Monthly Archives: December 2011

Evolving into ourselves

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EVOLVING INTO OURSELVES

 

In order to enhance the joyful appreciation of, and increase the respect for, natural systems and animals in humanity, some ideas have occurred to me. Most importantly for me is the need for people to be shown the awesomeness of the everyday creatures which  we have allowed into our lives. So, a docu-visual on chickens that clearly demonstrates the degree of care a mother hen has for her chicks from before birth : how she interacts with them by chirping to them whilst they are still in the shell, and turns the eggs 5 times an hour. Prior to this she has sought out all the best twigs and straw and grasses available to make as perfect a nest as possible in order to keep the eggs warm whilst she has to leave them to find food or defend her space or whatever. A mother hen enters an altered state of consciousness akin to deep meditation, and shuts down her bodily processes in order to not require food or water for the weeks between laying and hatching of her clutch of eggs. But this state is no hibernation, for she is actively engaged in the maternal process all along by this interactive chirping and turning. Meanwhile other hens who are not on current broody status will be patrolling the territory, turning over the leaf litter in search of insects which might compete for available food sources, and checking on the ripening grasses in their patch.  The cockerels meanwhile will be busy maintaining the cohesion and size of each small colony, acting as sentinels and on guard duty, as well as ensuring the fertility of upcoming clutches of eggs. The cockerel has been seen to lead his flock in its daily forraging expeditions, journeys to water sources and safe roosting sites. It will be shown how these birds would naturally choose to roost in trees overnight, and how humans might begin to interpret their many vocalisations in order to learn a little of their language. Like probably all creatures, language goes way beyond the audible “words” used and necessarily includes gestures, and doubtlessly incorporates altering scents, via complex hormonal systems which we have yet to be aware of.

 

Indeed we humans barely understand how our own species functions, interacts socially, finds mates and  ensures the ongoing raising of offspring. We do not even understand the way in which a mothers milk is continuously changing in composition to perfectly reflect and provide for the developing baby. Clearly the milk produced for newborns is different from that needed by a one year old active youngster. Any mother who has breast fed her baby will attest that the baby actively seeks out one or other of her breasts at different times, because the foremilk is richer, more proteinatious and nourishing whilst the hind milk is more thirst-quenchingly high in water. Extrapolate these observations, then, to the sort of milk extracted from the lactating bovines, sheep or goats which humanity has learned to milk. What is the quality and nature of this milk like? What happens to the feedback process whereby the growing infant’s needs are perfectly matched by its mother? Furthermore, given the discomforting facts about the various ways man has interfered with the cycle of reproduction of these creatures, in order to maximise milk output, would it not be pertinent to consider exactly what it is we are so mindlessly and habitually drinking? It is accepted practise to permit a level of blood and pus in cows milk because the artificially high yield – up to 7 times what one calf would drink – inevitably causes inflammation. Actually the deeper you look, the more sordid and unpalatable this everyday substance becomes. What nature has provided as fuel for growing a 100lb calf into a 2000lb bullock within 4 months is very different to the milk a human baby needs, because humans have the lowest growth rate of any mammal. Human milk has a fraction of the protein, and more, but different fats than cows milk, for example.

 

Why does it not occur to people that breast milk is intended purely for growing babies, and has no place in the adult world? Even the minimal level of our scientific comprehension has demonstrated that the enzyme required to digest milk is no longer produced beyond the age of 2-3 years of age in humans. Meaning that lactose intolerance is the mere tip of the iceberg of the health problems which prolonged milk ingestion causes. Not to mention the milk of an entirely different species! And with consideration of the conditions in which cows milk is produced now for the mass market, in factory farms with no access to fresh grass. I will only briefly mention the growth hormones and unnatural foods including fish meal, ground up feathers(for their protein) and grains that modern cattle are fed, which they are not equipped to assimilate. A thought must go also to the psycho-emotional state of these grieving mothers whose babies are stolen away at birth, and how this energy is part of every pint forcibly extracted. How often do people stop to contemplate the spiritual side of their food choices? Deliberately ingesting the trauma and terror which would have been the terminal feelings of slaughtered creatures, is not conducive to peace either personally or between ourselves. Many of the greatest minds who ever contemplated and wrote about the human condition realised the inseparable link between what we eat and how we behave, and both practised and advocated leaving death off the menu.

