Peace, Universal Love, Forgiveness, being true to one’s authentic nature, and the nearness of God. Most of us completely ignore these teachings today. But the animals remember.
Art by Simon Mendez
In the Christmas story, the Christ child was laid in a manger – a feeding trough likely for cows or sheep. It is interesting to note that this young one grew up to be the man - thirty years later - who boldly challenged the commercial activities of the Temple and its animal-selling marketplace. He drove out the moneychangers and freed the sacrificial cows and sheep; innocent animals used to vicariously hold the sins of human beings before being slaughtered. These were animals just like the ones who surrounded him at his birth. It ultimately cost him his life.
If we were to turn ourselves to our Light within, we too would free the animals - free them from our plates, our wardrobes, our product testing and our entertainment. Like the animals in the Temple, they are without blame, having done nothing to harm us. They are beings created by God with their own interests, not ours to do with whatever we want. “Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5: 7 & 9)
My daughter Madeline and Dawn Cow at the Orland, CA Farm Sanctuary.
This Christmas let us remember that the vibration of perfect Love, which came into our world over two thousand years ago, lives in us today. We hold within us all we need to create a world of Love, Peace, Compassion, Kindness and Mercy. We must start with ourselves and be what we want to see in the world.
Let us also remember the gifts of the animals - their authenticity, quickness to forgive and simple being-ness. Perhaps we will be moved to bring ourselves closer to the Presence that they themselves reveal all the days of their lives.
May the Love and Peace of Christmas bless you today. And may the animals also be so blessed by your own merciful hand.
© carol saunders 2016
Art by Simon Mendez
Often when I bring up the plight of non-human animals, my friends will come back with the question, “What about people? Don’t you care about people?”
I used to wonder why this question would come up, but I am no longer startled. The answer is, of course I care about people! That’s why I am in the people business. I am here to raise consciousness on this planet in every way. As we evolve, we will not just talk about Oneness and Universal Love. We will come closer to actually living it. And as we come closer to living in alignment with our deeply held beliefs, we will become bolder, more authentic people. We will be less internally conflicted, and more at peace. We will be freer.
Professing our belief in Oneness and Universal Love while simultaneously hurting, killing and eating other beings makes for a crazy interior life. If we give it any consideration, we are simply not able to reconcile our sense of ourselves (the idea that we are good and caring people), our beliefs (the ideas that we are all One and killing is morally wrong), with our actual behaviors (the fact that we pay other people to kill innocent sentient beings because we want to/like it).
You will likely want to defend yourself against that last phrase. After all, you don't really like to hurt or kill anyone. Or you certainly don't want to think that you do. So if you actually do, it must be something that you can't help doing, that you absolutely need to do, or that you are supposed to do. Alternatively, you might think that there is something wrong with me and/or what I am saying to you.
You might then respond/deflect with comments like, “But animals are meant for us to eat,” or “Human beings need meat for health/survival,” or “From the beginning of time, we have always eaten animals,” or "But I only buy certified humane products," or “What about plants?” or “Lions eat other animals,” or “People are more important than animals,” or “Alaskan Eskimos live on only meat,” or “What about abortion?” or “Our human body is designed to consume animal products,” or “I don't want to look at this – you are making me feel guilty,” or any number of other responses that keep you (or me) distracted and not having to actually reconcile behaviors with values and beliefs. (By the way, I hear these responses/questions all the time - I did not make them up. Sometimes they are legit inquiries. More often they are diversions. Brief answers can be found at the bottom of this blog.)
This is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values. (Scientific American, 1962 v. 207, L. Festinger) The inner anxiety causes us to rationalize, defend, deflect, project, blame, live unconsciously, split off or pretend. Rather than look at ourselves and take steps to be in better alignment, we shift our attention to something or someone else. Cognitive dissonance is the place in our consciousness where we shore ourselves up, rationalize/ignore our discontinuities, terminate reflection and inquiry, and stop growing. It is antithetical to the spiritual path!
When we are on the spiritual path, we seek to grow our consciousness. We seek to broaden our understanding of all Life and deepen our relationship with the Divine. We seek to become more of our spiritual nature and less driven by ego. Given that, wouldn’t it follow that we would naturally be grateful to have our inconsistencies exposed so that we may more closely tune ourselves to Harmony, Love and Peace? This is our heart's true desire.
But that’s not how it always goes down.
