Peaceful Eating For A More Peaceful Planet
Published in Llewellyn's 2009 Moon Sign Book:
A Gardening Almanac & Guide to Conscious Living
Judy Carman, M.A.
One day a shaman, who lives nearby, told me a story about energy fields and food that brought me to tears. He said that he was preparing to eat some meat from a cow. The shaman knew this cow had been raised with greater care and attention than most cows receive. Nevertheless, he decided to “feel” the vibration or energy of the meat before he ate it. When he did so, he actually experienced the cow’s pain and sadness from the time he was taken from his mother, as well as the pain and fear when he was killed. The shaman did proceed to eat that meat, but it was the last time he would ever do so. He became very ill and realized he could no longer take such suffering into his body.
We are embarking on a new era of higher consciousness in these times in which we are living. Astrology, Native and other religious prophecies, and many futurists say that we are being given an unprecedented opportunity to awaken to our true nature as divine beings, to actually evolve as a species to become a peaceful, nurturing, creative presence on the planet. In my book, Peace to All Beings, I propose that we can become Homo Ahimsa, the KindHuman, dedicated to living in ahimsa, the Sanskrit word for harmlessness, nonviolence, and unconditional love.
What does vegetarianism have to do with this “new humanity coming into form,” as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin referred to it? Perhaps, Michael’s story can shed some light on the answer. Michael Ho, a young man living in San Francisco, had re-committed himself to veganism after reading Peace to All Beings. Soon after that, he told me, “I witnessed a bird hit the windshield of a car and die on the freeway. It was the first time I really felt for this small creature and could identify with the pain it must have suffered Before, I was numb to the pain and suffering of animals, because I think it was too painful for me to accept. I just blocked it out. But this was the first time I was courageous enough to open my heart up to this beautiful creature’s suffering and horrible death. Your book has made me stronger and more courageous.”
There is a concentration of energy in Capricorn and Aquarius as we enter this new year of 2009. While Capricorn is connected to meat eating and convention, Aquarius creates an energy of opening up to new ideas, leaving old thought patterns behind, and looking for truth and better ways of living into the future. In addition, the moon evokes the maternal, feminine energy of compassion and nurturing. The Union of Concerned Scientists has urgently let us know that the future for all life on earth depends on human beings finding a way to stop destroying and begin living in harmony with all life. As this new year dawns, with its Aquarian energy pouring forth, let us seize this opportunity to bring more love and peace to this suffering Earth and all the beings who dwell here with us.
Few subjects address so directly the heart of our challenge as that of pure vegetarianism and veganism. As most of you know, pure vegetarianism refers to a diet of plants, seeds, grains, and no animal products of any kind. Veganism is more than a diet, in that it is an ahimsa ethic by which to live. While it is nearly impossible in this world to do absolutely no harm to any being, vegans aim to do the least harm possible by not eating or wearing animals and not supporting companies that exploit them in laboratories, entertainment, factory farms, and the leather, fur, silk, and many other industries. This attitude of kindness extends, of course, to human beings as well and, therefore, does not support sweatshops and the many other forms of human exploitation. Likewise, ahimsa is extended to the Earth and all life upon it. Veganism is an ethic that is all encompassing in its respect for all creation and its awareness of the interconnectedness and oneness of all.
While there is clearly a physical aspect to the vegan life, the spiritual aspect is, perhaps, the most important and exciting part of this way of living, both for the individual and for the future of the planet. And it is an extremely important part of the great awakening that is taking place in the hearts of so many human beings. Dr. Gabriel Cousens, explains in his book, Spiritual Nutrition, that we are being given the opportunity to integrate our body, mind, and spirit and, in doing so, become “superconductors” of Divine energy. His Six Foundations for Spiritual Life list veganism as the first foundation. He states, “we eat to enhance our Communion with the Divine.” Cousens makes it clear that a pure vegetarian diet is essential if one is learning to quiet the mind, to become a clearer channel for Divine inspiration, and to open the heart to universal love.
The stories above illustrate that well, as does the following one. I once met a gentleman who told me that, after becoming vegan for health reasons, and before he really knew about the suffering of the animals, he began crying at sentimental movies. When he was a heavy meat eater, he recalled how his wife would cry while watching such movies, and he thought she was silly. But that was before his heart was opened. And what opened it? In his case, it was not bearing witness to the agonizing deaths of animals being eaten by humans. It was, instead, a result of his purifying his body, thus opening his heart to compassion for all. Sages and mystics from many faiths make it clear that when one eats an animal who was killed while wanting desperately to live, one takes into one’s own body fear, adrenaline, panic, terror, and death of the animal. Unlike the living essence and bright energy fields of plants that we can take into our bodies, dead animals have been stripped of light and life. Their bodies immediately begin to decompose, and when we eat them, we incorporate into our bodies and spirits the rotting corpses and the energy fields of fear and dread that permeate them.