 

It would serve us well to go through the lives of the many other species which humanity has enslaved, incarcerated, and turned into objects. Each and every one of which is in truth a unique individual person every bit as endowed with character as any cat or dog which humans so enjoy turning into precious pets. The concept of speciesism might be new to many reading this, and it basically asks us to consider the arbitrary and human-centric ways in which we put on very different filters when we regard our fellow earthlings. It is legal, for example, to castrate, cut the tails off of, and clip the teeth from baby pigs with no anaesthetic whatsoever. Our domestic dogs and cats, have protection from the way farm animals are routinely treated, yet pigs are known to be more intelligent than dogs. I said it would serve us well to actually look at what we have allowed to happen in the modern production of daily animal foods, because if we are what we eat, then the trauma and suffering throughout the world might be traced back to source. Does it never occur to us that our lack of empathy for the deliberate but disguised cruelty inflicted upon innocent creatures in our names is utterly connected to our own lack of peace? How can we hope to see peace amongst ourselves whilst our own livelihood is bought at the price of so many stolen lives? The  accelerating desertification and starvation in the third world is directly attributed to the deforestation and planting of soya and grain for cattle to satisfy the demand for meat and dairy in the west. It takes more than 10 times as much land to feed a carnist as it does to feed a vegan, and hundreds of times as much water, because animal agriculture uses so much water, and produces so much pollution. If we ate all the grain we grow directly rather than wastefully and second handedly recycling it through animals,we would have better health, more pristine environment, and an end to starvation.

 

As we enter 2012, a pivotal year presents itself during which humankind may rapidly evolve from outdated unworkable ways : by ceasing to exploit both one another and our fellow earthlings. Living consciously and co-operatively, with respect and awe, on this singular shared planet. Acting as the custodians and guardians, conserving resources for future generations, and putting our energy and focus into tolerance not belligerence. We have so much untapped potential, and I for one am resolutely optimistic about our development as awakening beings.

 

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TRANSCENDING VIOLENCE

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TRANSCENDING VIOLENCE

On a good day it can be tempting to imagine that humanity has been evolving continuously, from caveman violence and belligerence, towards some measure of cooperative mutual care. If we look at the surface evidence, then, it may be considered progressive that we no longer see superstition appeased by human sacrifice, or the enslavement of some for the social ease of others. Where these still surface, the social media rightly express outrage, yet beneath the superficial apparencies, is it not business as usual for the mighty is right brigade? When conquest and control are the unvoiced mission statement of government, and genocide is the primary means of acquiring land or resources, an evolving morality is difficult to substantiate. Admittedly, in the past, torture and mutilation were employed as routine punishments, but how are we to quantify the psycho-emotional suffering of the mass medication now endemically perpetrated upon all sectors of society? Young children dumbed down to keep them quiet, babies compulsorily vaccinated with seriously questionable substances, and food and water supplies deliberately contaminated with deadly chemicals. So called education has long been used to brainwash and quell the independent thoughts and actions of youth, but now the numbing down process is topped up by a broadcast barrage of mind controlling television.

Theoretically we no longer condone the death penalty to resolve differences of opinion, or the employment of assassination to facilitate the speed of political succession. Neither do we sanction rape and pillage as the fruits of war, or pogroms as outlets for frustration. Yet not far beneath the itchy skin of society extreme violence is not only sanctioned but actively supported. What could be more violent than deliberately killing others in massive numbers in order to satisfy bloodlust? What other name can describe the incarceration and execution of 58 billion fellow earth dwellers every year, utterly unnecessarily? It is provenly not merely possible, but actively beneficial to human health, to abstain from all animal-derived food. The adoption of plant-only nutrition would do more to solve the most pressing problems afflicting the world, than all other measures possibly could put together. More critically than this, the transformative effect of giving up violence as a means of sustenance would be exponential freedom. Liberating creatures from oppression, terror, unnatural existence and untimely death would miraculously confer upon humanity the true mantle of genuine guardianship which we have never even tried on, yet alone allowed ourselves to grow into. Then, and not before, shall we experience an acceleration of evolution hitherto incomprehensible to us. From one single but all powerful decision, people would become worthy of the title humane.