Awakening can be messy business. It forces us to look at our lives honestly. The good news is, when we awaken, we can actually get out of the nightmare that we are living in. I call it a nightmare because that is what it is for the animals. I believe it is also a nightmare for our souls that yearn to fully embody Kindness and Compassion. In this nightmare (which we inherited) we are humans who purposefully, repeatedly and systematically reproduce sentient beings – beings who have awareness, personalities, experience suffering, have their own interests and desperately want to live. We produce them so that we can do to/with them whatever we want, including but not limited to shortening their lives with a violent death. And we do all this when we have no biological or situational need to do so. In every other arena in our society we would find this abhorrent.
My friends, Oneness is Oneness. Kindness is Kindness. Universal Love is Universal. It applies indisciminately to everyone. It cannot co-exist with using other beings for our personal wants any more than it can co-exist with human slavery.
At the depth of our being, we know this.
You may not yet be ready to wake up completely, but perhaps finding this page is evidence that the voice of your higher Self or inner child is knocking at your door.
Let it lead you.
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening.
If you are interested in looking into a plant-based lifestyle, here are a few links that might help you:
Here are brief answers to the questions hypothetically posed in the above blog. They will likely be handled in separate blogs at a later date:
"But animals are meant for us to eat." Says who? We made this up! It's not even in the Bible. All beings have their own purpose.
“Human beings need meat for health/survival.” Humans have no inherent biological or nutritional need for animals products. We also live in a society where there are so many healthy plant-based options. See the links above for guidance.
“From the beginning of time, we have always eaten animals.” There are dissenting views on this. Here is one of many that claims it is not true. From a cultural perspective it's irrelevant though. Would you use history to justify other human activities like slavery, child labor, war, living without indoor plumbing, etc.? We are evolving.
"But I only buy certified humane animal products." Beware of misleading labels. They want to mislead you so you feel better about your purchase.
"What about plants?” Plants have no central nervous system and are not sentient.
“Lions eat other animals.” Yes they do. And we are not lions.
“People are more important than animals.” I will never ask you to elevate the importance of animals above people. You are welcome to think that humans are more important than non-humans. I am asking you to consider non-human animals as sentient beings - a who, not a what. Choosing to not kill animals for food or clothing doesn't take anything away from any of your efforts to help humanity.
“Alaskan Eskimos survive on only meat." Yes they do. It shows how resilient the human body is! They also don't have community gardens, farmers markets, Kroger or Whole Foods like the vast majority of us do. We have choices.
“What about abortion?” This is deserving of its own blog. What I can say now is these are separate issues.
"Our human body is designed to consume animal products.” No, it really isn't.
“I don't want to look at this – you are making me feel guilty.” I understand. It is hard to look. But looking is how we grow. Remember that guilt is a mechanism of the psyche to help us to align our behaviors with our values. Do not dwell in guilt but pay attention to it! It is telling you something! This is definitely worthy of a future blog.
On the eve of Thanksgiving Day, I am moved to express how deeply grateful I am for all the people who work tirelessly for the freedom of animals. You are the angels on this planet. Unsung heroes.
For those who are on the front lines working undercover in factory farms and slaughterhouses, under the most demanding circumstances, thank you. You are doing such important work exposing one of the darkest shadows of our culture. You reveal to the world how the animals we use for our own purposes are treated. You give us the opportunity to see reality for ourselves, hold our society accountable and make better choices.
For all who are engaged in the rescue of the fortunate few animals who escape their dark fates, thank you. You are doing such important work by giving these blessed beings a free and natural life. You give the rest of us an opportunity to experience their gentle natures, individual personalities and endearing qualities. You help us to become aware and make better choices.
For all who help the animals in need who cross your paths - giving them food, comfort, shelter or a home - thank you. You are doing important work. You are showing the best of human nature to animals who may have never before experienced compassion from a human being. And your compassionate action is ringing loudly through the world and blessing us all.
For all who financially support the animal education, advocacy and rescue organizations, thank you. You are doing important work. Your generosity of Spirit and willingness to share your prosperity is what supports the movement and contributes to the evolution of humanity and the world.
For all who blog and post on Facebook or Twitter, who table at events, write books, publish YouTube videos or communicate by whatever means is available to you about the plight of our non-human animal friends, thank you. You are doing important work. Because of you our message is spreading into the world. And you give the one person who is ready to listen that day the opportunity to awaken.