Many of you will remember the story of Queenie, the cow who escaped the Queens neighborhood slaughterhouse in New York City. Tina Volpe, in her book Fast Food Craze, describes Queenie’s dramatic escape and the nationwide outcry to save her life that was covered on TV and in newspapers all over the country. Thanks to that massive public outcry of compassion, she now lives at Farm Sanctuary in New York where she is safe and can live out the rest of her life happily with the other animals living there. To me, this story reveals something beautiful about human beings. Deep down we do sense our kinship with animals. Of course, we all know that children naturally do. When babies are first introduced to solid food, they love the fruit and reject the meat. Nearly every children’s book on the market is about animals. From birth, we love animals and want to relate to them as our friends, but somewhere along the way, our culture works to harden our hearts to them and erects, as Will Tuttle so aptly describes it in his book The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, “a taboo against knowing who you eat.” This emotional shutdown causes great spiritual unrest. Closing our hearts to other beings is spiritually harmful to ourselves.
I met a fellow not long ago who mentioned he had worked in a slaughterhouse. I asked him how it affected him. “The smell of death was everywhere,” he said. “I quit after a week. I’d rather starve than eat an animal now.” Peter H. of California writes, in the online magazine “The Peaceable Table,” of the spiritual effects of his choice to live vegan. “I had a volcanic temper… [Now] I have found that I have greater peace; the volcano has not erupted in over fifteen years. I have also found that I am more open to subtler vibrations; spiritual perceptions are clearer.”
Peter is not alone in his experience of finding more inner peace by living vegan. Cousens’ review of scientific and mystical research shows that eating animal derived foods causes restlessness, anger, and anxiety. Meat, fast foods, “standard American diet” foods, alcohol, and microwaved food have no life force in them. Their energy fields are so disrupted that they diminish the life force of those who consume them. Cousens suggests that this kind of food may actually be “contributing to the degenerating moral fiber of our society.” The problem is that when one eats meat, dairy and eggs every day, one tends to accept these inharmonious feelings as a normal part of life, not realizing that a simple change in diet can bring profound inner peace. And as we now know, if we ourselves have no abiding inner peace, if our species is causing violence and death to nearly 100 billion sea and land animals every year, we cannot hope to bring peace to earth
Of course, this abiding sense of inner peace and compassion that so many experience after becoming vegan doesn’t always happen in a flash. Sometimes, it is a gradual shift that one may notice as time goes by. Looking back we realize we are not reacting so aggressively, not getting as angry or anxious, as we once did. And it just gets better from there. One notices more and more a growing sense of joy and wonder.
I believe that in these intense times, it isn’t just personal inner peace we are all seeking anymore. Moon Book readers and many other folks are seeing the bigger picture. The Earth herself and all life upon her are in trouble because of our destructive actions. We need to raise our vibrational, spiritual nature and move toward becoming Homo Ahimsa, not just for ourselves, but also for the world at large.
Erin Pavlina, author of Vegan Family Favorites writes that early in life she wanted to help bring the planet to a state of love, peace, and harmony. Her spirit guides told her she would have to raise her vibration, and one powerful way to do that was to stop eating animals. They explained that eating animals lowers our vibration because we are taking into our bodies the torture and death of the animals. After a time of denial, Erin finally decided to try giving up meat but not dairy and eggs. She noticed that her psychic abilities did increase, but it wasn’t until she tried a strict vegan diet that her “psychic abilities increased massively.” She also noted that 95% of her chronic health problems disappeared, her sense of compassion increased, and so did her connection to Source. Today she writes and works as a psychic medium at ErinPavlina.com and is on track to fulfill her spiritual purpose. .
Tuttle explains that we have allowed this destruction to life on this planet because of “our inner desensitization to vibrational energy frequencies—the numbness that keeps us from screaming or weeping when we bite into a hot dog or cheeseburger.” Tuttle goes on to say that our social progress toward world peace is thwarted, because we pollute “our shared consciousness-field by the dark agonies endured by billions of animals killed for food…”
Zarinea of California noticed a shift in her consciousness when she became vegan. “I have become more compassionate towards all forms of life, and not just animals. I have become more sensitive regarding issues of the environment and human rights violations.” Her experience certainly resonates with the Jewish saying, “The deed shapes the heart.” She beautifully states, “My hope is that all human beings will not only walk in the light, but also come to an understanding that all life has meaning, and should be respected in all forms.”
There are a growing number of families who are raising their children as vegans. One mom recently related a story about her daughter who, at the age of 3, demonstrated extraordinary compassion. Sammi was playing with several children while the mothers visited, when suddenly she began to scream as if she herself were terribly injured. As the mothers rushed to the scene, they found Sammi crying and cupping her hands over a tiny ant. The boy next to her had already stepped on some ants, and Sammi was trying to protect this one from him. Sammi’s mom, who was vegan before her children were born and whose two children have never tasted any animal food, states that her children are “protective of every living creature.”
