It's No Secret

Originally published in VegNews Magazine, April 2008

By Will Tuttle, Ph.D.

After a recent lecture on The World Peace Diet, a woman posed a question that I think many people have. After years of struggling and suffering, she was trying to build a happier life based on positive thinking and on a law that has been popularized lately in the hit film, “The Secret”—the Law of Attraction. This universal principle says that whatever we focus on mentally, we will attract more of in our lives. She didn’t want to think of or focus on the suffering animals endure for food because she felt it was too negative and disturbing, and would just make her depressed and unhappy.

The key question here is whether or not this woman is vegan. If she is not, and is regularly paying people to confine and kill animals for food, then her quest for happiness for herself is ironic. She wants for herself what she refuses to give to others, and is thereby breaking another universal principle, the Law of Giving—that whatever we desire for ourselves we must give to others, and that whatever we give to others we will eventually receive ourselves.

Her insistence on focusing only on “the positive” while she is directly instigating cruelty and violence keeps her disconnected from herself and from the reality of her interconnectedness with others, and creates a dark psychological shadow that can only lead to anxiety, delusion, and greater suffering. We can see this all around us as Big Pharma’s profits on drugs for depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness soar, our planet is increasingly laid waste, and diseases of excess and social inequity proliferate, while people universally fail to make these connections, which are the foundation of wisdom. It would be best for this woman not just to “think positively,” but also to act positively and re-fashion her food choices to bless others rather than harm them.

On the other hand, if she is following a vegan lifestyle, and is striving to affect those who are at her mercy in a positive way by eating an organic, plant-based diet, then her happiness has a much more solid foundation. If she thinks of the millions of animals being confined and slaughtered for food daily in the U.S., or sees images of this, she won’t feel the agonizing guilt that most people subconsciously experience, but rather a sense of compassion and a yearning to help relieve this massive and unnecessary suffering. This compassion arises because she has resensitized herself to her feelings and to the ripples radiating from her actions, and is acting as best she can to be a force for kindness in the world.

The secret to happiness and inner peace is thus not just the Law of Attraction and being mindful of our thoughts, although this is certainly important. The secret is being mindful of our actions as well, because just as our thoughts condition our behavior, our behavior conditions our thoughts, and regular daily actions of instigating violence and eating the results of that violence keep our consciousness and thoughts confined to a relatively low vibrational level.

The real secret to personal and planetary peace and happiness is veganism rightly understood as the ancient and timeless teaching to include all living beings within the sphere of our kindness and respect, and never to treat any being as a mere object to be used or abused. This is the awakening of our true human heart, not for a self-centered happiness, but for a happiness that includes everyone. This is positive thinking beyond mere positive thinking; it’s living the truth that we are, and being the transformation we long to see in our world.

Now let’s imagine that!—and live it.

Will Tuttle, Ph.D., composer, pianist, Zen priest, and author of The World Peace Diet, is cofounder of Karuna Music & Art and of the Prayer Circle for Animals and Circle of Compassion ministry.


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