Imagine a cessation of our current habit of conflict resolution predicated upon homicide. Contemplate a gentle world where overt cruelty is surpassed in every realm, from entertainment and clothing, to social celebration. The ushering in of a brave and bright new paradigm predicated upon harmlessness. When defence, as a tactic necessarily requiring the threat of offence, is transcended. It is time to stop the habit of concealing our blood-fuelled belligerence; to cease condemning its effects; and to simply surrender predation as a means to anything good. For how can consuming suffering and trauma (meat and dairy) ever possibly yield true joy and love? Only by switching off the addiction to force and fear: by adopting an elevated life-enhancing diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, shall we discover our true potential.

Currently it is estimated that 1% of the world’s population is vegan. Notions of the critical mass theory which predisposes paradigm transcendence vary. From a spiritual perspective, due to the vastly higher vibration of Pure plant nutrition and of pacifism as a practice, we are merely one breath, one thought, and one decision away from the peaceable kingdom we all shall inherit when we collectively join up our hearts and heads.

 

With Loving Intention, by the Law of Resonance, a seemingly tiny percentage may be sufficient to effectively influence the rest……….. Love anywhere in the sea of consciousness which is humanity lights up the entire field. I recall the moment when it suddenly came to me, in meditation, that the work which all the contemplatives, monks and nuns, and dedicated selfless pray-ers send out constantly is in a very real sense keeping the balance. The balance between good and evil; not just in the world as a whole, but the force of love relentlessly shining forth has an influence at a local level too. It was clear to me that this irreducible ineffable power is like another atmosphere pervading everything, sustaining life and supporting joy. Even in times and places of immense darkness and suffering.

One of my favourite quotes, simplified, says : “Happiness is when what you think, say, and do, are the same”. Happiness is what we inherit when we collectively choose to join up our ideals with our actions. In my outreach I do not meet with anyone who knowingly and deliberately would choose harm over kindness; indeed everyone I ever speak to considers compassion to be the highest ethic. They just have difficulty in the practical details of living out their ideals. They seem to be waiting for everyone else to walk their talk first. The most pernicious sentiment is the notion of “necessary evil” ; people have been hoodwinked into accepting practices so abominably wrong they cannot bear to examine what they have signed up to. Yet all that we need to do is admit that we have been living from sub-optimal behaviours, due to habit and indoctrination – to awaken to the truth of exactly what our food and agricultural choices have cost, both us and the earth. Then en mass we could walk through the gates back into paradise where nobody ever has to live in fear again. This is not impossibly idealistic, it is the only portal through which earth may sustainably survive, and life may thrive. Some of us have been holding the door open for a long time for the slumberers, patiently enduring empathically the agony of this inevitable process. Many have already passed through, having sown the seeds of their own contribution for others like me to share. It is my own personal understanding that there will be exactly enough time left to allow in everybody who is genuinely and authentically humankind. Upon this belief I rest my hope and place my trust. Peace begins on your dinner plate, it dwells within each of us, and it is an entire group decision. Swords into ploughshares! Demonstrate your values with your fork, not a knife 🙂 Be kind and gentle – think about who you eat, then decide that a learned liking for the temporary taste of seared flesh is simply not who you really are. Thank you, from my heart to your heart

UNDER A SAINTLY GAZE

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UNDER A SAINTLY GAZE

 

Outer conformity can create inner deformity…… when your stated beliefs and cherished ideals fail to manifest in your actions. When there is a lack of congruence between who you think you are and what your habits demonstrate about you. Where is the Authentic You? Are you going to allow another year to pass on by, whilst existing un-joined-up? No wonder so many people feel depressed, overwhelmed and desperate. We veil our compassion at our peril, because denying the sentience, the suffering and the right to beingness of any other is to automatically also deny, constrain, and abandon an essential part of our own self. We are all connected; separation is an illusion; and what we give out returns : these are Universal Truths.

 

Being terrified to open yourself to the shared awareness that Earthlings inherently experience will only put off and intensify the inevitable awakenment which awaits you. Recently a friend felt the need to apologise to me for not feeling capable of witnessing to the many atrocities perpetrated by the MAD (meat and dairy industry) practices which underlie humanity’s prevailing daily food choices. She felt she would be annihilated by the magnitude of oppression and suffering suddenly flooding into her. I smiled and told her that within her own sphere she was every bit as courageous and in allowance of what is as I am in my chosen focus of intention. But that was not the whole truth, because really we block our own hearts to our detriment. Refusal to address your participation in some terrible cruelty, via supporting it on your plate, and paying someone else to torture, commodify, incarcerate, and kill, innocent beings for you cannot absolve you of  culpability.