Christina Louise Dicker of Australia and founder of the SPEAK list, an online voice for animals, explains this phenomena well in her article “The Spiritual argument against eating flesh.” “…when food molecules are assimilated into our bodies, we experience not merely a transfer of physical particles but also a transfer of vibrational energy.” “Thus,” she goes on to say, “by eating animals we desecrate not only the magnificent creatures we consume, but also our own precious selves, who do not fare well on a diet of darkness.” Because of the way animals are so cruelly treated, confined, abused, and finally violently killed, the vibrations of their body parts are heavy and dark. Dicker asks us to consider that “spiritual maturity expects that we own the full truth of their experience.” Once we have done that, once we have fully borne witness to their endless suffering under human domination and greed, our hearts break open and can participate no more in this degrading violence. As the Buddhist Surangama Sutra says, “If we eat the flesh of living creatures, we are destroying the seeds of compassion.”
The theosophist, Charles Leadbeater, reported that he could see energy fields around people. When people were eating meat, he was able to see a darkness clouding their energy fields. Another New Thought pioneer, Charles Fillmore, who co-founded Unity Church with his wife Myrtle, stated, “The mind is incapable of vibrating at the higher frequencies and manifesting the higher aspects of mind, when a person eats dead flesh.” The Fillmores established Unity Village near Kansas City, and only vegetarian food was served there. In addition, no leather covered Bibles were allowed in the church. The Fillmores were in the good company of many mystics, saints, and others who knew that one can only proceed so far in one’s spiritual development while simultaneously supporting the domination and killing of animals.
Amy, a yoga teacher, gave up the flesh of land animals after seeing raw meat brought in to her table at a Japanese restaurant. Several years later, she gave up fish after awakening to the pain of a lobster being boiled alive. She states so beautifully that “at times it has been very painful, being so sensitive as there is so much suffering in this world. But along with the pain, there comes reverence for life, all life. What greater way to demonstrate that reverence than by refusing to use animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Since purifying my diet, from any animal pain or suffering, I seem to have a deep well of compassion for all living creatures, be it a fly or worm or polar bear. I watch with wonder and awe at spiders spinning their webs, at the snails moving in their shells, at the bees sucking the nectar from flowers, at the beauty of flowers, and all the way up the food chain. I see and feel the interconnectivity of it all.”
The most joyful and rewarding aspect of vegan living is knowing that with this one simple act, we are making a monumental difference for all sacred life. We are all bombarded by news of wars, murders, parents killing their children, children killing classmates, genocide and starvation of vast numbers of people, the impending death of the oceans and rivers from pollution and overfishing, the loss of habitat and homes for wildlife and indigenous people as giant corporations take over their lands, global warming, the cruel confinement of billions of innocent animals in factory farms, and the list goes on and on. Very few of us are in a position to stop the killing of the innocent Falun Dafa people in China or stop the giant driftnet ships from raping the seas. The dark energy that surrounds our planet at this time from all the dark deeds done can be overwhelming even when we are not consciously thinking about these tragedies.
But veganism is a simple action that every one of us can take that is so powerful and so full of light energy that it can literally have an effect on every one of the tragedies listed above, lighten the dark energy field around the earth, improve our own health; save the lives of starving people and the lives of around 100 animals per year, bring peace to our own hearts, and simultaneously draw all life closer to creating a paradise on this earth. And this action doesn’t even take any extra time out of our days.
Those who are paying attention and waking up to the crisis in the world know we are running out of time. Each one of us must participate in bringing the culture out of the old paradigm of domination and exploitation. It is we who will demonstrate how to live within the new paradigm of cooperation, love, and mutual respect. In so doing, we will, perhaps in our lifetimes, be able to see the old paradigm simply become obsolete and disappear. It has been said “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”
We, the animals, indeed all creation, are here to praise and celebrate life together, not to make war against each other. Great thinkers through the ages have made it clear that as Isaac Bashevis Singer stated so eloquently, “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures, there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people.” The vegan life is a selfless commitment to literally bring heavenly peace to earth. This year, with its Aquarian influence pouring forth wisdom and truth, may we seek the Light as never before, go forth with confidence, and say to all beings: “Greetings, Earthlings. We come in peace. We are the new Homo Ahimsa.
Cousens, G. Spiritual Nutrition, Foundations for Spiritual Life and The Awakening of the Kundalini (North Atlantic Books, 2005).
Fast Food Craze
Pavlina, E. Blog at erinpavlina.com/blog
SPEAK—Spiritual People Embracing Animals with Kindness members.dodo.com.au/~kritters/
Tuttle, W. TheWorld Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony (Lantern Books, New York, 2005).
Volpe, Tina. The Fast Food Craze: Wreaking Havoc on Our Bodies and Our Animals. (Canyon Publishing, Parks, AZ, 2005).
© Judy Carman, 2008
Judy Carman is an animal rights, environmental, and peace activist. She is founder of the Circle of Compassion Initiative, cofounder of Animal Outreach of Kansas (www.animaloutreach-ks.org), and cofounder of the Prayer Circle for Animals (www.circleofcompassion.org). She is author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul (Lantern Books).
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