Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Being the Change.
Being the Change.
This is not as easy as it seems, despite our best efforts.
Unbeknown to us are many inherent and learned behavioural boundaries that we are afraid to cross. We will probably attest to being free thinkers, but do we really know ourselves well enough to say that we are free in our thoughts enough to know definitively all our weaknesses and strengths. Surely this is one of the main reasons we are here having this experience called life, to learn and to discover many of these things. And to grow in our appreciation for all opportunities to build on our knowledge and apply that, ergo 'wisdom'.
During a conversation I had recently with a friend Claire, I discovered that I have not gone nearly as far in my awareness and spiritual growth as I had previously thought I had. Whilst I am attempting every day to 'Be the Change I wish to see in the world', I was aghast at my naivety to certain other things. My friend was very kind and complimentary towards my questions about her reasons to be a 'Vegan', and praised my openness to ask. I was curious, and later appalled at my old school thinking which allows me to still eat meat. I guess I am not saying that it is wrong to eat meat in essence, more that I now understand what an animal goes through in the so called 'humane' process of these other sentient beings. Armed with this awareness I am at a point of choice. Do I go on now, not in ignorance but in defiance of my knowledge? Or do I accept that I have been a contributor to the needless suffering of animals as much as the next person, by not making a stand against this cruelty and not boycotting the sale of this type of food and its processing? Same goes for animal testing. (In a non-violent non-aggressive, but passive resistance)
I had already stopped eating chicken for what I had discovered about its production and the genetically modified way of rearing new chicks. I had already begun to source more naturally grown produce in a way to replace the proteins and nutrients I would miss out on. I had almost quit having sausages in my diet, knowing what rubbish goes into them. But I still loved my cooked breakfasts. The smell of that bacon and the fried mushrooms and the fried tomatoes and toast...ooh yeah..... (Do you feel where I'm coming from yet?) Yes we have no problem desiring all that wonderfully cooked food at all. But at what point do we realise just what has gone into its arrival on our table and the cruelty meted out against animals en-route?
On reflection of the wonderfully articulate and non judgemental conversation I had with my friend, it has become obvious that I need to now make a decision. Either way I cannot call myself a person who makes informed choices in the pursuit of spiritual growth if I ignore the shared damage I am doing. And this applies to the planet too.
However once my choice is made, I will still have to work with other new realisations along the way, the path of life is long and new things always come along.
Life is a succession of experiences, we have to choose our path forward.
It is apparent that I, as possibly any of us, cannot make all the informed choices at once. It is not reasonable nor sane to do this. It may indeed be more harmful than good if we do it without true and real conviction on our part. We need to find the balance, the middle way whilst we move ahead, seeking always to do less and less damage and cruelty to our world.
Here are a few examples of what I have already chosen to do.
I don't buy news papers. One reason is, it requires no paper, thus no trees (our oxygen factory) need to be cut down on my behalf. Secondly, the people that own the news papers are some of the most polluted/ing idealists alive. I don't want to be spoon fed their distorted way of looking at the world. And yes I am using Google for my ends here, their controlling ethos is also against the grain, so I am tolerating this only in so much as it helps to spread the good news of what is being done in the world for the good of all. My hope is that both agencies will eventually find a more constructive and less greedy and bigoted approach to the sharing of information.
I have not been using a car for my own personal freedom for more than a year now. I have saved on all the running costs and much of that money would have gone to companies who's greed is apparent in the global financial crisis of late. That potentially means I have lessened my carbon footprint, using public transport. It is not easy or often convenient to use these services, but I have made great headway at using them when it is feasible to do so.
I have sold, given away or redistributed most of my former worldly goods, in an attempt to have a less cluttered and more simple lifestyle. I have very few clothes, just enough to make good use of, some tools and a few books I love to read and share with people. But I don't have any debts. I don't have to worry about my things being stolen or damaged. It is a very Cathartic feeling, not to have baggage of the amount I formerly had. To be able to come and go as I chose, without a lot of concern for where all my things are and how safe they are.
Here are a few of the things I do have of value.
Many friends, from all over the world, whom are also living examples of this new way of living.
Relatively good health and vitality.
Stress free days to do the things that inspire me most.
Time for other people, to share the wonders of the world I have seen.
An active belief that the world is becoming a nicer place to be, one person at a time, one act of compassion and kindness at a time and one less harmful act of negligence and cruelty at a time.
A love of all my earthly family, all sentient beings and the planet upon which we all live.
An example of someone I admire who also took this view seriously was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The renowned Indian politician and PeaceActivist despicably murdered 30 January 1948.
A woman once approached him and asked. “Bapu, my son is eating sugar, can you help? Can you see my son and tell him to stop eating sugar?”
Gandhi told her to go away and return in two weeks time. When she returned she had the same plea and he saw her son.
She thanked him graciously and yet asked Gandhi afterwards, “Why didn't you see us two weeks ago?”
He replied simply, “two weeks ago I was eating sugar.”
What a great man. A wise and formidable spirit.
Likewise I have much to be thankful for. I am not comparing myself to this great warrior of peace so much as explaining how his example has given me the courage to try to be a better man. To push on through adversity and trial and exposure to the truth. To be the change I wish to see. In this way I honour his memory.
Therefore in the art of moving forward gracefully with compassion and love, I pledge to do my utmost to avoid eating products, that have been caused genuine distress, genuine suffering and death in the pursuit of my desire to have sustenance.
From today I will no longer eat MEAT. Nor derivative products as is my best effort to avoid being accomplice to the cruelty the slaughter and the tragedy of this occupation.
Stone by stone, little by little I shall find a way to be the change I wish to see. Thank you Gandhi for your inspiration and too my friend Claire.
May the love of the Universal Energy/God/Great Spirit, help us all to become more informed and challenging warriors for change.
I send much Love and Light to all my wonderful readers.