 

Another friend stated that his heart had turned to stone, which I could only laugh at when I know his heart to be as vast as the ocean of creatures he makes it his purpose to protect and defend. Purely by encompassing others our heart centre must expand, but this stretching process can mimic pain. The heart pangs from rapid openness may be felt as the opposite: a crushing and overwhelm sensation. This reminds me of the time I visited Nevers in France to venerate the incorrupt body of Saint Bernadette, where she lies in a glass case looking for all the world like Sleeping Beauty, even down to the delicate pink fingernails on her exquisite small hands. The Presence of Extraordinary Grace and Purity, she is the embodiment of Sanctity. Unlike the dead shell of other deceased persons I have seen, where the soul is obviously departed, I could clearly sense that my gazing at Saint Bernadette’s body, preserved miraculously these 132 years after her passing, was met by her own gaze looking back at me. But more than at me, her gaze penetrated my whole being. It was almost a form of  radiation from which nothing could be hidden. At once humblingly disconcerting yet affirmatively wonderful. In the film “Avatar” two beings who are falling in love gaze into one another and say “I see you” in a way which demonstrates an intimacy and depth of honouring mutual sacredness. If humans regard themselves as superior creatures to every other life form on Earth, it is way past time that we evolved into this guardianship position, and began truly tending and befriending all the other animals to the fullest extent of our capacity. Instead there is exploitation, enslavement, inequity and slaughter even towards our own species. The human condition is deplorable, and mirrored in the groaning travail of everything else alive here.

 

The gaze of Saint Bernadette felt like being utterly scanned, read and met across all levels of my being, but more than this there was some form of transference occuring simultaneously. An unvoiced sharing gift was offered to me. Then silent words came from her to me: “Your gift is compassion”. I am ashamed to say that my ego instantly puffed itself up and coyly responded “Thank you for noticing” – for I take pride in my outreach towards and on behalf of the voiceless innocents I care about.

“THEN WHY AREN’T YOU USING IT???”

oooh ouch

deflated and ashamed by the stench of my arrogance, and the fathomless depth of my ignorance

I threw myself on my metaphorical face. In disgust for such absurd posturing pomposity, and the truly pathetic condition of my besmirched soul. Unworthy to be in the vicinity of saintliness, yet with nowhere to crawl to, just who did I think I was fooling going on pious pilgrimage like that?

But this was more of my own limited self judgment and loathing flailing about.  Meanwhile the true, naked inner me was sincerely asking Saint Bernadette for her help in fulfilling, and in properly using, the gift of compassion for the purpose it had been gifted to me. In that instant I felt her two beautiful undefiled hands being placed into my heart and pressed outwards sideways : “Stretch!”

came the imperative request from these outwardly diminutive but truly awesome healing hands. Striving to comply with them is my ongoing quest. Beloved Blessed Bernadette! Forceful fierce feminine Love  in action – aaah!

 

I often have people express amazement at the way I have been capable of advocating for the innocent and marginalised for more than 40 years without resorting to aggression or succumbing to meltdown. In truth it is not because I am being the change I so long to see, for all credit must go to the invisible army of angels and saints which are the raft upon which I rest. When I imagine that I am holding firm to my vision, and steadfastly refusing to relinquish my ideals, regardless of appearances or perceived pressure, in truth it is the ceaseless support of The Blessed Mother of all which sustains me. Right is mighty and shall prevail. Love will always triumph. Rooted in such unshakeable ground there is no way to fail, even if the peaceable kingdom is not everywhere all at once as I would like. It is the easiest thing in the world to drop false pretenses and be your real self. No?  Yes 🙂  So – simply be the love, give that which you would wish to receive, live harmlessly and gently, and respect all life. In a word : VEGAN

 

