VegInspirations

VegInspiration. Energy of Joy

Will Tuttle : April 2, 2010

The revolution
implicit in veganism is a revolution of universal love and inclusiveness and
its energy of joy can wash the planet clean and transform ugly human folly.
Give thanks every day for the joy in your heart and that you see reflected in
the birds, flowers, trees, and in the whole web of celebrating life, for that
is what you are. Photo: Briana Franco

The War on Terra

Will Tuttle : April 1, 2010

As environmental devastation continues to escalate, it’s essential to look at the roots of our abuse of the Earth and her complex and fragile ecosystems. Why do we allow industries to pollute and destroy with such impunity?
The latest disaster, the massive underwater oil geyser in the Gulf, may be a far more destructive and malevolent onslaught than the media is letting on, and it is but another in a long and accelerating series of attacks we are mounting against our home planet. What underlying force drives this machinery of violence? Why do we insist on stabbing, burning, and cutting our precious mother Earth instead of cooperating with her miraculous bounty, respecting and loving her? Why are we ripping apart the fabric of living creation, destroying the beautiful interconnected life that is celebrating through the communities of birds, fish, animals and plants around us?
I believe we have to look much more deeply than mere economic and political forces to the underlying, driving mentality that is ritually injected into all of us by our cultural upbringing, and more specifically, by the foods we are indoctrinated to eat by all the institutions in this culture. What we need more than anything now are conversations and discussions about the irresistible consequences of our routine violence toward billions of enslaved animals for food.
The mentality that is required to hyperconfine, mutilate, kill, and eat hundreds of millions of animals daily is precisely the mentality that ruthlessly destroys ecosystems without remorse. It is the mentality that is injected into all of us from birth by powerful cultural forces that indoctrinate us into seeing beings as mere commodities to be used. Our innate inner landscape of compassion and wisdom is devastated by relentlessly eating the flesh and secretions of enslaved animals, just as the outer landscape is devastated by the same behavior.
The hidden and mostly ungrieved tragedy is that all the devastation caused by eating animal foods–diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis; dementia, depression, insomnia, anxiety; air and water pollution, global climate change, massive species extinction, soil erosion; starvation, malnutrition, war, inequity; and the inconceivably vast enslavement, torture, and killing of billions of fully sentient animals for food–is utterly unnecessary. There are no nutrients in animal foods that we cannot get directly from eating plants. The door is open! Each and every one of us can walk out of the prison of misery of eating animal foods, right now! There is nothing holding us except the bone-deep disconnectedness that we don’t realize we’re in a prison. We are forced by our culture to forget the truth that we are all connected, and that as we harm and imprison others for some supposed benefit, we actually harm and imprison ourselves even more. Our violence toward animals for food is ultimately violence toward ourselves. It inevitably and elegantly boomerangs. We are so obtuse as a culture that we don’t realize it.
As I write this, I sit in our rolling home, parked for a few days here at a sanctuary for some abused goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and other animals who have miraculously escaped the giant industrial meat grinder they were destined for from birth. Caressing them behind the ears, rubbing their bellies, looking into their eyes, feeling the warm subjectivity of their presence, is all deeply sobering. They respond when their names are called. They are subjects of lives that are to them as important as mine is to me, and their interests are to them as important as mine are to me. Yet most of us participate in destroying them by the billions without remorse. Stealing their purposes, we lose our own, and become unwittingly enslaved ourselves in a heartless system that is devastating our Earth.
What we do to ourselves, we do to the Earth, and what we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. We are not essentially separate from this beautiful Earth, from beautiful animals, and from each other. Like the cows born into a system that forces them to eat meat to produce more milk, and get fat for slaughter, we are similarly forced to eat meat, and as we reduce beings to things, we ourselves are reduced to mere objects without abiding self-respect. Animals, the Earth, future generations, and starving people all suffer directly because of this.
The way out is straightforward: Do not do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you. The ancient universal principles are infinitely wiser than our science’s latest theories and concoctions. All we need to know is in our basic human sanity, which has been relentlessly polluted like the clear Gulf waters by toxic cultural effluent.
The great metaphor of our culture is the knife. We use knives to stab and dismember 75 million animals every day in the U.S. for food. We carve up forests, we stab and maul millions of acres of land for monocropped grains for animal feed, and cut and splice the genes themselves into unnatural abominations, and stab the living body of the Earth for oil, gas, and minerals. Just as we don’t see cows and pigs as being alive, but as merely hot dogs and burgers, we don’t see the Earth as being alive, but as a mere resource, and go on stabbing ourselves in the hearts and brains, laying waste our wisdom and compassion, suffering heart attacks, strokes, and endless war.
It is now absolutely clear. Our culture must go vegan or perish. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. I see a great awakening on the horizon. We are not essentially condemned to slavery and oblivion. We are here to awaken from the nightmare of delusory separateness and celebrate our lives as manifestations of benevolence, joy, creativity, and love. This is the core teaching of veganism: we are all connected and love is our true nature. As we live this more deeply, we can transform our world.
The clock is ticking; the oil and blood are spewing. How do we respond?