For those who have heeded the call, awakened to the plight of the animals and are in the process of taking practical steps to live in alignment with your values of non-violence and compassion, thank you. You are doing important work. We all know how hard it is to change deeply rooted life patterns. It challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones. It can also challenge our relationships and sense of culture and community. But through your integrity and by your actions, you save the lives of so many animals, set an example for others for what is possible and give us all hope.
For every person who plants seeds in your daily conversations with people, encouraging them to widen the circle of compassion to include all sentient beings, thank you. You are doing important work. By gracefully and compassionately giving voice to this, over time, we will awaken the world.
I feel deep gratitude today for all the boys and girls and men and women who are a part of this movement that is actively breaking through the next moral barrier. You see the Truth - that our non-human animal friends are divine expressions of Creation with their own interests, not things to objectify for our own desires. You are in action helping our animal friends live freely and also helping people to see the Truth for themselves. You are angels. And even if the majority of our world rejects our message at this time in history, there will be a time when it will be otherwise, because of your courageous actions and powerful voice.
Ours is a movement of Love, Kindness, Compassion and Peace. It is fundamentally Good. Good for all. There will always be violence in our world as long as it is okay to hurt animals. And any move toward more kindness and less violence on our planet is good for all. Thank you to all who are tirelessly at work to make our world a kinder and gentler one.
© carol saunders 2016
"I want to thank you show my gratitude
My love and my respect for you
I want to thank you."
from Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Matthew 5:9
At the depth of our being is Spirit. Some people call this God within. Some call it Lord. Others call it their higher Self. Whatever you call it, it is our Spirit-self that seeks to express as Love, Compassion and Understanding. Even though we often ‘miss the mark,’ those of us on spiritual paths are always striving to become a clearer expression of Love, Compassion and Understanding. We turn within for clarity and guidance.
How are you allowing your Spirit-self to guide you today? Will you allow it to bring light to the choices you make in your everyday life?
It’s really very simple. When faced with a choice, ask yourself:
Most of us like to think we are kind people. We help people in need. We may perform random acts of kindness. We give to causes we believe in or to people in need. We say nice things to other people to lift them up. We do our best to appreciate the contributions of others and to be cordial toward those who are more difficult. We do what we can to not hurt others. We also do our best to be aware of the times when we are not kind and strive to do it better the next time around. And we are certainly put off by what looks to us like unkind people or unkind acts.
But in our complex society, our impact on others can sometimes be completely invisible to us. As consumers we may have no idea if we are participating in something that is kind or not. But we can do due diligence to find out. We can give it some dedicated thought and put our minds and hearts in gear!
Here is one thing that may have never crossed your mind: eggs.
We eat them for breakfast. We use them to make egg salad or potato salad. We use them to bake almost everything. They are an integral part of a lot of what we eat. They also seem pretty benign. After all, hens lay eggs naturally and if the eggs aren’t fertilized, no harm is done; no life is taken, right?
I used to think that. For decades I had no idea that there was anything harmful in the production of eggs (or milk for that matter, but we will save that for another day). But eventually I made the choice to discover the facts. Underneath my scrambled egg breakfast was egregious cruelty, beyond the pale.
What I learned was this:
More than 300 million hens are raised on factory farms, representing 95% of the eggs that we buy. The hens are kept in crowded, unarguably abhorrent conditions. The ammonia level in the air caused by the breakdown of uric acid in their excrement is pungent and a respiratory hazard.
First image above shows battery cage hens. Second image shows free-range hens. Is this kind?
Compared to a century ago, when an egg-laying hen laid 100 eggs a year, the modern hen has been bred to lay between 250 to 300 eggs a year. Laying such a huge number of eggs can cause her to suffer from conditions such as osteoporosis, fatty liver syndrome and prolapsed uteruses. No veterinary care is provided for ailing birds. They are left to suffer and/or die.
Is this kind?
There comes a point in a hen’s life cycle when she is found to not be laying a sufficient number of eggs by production standards. She is then put into a forced molting process, where she is essentially starved for up to 14 days. This puts her body in a state of shock and induces it to produce more eggs for our consumption. Keep in mind, there is no biological reason for us to consume eggs, and there are plenty of ways to bake without them.
Forced molting is a widespread practice in the United States.
Is this kind?
To keep this machine going, you need a constant supply of new hens so of course some eggs must be fertilized and hatched. Soon after hatching, all these little chicks are separated in a mass production line by the chick ‘sexers.’ Yes that is actually a role for a person in this assembly line production. You can guess that only females are desirable for this business since they are the ones who can actually biologically lay eggs. Males born to egg-laying hens are considered useless, because they can’t lay eggs and their breast tissue is insufficient chicken sandwich material.
