Metaphorically, we are all part of the movie of life on earth, and while we may appear to be the images on the screen, at a deeper level we share a common heritage‚Äîwe are all also the light that makes the movie possible. This light is consciousness, and it is our fundamental nature, emanating from an infinite and inconceivable source.
To free the animals we are abusing, we must free ourselves from the delusion of essential separateness, doing both the outer work of educating, sharing, and helping others, and the inner work of uncovering our true nature.
When we are drawn toward a plant-based way of eating, it is in no way a limitation on us; rather it is the harmonious fulfillment of our own inner seeing. At first we think it‚Äôs an option we can choose, but with time we realize that it‚Äôs not a choice at all but the free expression of the truth that we are. It is not an ethic that we have to police from outside, but our own radiant love spontaneously expressing, both for ourselves and for our world. Caring is born on this earth and lives through us, as us, and it‚Äôs not anything for which we can personally take credit. It is nothing to be proud of.
To awaken from the cultural trance of omnivorism we need only remember who we are. We have neither the psychology nor the physiology for predation and killing, but due to the culturally indoctrinated mentality required by our daily meals, we eat like predators. We become desensitized, exclusivist and materialistic, forgetting that we are essentially consciousness manifesting in time and space. As consciousness, we are eternal, free, and benevolent.
While it‚Äôs easy to become discouraged in the face of the immense cultural inertia that propels the continued practice of eating animal foods, it‚Äôs helpful to realize that it carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. At the rate it‚Äôs ravaging our planet‚Äôs ecosystems and resources‚Äîand our sanity and intelligence‚Äîit cannot last much longer. These may very well turn out to be humanity‚Äôs last days of eating animals.
To meditate for world peace, to pray for a better world, and to work for social justice and environmental protection while continuing to purchase the flesh, milk, and eggs of horribly abused animals exposes a disconnect that is so fundamental that it renders our efforts absurd, hypocritical, and doomed to certain failure.
By refusing to dominate animals, we make the essential connections and open inner doorways to understanding and deconstructing the abuse of privilege in our own lives. Justice, equality, veganism, freedom, spiritual evolution, and universal compassion are inextricably connected.
The wealthy elite exerts its privilege and authority through all our social institutions, using food as a method of maintaining control. By controlling food and disseminating junk food and food sourced from animals, those with the most privilege can confuse and sicken our entire population, especially those who are most vulnerable and uninformed. There are well-documented connections, for example, between the deterioration of our food supply and certain newly invented pathologies like attention deficit disorder.
The message ritually injected into us by our culturally mandated meals is, at a fundamental level, the message of privilege. As humans, we see ourselves as superior to animals, whom we view as objects to be enslaved and killed for our use and pleasure, and with this herder mentality of our special and privileged position over animals, we inevitably create other categories of privilege.
As our culture adopts veganism, the change in our consciousness will usher in the first revolution since the herding revolution began with the domestication of sheep and goats 10,000 years ago. That revolution propelled us out of the garden into an existential sense of separateness, promoting competition and the cultivation of disconnected reductionism and materialistic technology. The evolutionary thrust is obviously now in a completely different direction, toward integration, cooperation, compassion, inclusiveness, and discovering our basic unity with all life.