The Global Awakening to Our Kinship with Animals:

Where do animals fit into this gigantic paradigm shift

Published in The Edge:Exploring the Evolution of Consciousness, June 2004

Featured topic: “The Animal Kingdom”

It was early fall in the Uintas Primitive Area in Utah. Fourteen year old Bryan was hunting with his father and several other men. Somehow Bryan got separated from the group. The men searched for him to no avail. Wearing only jeans, a T-shirt, and light jacket, Bryan grew cold and frightened. Night fell, and rain turned to sleet, then snow. As he huddled at the base of a pine tree, he was frightened by loud snorting sounds He peered through the branches of the trees, and there, coming toward him were two huge female elks. They came near and sniffed him, then turned and left. Although Bryan was afraid they would return, he began suffering from deadly hypothermia and drifted off to sleep. He could have died under those conditions, but Bryan woke up the next morning. In fact, he woke up in more ways than one.

When he awoke, he discovered to his amazement and awe that the two elks were lying on either side of him keeping him warm. They had saved his life. Seeing he was awake and safe, the elk folks trotted off. Soon after that, the search party, led by dogs, found Bryan. At first, no one believed Bryan’s story, but then they looked at the tracks and impressions in the snow where the elks had lain protectively beside Bryan, and there was no doubt. It was later that Bryan shocked them all by declaring that he would never hunt again. “How can I possibly take the life of another wild animal after two wild animals saved my life?” he asked.

We are awakening to such realizations ourselves as we journey within this chaotic birthing that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin calls “a new humanity coming into form.” We are becoming conscious of our true nature and liberating ourselves from centuries of old cultural programming. We are witnessing and taking part in the collapse of the old anthropocentric paradigm of dominance, control, exploitation and destruction. Out of the mud, we see the rising of the “lovely lotus”—the new world-view of compassion, cooperation, unitive communion, and reverence for life.

Where do animals fit into this gigantic paradigm shift? How does this affect them, and how does their journey intersect with ours? As children we have historically been allowed to love all animals. However, this natural sense of kinship is soon put tp sleep in most cultures. Because the dominant paradigm, within which we still live, proclaims that the world is a competitive and violent place in which one must be powerful in order to survive, we are taught early that we must ignore the suffering of those we dominate and exploit. Empathy for them weakens our resolve, and so it must be eliminated. In a fear-based culture, there is no sense of interconnection with the Universe or with other beings. There is no sense of God-within-all. There is instead a drastic and terrifying disconnection. This deeply ingrained belief system is, in fact, one of the roots of our human tendency to remain unconscious, to respond automatically to our programming. Bryan broke out of his programming as a young hunter who was being diligently trained to not feel empathy. The elk people awakened him and reopened his heart to his connection to all beings.

As Edge readers, most of us are experiencing more and more periods of conscious awakeness. Yet we are waking up to truth in the midst of a world that is still operating on the principles of fear. Each day we, like Bryan, find ourselves in situations that call for new responses, not old programmed reactions. As our inner growth sparks us to express the love in our hearts, we find ourselves questioning authority at every turn. As we see the damage being done by traditional medicine, industry, politics, education, etc., we find our hearts longing to do our part to create new ways of being in this world.

As we open our hearts to the animal nations, we are questioning the centuries old assumptions that we have the right to use animals for entertainment, for clothing, for experimentation, for slave labor, and for food. Those assumptions have caused the most horrific mass suffering, extinction, and slaughter of animals anyone could possibly imagine. As we embrace our sacred interconnection with the entire Universe, as we begin to see God in every animal, leaf, and stone, we realize that we are one with all. As such, we can no longer eat, wear, or exploit our friends of the animal nations, our fellow travelers on this fascinating road to the new paradigm of compassion, peace and love..

We are becoming Homo Ahimsa—the gentle, compassionate human. We are living in “Jump Time,” as Jean Houston calls it—a time in which we have the chance to elevate our nature from the most violent species on earth to a species that lives in a constant state of amazement and wonder at the miracle of life. What great joy lies ahead for us and for the animals as we stop looking at them as commodities for our use and begin working together with them to awaken the world to love and reverence for all life.

© Judy Carman 2004

Bio: A former therapist and program director for mental health clinics, Judy Carman is a dedicated animal rights, environmental, and peace activist. She is founder of the Circle of Compassion Initiative, co-founder of Animal Outreach of Kansas and co-founder of the Prayer Circle for Animals. She is the author of Born to Be Blessed and Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul, published by Lantern Books. (The story of Bryan can be found in Peace to All Beings.)

Suggested Reading: for information about how billions of animals are being tortured and killed and what you can do to help stop the suffering. for vegetarian recipes.

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins.

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