VegInspiration. Force for Revolution

Will Tuttle : April 1, 2010

The foundation of our culture’s systemic violence against animals for food is a mentality of exclusion. For us as vegans to be a force for the revolution of compassion that is called for if our culture is to survive, we must heal the mentality of exclusion within ourselves, and exclude no one from our understanding and compassion. We don’t have the luxury to cultivate anger, or allow it to be a motivation, because anger is a poison that is inherently exclusionary. We are called, as Gandhi said, to be the change we want to see. There is no motivation more revolutionary than joy-filled loving-kindness. Photo: Briana Franco

VegInspiration. Healing the World

Will Tuttle : March 31, 2010

The act of regularly eating foods derived from confined and brutalized animals forces us to become somewhat emotionally desensitized, and this numbing and inner armoring make it possible for us as a culture to devastate the earth, slaughter people in wars, and support oppressive social structures without feeling remorse.

By going vegan, we’re taking responsibility for the effects of our actions on vulnerable beings and we’re resensitizing ourselves. We’re becoming more alive, and more able to feel both grief and joy. Kahlil Gibran points out in The Prophet that unless we are able to feel our grief and weep our tears, we will not be able to laugh our laughter, either. Turning our pain and outrage into action on behalf of vulnerable beings will bring healing to us and to our world.

Photo: Farm Sanctuary

VegInspiration. A Force for Healing

Will Tuttle : March 30, 2010

We are loved by Unitopia.

As vegans, we’re a force for healing and compassion every day and at every meal. Our way of living exemplifies mercy and promotes freedom, and offers opportunities to unfold wisdom and help heal our world. These are true causes for an abiding sense of joy. Even in the midst of grief and outrage at our culture’s cruelty, we can be glad that our ability to feel is reawakening.

Photo: Unitopia

VegInspiration. A Sense of Joy

Will Tuttle : March 29, 2010

As vegans, we may feel sad, bitter, misunderstood, and isolated by the apparently oblivious attitudes of our culture, friends, and families. What can we do?

In a few words, we can cultivate a sense of joy and thankfulness. In the face of our culture’s unrelenting pressure to view animals as mere food commodities, going vegan is a victory for peace, a real spiritual breakthrough.

Photo: Unitopia

VegInspiration. Condemn Animal Slavery

Will Tuttle : March 28, 2010

From the viewpoint of its deepest and most eternal and universal teachings—to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourself—the Bible unequivocally condemns animal slavery just as it condemns human slavery. We must stop using the Bible to justify animal abuse, but rather use it to guide us in our quest for peace and justice for all beings.

Photo: At Farm Sanctuary

VegInspiration. Stop the Violence!

Will Tuttle : March 27, 2010

Me and Tula - a stunning rescued turkey at Roosters' Inn by CETFA - Canadian for Ethical Treatment of Food Ani.

What goes around comes around. We must as a species stop the violence that is inherent in our meat habit. This should be of paramount importance for all religious movements and teachers. It is the call of spirituality. If our religions don’t hear this call, we must revitalize them or create new ones that do.

Photo: Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals

VegInspiration. The Spiritual Element

Will Tuttle : March 26, 2010

Since the decision to become a vegan is at its core an ethical one, spirituality, which is the foundation of ethics, must be the foundation of veganism as well.

The spiritual element within us encourages us not to harm others, but to express love and practice compassion. Compassion brings the intuition of spiritual awareness into daily life as actions that serve to help and bless others. Veganism is clearly a vital expression of this compassion that springs from our felt sense of connectedness with others. While it may not necessarily be religious, at its core, veganism is spiritual, and it is an expression of love. It is a concrete way that we can all be lovers.

Photo: Briana Franco

VegInspiration. A Litmus Test

Will Tuttle : March 25, 2010

burma-amarapura-monks-eating by Ania Blazejewska.

Veganism is, I’ve found, a litmus test of religious teachings and religious teachers. To the degree that religious teachings do not explicitly encourage veganism, which is the practice of nonviolence and lovingkindness, to that same degree these teachings are hypocritical and disconnected from their spiritual source.

Photo: Ania Blazejewska

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