This is an assembly line folks. It looks like they are playing with Peeps, but these are real living beings with a desire to live, being separated by gender. Is this kind?
So what do we do with the ‘non-essential’ male chicks? They are discarded, gassed or ground up alive right after birth. And that is the awful truth. More than 260 million male chicks are killed every year in the United States alone. And if you think that your certified humane, organic or free range eggs are free of all this, even the most rigorous humane labeling certification programs in the U.S permit the killing of male chicks at the hatcheries which supply their egg farms with laying hens. It's no different with 'backyard chickens.'
Above are male chicks being suffocated in plastic bags or disposed of as trash. Below are male chicks going into a grinder alive. I spared you the video.
Is this kind?
The female chicks will grow up without any natural parenting from their mothers. At just a few days old, the tips of their sensitive, nerve-ending-laden beaks are shorn off without anesthetic. This is done to keep them from pecking each other in the unnatural confined conditions they are kept in. It would be kind of like having our fingernails pulled out to keep us from scratching at each other, because if we were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a small space with other people, standing in our feces and with no natural light for our entire lives, we just might do that.
Is this kind?
And the cycle continues. Eventually every hen stops producing a sufficient number of eggs (after numerous cycles of starvation) and she is considered to be ‘spent’. At that time, she is just 12-18 months old, while her normal lifespan might be 10-15 years. Regarding lifespan, this would be comparable to a seven-year-old human being. She might be transported to slaughter where her depleted body will be made into low grade food. Or if market conditions for that aren’t so great, she may simply be gassed and put in a landfill, ground up alive or slaughtered to become food for other farm animals.
On-farm composting is a means to dispose of laying hens considered no longer useful for egg production because it is considered convenient, cost effective and environmentally sound. They did nothing to us. Is this kind?
I hope you made it this far, because now we get to the good stuff: inquiry.
What does this say about our humanity?
I invite you to look at the reality as well as the symbolism here for a moment. It seems ironic that the egg is a symbol of life, and there is so much death around this so-called 'life.' We may say, ‘it’s just a chicken,’ but we (humankind) have said that about lots of ‘others’ throughout our long history, and we have deeply regretted it (or loathed our ancestors for it). So let’s not say that. She is a she. She has her own interests. And her body is completely abused and used for human desires, which are not even needs. There is also a huge denial/repression/domination of the feminine going on here, which I will write about in another blog. Today, I’ll stick to Kindness and respect for Life. For all of us who try to be kind in our lives, this is about the most unkind thing that we humans systematically participate in.
When you learn the truth about something like this, it can be enormously unsettling. Because once you know, you either have to ignore that it exists (which wastes a lot of internal energy and ultimately harms you) or make the decision to change (which takes a great deal of courage, conviction and fortitude).
The path of least resistance is to stay with what you normally think and do. There’s a part of you that - even with everything you may have just learned, and even if you think it is all horrible - will defend the status quo with statements like, “But I love my eggs; they taste so good!” or “It is just too much trouble to figure out how make a cake without eggs,” or once again, “It’s just a chicken.” Watch for those thoughts.
I know. I’ve been there. But I did change. Because for me, I knew that I didn’t want to be a part of something so terribly unkind. For me, every life deserves respect. And for the sake of the poor chickens who are forced to give every last ounce of life for a human want, for the sake of Kindness itself, and for the sake of Peace and Harmony in my soul, I chose to take action. I did not want to be a person who says/believes one thing and does another. So I found a way to live without this non-essential food that causes so much harm to other beings. And the peace I feel in my soul every time I say no to eggs is uplifting. I am in closer alignment with the Divine expressions of Love and Harmony, which admittedly I also want to see more of in the world.
For every person who takes a brave step to live more kindly, the world becomes more kind. And the world needs more Kindness, don't you think?
Be Kind. Be Love. Be Peace. Today.
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening. If you are moved to learn more, here are some resources:
More about the egg industry:
What labels on eggs really mean:
Easy egg substitutes in baking:
The social world of chickens:
You think eggs are cheap protein? Take a look at this:
There will be a day when generations to come look back on us and wonder how we could have ever allowed all the suffering. They will look at us in the same way we look at the slave owners of the 1800’s or the Holocaust perpetrators and all the people who remained silent about it. How did people sit idly by when all this violence was going on? How could they not see? Why did they not act?
