The joy of Veganism
The spiritual benefits of living vegan: to you, to the earth, and to all beings
The earth is in terrible crisis; animals are suffering and dying by the billions; and we are all struggling with grief, anger, and guilt over the crimes committed by monstrous human arrogance. We are living in the apocalypse now. Humanity is cannibalizing the very essence of life itself.
So how can I propose that veganism and animal rights work is healing, empowering, even joyful when so often these atrocities bring us to tears? Our culture, including most churches, has lost its connection to the sacred web of life. Without that wisdom, our culture cannot experience its connection to the Divine. Without wisdom, it cannot give up its addiction to power. Yet a growing number of people are now waking up to the amazing power animals have to heal us, communicate with us, and share spirituality with us; waking up to the truth that we are all brothers and sisters, interconnected by a divine and beautiful mystery.
We are mystical activists, because we have seen and we have heard life itself longing to be recognized. We know that all life speaks. We know that the more we open our hearts and souls to the animals and the earth, the more they open to us. And through that opening, a great cosmic love is exchanged, and that’s what makes us so strong. That’s what gives us our joy. We carry the vision of a future without violence, a future of compassion for all people, all animals, and all nature.
We have truly been blessed, because we live in awe and wonder at the miracle of our animal relations and of life itself. We know firsthand that we belong with them in this sacred family of earth. We have brothers and sisters swimming in the sea, flying above us, walking beside us, and talking to us each in their own way. This path we have taken of No Harm and Communion with All Life is considered by many to be the highest spiritual path to God. Some people meditate for decades to experience the oneness of all life. Some of us received the gift by looking into the eyes of Guru Dog or Guru Horse or Guru Whale.
This is the great Path of Compassion and Joy. On this sacred path, we walk together toward the Heaven on Earth or Peaceable Kingdom prophesied by the wise optimists of all ages, in which all beings truly “love one another.”
© Judy Carman, 2002
Judy Carman, M.A. is an activist for animal rights, peace and justice, and environmental protection. She is the author of Born to Be Blessed: Seven Keys to Joyful Living, and her new book Peace to All Beings won the Spirituality and Health award as one of the best spiritual books of 2003. She is co-founder of Animal Outreach of Kansas and of the Universal Prayer Circle for Animals.