THANK YOU!  From me and all the animals you will spare xxxxxxxxxx

A direct action empowerment story

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ONE OF MY MOST EMPOWERING EXPERIENCES OF DIRECT ACTION

In the early 1980’s a vegan friend told me about the heartless treatment of calves in live auctions in Britain, and so I went along to my local outdoor auction in Guildford, Surrey, to see for myself. The most distressing aspect was the plight of newborn calves, so mercilessly stolen from their mothers and standing on concrete in open pens, devoid of food and water, and without a shred of bedding. They had already endured the rigours of transportation in order to get there, and faced another journey to get to their next destination, and were clearly distressed. The initial response I received, besides derision, was that nobody had ever complained before and this was standard practise, so who did I think I was to walk in and criticise? How often do activists and agents of social change across the entire spectrum of life hear that one!

Unfortunately the laws concerning farm animals are even less protective than those for domestic animals, but I had ascertained from Compassion In World Farming that these calves were entitled to water at least. So I approached the men in charge and respectfully asked them whether the calves were going to be given something to drink. At first the reception was dismissive, but when I clearly was not going to back down and leave, the issue of who might be responsible for this task arose. Clearly nobody was interested in the well being of the calves, and obviously I was an annoying busy body with nothing better to do than interfere with the day of decent working folks just trying to do their job. In addition I was automatically an enemy because I had exposed the lack of empathy shown for the poor creatures in their control.

I said that I would happily fill a few buckets of water myself, hoping to shame someone into an act of compassion, but the excuse came: “We do not have enough buckets to go round”. Anticipating this I had come prepared with a few buckets in my car, and said that I would bring them. One man offered to help me, much to the disgust of his colleagues. He told me that he hated the way the animals were treated, prodded with electric shocks and used as objects of property as if they had no feelings. When we returned I was informed that the police were on their way because I was disrupting their lawful business. I had been polite, respectful and courteous throughout, and was not about to be driven off by this tactic, so I called their bluff and requested that they also telephone the RSPCA, part of whose job it is to monitor the goings on at these places. Unfortunately they refused my offer of a bale of straw due to disposal problems, but at least those calves that day had a small act of minimal recognition of their sentience. I made it clear that I intended to return at regular intervals to check that water was always available in future.

Guildford cattle market closed down not many years later, but from that day on at least the calves there did have access to water. A very small triumph for me on their behalf, but pitiful compared to the truly horrendous factory farming concentration camps, which deny even daylight and fresh grass to their inmates. And now it is illegal for anyone to film what goes on in these places, or in the slaughterhouses. Animal rights activists are regarded as terrorists, whilst the MAD (meat and dairy) industries routinely torture 58 billion defenceless creatures every year around the world with impunity and government protection. Male pigs, cows and sheep are castrated without anaesthetic, their tails are docked, teeth and horns sawn off as routine necessities. Milking cows are forced to give 4 times the volume of milk that their calf would ever drink, resulting in mastitis and frequent lameness. Many are too crippled to walk onto the killing floor, after only 5 years of this life, when their natural lifespan is 20+ years.

The kind man who had helped me to water the calves praised my courage, to which I replied that I feel compelled to speak up for the voiceless innocents, and to challenge the bizarre convention of humans stealing the milk of another species, commodifying the females in order to do so, and slaughtering the males. Of course the females would also be killed as soon as their milk yield dropped. I explained that I did not believe humankind to be inherently predatory or cruel, but that we were conditioned into thinking meat was necessary for health, and natural. The “fight or flight” macho survival mentality had for too long trumped the “tend and befriend” sharing feminine impulse, which is the new emerging paradigm into which we are evolving from our violent past. He was sceptical, but I am a visionary, and an idealist, and can think of no more worthwhile cause. If humanity can change its diet from being based on death and enslavement we will automatically become gentler species and learn how to live in co-operative harmony. Maybe not in my lifetime, but at least the killing is not done in my name, because I have been vegan for 40 years now. The current accelerating abuse of animals is utterly unsustainable with today’s burgeoning world population, and has been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation as the number one culprit in our ecological crisis. In addition, starvation and desertification in the 3rd world are directly caused by the fact that 60% of the world’s grain is fed to cattle, rather than to humans. It takes 10lbs of grain to make 1lb of beef, and uses thousands of gallons of extra water, creating massive lakes of effluent and methane in the process. I intend to continue my activism and outreach to spread awareness of these facts for as long as it takes!