A few years ago I was listening to UnityFM radio. The radio show host and his guest were both bright scholarly teachers and they were discussing the gay marriage movement. They acknowledged that this last barrier was on the brink of breaking. At the close of the program the host posed a question to his listeners: “What do you think is the next moral barrier to be broken that we cannot yet see?”
I knew the answer to this! I could see it as clearly as Mt. Everest on a bright sunny day! The next barrier to be broken was the animal-human boundary. I immediately sent off an email to the show host with my answer. I was so excited to be in this dialogue with a person who in my eyes, was a spiritual giant.
His response took me completely aback. It was surprisingly dismissive.
He replied that what I was suggesting will never happen, that eating animals has been a part of human history from the very beginning - like fire - and it will always be a part of our culture.
It was a most peculiar response coming from a spiritual teacher whose radio show that day was focused on breaking historical cultural boundaries! The justification he put forth was 'history' as if history was something to which we were bound. Since when did history ever serve as a justification for anything? Slavery, child neglect/abuse/labor, domination/exclusion of women, segregation of races, alienation of homosexuals, etc. were also ‘always a part of human history.’ That is, until we awakened and saw their horrific nature. Then we changed.
What I saw that day was a very bright, spiritually accomplished person who couldn’t see that he couldn’t see.
And many years from now, people will wonder how it was that we as a people, were not able to see what is so obviously clear to them: being the cause of another being’s suffering because you want to, just isn’t okay.
Change in collective consciousness is slow. It usually starts with a small minority out in front doing what they can to point out injustices, immoralities, inequities and harmful behaviors. These few people are generally made fun of by the majority. They are marginalized and their voices are squelched and belittled. Or if they are in the spiritual arena like I am, they may be acknowledged for ‘sharing their personal truth,’ as if choosing to be kind or to not take the life of another is a personal truth.
But the thought leaders keep on. If their cause is one that will bring a higher level of ethics into the world - more Goodness, Kindness, Fairness and Love - then the message begins to spread. A few more people start to resonate with it. Those who resonate convert to the new ethics. They then join the voice for change and the sound gets stronger. Eventually it reaches a tipping point, and consciousness – along with what is considered socially acceptable or unacceptable – changes.
We saw this with the Abolitionists during the Civil War. We saw this with the Suffragettes in the late 19th century. We saw this with the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement. And we saw this recently with the shift to legalize gay marriage.
And we will see this table turn for the non-human animals. We will see it!
Consciousness will change because wherever there is a cultural and personal shift toward creating a world of less harm, less suffering, less fear, less anxiety, and more love, move compassion, more care, more freedom, the Universe smiles and lights the path to its full expression.
Sometimes that shift is abrupt. Much more often it takes a long time. The time it takes isn’t our business. We must keep doing what we do, anchored in Compassion and Freedom. We are the ones. We must keep speaking. Even if we are speaking into what seems like an infinite, bleak tunnel of darkness; even if our friends or family turn away from us; even if we find ourselves in challenging or embarrassing situations; even though every day of our lives we must navigate through the violent world that we so deeply yearn to change. We must speak for as long as it takes. The animals need our Voice. Know that all the angels of Goodness are behind us, because we are a movement of Peace, Kindness and Compassion.
It’s very simple really. It’s much simpler than the movements to free slaves, give women the vote, end racial segregation or legalize gay marriage, because we can act without anyone else having to do anything.
We don’t need to wait for any big move to be made by our government. We don’t need to wait for any new law to be legislated. We don’t need to wait for Big Ag and the food companies to change their ways. We can simply choose differently, spend differently, invest differently and eat and clothe ourselves differently. By our personal actions today, we can stop being the cause of another’s suffering.
It comes down to this: in all the situations where you have the personal power to act, do less harm; do more good. Refrain from killing or being the cause of killing anyone or anything, unless you absolutely need to for your own survival. You don’t want to be abused or eaten, so avoid abusing or eating others. Non-human animals are sentient according to 2500 studies. They have rich emotional lives with the capacity to suffer and feel empathy. They want to live. They are complex social beings, not things. Let them have the freedom to be who they were created to be. Treat them how you want to be treated.
Start today. And perhaps future generations will be proud of us.
"It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man." Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winner 1952
© carol saunders 2016
Thank you for listening. If you are moved to do less harm or be in action to cause less suffering, here are a few resources (or check out the resources at the end of any of my blogs):
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.